Thursday, September 1, 2011

Messing With Games You Shouldn't*

First I want to thank Lord Blacksteel for putting the idea to do this in my head, even if I kind of already had something like this in mind to do at some point.

The concept, as I envision it, is to take a game, system or adventure and screw with it in a way that either it doesn't really need or to an extent best left alone by all but the most cunning of mad geniuses. I'd like to think I fall into the latter category but I'm sure some of the former applies to what I am endeavouring to do.

Basically, I've decided to do the Anti-Barking Alien thing and talk seriously about D&D. Yes, I am referring to Dungeons & Dragons. No, it isn't April Fool's Day. No, I am not the Barking Alien of Earth-3 or the Mirror Universe. Trust me. If I were I would have a cool, black outfit and a goatee.

My love/hate relationship with the game of Dungeons & Dragons is best described as a somewhat dislike/largely despise relationship. I don't like the game. I haven't since about 1984. I started with
Basic in 1977, moved to Advanced First Edition and then largely missed Second all together. Just before the release of Third I made some adjustments to AD&D 1E to facilitate running a game with my then girlfriend, later wife, now ex-wife but still good friend, Selina.

It was her interest in medieval fantasy fiction in general and Dragonlance and a few other titles in particular that got me to dust off my D&D books which honestly hadn't been touched in years and years even though I was gaming fairly regularly when we met. OK, irregularly regularly.

Selina was so hooked by the hobby and intrigued by the release of 3E that we spent our one-week-paid-vacation time the year it came out attending GenCon to get a hold of it as early as possible. It's funny but I remembered thinking I might pick it up if it looked cool. Really I was there just to be at GenCon again with this awesome person who shared my interests. Low and behold, we bought one set of all three core books for me (the DM) and an extra Player's Handbook for her. I ended up running a solo campaign with her and then a couple of mini-campaigns with her and friends of ours. It was a pretty great time to be a D&D fan.

Unfortunately as time progressed so did D&D's propensity to get on my nerves a little. Mostly it just became to complex while not allowing me the flexibility I enjoyed in many of the systems I was more accustomed to. I started to fiddle with the system and eventually houseruled a bunch of things and left out a bunch of things.

Fast forward to about a year or two ago when several less than stellar experiences with old school D&Ders running 3E variants and one too many stories about my old D&D games from my big mouth drove one of my players to demand I run my D&D. I had hyped up my world and my rules alterations to the point where he, my good friend and great gamer Dave, said I had to run it for him.

Truth was, though I hadn't run D&D in about 5 or 6 years prior to Dave's request that I do so, I had been tweaking and adjusting and developing my own version of D&D specifically for use with my world.

The end result is what I have referred to on this blog as my D&D-But-Not game or D&D-For-Those-Who-Don't-Like-D&D. Dave proclaims it is not D&D at all. He refers to it as 'The Awesome Anime Fantasy Adventure Game'.

I refer you to the following posts:

D&D But Not - Part 1
D&D But Not - Part 2
W is For Wonder, I've Got That in Spades
Y is for Yes, Say it and Feel Fine
Top 10 Things Least Likely to Happen in a D&D Game Run By Me
Top 10 Things Most Likely to Happen in a D&D Game Run By Me

And there are many, many more posts, especially from this blogs earlier days when, well, quite frankly, no one paid any attention to it. *sob*

What these posts and this blog have been lacking in relation to my D&D-But-Not game is a dedicated series of posts where I really explain what it's all about.

So that is what Barking Alien's September feature, "Messing With Games You Shouldn't"* is all about.


Barking Alien

*Note, as I've mentioned before, I don't believe there is a game you shouldn't mess with. Rules as written translates to roads not travelled in Barking Alien language. Grow a pair and houserule!


  1. There isn't a game I own that I haven't house-ruled, if not outright taken a chainsaw to....

  2. Interesting. I like a lot of the approach you talk about in those posts. I think there's room more the old, but fantasy gaming ought to be able to be something broader.

  3. I rip apart and re-rule every game I like. Computer, Board and RPG alike.

  4. Nearly every RPG and many wargames have been reworked in some way. Mekton had things added to it, but the core rules went (mostly) unmolested, as each new edition expanded the system in the "right" direction. Warhammer kept getting worse with each reiteration until it became pointless.