Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Setting Talk: Why I Avoided the Realms At First
On the surface of it, this seemed to be an out-of-character choice for me. I was always fascinated by almost all things D&D, and -- given the relative scarcity of RPG material in the Philippines -- tended to jump on the latest D&D thing. I picked up stuff that I didn't know was Greyhawk, picked up stuff I didn't know was Mystara, devoured the rare Dragonlance module that made it to our shores, so why did I develop an aversion to the Realms before I'd even looked through it? Furthermore, the Realms came out when I was about a year into my time in the U.S. and dazzled by the availability of gaming material that had once been so killingly difficult to get.
Hindsight theorizes that it was my first taste of "it's not my kind of D&D" attitude. Maybe it was a dislike of jumping on the bandwagon (with all the contradictory interpretation of a bandwagon that comes with being a teenager), or a reluctance to learn a completely new world from the ones I was already familiar with, or a general resistance to AD&D 2nd Edition (despite the fact that the first boxed set was all in 1st Edition AD&D -- like I said, I had a weird aversion to it and didn't even look closely at it), which was out at around the same time.
To be clear, I was not yet fully cognizant of either Mystara or Greyhawk at this time; I was still in the module mindset -- adventure sites in D&D and AD&D were these islands of solidity that were connected by vague landscapes of setting. Perhaps this contributed to my aversion -- Dragonlance I could accept, because I felt the modules were just a translation of the novels into game form, but the Forgotten Realms was this weird animal I didn't quite understand in my rudimentary gaming psyche.
Now keep in mind, I was not clued into the whole Gygax controversy, so that definitely didn't factor into things.
It would take 3rd Edition to bring me into the Realms, long after I'd rediscovered Mystara and tried to retroactively claim Greyhawk as a major setting influence on my gaming life.
If you had a similar experience, you may wish to check out this old post on The Troll Ate My Homework to see someone else's view on the impact Forgotten Realms had on his game life (and on others' gaming lives as well).