Hint: Not really.

I don’t know why I started thinking about this episode of the official D&D podcast today, but I did. It’s really interesting, but the facts are:

1. The guy’s campaign world is 34 years old, but players have been rotating in and out; I think the longest regular player is now at ten years. Nothing to scoff at, but there you go. I guess that’s still a campaign, but it’s not what I expected when they said “2 sessions per week for 34 years”.

2. It’s not really D&D. The game started with OD&D and then moved to AD&D 1e, but has since become a home-brew %-based system, and has arguably been that for most of its history. It gets sort of awkward once the hosts get him to reveal this.

But what’s really fascinating (to me, at least) is this guy being an example of these hidden pockets of the hobby — that may very well make up most of the actual hobby. Namely, this guy figured out how to play “his way” at some point in the ’80s, and has basically been doing that ever since.

Example: At one point he talks about “current” developments in D&D and says, “I think what’s called the TWENTY-DEE system?”

I mean, seriously, holy crap. It’s like finding someone who considers themselves computer enthusiast and then seeing that they’ve been hammering away at a customized version of Pascal on a hot-rodded Apple IIe, lamenting that CompuServe isn’t around any more, but they haven’t wanted to subscribe to “Online America” yet.

And I don’t mean this to come off as condescending. This episode is fascinating RPG anthropology, and this guy’s persistence and dedication is amazing. Also, his campaign world sounds totally awesome. 100% for reals.


22 thoughts on “Hint: Not really.

  1. Heyo! Yeah, I know a gaming group exactly like this. Playing a homebrew that evolved out of (original) D&D decades ago. Weekly for decades. It’s not so much that they don’t know anything about other RPGs — they have close friends who are extremely eclectic & knowledgeable RPG’ers — as that they don’t care about RPGs in the abstract. They care about this campaign and this campaign world. It matters to them. One of them is a writer and has written stories and novels based on the characters and the world. It’s theirs and it works and they have no reason to change it.

  2. Also know a gaming group like this. Though, they are a bit more aware of the market, and have played every edition of D&D at least once or twice before going back to the thing they know best, bringing bits they liked back into the house rule pile.

    Some of the same people also play on one of the longest persistent Neverwinter Nights worlds I’ve ever heard of.

  3. Yeah, I’ve got connections to a group like this here. The ringleader has kept up with weird (to me) elements of it, like the resin terrain. But he’s playing “D&D,” the kind that assumes all rpgs are basically D&D.

  4. People are coming into the online community of gaming ALL THE TIME with their own local group’s baggage, and wondering why not everyone has the same experiences. In some cases it’s super eye-opening. In other cases they’re pushed away by the community. And in other cases, they aggressively seek to make their favorite way of doing it as popular as possible to avoid having to give up what they used to do and how they did it.

  5. This is the entire story of RPG discussion on Usenet in the 1990s – discovering that absolutely nobody played in any games that remotely resembled either each other or what the game designers had created, and aggressively panicking about it