You know, I have been doing a lot of reading about AD&D and RPG's in general for the past while since returning to the game.
I read blogs, forums, whatever I can find to get myself back into the "groove" of things.
Something I have noticed is interesting to me. There seems to be an obvious division among people involved.
There are many ways I could possibly express it, but instead, I will brazenly rip off someone else's term.
There seem to be those who pursue "D&D For Dummies" and those who throw themselves into "Advanced" D&D. Obviously, the "advanced" referenced here isn't just the title of the well known game.
What exactly is the breaking point between the two? Details, it seems.
Now to me, the ability to incorporate lots of details into a fantasy game is actually all about another whole level of imagination. There are those like myself who believe that the more "reality" you can bring into the game, the more your imagination can mold the fantasy world you engage in in much more diverse and exciting ways.
Think of the monsters and character classes, abilities and capabilities that are part of the game. Someone with little imagination will take a vague presentation and call it good. That's akin to saying, " You are facing a bug that is 8 feet tall and is coming to attack you" and you reply " ok, I hit it with my weapon, now what?"
That's just pathetic, isn't it? Where is the fun in that scenario? I've eaten cafeteria meatloaf more exciting than that. Yet there are countless people who like to keep their RPG games not too far from that, just to keep it simple.
I say though, let's fill in more of the story. Yes, it's a giant bee in a dice and paper fantasy world that we are dealing with at the moment. Is this a honey bee or a giant bumble bee? What exactly constitutes "giant"? Are it's abilities proportionate to it's size? Tell me more. The more I know, the more I can use what I know about bees, giant or otherwise, to figure a way to deal with this doggone it!
Details are the starting point. We don't have to shoot for "ultra-realism" in our creations, but by starting with what we do know, we can then extrapolate from there.
Also, for a lot of "give me more" gamers, we can gain a more exciting game by making it "real enough" to create situations that challenge both our level of knowledge about the world, both real and fantastic, as well building excitement by facing things that "could be real" if we suspend dis-belief just enough.
By adding more details to it, fictional or otherwise, we are adding more depth and challenge to the game. Now we must pit the sum accumulation of anything we have ever learned against the game.
Not only do we get to wrap our minds around interacting with fantastic scenarios and creatures in combat and other ways, but we get to make some use of all those things we ever personally studied (or didn't) in school and from books and TV, etc...
MUCHO MENTAL MACHO MAN!!!!
What's the matter? Are you afraid that falling asleep in the back of biology class is now going to cost you dearly in the middle of a swamp adventure?
Does the thought that spending more hours watching Scooby Doo than doing homework is going to kill a favorite character off?
At my table, you better bring everything you got to the table. I plan to incorporate everything I know into this game and then I will go out and learn new stuff just to toss in more. You had better be ready because while I, as a DM, am not out to deliberately kill characters, I have no pity for those who fail because they lacked enough information or imagination to think outside the box and find a solution that isn't obvious.
So yes, I want to know absolutely everything about that new geomancer class because if there's a chance I can pull something out of my ars...enal to beat the bad guys or find a treasure trove of magical gems, I will go study the rulebook for it as well as get books, go online and whatever else I can do and maybe become a specialist on gems and stones just to be successful here.
Bring on that devil in the details, I want a piece of him.