This was originally posted at:
July 22, 2016
On the order of DragonQuest
Everyone’s campaign is unique, so this may not pertain to your experiences in the past, or your expectations for what a new edition of DragonQuest might be. But this is some explanation of my background with DragonQuest, which will certainly end up factoring into any adaptation or re-writing of DragonQuest that I work on.
The skills are of an era of greater knowledge and enlightenment. The Mechanician skill is, perhaps, the most telling of the skills in the DragonQuest lineup. It explicitly presents a world where clockwork mechanisms can be made.
And, close on its heels, there is also Alchemy, another skill of the period where the search for knowledge and understanding of the natural world was coming to the fore.
This is not the world of D&D, where everything is dark and mysterious and anything that needs to be figured out requires consultation with a sage. Or where mechanisms are high-tech exemplars of Clarke’s Law (“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”)
DragonQuest, on the other hand, presents a world that is rational, logical, and organized, even if some of its corners are still dark and mysterious.
Thinking about the idea of a “Renaissance Man,” what game system most readily lets you play someone with those characteristics? DQ allows for a single character who is a swordsman, a magical adept, an alchemist, and a thief. And not as a cobbled together variant with special rules, but as an ordinary, rational part of the game system.
Other things are also part of this tendency. The magic system is organized into Colleges. There is a Guild for adventurers, as well as guild control exercised over some professions and skills. Although the world of DQ is not directly spelled out in any great detail in the rules, these implications are present and are a part of the game.
What this begins to suggest is that there might be a DQ World book, covering the hierarchies and social structures found in a Renaissance world, and then a DQ System book, which would be the updating and revision of the core rules for combat and magic.
Having an organizational system to better frame the new edition gives it some direction and focus, rather than simply being a retread of the existing game. It provides a purpose for doing the revision and makes it a more useful resource, even for those who are playing other game systems to make use of the information it provides.
These are all just first thoughts, though, and I’d be very interested in your feedback on this. I’m going to be away this weekend, so I won’t have any access to the comments until Monday, or so. But I hope there is some conversation started, and I’ll have some further thoughts about this next week.