Tuesday, September 3, 2013

D&D 30 Day Challenge: First Faves

I'm going to do the rest of the week's answers to the D&D 30-day challenge in this post.  We'll see if I can catch up to the rest of you in real time on the weekend...  :-)

(2) Favorite playable race

This probably sounds like a very strange query to those who don't know D&D.  But remember your Tolkien!  Fantasy worlds need not be so human-o-centric as our own.  But it's kind of strange that the word "race" is used for this... it really should be "species."

I once would have said that my favorite race was the dwarves.  For some reason, in the 80s the whole "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!" thing was flowing in my blood.  (That was the chilling battle cry of the dwarves in The Lord of the Rings.)  I devoured every page of MERP's Moria expansion book, even though I never played or owned MERP. One of my go-to PCs back then was a dwarven fighter named Ulman Burinnil, who was obsessed with finding the legendary Battle-Axes of Clanggedin.

Dragon magazine #58:  required reading!
If I were to start playing again these days, I'd be in favor of forgetting about all those demi-, hemi-, and semi- human races.  It's probably more fun to explore the depth and breadth that can be found with "mere" humans as the only playable characters.

(3) Favorite playable class

For all my fascination with magic, gods, and outer planes, I think the class I played the most often was the simple fighter.  Maybe my mind was too focused on the times when I would run a game as Dungeon Master to want to worry too much about being the "cerebral one" when I was on the other side of the screen playing a character.

(4) Favorite game world

I've really only played in one:  a shared world in which each of my high-school friends had responsibility for one "continent."  When the DM duties shifted from one of us to the other, we hand-waved that the characters decided to take a long sea journey.  :-)

My own continent was always in a state of rebuilding and repair, since I was constantly trying to stuff in new ideas.  The shape of that continent didn't change over the years, though... it was based on the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge -- i.e., a huge "what-if" Atlantis scenario.

(5) Favorite set of dice or individual die

I had a pair of d12's that never got much use.  One was black with white numbers; the other white with black numbers.  Very yin/yang.  I ought to stroll through the archives of The Dungeon Dozen blog to find some good d12 random tables for use and/or adaptation in Homebrew '82.

(6) Favorite deity

Oh, I couldn't choose just one.  I jonesed on the D&D books that listed all the gods, demi-gods, and legendary heroes, but that was a bleed-through of my overall love of mythology and polytheism that still continues now.  I did play one cleric for many years that was devoted to a particular Mesoamerican god, but I'll talk about him later.

By far, my favorite PICTURES of deities in D&D were Jeff Dee's illustrations in the 1st edition Deities & Demigods book.  He recently used Kickstarter to fund re-creating his original art (which the company owned, and eventually tossed into a dumpster).  Here's a link to the Kickstarter campaign for the Egyptian god section -- there are several others.  I think my favorite of the Egyptians was Ptah... also known as the One You Never Want to Have a Staring Contest With...

For those unfamiliar with these books... I invite you to wonder at the fact that they listed such precise numerical details about the properties of supposedly infinite and immortal beings!  :-)


  1. Ptah kicked ass. Great choices all around.

    1. Thanks! The "real" ancient Ptah was probably even cooler than the D&Dified version. I think Kenneth Grant made use of him in his occult quasi-fictions, too...

  2. Have I told you about the gnome thief I had who married Ishtar?

    1. Well, no, you haven't! Stole her heart, did he?

    2. Ha!

      I think it's fair to say that my friends and I did not adhere very strictly to the rules...

      I loved Deities and Demigods. When I say that there's stuff rattling around in my brain that wouldn't be there without D&D, that book is exactly the sort of thing I mean. I feel like I actually learned a few things about the lore of the world through the game.

    3. Me too.

      "Rules? We don't need no steenkeeng rules!"

    4. I've often wondered if I came to the game too young. If I'd approached it in a more thoughtful, contemplative age, the experience might have been very different. As life regrets go, that's a pretty lame one, I know. I still wonder.

    5. Was it a bad experience? D&D experienced only a brief time (as a national fad in the early 80s) when it wasn't surprising to see kids from all social/clique circles playing together, without stigma. In the late 80s, it retracted into the geek subculture, where it still resides.

      I was in my early/mid teens when the fad hit, which was perfect timing as far as I was concerned. It's funny, since being born right at the minimum of birth rate between the Boomer peak and the later Gen-X peak, nothing in the culture ever seemed timed right for people my age! :-)

    6. Not a bad experience at all - quite the contrary, in fact. But I think I stopped too early to get full enjoyment out of it all. By high school, I'd moved on to other things.

  3. Nice post, great blog, following :)

    Good Luck :)