Well, this is it.
As I sit here at home with the final print copies of Dragon and Dungeon magazines in my hands, it feels to me depressingly like the death of roleplaying games.
Roleplaying has been in my life for more than 27 years, starting with the blue boxed Dungeons & Dragons set. In December of 1979, I was on a boy scouting trip to Duluth, Minnesota. Some of the older scouts were playing this game in the lodge after skiing down Spirit Mountain that day. I listened in, fascinated, to the way the guys were playing in character. “Not this little dwarf!” one of the patrol leaders called out. “I’m gonna whack him with my axe, not jump into that pit!” They were playing B1, Descent Into the Depths. I convinced my mom to get me the Monster Manual (oh, the pictures, which she didn’t realize until later!) and the blue boxed set. I soon led my own circle of friends into the game. From there, it just continued and was soon my biggest hobby.
Now, Dragon and Dungeon magazines are moving back to Wizards of the Coast from Paizo publishing. There will no longer be a print version magazine of either of these publications. WoTC will publish something like them in an onlilne format as part of a virtual gaming initiative. I will not be reading it or participating in that initiative. The last issues remind me that I haven’t played a tabletop RPG in almost two years, where it used to be a dailycreative activity of one form or another. (The Minnesota Titans get-together last year is a lone exception.) Even when I started playing Neverwinter Nights–and then using the toolkit to create content for it, it was not a real substitute. Gaming survived having kids, though the difficulty of matching our schedules to babysitting availability eventually killed our participation in our regular gaming group. I latched on to CoH and the Titans, and that took over my gaming hobby (or addiction).
The third edition of D&D was a resurgent opportunity for the gaming industry and that surge lasted seven years. Whether or not the popularity of tabletop gaming may be waning again, there are plenty of competing options: LARPs and MMORPGs and console and online pseudo-RPGs. Personally, I love gaming because–at its best–it allows me to create and share new worlds and interesting stories. When I can do that collaboratively with friends, I’m happy. For me, sharing the story in character is roleplaying. Merely playing a game in character is a pale substitute, and that is the majority of what I find online, when I even find people who don’t disparage roleplaying entirely. For a variety of reasons, the opportunities to do what I love to do have declined significantly over the years. There are few people willing to participate in making up the stories, and only slightly more people willing to consume the stories we create. I’m glad there are still some vestiges of that left in the CoH/CoV universe and in the Titans. With luck, maybe that will hold me for another few years until the next vehicle comes along.
But for now, for me, the tabletop RPG is dead.
*shouts “Long live the king!” and chuckles*
Damionte would like to mention that the views and opinions posted in the above article are those of Tomokato & his ilk. Damionte himself does not agree with the above comments and will eventually be getting around to writting a response post sometime in the future.