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Thursday, September 2, 2010
The Moral Stages of an AD&D Player
Starting out with a background of comic book superheroes, sanitized versions of Arthurian legends, and Tolkien, we tended to play Good characters (except for the odd Druid), because in our mind that’s how heroes were suppose to be. True, the actions demanded of characters can (from some perspectives) create a certain moral disconnect, but we were blissfully on troubled by that. This era featured a large number of paladins and bards in our group.
Moving into high school, our characters spent more and more time bathed in moral shades of gray. Some of this was getting older and more “sophisticated”--in the sense that high school kids conceive the term. Another part was our influences changed: Conan, Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, and modern movie heroes were the touchstones we drew upon. This was an era where there were few paladins played, but many thieves and barbarians, and the not uncommon assassin. Fairly antisocial acts were common, and downright infamous acts might be committed on occasion.
My assumptions on the next stage rests on less evidence, as my high school group is long disbanded and scattered, so I don’t know how they would have evolved in their character preferences as they moved into adulthood. However, I can say that the late twenty- to forty-somethings I game with now seem to have synthesized both of the previous styles. Characters don’t tend to be paragon’s of virtue--though this is “realistic” given the career paths they tend to follow--but there is little of the outrageous villainy or gleeful antisocial behavior that sometimes showed up in our late teens.
Anybody else see these similar sorts of shifts with time in their gaming? Or maybe different ones?