|D&D Basic Cover by "Jester" David (source)|
With the publication of each new edition of Dungeons and Dragons it has typically been done at the expense of the previous editions. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons had to come about because Original was too sloppy and unfocused. Second Edition had to come about because Advanced was too difficult to read and was filled with lots of rules no one ever used. Third Edition was required because Second was too simple and didn't provide the modern consumer with the sort of options that they demanded. Fourth Edition had to come about because Third made quadratic wizards and linear fighters (whatever that noise means) and had these incredibly archaic holdover rules that no one really wanted anyway!
This edition is different though. Unlike every previous version of Dungeons and Dragons that has ever been produced this edition is proud of where this hobby came from and makes an effort to show both old and new players that they should be too. This pride begins on the title page where this beautiful disclaimer appears and is re-emphasized throughout the later document:
Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the party, sticking appendages in the mouth of a leering green devil face, accepting a dinner invitation from bugbears, storming the feast hall of a hill giant steading, angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, “Are you really sure?” (Mearls, pg. 1)
|Green Devil Mouth by Erol Otus|
The invitation for dinner came from the module B2 Keep on the Borderland. In this iconic adventure the players enter a bugbear lair and find a scene that courts both disaster and player ingenuity:
". . . The group of bugbears is not numerous, but what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in strength and cunning. There are signs beside the entrance cave in kobold, orcish, goblin, etc. Each says: 'Safety, security and repose for all humanoids who enter - WELCOME! (Come in and report to the first guard on the left for a hot meal and bed assignment.)' . . .” (Gygax, pg. 19)
|Cartoon by Jason Bradly Thompson (source)|
The last two warnings in the disclaimer are actually just sound advice that never gets listened to no matter how many times it happens. So let me provide those new players with some solid advice: do not anger dragons, for you are tender and taste delicious with ketchup; and whenever you hear the Dungeon Master say, "Are you sure," the correct answer is "Hold up, let me think about that," as bad things are about to head your way (which is when I usually go ahead because it's more fun).