Watched the first episode of the new Stranger Things last night (well, this morning...around 1am) and now I am annoyed. Like, really annoyed. Not because of the new characters or plot developments or story arc changes...no, all that stuff is neat, interesting and welcome. Well done, intriguing, makes me want to watch more.
No, what has annoyed me to no end is the new D&D player boasting about her 14th level rogue character...in 1986. Three years before 2nd edition would introduce "rogue" as general class specification of thieves and bards, and 14 years before 3rd edition would introduce "rogue" as a specific, playable class in lieu of the thief.
Color me the brightest color of nerd on the planet...fine. For a series that prides itself in grounding its setting in a particular time period, this is an annoying, gross misstep that I simply cannot unsee. It has tainted my enjoyment of the show; it's broken my suspension of disbelief. It's lowered my opinion of the Duffer Brothers' "D&D cred;" born in 1984 did they ever actually play the brand of Dungeons & Dragons their protagonists do?
*sigh* The things that annoy us. Everyone has their pet peeves...this is just one of those things that really chaps my hide.
[the idea that ketamine...i.e. "Special K"...would have been available to a casual drug dealer in '86 in as small a town as Hawkins also seems a bit dicey, though that may simply be my naivete regarding 80s drug culture (it wasn't on my radar till the 90s). But THAT particular anachronism bothers me a lot less...go figure]
Moving on to other, non-"nerd rage" topics: I wrote...mm...last weekend (maybe?) that I wanted to introduce my kids to some new RPGs, particularly Gamma World and Top Secret. Top Secret it was (or, as my kids call it, "super spies"). My son's British MI6 agent, "Chad" caused me no small amount of amusement (mainly due to his name which, to him, sounded "very English") though his antics were a bit more Johnny English than James Bond. In the end, he was KIA while trying to rescue the U.S. president (Operation: Executive One, from the TS Administrator's screen)...having his foot shot off by a shotgun-tripwire trap.
Fun, but not as much fun as D&D (that cleric magic can really mitigate missteps, you know?). And I'm afraid Gamma World wasn't even tried, and probably won't be any time soon. There's a LOT that I dig about the GW game...just reading the 1E rules or early adventures like Famine in Fargo and The Albuquerque Spaceport are a JOY. But I'm not a huge fan of the GW system...it's just so...
Mm. I don't know the word I'm looking for. It's kind of immune to planning or manipulation. It's too "swingy;" there's no mastery of design, really. Um...hm. Okay, how 'bout this:
Gamma World, unlike other RPGs, is poorly done when it comes to character generation. Not because it's poorly themed (I rather like the PSH, Humanoid, Animal selection), but because...outside the first choice of "character type"...you are a slave to the random die roll. It is possible to create an Uber-mutant...or a complete genetic dead end. And it's all based on a random throw of the bones. Vast discrepancies in effectiveness are possible between different players' characters...and the success of the PCs adventures largely comes down to how heavy a hand the GM is willing to take.
Such is not the case with D&D, for example: 1st level characters have their different skill sets, but they are largely comparable in power...and experience/leveling gives a good indication of what types of challenge/obstacle are appropriate for a party of a particular size. That's ain't GW, where a beginning mutant may (by dint of fortunate rolls) come out as a powerhouse while her amigos are all primitive weenies. I saw a lot of this, Back In The Day (when I used to run 2E)...more than GW setting nonsense, this is what eventually turned me off on the game. Somehow, I always seem to forget this aspect of Gamma World, right up till it's time for chargen.
[and I'll probably forget about it in the future as well. Dennis Laffey's GamMarvel World idea remains an intriguing one...something I'd love to run with pre-gens sometime...]
Other games: I picked up the latest version of Twilight 2000 a few (three to five) weeks back. It continues to sit, unopened and shrink-wrapped, on my living room coffee table. I don't know why. I don't know what I'm waiting for. I'm going to open it. Soon. One of these days.
Ugh. I'm scattered all over the place this morning. Truth be told, there's nothing burning terribly brightly on my mind this morning, other than the sunshine streaming through the window. I'd like to go for a bike ride today, I think...a little exercise, a little fresh air. That's what I need...not more games.
I already have/own/run the BEST game. The session with the new kid went well yesterday. I won't bother to bore folks (more than I already have) with tales of the party's exploits, but great fun was had, and much success as well. I don't know why I need to collect and hoard other RPGs.
All right, this post is going nowhere...maybe I'm just tired (still). Going back to sleep for a bit.