Wednesday, September 4, 2013

30 Day Dungeons and Dragons Challenge, Day 4: Your Favorite Game World

Larry Elmore is the boss.
When I was younger my favorite game world was Dragonlance. I loved the mythology behind the setting and would spend hours pouring over the rule books daydreaming about the world and my place in it. I was a Solamnic knight in search of adventure. I fought dragons and minotaurs. I ate at the last inn and flirted with the waitress and god-damn-it, I had a great fucking time. Then I read the fiction and couldn't help thinking, what a bunch of pretentious bile. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman created a world that I loved, but when it came to publishing fiction about the setting they killed it for me.

Fortunately I can still look to Larry Elmore and imagine a world with dragons worth slaying; where honor means something and only the devil wears black. Thank god for Larry Elmore! No artist was able to inspire my imagination so much as Larry when I was a child. His dragons looked real to me and his pictures always told a story that I could only half hear.

All the same the world was ruined for me. Whenever I would try to play the game I was saddled with the narrative of the fiction rather than the narrative of the source book. My players would add these moronic stipulations to the game that were caricatures of the setting drawn from half understood readings of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's thrice damned Dragons of . . . series of books that have expanded the world while limiting its horizons at the same time.

Since then I've found myself shifting back and forth between Mystara, Greyhawk, and Dark Sun. Each of these worlds are wildly attractive to my imagination and to my delicate sensibilities. So currently I have no favorite setting.

That's disappointing. Here's something that isn't:

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