“A very midmost of this dreary theatre rose up a huge and monstrous tree, whose topmost branches were even the horns which they had seen from below the hill’s brow. Leafless was that tree and lacking of twigs, and its bole upheld but some fifty of great limbs, and as they looked on it, they doubted whether it were not made by men’s hands rather than grown up out of the earth. All round about the roots of it was a pool of clear water, that cast back the image of the valley-side and the bright sky of the desert, as though it had been a mirror of burnished steel. The limbs of that tree were all behung with blazoned shields and knight’s helms, and swords, and spears, and axes, and hawberks; and it rose up into the air some hundred feet above the flat of the valley.”
– William Morris
One of the things I’ve noticed, while reading some classic and even recent fantasy novels, is a kind of “higher plateau” point that some of the best works in this genre feature. This leads me to wonder how such a state might be reproduced or approximated in D&D.
Who is in charge of the city’s finances?
Varying treasury departments are staffed and guarded by humans and some humanoid types working for the Artificial Intelligences presiding over locations within the City of Hrodjack. Whether these departments are connected or not, or even if each of them is still functioning as designed, is not known.
1) I tend to divide the D&D people I know into two groups. On the one side, there are the people who are more influenced by material that was around before the advent of D&D (in, say, 1974) and, on the other side, there are the people who are more influenced by post-D&D material. The folks in the first group tend to be influenced by the same things that had a big impact on Gygax and Arneson themselves. These are the DMs who have already read the books in “Appendix N.” For them, it wasn’t a matter of being introduced to these ideas and tropes – it was about rediscovering all of them in the context of the game. Even though I was a kid in Junior High when I started playing, I had already been steeped in the “Appendix N” books before I had ever heard of D&D. D&D, for me, wasn’t about something new in that sense. It was more like coming home.
Fortified by Zak S.’s brilliant Vornheim, inspired by my memories and re-immersion into the Judges Guild’s CSIO, and tantalized by the other D&D city guides old and new (100 Street Vendors of the City State, Tarantis, City Encounters, etc.) that I greedily snatched up, I thought my return to DMing would include many city-based adventures – hence the name of this blog.
That turned out not to be the case.
When Traveller and D&D were hot in the late ’70s and very early ’80s, the people playing these games – myself included – had fanzines, APA-zines, and more professionally produced magazines like The Dragon and The Journal of the Travellers Aid Society to go with them. We always knew we were part of a larger, and exciting, game culture. I didn’t think it would ever come to an end.
If these games get rebooted… will that culture get rebooted too?