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GameSpite | ToastyFrog | Telebunny | Compendium of Useless Information : Site - Zine 6 Page 01 diff
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Site.Zine6Page01 History

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April 13, 2008, at 12:29 PM by parish - moved
Changed lines 1-61 from:
![+Issue 6 Part 1: Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]

[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six Main]] | [[Zine6Page02 | Page Two >>]] ]

----

[+It all began with [[Pong]].+]

http://www.toastyfrog.com/img/zine/06/0601_pong.jpg

Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [ [[#anchor1 | 1]] ][[#return1]], but..."? [ [[#anchor2 | 2]] ][[#return2]] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.

The Sears Telsar Pong system was a fine device, offering not one but four thrilling variants on Pong. And that's where I got my start in this horrible addiction known as video gaming.

But this issue isn't about me [ [[#anchor3 | 3]] ][[#return3]], it's about role-playing games. And role-playing games are ultimately about YOU, pretending to be someone else. Of course, the entire concept of RPGs has been hopelessly watered down over the years through rampant etymological abuse by the people who type up the bullet points on the back of videogame boxes. Marketing people are inherently shameless, but never more so than when some game-hating goon in a polo shirt is trying to convince you that DOOM is a role-playing game! Because you PLAY the ROLE of a Marine battling his way into Hell! DO YOU SEE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING! (Please purchase their game.)

Even the games parading under the legitimate RPG banner have a pretty tenuous claim to that title. Let's face it, Ex-Summoner Yuna busting caps on fools while wearing too-short shorts is a long way from role-playing's origins: Splotchy-faced social lepers sitting around in a dank basement buried deep in "harvest gold" shag pile, rolling D20s to save against poison. Most would argue a it's long way for the better, but a long way nevertheless.

But while we can all agree that Rikku bopping around in a teeny top as she sings enemies to death is infinitely preferable to watching a gaggle of doughy D&D nerds lovingly obsessing over stat sheets, it's unfortunately the latter to whom we owe our gratitude for this crazy little thing called "role-playing." The RPG genre grew from the collective table-top adventure nerdery that emerged as a meme in the 1970s [ [[#anchor4 | 4]] ][[#return4]], long before anyone but the French used the word meme. Back when feathered hair and tight striped T-shirts were awesome and people willingly forked over money for Bread albums. Ah, carefree days.

[[Zine6Sidebar01 | Dungeons & Dragons]], the creation of Gary Gygax and some other guy, is where role-playing got its start. Full disclosure: some people like to trace the origins of D&D itself back to table-top wargames played out with dice and pewter miniatures, but you know, you've gotta draw the line somewhere.

I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [ [[#anchor5 | 5]] ][[#return5]], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished [[Tiamat]] thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.

The hard lesson taught by D&D was that its players were frequently so pitiful that they were not only forced to indulge in detailed escapist fantasies, but that even in those desperate attempts at eluding the pathetic reality of their existences they were forced to rely on sheer dumb luck to succeed. Every action in a game of Dungeons & Dragons was determined by the outcome of a roll of dice -- and even in this regard, the game offered a hollow sense of superiority to its players by making available an impressive stable of dice of every shape and color. None of thy bone-white cubes for me, vermin! I am Bl'thorin the Kobold Crusher, fortold of prophecy and song, and I demand nothing less than twelve sides on my Die of Fate! (Also I implore thee, pray tell: what is it like to kiss a girl...?)

http://www.toastyfrog.com/img/zine/06/0601_timewarp.jpg



The character stat sheet is most likely D&D's greatest contribution to video gaming: The notion that any quality, skill or characteristic, however intangible, can be quantified -- and gradually improved through dogged persistence and repetition. [ [[#anchor6 | 6]] ][[#return6]] In fact, raising levels serves as the cornerstone of most RPGs, although I'm sure that this fact has NOTHING to do with the fact that padding a game by forcing players to grind through endless random battles to harvest experience points is much less effort for developers than coming up with actual content and substance.

Of course, what D&D had over electronic role-playing games was the Dungeon Master. Ultimately, the value of any table-top RPG experience comes down to whether or not the Dungeon Master has the foggiest notion what he's doing: It's the DM's job to design campaigns, map out dungeons, determine what monsters will be present, and narrate the party's journey (including character interactions). An inept DM can make a party pine for the depth and variety of Progress Quest, that infamous online game which pares playing an RPG down to clicking a mouse button over and over to cause experience points to rise -- mind-numbing, sure, but ultimately a lot better than wasting a few weekends and a perfectly-rolled Ranger on some nitwit who thinks it's a "fun challenge" to drop high-level dragons randomly throughout each and every dungeon he designs.

On the other hand, a good DM is like having a fast-talking fantasy novelist in your basement, and he can fill each and every session with clever dungeon traps, interesting non-player characters and the occasional dangerous (but not impossible) ambush to keep players on their toes, ultimately creating an experience far more involving than a videogame could ever hope to achieve. Or so I hear. No one I know has ever actually played a campaign with a DM like this. [ [[#anchor8 | 8]] ][[#return8]]

Although I missed out on the true D&D experience (see sidebar), I did enjoy a bit of table-top role-playing when I was in high school. Sort of. In my junior year, I teamed up with a few friends on Saturday afternoons to partake of a campaign in Steve Jackson's [[GURPS]], which was inherently more interesting than D&D because frankly free-form science fantasy is always a lot more compelling than bland Conan-come-lately swords and sorcery nonsense. Of course, GURPS had its share of both swords and sorcery, but those were optional additions to the oeuvre -- there was plenty of space for laser pistols and machine guns and even 2x4 wooden planks, if you were more into the "thuggish blunt weapons" approach.

Unfortunately, I can't honestly say I did a particularly good job of GURPSing... none of us did, really. I spent most of my time drawing character portraits, using the unifying theme of "buckets" to create a sense of togetherness for our party. Our Bucket Brigade was hopelessly ragtag and made it only a few hours beyond the first town before the game master grew frustrated with our incompetence and decided to change the theme of our weekend get-togethers to the undeniably more productive "Playing [[Star Control]]."

But by ''god'' we could carry water like no one's business.

[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six Main]] | [[Zine6Page02 | Page Two >>]] ]

----

[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA." [[#return1 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off [[Grand Theft Auto | GTA]] while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor3]][3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 had been nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably have sent your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit. [[#return3 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor4]][4] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters. [[#return4 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor5]][5] Specifically, [[Lubbock]], TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.) [[#return5 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor6]][6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular-boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game. [[#return6 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor7]][7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only [[Final Fantasy Extreme]] had seen the light of day!-]

[-[[#anchor8]][8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. This is only a rumor. [[#return8 | ^ Back]]-]
to:
[[Games/Zine6Page1 | Moved.]]

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Changed lines 1-2 from:
![+Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]
to:
![+Issue 6 Part 1: Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]

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Changed lines 7-8 from:
It all began with [[Pong]].
to:
[+It all began with [[Pong]].+]

http://www.toastyfrog.com/img/zine/06/0601_pong.jpg
Added lines 27-28:
http://www.toastyfrog.com/img/zine/06/0601_timewarp.jpg

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Changed lines 3-4 from:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two >>]] ]
to:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six Main]] | [[Zine6Page02 | Page Two >>]] ]
Changed lines 39-40 from:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two >>]] ]
to:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six Main]] | [[Zine6Page02 | Page Two >>]] ]

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Changed lines 45-46 from:
[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off [[Grand Theft Auto | GTA]] while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]-]
to:
[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off [[Grand Theft Auto | GTA]] while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]

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Changed lines 19-22 from:
Dungeons & Dragons, the creation of Gary Gygax and some other guy, is where role-playing got its start. Full disclosure: some people like to trace the origins of D&D itself back to table-top wargames played out with dice and pewter miniatures, but you know, you've gotta draw the line somewhere.

I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [ [[#anchor5 | 5]] ][[#return5]], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished Tiamat thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.
to:
[[Zine6Sidebar01 | Dungeons & Dragons]], the creation of Gary Gygax and some other guy, is where role-playing got its start. Full disclosure: some people like to trace the origins of D&D itself back to table-top wargames played out with dice and pewter miniatures, but you know, you've gotta draw the line somewhere.

I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [ [[#anchor5 | 5]] ][[#return5]], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished [[Tiamat]] thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.
Changed lines 33-36 from:
Although I missed out on the true D&D experience (see sidebar), I did enjoy a bit of table-top role-playing when I was in high school. Sort of. In my junior year, I teamed up with a few friends on Saturday afternoons to partake of a campaign in Steve Jackson's GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System), which was inherently more interesting than D&D because frankly free-form science fantasy is always a lot more compelling than bland Conan-come-lately swords and sorcery nonsense. Of course, GURPS had its share of both swords and sorcery, but those were optional additions to the oeuvre -- there was plenty of space for laser pistols and machine guns and even 2x4 wooden planks, if you were more into the "thuggish blunt weapons" approach.

Unfortunately, I
can't honestly say I did a particularly good job of GURPSing... none of us did, really. I spent most of my time drawing character portraits, using the unifying theme of "buckets" to create a sense of togetherness for our party. Our Bucket Brigade was hopelessly ragtag and made it only a few hours beyond the first town before the game master grew frustrated with our incompetence and decided to change the theme of our weekend get-togethers to "playing Star Control." But by god we could carry water like no one's business.
to:
Although I missed out on the true D&D experience (see sidebar), I did enjoy a bit of table-top role-playing when I was in high school. Sort of. In my junior year, I teamed up with a few friends on Saturday afternoons to partake of a campaign in Steve Jackson's [[GURPS]], which was inherently more interesting than D&D because frankly free-form science fantasy is always a lot more compelling than bland Conan-come-lately swords and sorcery nonsense. Of course, GURPS had its share of both swords and sorcery, but those were optional additions to the oeuvre -- there was plenty of space for laser pistols and machine guns and even 2x4 wooden planks, if you were more into the "thuggish blunt weapons" approach.

Unfortunately, I
can't honestly say I did a particularly good job of GURPSing... none of us did, really. I spent most of my time drawing character portraits, using the unifying theme of "buckets" to create a sense of togetherness for our party. Our Bucket Brigade was hopelessly ragtag and made it only a few hours beyond the first town before the game master grew frustrated with our incompetence and decided to change the theme of our weekend get-togethers to the undeniably more productive "Playing [[Star Control]]."

But by ''god''
we could carry water like no one's business.

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Changed lines 7-10 from:
It all began with Pong.

Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [ [[#anchor1 | 1]] ][[#return1]], but..."? [2] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.
to:
It all began with [[Pong]].

Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [ [[#anchor1 | 1]] ][[#return1]], but..."? [ [[#anchor2 | 2]] ][[#return2]] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.
Changed lines 13-14 from:
But this issue isn't about me [3], it's about role-playing games. And role-playing games are ultimately about YOU, pretending to be someone else. Of course, the entire concept of RPGs has been hopelessly watered down over the years through rampant etymological abuse by the people who type up the bullet points on the back of videogame boxes. Marketing people are inherently shameless, but never more so than when some game-hating goon in a polo shirt is trying to convince you that DOOM is a role-playing game! Because you PLAY the ROLE of a Marine battling his way into Hell! DO YOU SEE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING! (Please purchase their game.)
to:
But this issue isn't about me [ [[#anchor3 | 3]] ][[#return3]], it's about role-playing games. And role-playing games are ultimately about YOU, pretending to be someone else. Of course, the entire concept of RPGs has been hopelessly watered down over the years through rampant etymological abuse by the people who type up the bullet points on the back of videogame boxes. Marketing people are inherently shameless, but never more so than when some game-hating goon in a polo shirt is trying to convince you that DOOM is a role-playing game! Because you PLAY the ROLE of a Marine battling his way into Hell! DO YOU SEE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING! (Please purchase their game.)
Changed lines 17-18 from:
But while we can all agree that Rikku bopping around in a teeny top as she sings enemies to death is infinitely preferable to watching a gaggle of doughy D&D nerds lovingly obsessing over stat sheets, it's unfortunately the latter to whom we owe our gratitude for this crazy little thing called "role-playing." The RPG genre grew from the collective table-top adventure nerdery that emerged as a meme in the 1970s [4], long before anyone but the French used the word meme. Back when feathered hair and tight striped T-shirts were awesome and people willingly forked over money for Bread albums. Ah, carefree days.
to:
But while we can all agree that Rikku bopping around in a teeny top as she sings enemies to death is infinitely preferable to watching a gaggle of doughy D&D nerds lovingly obsessing over stat sheets, it's unfortunately the latter to whom we owe our gratitude for this crazy little thing called "role-playing." The RPG genre grew from the collective table-top adventure nerdery that emerged as a meme in the 1970s [ [[#anchor4 | 4]] ][[#return4]], long before anyone but the French used the word meme. Back when feathered hair and tight striped T-shirts were awesome and people willingly forked over money for Bread albums. Ah, carefree days.
Changed lines 21-22 from:
I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [5], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished Tiamat thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.
to:
I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [ [[#anchor5 | 5]] ][[#return5]], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished Tiamat thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.
Changed lines 27-28 from:
The character stat sheet is most likely D&D's greatest contribution to video gaming: The notion that any quality, skill or characteristic, however intangible, can be quantified -- and gradually improved through dogged persistence and repetition. [6] In fact, raising levels serves as the cornerstone of most RPGs, although I'm sure that this fact has NOTHING to do with the fact that padding a game by forcing players to grind through endless random battles to harvest experience points is much less effort for developers than coming up with actual content and substance.
to:
The character stat sheet is most likely D&D's greatest contribution to video gaming: The notion that any quality, skill or characteristic, however intangible, can be quantified -- and gradually improved through dogged persistence and repetition. [ [[#anchor6 | 6]] ][[#return6]] In fact, raising levels serves as the cornerstone of most RPGs, although I'm sure that this fact has NOTHING to do with the fact that padding a game by forcing players to grind through endless random battles to harvest experience points is much less effort for developers than coming up with actual content and substance.
Changed lines 31-32 from:
On the other hand, a good DM is like having a fast-talking fantasy novelist in your basement, and he can fill each and every session with clever dungeon traps, interesting non-player characters and the occasional dangerous (but not impossible) ambush to keep players on their toes, ultimately creating an experience far more involving than a videogame could ever hope to achieve. Or so I hear. No one I know has ever actually played a campaign with a DM like this. [8]
to:
On the other hand, a good DM is like having a fast-talking fantasy novelist in your basement, and he can fill each and every session with clever dungeon traps, interesting non-player characters and the occasional dangerous (but not impossible) ambush to keep players on their toes, ultimately creating an experience far more involving than a videogame could ever hope to achieve. Or so I hear. No one I know has ever actually played a campaign with a DM like this. [ [[#anchor8 | 8]] ][[#return8]]
Changed lines 43-55 from:
[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor3]][3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit. [[#return3 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor4]][4] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters. [[#return4 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor5]][5] Specifically, Lubbock, TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.) [[#return5 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor6]][6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game. [[#return6 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor7]][7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of day!-]

[-[[#anchor8]][8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you. [[#return8 | ^ Back]]-]-]
to:
[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off [[Grand Theft Auto | GTA]] while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor3]][3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 had been nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably have sent your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit. [[#return3 | ^ Back]]-]

[
-[[#anchor4]][4] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters. [[#return4 | ^ Back]]-]

[
-[[#anchor5]][5] Specifically, [[Lubbock]], TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.) [[#return5 | ^ Back]]-]

[
-[[#anchor6]][6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular-boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game. [[#return6 | ^ Back]]-]

[
-[[#anchor7]][7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only [[Final Fantasy Extreme]] had seen the light of day!-]

[-[[#anchor8]][8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. This is only a rumor. [[#return8 | ^ Back]]-]

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Changed lines 41-55 from:
[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA." [[#return1 | ^ Up]]-]

[-[2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. -]

[-[3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit.-]

[-[4] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters.-]

[-[5] Specifically, Lubbock, TX
. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.)-]

[-[6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game.-]

[-[7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of day!-]

[-[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.-]
to:
[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA." [[#return1 | ^ Back]]-]

[-[[#anchor2]][2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. [[#return2 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor3]][3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own
vomit. [[#return3 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor4]][4] In effect, role-playing emerged from
the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters. [[#return4 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor5]][5] Specifically, Lubbock, TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs
, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.) [[#return5 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor6]][6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy
game. [[#return6 | ^ Back]]-]-]

[-[[#anchor7]][7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of
day!-]

[-[[#anchor8]][8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you. [[#return8 | ^ Back]]-]-]

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Changed lines 41-42 from:
[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."-]
to:
[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA." [[#return1 | ^ Up]]-]

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Changed lines 9-10 from:
Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [1], but..."? [2] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.
to:
Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [ [[#anchor1 | 1]] ][[#return1]], but..."? [2] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.
Changed lines 41-42 from:
[-[1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."-]
to:
[-[[#anchor1]][1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."-]

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Changed lines 3-4 from:
[ << [[Zine06 | Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two]] >> ]
to:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two >>]] ]
Changed lines 37-38 from:
[ << [[Zine06 | Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two]] >> ]
to:
[ [[Zine06 | << Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two >>]] ]

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Changed lines 1-2 from:
![+Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]\\
to:
![+Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]

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Added lines 1-5:
![+Dungeons, Dragons and Stuff+]\\
[ << [[Zine06 | Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two]] >> ]

----

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[ << [[Zine06 | Issue Six]] | [[Zine6Page01 | Page Two]] >> ]
Changed lines 34-49 from:
[-
[1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."

[2
] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius.

[3
] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit.

[4
] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters.

[5
] Specifically, Lubbock, TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.)

[6
] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game.

[7
] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of day!

[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.-]
to:
[-[1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."-]

[-[2]
The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius. -]

[-[3]
And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit.-]

[-[4]
In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters.-]

[-[5]
Specifically, Lubbock, TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.)-]

[-[6]
D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game.-]

[-[7]
Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of day!-]

[-
[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.-]

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to:
[-
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[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.
to:
[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.-]

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Added lines 1-47:
It all began with Pong.

Not the real Pong, mind you, but a reasonable facsimile. Back in the 1970s, any company with even the slightest hint of a connection to home electronics churned out some form of Pong or another, generally without Atari's consent. You know how every developer today has at least one game in their upcoming lineup which they describe as "Like Grand Theft Auto [1], but..."? [2] The '70s were exactly the same, except that there were only so many things you could do with the Pong concept, so the creative looting was a lot more thinly-veiled. Or, as in the case of my first game system, not even slightly veiled.

The Sears Telsar Pong system was a fine device, offering not one but four thrilling variants on Pong. And that's where I got my start in this horrible addiction known as video gaming.

But this issue isn't about me [3], it's about role-playing games. And role-playing games are ultimately about YOU, pretending to be someone else. Of course, the entire concept of RPGs has been hopelessly watered down over the years through rampant etymological abuse by the people who type up the bullet points on the back of videogame boxes. Marketing people are inherently shameless, but never more so than when some game-hating goon in a polo shirt is trying to convince you that DOOM is a role-playing game! Because you PLAY the ROLE of a Marine battling his way into Hell! DO YOU SEE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING! (Please purchase their game.)

Even the games parading under the legitimate RPG banner have a pretty tenuous claim to that title. Let's face it, Ex-Summoner Yuna busting caps on fools while wearing too-short shorts is a long way from role-playing's origins: Splotchy-faced social lepers sitting around in a dank basement buried deep in "harvest gold" shag pile, rolling D20s to save against poison. Most would argue a it's long way for the better, but a long way nevertheless.

But while we can all agree that Rikku bopping around in a teeny top as she sings enemies to death is infinitely preferable to watching a gaggle of doughy D&D nerds lovingly obsessing over stat sheets, it's unfortunately the latter to whom we owe our gratitude for this crazy little thing called "role-playing." The RPG genre grew from the collective table-top adventure nerdery that emerged as a meme in the 1970s [4], long before anyone but the French used the word meme. Back when feathered hair and tight striped T-shirts were awesome and people willingly forked over money for Bread albums. Ah, carefree days.

Dungeons & Dragons, the creation of Gary Gygax and some other guy, is where role-playing got its start. Full disclosure: some people like to trace the origins of D&D itself back to table-top wargames played out with dice and pewter miniatures, but you know, you've gotta draw the line somewhere.

I grew up in what might be termed a conservative community [5], so to me D&D was some terrible affliction best left to other people. This turned out to be correct, but the methodology through which I was led to this conclusion was all wrong: I was told D&D was bad because it caused children to pawn their souls to Satan in return for such eldritch gear as the Vorpal Cookie Tin of Banishment and/or Scrumptious Chocolate Chips, and to commit suicide when their Level 14 half-elf bard was eaten by a famished Tiamat thanks to the Dungeon Master taking out the frustrations of a particularly rotten day on hapless paper-based heroes. This assertion, shouted long and loud at school and church assemblies by overzealous police detectives, has turned out to be a load of malarky. But D&D IS dangerous, in that it hastens the decay of one's ability to interact with other humans who prefer not to speak like a Michael Moorcock character.

The hard lesson taught by D&D was that its players were frequently so pitiful that they were not only forced to indulge in detailed escapist fantasies, but that even in those desperate attempts at eluding the pathetic reality of their existences they were forced to rely on sheer dumb luck to succeed. Every action in a game of Dungeons & Dragons was determined by the outcome of a roll of dice -- and even in this regard, the game offered a hollow sense of superiority to its players by making available an impressive stable of dice of every shape and color. None of thy bone-white cubes for me, vermin! I am Bl'thorin the Kobold Crusher, fortold of prophecy and song, and I demand nothing less than twelve sides on my Die of Fate! (Also I implore thee, pray tell: what is it like to kiss a girl...?)



The character stat sheet is most likely D&D's greatest contribution to video gaming: The notion that any quality, skill or characteristic, however intangible, can be quantified -- and gradually improved through dogged persistence and repetition. [6] In fact, raising levels serves as the cornerstone of most RPGs, although I'm sure that this fact has NOTHING to do with the fact that padding a game by forcing players to grind through endless random battles to harvest experience points is much less effort for developers than coming up with actual content and substance.

Of course, what D&D had over electronic role-playing games was the Dungeon Master. Ultimately, the value of any table-top RPG experience comes down to whether or not the Dungeon Master has the foggiest notion what he's doing: It's the DM's job to design campaigns, map out dungeons, determine what monsters will be present, and narrate the party's journey (including character interactions). An inept DM can make a party pine for the depth and variety of Progress Quest, that infamous online game which pares playing an RPG down to clicking a mouse button over and over to cause experience points to rise -- mind-numbing, sure, but ultimately a lot better than wasting a few weekends and a perfectly-rolled Ranger on some nitwit who thinks it's a "fun challenge" to drop high-level dragons randomly throughout each and every dungeon he designs.

On the other hand, a good DM is like having a fast-talking fantasy novelist in your basement, and he can fill each and every session with clever dungeon traps, interesting non-player characters and the occasional dangerous (but not impossible) ambush to keep players on their toes, ultimately creating an experience far more involving than a videogame could ever hope to achieve. Or so I hear. No one I know has ever actually played a campaign with a DM like this. [8]

Although I missed out on the true D&D experience (see sidebar), I did enjoy a bit of table-top role-playing when I was in high school. Sort of. In my junior year, I teamed up with a few friends on Saturday afternoons to partake of a campaign in Steve Jackson's GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System), which was inherently more interesting than D&D because frankly free-form science fantasy is always a lot more compelling than bland Conan-come-lately swords and sorcery nonsense. Of course, GURPS had its share of both swords and sorcery, but those were optional additions to the oeuvre -- there was plenty of space for laser pistols and machine guns and even 2x4 wooden planks, if you were more into the "thuggish blunt weapons" approach.

Unfortunately, I can't honestly say I did a particularly good job of GURPSing... none of us did, really. I spent most of my time drawing character portraits, using the unifying theme of "buckets" to create a sense of togetherness for our party. Our Bucket Brigade was hopelessly ragtag and made it only a few hours beyond the first town before the game master grew frustrated with our incompetence and decided to change the theme of our weekend get-togethers to "playing Star Control." But by god we could carry water like no one's business.

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[1] For Japanese developers, substitute "Dynasty Warriors" for "GTA."

[2] The honest ones, anyway; our less reputable developers just blatantly rip off GTA while blissfully declaring their creation a heartbreaking work of revolutionary genius.

[3] And good thing of it, too, because after shelling out five or six bucks and waiting more than two years for it you'd probably riot if ToastyFrog Zine #6 were nothing but centerfolds of its editor. In fact, you could probably send your copy back to me for a refund by floating it on an ocean of your own vomit.

[4] In effect, role-playing emerged from the basements of the 1970s like primitive life emerging from earth's ancient oceans. Except in this case the primordial soup smelled suspiciously of bongwater and the landscape was plastered with blacklight-reactive Silmarillion posters.

[5] Specifically, Lubbock, TX. This is the city that invested time and money into creating highway signs warning of dangerous crosswinds only to be pressured into tearing them down when some idiot decided the blustery cloud character on the signs was a depiction of an anti-Christian pagan deity. Saying Lubbock MIGHT be a conservative community is sort of like saying Barry Bonds MIGHT have used performance-enhancing drugs, i.e. it hasn't been tested in court yet, but seriously, come on. (This concludes the single sports analogy for this issue; we now return to the usual videogame geekery before we all strain ourselves.)

[6] D&D's other great contribution is its utterly bastardized approach to creating a bestiary by wantonly plundering from any and all mythologies or public domain science fiction works. This is why you can battle Norse god-king Odin, a toobular boobular take on Hindu war deity Shiva and a North American yeti [7] all in the same Final Fantasy game.

[7] Sadly, not of the urban variety. If only Final Fantasy Extreme had seen the light of day!

[8] Rumor has it that three or four truly inspiring DMs have existed through the course of history, moving quietly from place to place, spreading the gospel of D&D with wonderful role-playing experiences the likes of which those few lucky players with whom they make fleeting contact will never enjoy again, but will fondly remember until they die, old and alone, in the middle of a spongebath at the Shady Pines Nursing Home. But it's just a rumor, mind you.

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