OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

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Sudsy
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OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:02 pm

I started a topic on a BBS for a computer gaming clan I belong to (that has a strong basis in traditional RPG/wargaming).

So, I ran across this http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... caust.htmltoday about D&D and Gary Gygax by Erik Sofge.

He has some valid points, however he neglects some very important points.

"To become a more powerful wizard, a sneakier thief, or an elfier elf (being an elf was its own profession in early editions, which is kind of like saying being Chinese is a full-time job), you need to gain "levels," which requires experience points. And the best way to get experience points is to kill stuff. Every monster, from an ankle-biting goblin to a massive fire-spewing dragon, has a specific number of points associated with it—your reward for hacking it to pieces."

This point is a valid observation regarding XP gains. I've never read the real 1st edition books, but I do a lot of reading of 1e clones like Basic Fantasy RPG, Swords and Wizardry, and OSRIC (all D20 'old school' clones using the 3.5 OGL rules as a base stripping away the volumes of muck the current WotC versions have become). However, no where do the OSR (Old School Renaissance) clones require killing for XP gains. Which leads me to believe that enough of that was left open in the first editions to allow for sneaking past/tricking, or other non-combat related negation of threats and opponents.

Mr. Sofge also neglects to point out that the first edition of D&D evolved from a wargame co-authored by Gygax and Arnson called "Chainmail" that was a medieval skirmish combat game. D&D used the combat rules, and left the rest to the GM and players. In the mid 1970's, the first players were all wargaming grognards. Is it any wonder why killing orcs would be the main method of getting XP as opposed to other ways?

Certainly, the lack of 'depth' is to be forgiven, in much the same way we realize now that Christopher Columbus was far from the very first European into North America. Regardless of who came first (vikings, or some Egyptian on a reed boat who brought pyramid designs....), I believe Gygax and Arnson were trail blazers. Not the greatest of game designers, or the classiest, or most refined. But trailblazers none the less.

I continue to enjoy the refinements that have been branched off from the D&D path into RPG's from wargaming. But then, I'm biased, as a wargamer I see no major moral conflict with games that revolve around combat. Conflict fuels many of the greatest epic stories told by mankind. Besides, the notion that love never instigated war is made in ignorance of Troy being destroyed over a love affair between Helen and Paris... Perhaps that wargaming bias is why I keep outlining adventures for various RPG's around military campaigns...
Michael "Sudsy" Sutherland

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shadowmane
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Re: OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:58 pm

The author is pretty stupid to claim D&D plays like a video game. Its actually the other way around. Video games have tried to capture, in different ways, the rules of tabletop rpgs by coding them. If computer rpgs are taking over tabletop ones, its because they are the child growing up, and not because the parent is going away.
saskganesh
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Re: OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:20 am

... the main method of getting XP was GP. I.E Treasure.

The implications on gameplay are rather different.

Sure you could kill things for XP, but monsters were the obstacles to the real rewards.
@----
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Clever_Munkey
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Re: OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:34 pm

I think the author also forgot about Rule 0, and I have experienced problems with rules that cover "everything" usually with players that think they can't do something because they don't think it's allowed by the rules.
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LibraryLass
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Re: OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:30 am

Oy, this again... :|
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jdn2006
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Re: OPED article "Orc Holocaust" by Erik Sofge

Post Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:59 pm

He loves GURPS, hates D&D. That's his shtick.
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