Friday, March 30, 2012

More OFFICIAL considerations about 1e

This is part 2. Look at the prior post "We are Officially Official D&D" before reading this one.

Perceptions are real. Indeed, some might say that our only contact with reality is through perceptions. The color I call "blue" might not look like your color "blue," for all we know -- all we know is that we're consistent about our personal blue. The Holmes Basic rules were in a blue book. This much almost all of us would agree to, with the exception of the usual contrarian element.

I mentioned in my last post that WotC has left the door open for First Edition gamers (and possibly by extension the rest of us) to claim a much higher level of credibility with mainstream gamers to whom "official" matters. Our existing community, of course, is almost by definition immune to "official," although many (including myself) are attracted by "shiny."

We now have an official WotC book that is also shiny. Or, at least, we will have one eventually, we're told. Fair enough, it's been over thirty years that we've been using out of print books, delays don't exactly kill us. Plus, we're old enough that a month passes as fast now as a day once did. Remember how summer vactions used to last forever? I do.

The question is whether we want to claim that "official" mantle, or whether life has been better in the shadows. Before retro-clones, we were all to some degree or other possessed of ancient books of lore, books you had to know where to find (okay, ebay isn't far, but it's not the corner grocery store, either). We were all adepts and initiates, because it's not exactly easy to pick up the books and learn OD&D or 1e. 2e was easier ... maybe that's why the 1e players have a history of kicking sand in the faces of B/X players and 2e players, even now that the percentage difference in our ages is de minimus and the similarities of the games pale beside the gulf to 3e and 4e.

Retro-clones, to a degree, divided the community. Most of the furor over it has died down now that the novelty of the SHINY NEW (but not official) rules is no more, and the world didn't end, and there are some new modules out there. But retro clones did change the community by making it a bit less mysterious, a bit less arcane, a bit less ... something.

That's all I have the time to write at this moment, but I have in mind several related thoughts. Officialness, shininess, the mystery of an adepthood as opposed to a mainstream gamer-community. There's something in there to be used, although I don't think I've really seen it take shape yet.


  1. "Official" or not, being "in print" = being alive.

    1. Yes, exactly. It's really handy to be able to say "We're playing this game, and the books are available in stores and online if you want them." Not that retro-clones and other games aren't available this way, but now AD&D is, again. That living, supported, in-print thing matters. :)

  2. I think the retro-clones handled "living," but not "Official."

    1. The retroclones are like Reincarnation; this is more like Raise Dead (but not a full Reincarnation). :)

      But point taken. By "living" I actually was thinking more the vigor/excitement that comes from something actually being in print.

  3. "Living" means played.

    "Official" means vindication.