There are a lot of things that quickly evolved out of my 1st edtion AD&D. Old school concepts such as henchmen and hirelings, endless dungeon crawls, and strictness about character creation are things that got old long before the 80’s where over. I didn’t really mean for my style to take the high fantasy road, but that was where I went. That later editions of D&D did much the same was a coincidence (my non-attendance of cons or other game groups kept me out of the loop more or less of what was going on in later edition core books).
It’s weird I guess, but the end game of classic D&D, that of clearing a hex in the forest, killing it’s monsters, and building a keep (per the DM guide fretting over the cost of every brick and every mook with a shovel) so a village would build around it and you could collect taxes didn’t seem to appeal to my players by around the mid-80’s. Sure, MU’s need to have somewhere to research at later levels, and clerics (maybe) need to set-up a place of worship, but for the most part, it did not tend to go the classic way of becoming some kind of lord over barony.
Maybe it stems from my DMing style and game setting, or perhaps I’ve just had exceptional players, but characters in my games just seemed too cool and colorful for basic stronghold building when they got to higher levels (or “name” level). Things they often chose to do instead were to use their hard-fought wealth to perhaps buy/build a tavern. Some might buy horses and land and start a ranch to raise ponies. Maybe a garden house in the nice part of town with a view from a hill. MU’s in the big city didn’t need to go live in some cobwebby tower to research. There was the Wizard’s Guild where all the proper areas and equipment were available to members. And for clerics, well, the big city already had huge temples to the major god, with high level clerics already in charge. So if a cleric character didn’t want to go to some bumblefuck bumpkin part of the kingdom to start a new temple, they would usually settle in as a respected cleric/troubleshooter for the main temple of their god in the city.
All the manpower that comes at high level, to fighters and clerics and whatever as in the books at name level, were often turned down by the players. Hey, they would only have to house and feed them. If they don't advance as characters with a passle of henchmen and hirelings along for the ride, they don't get into that "gang mentality" where more is merrier. Most of my players don’t seem to find that appealing. Micromanagement. It ain’t always fun. And if you’ve ever read King Conan, you know that heavy is the head that wears the crown, especially if that head lead a life of action, derring-do, and a new wench every night. There was a great Twilight Zone where the guy thought he died and went to heaven because he was getting everything that he ever wanted handed to him on a silver platter. Turns out that was actually hell, bub.
So I don’t really look to the end game by the book, and my players tend not to as well. To them, settling down with a keep and managing a garrison maybe sounds too final to them. I think they would rather tend bar at their tavern telling tall tales of their adventures, or sit on the porch of their hilltop garden house with the ocean view, sipping wine and waiting for that next big adventure to come along. To most characters in my games, it seems like the end of the adventure life might as well be the end of their fun.
So what do you want to play that you haven't played?
11 months ago