An interesting thought I’ve found myself pondering as of late.
I’ve recently entered into a brand new Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
We are playing 3.5 (avoiding 4.0 because of the very narrow approach to character customization)
Now the last D&D campaign I was involved in was back before Wizards Of The Coast was even a thing and before the books had numbers, there was D&D and AD&D. We played AD&D and we had a thousand books, dice, figures and supplements. I was introduced to this passion/addiction when I was 8 years old, I joined my local gaming guild and it was on. AD&D and eventually years later the White Wolf games: Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and Mage: The Ascension (this one being my all time favorite table top). Also a whole slew of others, anything I could get my hands on really including but not limited to: Shadowrun, TMNT, Marvel, DC, Palladium, Top Secret, Tales From The Floating Vagabond, Call Of Cthulhu, Paranoia, and probably a few dozen others that I’m just forgetting.
Enough with nostalgia though.
I noticed something very different when my friends and I sat down to create our characters for this new campaign, namely that “party” and mechanics in general was more of a consideration that I remember it being back in the day (which I can say, I’m old). I mean in this sense we basically designed the classic adventuring party: Fighter, Thief, Healer, Mage, etc… but I certainly noticed that the standard MMO formula came in to play when we were deciding what to roll and create:
Our Tank: A dwarven fighter heavily invested in constitution aiming toward defense.
Our Healer: A standard cleric. Although due to the loose grouping of weapons he is carrying and swinging a claymore…martial weapon indeed.
Our Utility: A shadowy rogue type built dexterous, to find and disable traps and open chests and such
DD: A sorcerer (played by an overly detail oriented min-maxer who finally found the absolute best path through twenty levels to assure the best DPS possible(this took me weeks) and a Monk , heavily invested in strength even at starting level this guy has dished it out pretty awesomely.
Now once again, back in the day none of this vernacular really existed in the table top environment – tank, direct damage or damage dealer, healer, DPS especially, etc…
Granted the CONCEPTS of these roles existed but the actual strict definitions of such I’ve only noticed after the MMO explosion.
The concept of pulling and the idea of exploiting mechanics are alive and well in our table top environment now a days, which was not the case way back when.
I’ve also found that with the younger players in our game that they have a much more clearly defined sense of tactics and even awareness, making them basically newbies(yes, not noobs, newb.) at the game mechanics only, having drawn from their online role playing experience.
It’s really a pleasure how well the party most of which have never played table top seems to flow in combat situations. I look forward to tabletop day now more than I ever did any of those boring raids. It’s also very nice to have the human contact and interaction back into the gaming, having gotten lost in the MMO verse back in Ultima Online beta, it’s something I didn’t even realize I missed.