You Should Read Grognardia.

Through an entry at d20 Source, I stumbled upon Grognardia earlier today and spent several hours reading and/or skimming through over a hundred of the posts. Which took me as far back as late August-- links within posts leading to other posts notwithstanding-- which should give you some idea of the wealth of information that awaits you in those pages, which are very highly recommended.

It is, as you can probably guess from the name, very much about the old school D&D. To some, it might seem a little odd for a site devoted to a 4e campaign to be tipping its hat to a site dedicated to a very different kind of D&D that has sometimes very little in common with, and less use for, fourth edition. But to me-- well, to me, it's not odd at all: the writing is pleasurable, smart, and wide-ranging; I've found it useful from both a historical and a design perspective. What else could you want from a D&D blog?


One of the older posts on Grognardia is entitled Gygaxian "Naturalism", and it's keeping me up tonight. It's definitely worth reading in its entirety, but in brief,

The intention behind Gygaxian Naturalism is to paint a picture of a "real" world, which is to say, a world that exists for reasons other than purely gaming ones. The implication is that monsters have lives of their own and thus go about their business doing various things until they encounter the player characters.

It's something one sometimes loses sight of when they're creating a sneaky puzzle or setting up a cool trap, and when I came across that post, I took a look at my dungeon for Sunday and realized that its denizens didn't have any space to have those lives of their own. No place to sleep or defecate, nothing to eat-- they're just standing around one of the nine rooms waiting to fight/be saved/be tricked/what-have-you, and have apparently been standing there for a couple hundred years. This will not do, and so I'm adding two whole new wings to give my [creatures] and [creatures] some sense of verisimilitude.

The players might never visit these wings, and there's nothing in them that's going to help solve the larger puzzle of making their way to the dragon. But I want them to be there so that the players (1) can plum their depths if they so choose and (2) so that it "fits" together. Both (1) and (2) really point to the same thing-- to create "a world that exists for reasons other than purely gaming ones".

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