(3/5) D&D Theory - the Hickman revolution

| | TrackBacks (0)
Picture: In your face, Total Recall. From Palace of the Silver Princess (TSR) by Erol Otus

Part one, the overview, is here. But if you're not into D&D then what's the point. Credits repeated at the end.

The Hickman revolution was a sea change in D&D gameplay that husband and wife team Tracy and Laura Hickman brought about with their Dragonlance series. It also had a series of novelizations and products that saw the game step up commercially. Some see it as a reaction against the Gauntlet play in favor of story driven play. That's a tough one as the old style has story too. 

Maybe it's best to let them speak for themselves. When writing for an earlier series called Nightventure, they outlined four key points:

The following are word for word quotes:

1) A player objective more worthwhile than simply pillaging and killing.
2) An intriguing story that is intricately woven into the play itself.
3) Dungeons with some form of architectural sense.
4) An attainable and honorable end within one or two sessions playing time.
I bought it, literally and figuratively, when it came out. I still have the novels within view as I type. And I do love to play story driven games. But there are many issues with this, especially with how extreme the DL series was. For example, the modules provided ready made named characters to use, that you had to use. They were part of the story and had specific destinies too. 

When the DM is leading the PCs through a linear series of fixed events it is called railroading. Many see this as the antithesis of D&D gameplay. If everything is logically justified, there is a deficit of mystery and surrealism that makes the original game so much fun at times. 

For me though, the biggest set back is this. There are not so many pre-made adventures. The whole idea of the game is that it's completely collaborative and customizable. It's really hard and time consuming to write a campaign like this for yourself: where there is a fully functioning world with internal logic, a cast of thousands and a fully planned out epic story. 

I myself also believe that, along with the future editions put out by Wizards of the Coast, that the DL series was a step towards what I'll call menu play. Don't let me be too critical though, those four points are very reasonable, in theory.


James Maliszewski (Grognardia Blog):

If you then read comments and surf around, you will find a lot more discussion and materials. I have linked the main ones that I found and liked - and that I'm going to borrow from heavily. 

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: (3/5) D&D Theory - the Hickman revolution.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.kungfuology.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1308

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on August 8, 2012 12:01 PM.

(2/5) D&D Theory - the eternal dungeon was the previous entry in this blog.

Next Year's Love vinyl release @ 390 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.