Pulp Fantasy D&D
Interest in versions of roleplaying games seems to be growing — and coming from places one might not expect. For example, James Maliszewski has just started a new blog, Grognardia: An exploration of the history and traditions of the hobby of roleplaying The second post therein starts by saying:
The second purpose of this blog is to develop what I’ve taken to calling “pulp fantasy D&D.” The idea for this began on my LiveJournal shortly after the announcement of the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I felt then, as I feel even more strongly now, that, whatever the relative merits or flaws of 4e, “D&D,” as an idea, has now moved so far beyond what it was originally intended to be that, when most people use the term, it’s meaningless. At best, it’s purely positivist: whatever the current holder of the trademark chooses to call “Dungeons & Dragons” is Dungeons & Dragons. I find that approach remarkably unsatisfying and, as I studied the history of the roleplaying hobby more, I came to the inescapable conclusion that D&D was now, both conceptually and mechanically, not the same game Gygax and Arneson published in 1974.
This is a conclusion I came to long ago, about the time of the revised 2nd edition of AD&D with its seemingly unending flow of option books full of kits with special character powers and the like. When I heard about 3rd edition, I was hopeful. However, these hopes were dashed by actually reading the third edition books. Third Edition was recognizable as D&D, but it pushed the game further away from the beginnings, codifying much that I did not like about the revised second edition into the core rules. 3.5 was much less like the D&D I knew and loved — and 4th edition looks to have little in common with the original versions of D&D other the name and the general idea of fantasy roleplaying. It is interesting to see others coming to a similar conclusion: current editions of D&D may be fun games but they aren’t much like the original.
Edited to add: I’ve just discovered that James has quite a few posts on “Pulp Fantasy D&D” on his Livejournal all tagged pulp fantasy d&d.