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Re: (TFT) Rant: part V
Well here is part five. I would like to remind that this was all written
in August of last year. Only four more to go.
V The last word I have to offer.
Gee David, this has been an awfully negative post. This isn't like you
at all. Is this why you have been so quiet lately.
Not in the least. No. I just haven't been camping or skiing this year.
Not even hiking. I'm a much better GM after I commune with nature.
Like the shamanistic tradition, it's not a good story unless it heals
the tribe somehow. Planet of the apes (the original) talked about racism to
great effect. Jaws showed us how preserving a flow of money can override
the interests of the people it is supposed to benefit. Star Wars was the
first thing Hippies and Conservatives could agree on since before Nixon.
They would sit in the theater side by side and point at Darth Vader. "Now
that's a bad guy."
No one is probably listening by this point anyway. So I'll tell the
truth. At least the truth as I see it. D&D was legendary to me because of
Demigorgon and Orcus. I consider them the two prime bad guys. I consider
them to _be_ D&D. At least the old D&D that I first encountered.
Gurps is fine an all, but their world books are just that. "Here we
made a world for you so you don't have the fun of making your own." Gurps
doesn't produce a book about a single bad guy. There is no one character
that people can say the name of and People immediately see the whole of
New D&D has some of the success of old. And it turns out that many
AD&D3E players talk about Elminster. Some of them with reverence and awe.
But he's not quite a bad guy, just full of self interest really. A bit of
an individualist to the extream.
In fact isn't a dragon itself the ultimate bad guy from old mythology
and legend. Hmmmm, makes me think about the name Dungeons and Dragons. We
could rewrite that game, just call it "Satan and his prisons". Isn't "the
dragon of old" a synonym for Satan in some traditions. Just spit balling
here. If you've ridden this far, take heart. The barn is in sight.
TFT did something strange. While it turned the muddy waters of D&D's
rules into clear water, and eminently more drinkable water at that, it names
not a single prime bad guy. Unless you count Tolenkar. But we all think of
the supplement when his name is mentioned, not the agenda and motives of a
major bad guy.
So is there really anything to sell in TFT? Is there an Elmister, or
Darth Vader, or Demigorgon? Maybe in our individual campaigns there are,
but not in TFT itself. In fact, and this may surprise you, TFT is very
meta. There is no named bad guy. Their is only a combination of two rules
that if you bend and mangle them, then stand back and squint, defined what
evil "IS". And that is all.
Consider: TFT has an explicit definition of evil written right into the
rules. Did you know that? Well don't take my word for it. Check it out.
Page 15 of Advanced wizard says...
"PENTAGRAM (C): Creates a magical barrier which keeps out evil
Now if we couple this with the second spell after that....
"Pentagrams, wards, and other magical protections WILL stop an astral
Hmmmmmmm..... Is this saying that an astral body is an evil influence?
I conclude with this word. Yes.
David Michael Grouchy II
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