Guidance Not Guidelines


 “People don’t have ideasIdeas have people.” Carl Jung

Because of this post, I came across this post. And it put me in the frame of mind to think about Rob Kunst’s book about the genius of Dave Arneson. Combining that with Secrets of Blackmoor; I think I have a complete thought coming along any moment now.

Original D&D was declared by its authors to be a set of guidelines.

…they are guidelines to follow in designing your own fantastic-medieval campaign” 

But as Sham wrote in his blog post OD&D was a concept. Robert Kunst spends most of his book on Arneson talking about how revolutionary it was to combine the conceptual “world” with the closed mechanisms of previous game designs. The Secrets of Blackmoor asserts that the play method of RPG’s is what the Blackmoor bunch discovered. That play method summarized as a single question the game master asks the player, “What do you do?”

OD&D was a set of guidelines to follow in designing your own fantastic-medieval campaign. In my mind it was, more importantly, guidance. It was guidance about how you might go about constructing your own game. Not just a D&D campaign but your own idiosyncratic version of D&D or something altogether different but still maintaining the conceptual/mechanical marriage and the play method of “What do you do?”

OD&D provided the foundation, the idea, the concept of the RPG and in those three little books we receive guidance about how to think about and create our own RPG’s both by example and explanation.



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