Friday, April 20, 2007

Just a little Respect

Today I read the news about Dragon magazine. The news saddened me. And then I started to read the posts on various gaming forums and message boards where many of my fellow gamers callously dismissed this event with snide remarks and a pretentious attitude of indifference. And that made me angry. I’m one of those gamers for who Gaming means D&D. I enjoy other systems and other genres, but I give credit where credit is due. In the beginnings my personal gaming history there was the occasional game of Traveller, Boothill, Gammaworld, etc. but I always came home to D&D. And a huge part of that D&D experience for me was Dragon magazine. In a time before PDF’s, before Splat books, before endless D20 campaign worlds, before the internet, before most of you reading this could even read, there was Dragon magazine.
Dragon magazine was a monthly life-line for gamers. It helped us through some rough times, times when it wasn’t chic to be geek, when the media labeled us Satan worshippers, when our parents sat us down and had a talk to us about “That game”. Dragon magazine let us know there were others like ourselves out there. And that we weren’t any more weird or obsessed than any other dedicated fan of a sport or hobby.
Dragon Magazine connected gamers around the globe and allowed us to push the boundaries of our gaming worlds. Dragon magazine opened our minds to countless NPC classes (nowadays you kids call them “Prestige classes”) –The Alchemist, the Bounty Hunter, The Jester, The Anti-Paladin (remember him?). Dragon magazine helped us define the heroes of classic literature in D&D terms and opened debates on subjects such as alignments and “the politics of hell”. Dragon magazine took us beyond the dungeon and the nearby village- The nations of Oerth, Toril, and the farthest reaches of the “Known world” were first explored in the pages of Dragon magazine.
Right now I can go online and visit hundreds of gaming websites, forums, and message boards in an instant. Back then, all many of us had was Dragon magazine. We would scoop up copies eagerly every month to discover stats for new weapons, armor, and equipment. We would use Sage Advice to settle disputes, crack up reading “Fineous fingers”, and try to sneak a peek at the free module in the middle of the magazine.
But that was then, and this is now. Dragon will soon be going away. You may never have read it, you may never have cared for it, it may no longer do what it once did for you, and you might not miss it when it goes, but have a little respect for it. Because chances are many of today’s systems and campaign worlds that are so “cool and edgy”, were created by guys who, at one time, waited every month for the next issue of Dragon to hit the shelves.