Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heroes of Humor

            As you all probably know I am a really big geek on many topics, not the least of which being Dungeons and Dragons.  I have been playing DnD since I was 14, more than 11 years now.  Beginning with 3rd edition, and gathering a collection of books astronomically large in the effort, much like Magic the Gathering and Lego before it, my semi-completionist mentality was really hard to suppress, not exactly helped by the fact that the game was actually very good.

But really, how could something like this not be addictive as all hell?
            Third edition was beloved at the time, Wizards of the Coast (the developers) were giving the gaming community a new system that they then freely allowed for use in the creation of other games.  The created the open D20 license, it allowed the rest of the publishers like Green Ronin (makers of "Mutants and Masterminds" another game I have and very much like) to use the D20 Dungeons and Dragons rules system and add their own rules to the skeleton.  The third party market for game supplies boomed, the creativity of the game community exploded, as did the population of said community.

            The reason I bring this all up is to draw on a particular group of releases that came about 8 years into the existence of 3rd edition which has currently been replaced by 4th edition and Pathfinder a third party game system which fixed all the lingering problems from 3rd that made Wizards of the Coast throw the thing out for 4th.  The releases were the "Heroes of" group.  This was a module that focused on setting your game in a particular fantasy genre, so "Heroes of Battle" set around war, and "Heroes of Horror" were the two most well received, I own the "Horror" entry.

            Thing is I had a suggestion to Wizards of the Coast about the series, I wanted a "Heroes of Humor" a book that helped with rules that made things less serious and more joke oriented, and for the creation of a setting more focused on jokey things like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", the 100,000 web comics on the subject (see "Order of the Stick" and "Nodwick" for good examples) or "Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire" (very unknown and rather under rated).  I was basically told by other forum members, "that wouldn't work," that humor, "has to evolve naturally from play itself," and it wouldn't work if you tried to 'force' it in (that's what she said).

Seriously, it was under rated.
            I disagreed with the assessment then and I have more ammo now.  I wrote about "Gamma World" the sci-fi action comedy role playing game, or SFACRPG, and it illustrates my point perfectly.  You emphasize the random aspects, the inherent weirdness of the genre and bam, you have comedy.  It is true of anything, and if you go into a session with that mind set you can not only find the funny, but generate the funny, and it wouldn't have been that hard to create such a thing in book form.  So I am a little confused why they didn't.  Would it have required too much original work?  That seems unlikely because every issue of the Dungeons and Dragons magazines that went out in April was about incorporating humor into the game, with Ninja-Pirates riding dinosaurs in one issue, and Phil Foglio in another (Google him).
           So yeah, why did this not exist?  I have no clue.

I have this on a T-Shirt

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