Sunday, May 23, 2021

Killing Gods, Part 1B (An Addendum)

Lest this series goes off the rails when it suddenly takes a hard right turn in the next post, I think I need to clarify a few things about my last post:
  • This series is about Dungeons & Dragons, the game. 
  • Dungeons & Dragons finds its roots MAINLY in 1) the bargain bin of fantasy pulp stories (the kind I used to buy at a used bookstore in Montana for $.25-$.50 a pop to have reading material on our twice annual road trips) and, 2) the back alley sand tables of wargamers: a seedy bunch of rogues craving adventure and glory in a real world that is often challenging in a "not very fun" type of way.
  • Keeping those things in mind, I think folks can probably see how we get to wrestling with gods and godlike beings around the dinner table. I'm not denying it's part of the game.
  • I have an opinion about the way such conflicts are showing up recently (i.e. the last decade or so) in the D&D game. That is an admission of subjectivity, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go hard at framing my argument or making my point. At this point in time, it's a rather strong opinion, mostly set in concrete and unlikely to change. I'm hoping it's an informed opinion, one backed up by reasonable knowledge and perhaps some hard-earned experience or (at least) semi-diligent research.
  • Part 1 of this series was talking about those pulp fiction roots, because there's a need to explore that (hopefully already understood) foundation of the D&D game, in particular to this topic as it influences my opinion. Apologies if that was unclear. It is not a post about the role of religion or deities in the cosmology of one's campaign world (I've written about that before...many times) except in as much as that cosmology might be impacted by the inclusion of mortal versus divine conflict. And that potential impact isn't really something I've touched on yet...and probably will not be discussing, until Part 3 of this series. Part 1 was simply about taking a cursory look at (some) fantasy literature, especially literature that the game was built upon. The question of "where does this urge to fight gods come from" was mostly rhetorical...though I appreciate the plethora of answers!
Okay. I am hopeful that clears up any confusion. I don't want people to think I was saying "characters shouldn't be fighting gods in D&D," and then get confused when I start writing about how I think such conflicts can (and should) be implemented in the game. Keep in mind that my original complaint was: A) the trope was being used overmuch, and B) the execution of said trope. 

I wasn't complaining that such a trope exists (in D&D) at all.

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