So this happened in the New York Times.

One thought: I’m obviously a fan of D&D, and I agree that the whole subculture surrounding it is immensely good for fostering and encouraging creativity. It’s nice to see one of your relatively marginalized hobbies get some positive time in the sun.

But let’s not forget that D&D is hardly the only role-playing game out there. The linked article coincides, rather suspiciously, with the launch of a new edition of D&D, and I can’t help but suspect that the article is a kind of subtle advertisement.

To balance that, let me point to some other options for anyone interested in trying RPGs for the creative inspiration they offer. For starters, innumerable clones, imitators, inspired non-clones (and multiple editions) abound for D&D itself. White Wolf has a series of games designed to capture specific moods and create interpersonal dramatic storylines. Mouse Guard is an award-winning game that comes with its own series of beautifully-illustrated comic books. Fantasy is hardly the only option, either; there are plenty of science fiction, horror, investigative horror, and universal (genre-neutral) offerings as well.

I’ll end the linkstorm with this obviously-useful Wikipedia page.

Ben Robbins’ Microscope and Kingdom come immediately to mind as games that are explicitly about group storytelling, and I really can’t recommend them enough. I like Robbins’ stuff so much that he gets his own paragraph – but there are plenty in the same genre if you look.

What it comes down to is that, if you have any enjoyable framework for getting together with some friends and creating a free-form narrative – go ahead and do it. It’s good for you and you’ll probably have a good time.  8^)

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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