Monday, August 10, 2015

Game Bibles

A few years ago I ran across this idea, online naturally, that an individual or group could create a bible for a game. These bibles are the accumulated stories of the game organized into an easy to follow format that demystifies the story. 

The Fallout community helped create one of these bibles a few years ago with the help of one of the game's creators and the end result is breathtaking. The document spans the entirety of the game's early stories filling in many of the gaps that had been puzzling fans of the games for years while asking a great many new questions in the process. By no means is the document perfect, there are repetitions within the text and it's not always organized the best, but it stands as a testament to the game's power and lasting influence in the minds of its players. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Dungeons & Dragons game has many bibles that have been produced for the game that can be found online; ranging from the setting wikis to the exploration of various editions of the game (like the brilliant exploration of Holmes Manuscript being done by Zenopus Archives). While the exploration of the settings crosses editions the same cannot be said of the rules systems themselves. The edition explorations seem to focus exclusively on versions of Dungeons & Dragons prior to 2nd Edition. 

For a long time I've been puzzled about this emphasis on the oldest versions of the game. What drew people so into Basic or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons that they would devote countless hours exploring the intricacies of the games? What made them so fascinating? Is it because the systems are closed and there aren't any more official changes to be brought home? Or is it because the systems are nebulous enough that there are multiple interpretations of the rules? Why don't we see it from 2nd on?

2 comments:

  1. Talk about timing:

    Yesterday a friend let me peruse his complete collection of the original D&D booklets from the 1970s. So here's my answer--

    Part of it is nostalgia, I think.

    Yet part it comes from the fact that the D&D wasn't really "complete" until 2e or 3e--especially the early material from the 1970s. That stuff could contradict itself. Part of the fun is trying to figure what the game designers (i.e. Gygax) were thinking.

    Why, for instance, Gygax introduce the d20 for combat resolution in the "Men and Magic" D&D booklet as an alternative to using 2d6?

    Why did Supplement I: Greyhawk supplant many of the rules--especially for character creation and weapon damage--found in the original three booklets?

    And then, on top of this, why didn't the "Blue Box" just carry on many of these rules changes--after all, AD&D did? (You can actually find a partial answer this question in the Zenopus archives)

    But what's really fascinating about those old rules is that they somehow WORKED--despite the disorganization and ambiguity within the rules, despite different interpretation from one GM to the next, despite some groups not even having the whole set of rules.

    And that's the mystery players have since tried to solve.

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    1. Now that makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

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