Monday, April 4, 2016
Reply to a post about 1e AD&D
1e AD&D is an artform rather than just a Chilton's guide to the mechanics of the system. It is the DM as master of this art that provides the balance to the game. No player running an elf or half-orc or human has any advantage over the DM or over other players because the real goal is enjoyment and fun and each player will have a different measure of what that means and each DM will have a different method of achieving that measure.
Gygax's method is certainly that of a master but a wise DM needs to choose a path that is their own and find the balance that works for them. That is how you master the game and not by a blind adherence to the method of someone else. 1e AD&D inspires DM's to find their own method, their style, their voice, more than any other system I've come across, but it is also the hardest of all systems to master because it requires you to use your imagination, your creativity, your own will and authority, not someone else's, not even Gygax's nor any lesser designer of games.
1e AD&D is a lofty pinnacle, a singular creation which lesser men have diminished rather than improved like a masterpiece by Davinci repainted by draftsmen, mechanics and engineers studying form and not spirit or soul. Without mastering the spirit of the game the enforced rules quickly become lifeless and dry and the game becomes meaningless, mere paper tigers and gold made of ink and merely numbers. Do not mistake the music of Mozart for a disturbance of sound or 1e for a collection of rules in a book, both capture a spirit that few can tame and fewer master.
Nothing asrtsy fartsy about an artform. If you've ever seen skilled boxers at a match you will see an artform, if you've ever found yourself stepping into a new world through the pages of a book you will see an artform, if you've ever been part of an enthralling adventure of the imagination through AD&D you will see an artform. And if you don't, some people just don't see the balloon people, or to be more pop culture, choose the right pill. 1e AD&D is both a floor wax and a dessert topping, but it just isn't for everybody, and that is the way it is supposed to be. The Valkyrie don't touch ever poor slob who has had a scimitar lobbed at them, not everyone gets a sip of Odroerir or is born of Kvasir's blood, and for many people a game is a game is a game and will never be anything but less than their imagination might aspire to. If you look deeply enough you will find that the most cherished things of concrete are actually full of wholes or sometimes not even there. Words of any kind are magic, they make you angry, they make you Love, they push your buttons like letters on a keyboard. If your 1e AD&D game isn't pushing the boundaries of your imagination, if it isn't magic, isn't Mozart... Why isn't it?