Yesterday Boing Boing carried this thoughtful piece by Peter Bebergal about D&D past and present. From the piece:
The bigger news earlier this year is the online PDF store Dungeons and Dragons Classics where for a few bucks you can download the “classic” D&D material, including the Basic and Expert guides, as well as versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5. The site is not actually run by Wizards, but piggybacked onto the terrific DriveThru RPG, a stellar resource for role-playing. There are missed opportunities here, including not making these available as print-on-demand, an option that has become central to OSR culture.
A more cynical observation, and one I can’t help but make, is that the cost to post these items online is negligible. The operators are able to make a profit on material that it had no hand in producing—content that has long been available in OSR clones. This is not to say that it isn’t terrific to have these items available, as some of them are fairly collectible and Wizards deserves credit for buying TSR when the alternative might have been the end of the game itself. But there is something uninspired in the whole effort. It is as if Wizards does not really see new value in the old D&D material, but merely recognizes the opportunity to make money from those who do.
Nevertheless, reading through these items—particularly the AD&D hardcovers—is a joy. Here is Gygax describing playing a character: “Each of you will become an artful thespian as time goes by—you will acquire gold, magic items, and great renown... This game lets all your fantasies come true... Enjoy, for this game is what dreams are made.” Sure, it’s over the top. But it evoked wonder.
Tellingly, Bebergal goes on to quote the same passage from Gygax's Player's Handbook that I quote from in A Long Time Ago.
What does D&D have to do with Star Wars? A fair bit, as I argued in my book. In any case I'm seriously considering revising the mandate of this blog to "Star Wars and more for men old enough to know better". I'm getting more than a little bored of limiting myself to Star Wars.