Great to see the old PTGPTB being dusted off and back on-line. To
make sure it stays that way I will start bulling my fellow geeks
into to submitting articles. Or better yet submit one myself.
I agree totally, absolutely and completely with Alex Loke and
his article on D&D vs World of Warcraft. I have had a similar
argument with some moron whose name I can't be bothered to remember
about this and my alignment is more or less the same —
although I think I'm more lawful and Alex, Chaotic! Computer
generated gaming of any kind — and yes that includes Baldur's
Gate, Torment, Fallout, Ultima and all the rest — will never
be the same as table top gaming for one very good reason.
In any RPG style computer game you are limited by the usual RPG
style rules, however you are also limited by the parameters set by
the designers. In some cases — most notably Planescape:
Torment and Fable —The designers have insured that there are
enough avenues and paths to travel down to make the gaming
experience thoroughly enjoyable, however there are still
parameters. You have the selective choice of little dialogues to
choose from, there is very little in the way of in-party
interaction beyond the mouse clicking —Although I will
confess Baldur's Gate II and Planescape:Torment handle this bit
admirably —and there are the cases of games being either
limited to a very selective path or being so big and expansive
—the original Baldur's Gate comes to mind —that the
original path becomes scattered and blurred. Also adding RPG rules
to computers can at times be very annoying —The attack of
opportunity in Pools of Radiance and Icewind Dale II —and
make the game unwieldy.
In normal RPG you are limited by the usual rules plus any you've
made up along the way, the company you keep and the limitations of
ones mind. To quote Alex ' D&D isn't nearly as predictable' and
he is bang on the money. In word of Warcraft you see the guy, you
click feverishly with your mouse and assuming you win, take the
poor guys loot and leave an insult in the message screen. In table
top or heaven forbid LARP, you can as Alex says 'wear his remains
as a fancy hat' give gory details as to how you engage and dispatch
your opponent. Improvise dammit all! And this leads me to another
In Alex's article he states that gamers are at least embarrassed
enough to call what they do improvised theatre. This is partially
true. Not because of embarrassment —I am proud of my inner
Geek and answer the "do I play D&D" question with and honest
"yes!" — but because IT IS improvised theatre. You are taking
upon the part of some fictional character. This character has his
own background, temperament, loves, hates. Yes you can be as boring
as hell but you also have the opportunity to create a character
that is quite in depth. I somehow doubt that this is possible in
World of Warcraft.
I could go on forever about all the cool things I have done and
emulated through the characters I have played. The even cooler,
sometimes eccentric, sometimes scary flesh-and-blood people that
I've met and gamed with or have not gamed with but have met via my
aquiantances with gamers. I think of the friendships, the
occasional betrayals, edge of your seat dice rolling and the fact
that I'm blessed with the opportunity to sit around face to face
with some of the best friends and craziest people I have met,
sharing old stories, bitching about work, consuming way too much
coke and extra cheesey pizzas than humanly possible and cheering or
oooing our comrades as we make fools of ourselves and talk
bullshit. Beat that Blizzard!
Richard 'Dwarfman' Smith Tue Dec 12 2006
I'd like to read about RPGs as educational 'tools' in informal
educational settings like 'free schools', but if that doesn't
happen, I'll just dream.
Does this raise anybody’s will to write us an article
on this? ;-) -Eds
Impressive page, really; many comments and articles of fine taste
and use. And very critical about being a rolepayer, that I like the
most. Keep up the good work.
- Neat & fun reading pages.
- Thanks for being here.
- Looking good, keep it coming.
- Your articles look great ! Thanks for the nice job !!
- Excellent job :-)
- Nice site!
- Really looking forward to catching up with the back issues
— one of the joys of discovering something late!
Found your site while gathering information on the history of
RPGs for a paper. I'll give you 3 guesses what articles I found to
be very helpful, and ill give ya a hint, they all begin with "A
History of Role-Pla"...
Keep up the good work.
This one wasn’t easy. We’ll put it in a special
“Riddle and enigmas” issue ;-) —Eds
Love your article on the history of RPG. I am rather new to the
genre, and I find it all very fascinating! Recently downloaded
Swashbucklers from SJ games and I am playing catch up with the old
TSR stuff. Thanks for the great Info!
Well I guess it’s a funny idea to start with old stuff
from TSR… Would you buy a computer from the 70s, or rather a
brand new one? —Eds
Always interested in gaming info; I don't think any GM or player
can be good enough at his or her chosen craft not to benefit from
advice, insights or just some stories from other people's gaming
I may even submit some stuff. But I think I’ll need to
re-read your subscription guidelines first... er, if you even allow
that... to be honest I have no real idea of where I am or what I'm
doing right now...
I used to play WFRP, but I don't like the idea\look of the Black
Library "Buy a million extra sourcebooks!" version. Also, Games
Workshop has done some pretty bad things with the Warhammer world
since WFRP came out (my opinion).
Regarding submissions and “don’t know what to
write”-s, here are a few suggestions. Most of our articles
could be classed into 9 categories:
- nostalgia-like articles labelled "once upon a
- funny humorous articles like "Dr. Rotwang -vs- The Mole People
of Venus" or "Seether..." —often (always) related to the
- advice for GMs on GMing, or for players
- "splenetics", debate...
- articles about the simulation of reality aspects such as "the
importance of food", "matriarchy" or "L&O in imaginary
- articles on RPG "experiences" or "spin-offs", such as mail-RPG
, collaborative roleplaying, ...
- articles on the state of RPG in society ("RPG & the
Christian right", "the history of RPG", "the disappearance of
- articles on games theory
- scenarios different from mainstream adventures
- ...so you may want to fit into one of
these categories :-)
Besides, here's a list of things I like to read, that usually are amusing, both to write and to read, and they even give room for reflection:
- which RPG sessions do you still remember, even years ago?
- What's your best recollection of a game you ran? Share with us
the secrets that made it so great.
- Describe the worst GM you met. We've much to learn from other's
- What was your most novel adventure, and how did it turn
- I guess now you have a idea of what
kind of submissions we're looking for, and that’s pretty
Thank you for your proposals, submitters! And we hope this
inspires you and we'll read texts from you soon ;-)
Regarding Warhammer, you don't have to buy every sourcebook,
do you? Just buy those with good reviews, and create your own
universe. Editor's decisions regarding the evolution of the
universe are just their choices. Decide what YOUR Warhammer world
is, and be lauded by your players! :-)
I love your history, i used it as the base of my research paper and
it makes me fill so young because i started playing only 4 years
Well, it started out as just how to open a game store, and then
i figered that you need to know about the history of RPGs inorder
to sell them so i did a google serch and found your site. so at the
moment i have 6 pages done and am working on it. most of my
information alredy has come from your site, i have cited all
refrences and hope to get a good grade on it. i will be glad to
send a copy when i'm bone if you would like.
Linked to the history of RPGs from
Gamebanshee. I loved the history because I have been playing
D&D and various others since '82. It was a good walk down
memory lane. Thanks.
I'm thoroughly enjoying the
multi-part article on The History of Roleplaying. It's bringing
back many memmories of those early years for me (I began playing in
1977). I also find that, in large measure, the articles are well
written, balanced, and giving credit appropriately to the game
systems that helped shape the hobby along the way.
I have only finished reading parts I —IV so far but am
looking forward to the rest of it. As I look back on those very
special years of 1977 —1986, when gaming really grew quickly,
a few thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share. I don't know if
the authors would agree with these points but these are my
perceptions from someone who was there during the late infancy to
the early goldern years of gaming:
- A minor quibble, but from my recollection, T&T did not
become entirely obscure until the late 80s, not the early 80s as
the article mentions. T&T managed to stay alive and competitive
by being the first roleplaying system to introduce the solitaire
adventure. This allowed a player the opportunity to scratch their
gaming itch even when there was no-one else around to play a game
with. T&Ts simplistic rules system was well-suited to the solo
adventure format and Flying Buffalo would go on to produce solo
adventures well into the 80s. I totally agree that T&T was the
only roleplaying system to ever, however briefly, rival D&D,
and that after that T&T would fall to a permanent 2nd place
status, but I do believe its influence was felt well into the
- Another minor quibble: I fully agree with virtually everything
mentioned about Traveller, including the remarkable success it
experienced from almost day 1. Even I gave in to temptation and
bought the boxed set when it first came out —that "Mayday!
Mayday!" packaging was very effective. Having said all of this, my
recollection is that RuneQuest had a bigger impact on the history
of gaming vis-a-vis the rise of a skill based system than Traveller
did. Part of this is due to the fact that back then there was a
sizable number of gamers who would not buy Traveller simply because
it was sci-fi based and they were only interested in the fantasy
genre. Traveller came out with skills first, but RuneQuest's use of
them would have a far bigger impact.
- In the discussions about BADD and the anti-gaming forces, I
don't believe the article made it entirely clear where these people
were coming from. They weren't just concerned parents like we see
from MADD (Mother's Against Drunk Driving). The primary source for
opposition to gaming came from (and to a large extent, still comes
from) the religious right. To some in this group, the game is
equated with devil worship and to a non-correlative belief that
gaming in some way can warp one's mind into murderous and
anti-Christian ways. I know the article provides links to further
background material on this subject but I also feel that this point
should have been made as objectively as possible – the
anti-gaming forces come from the religious right.
- There was one major omission to parts I —IV that
surprised me. In discussing the influence of different games during
the early years, no mention of Judges Guild was ever made. While JG
itself did not make any new rules systems themselves, they were the
first stand alone company that managed to survive simply by making
supportive products for existing systems. I grant you that some of
JG's products were of questionable quality, but once in awhile,
they did put out a masterpiece or two, such as "Caverns of Thracia"
and "Dark Tower." In addition to supporting D&D until TSR got
pissy with their trademark rights, JG also put out products for
T&T, RuneQuest, Traveller, and some of the early superhero
games. Along the way, they published a number of magazines with
"The Dungeoneer" and the "Judges Guild Journal" eventually merging
into "Pegasus." I don't believe that the period of 1977 —1986
can truly be complete without at least a nod to JG and their
Anyway, thanks for reading this and for your article. It's been
Thanks so much for reading my history in such depth, and
providing such a detailed reply. It's especially flattering
that you enjoyed them, given that I started roleplaying in
1994! I can only make an effort to reply in kind:
- T&T did not become entirely obscure until the late
This is perhaps an definitional issue; you are certainly correct
that T&T kept publishing and remained a fan favourite until the
late 80s. I may have overplayed their fading from the
spotlight in my text, or simply got my dates wrong in my
- On RuneQuest's bigger impact than Traveller, I would say this
is probably correct also; I was trying to focus more on Traveller's
impact as a whole in that section.
- In the discussions about BADD and the anti-gaming forces, They
weren't just concerned parents ... The primary source for
opposition to gaming came from (and to a large extent, still comes
from) the religious right.
The article was a history; historically it was Pat Pulling who
created BADD and fueled the movements against roleplaying.
That her cause was taken up by the religious right is no surprise,
and they certainly had both more presence and sustainability than
Ms Pulling on her own, but I think it is a mis-characterisation to
call it a religious objection.
Or rather, the religious right will attach itself to anything in
the news that can be characterised as dangerous and vaguely
supernatural. I guess what I'm saying is the article tried to
provide a chronology in that section, rather than an analysis of
the source and nature of the cultural attacks. There was
always much more I wanted to say, much more that could be said, but
there was so little time and space!
- no mention of Judges Guild was ever made.
That's a fair cop. Since it is now ten years since I wrote
the early parts of this, I cannot recall if they simply fell out of
my analysis due to space considerations, historical judgement or
As I always like to say in these situations – perhaps you'd
care to correct me with a brief article on them, their successes
and their impact?
Thanks again for your kind words,
Dear Complete Idiots, [ Regarding AD&D
is a tool of Satan] whom ever wrote that article has,
obviously, not played AD&D in last 10 years or he/she is just a
Dear James, you first assumption is correct: as you may have
noticed, this article was written in February 1998, so it is
outdated. There is also more than a little bit of satire
So this article didn't foresee the D20 bubble; we don't know
if the author saw his worst fears come true : CoC D20, Star Wars
D20, ... RPGs changing their rules to D20, forcing their fans to
buy new rulebooks, then changing back to their original systems
when the trend reversed... Not to mention the mindset D&D3
implies: the quest for loopholes, or the best combinations through
the buying of sourcebooks.
Another prediction of the author —the shrivelling up
of creativity of RPG —did not happen either: there are more
and more great interesting and original indie games available. So
frankly, we hope the author has not played AD&D in the last 10
years (or he's just a complete idiot). — Eds
Does this magazine still exist and are new issues
No! We told you to submit for us to survive! And now
we’re dead! — Eds
Your comments encourage authors and editors alike. Please
keep them coming in!