Dear Reverend DM,
Solving all the worlds’ problems, one world at a time.
@anonymous coward: Dear Rev. DM, when is it better to use a pantheon someone else made up (like the Greeks or whatever) versus making up your own?
Dear anonymous coward,
There are two excellent reasons for doing this. The first is laziness, but you can claim it was just a lack of time. Or even better, claim it was really the second reason.
The second reason to use an established mythology is to give the players somewhere to hang their hats, contextually speaking. As DMs we are often asking our players to swallow an awful lot of information about a whole new world. New locations, new governments, sometimes new and difficult to pronounce naming conventions, (Kingdoms of Kalamar, I’m lookin’ at you) sometimes players need a little break. Using something that is probably already at least passingly familiar as such a large chunk of your world can really help ground it and get your players into their characters.
@Christine: Dear Rev. DM, why won’t the concept of the D&D alignment system frakking die already? Also, why does the universe hate wizards? I mean… d4 hitpoints. Come on.
The alignment system serves some powerful masters in Dungeons & Dragons. First and foremost, it is a roleplaying device (crutch) of great benefit to newbies who have never played an RPG before. Therefore it helps to bring new folks into the fold, and publishers never get tired of new customers. Also, it does make the basic actions of a typical game much more palatable. In the real world, no one is inherently good or evil, and home invasion, murder, and theft are going to get you locked up no matter what color hat the guy you killed was wearing. In D&D however, morality is is dried out, crisply folded, and laid out on a very stark and easy to understand plate. Good violence is good, evil violence is bad. Good people may seek out evil ones for persecution, even if they aren’t doing anything evil… because they’re evil.
Though they get tweaked from time to time, I don’t ever expect to see alignments disappear.
The universe hates wizards because wizards won’t stop fucking with it. Everything a wizard does is all about fucking with the universe in some way the universe doesn’t want to be fucked with. It’s practically the definition of the word. Unfortunately all the poor universe can do is give wizards crappy hit dice and no armor class, which doesn’t stop wizards from becoming the most powerful and versatile class there is later in life, it only ensures that slightly fewer of them make it that far.
@TSED: Dear Rev. DM, Audrey Hepburn in her prime vs your wife, jello wrestling match (non-naked). Who would you put your bet money on?
Well of course I would put my money on Lena. That’s hardly a question. Who would I expect to win though…? Probably Audrey. Lena is likely much meaner, but Audrey was a ballerina and stamina counts a lot in jello. Audrey also had about five inches on Lena, which can help out a lot when you’re grabbing… things…
@Alan: Dear Rev. DM, if you only had enough cargo space about the size of a suitcase, and about a week to research, how would you prepare to go time travelling, and you weren’t sure whether you would be going forward or backwards in time, or by how much?
Given the parameters of the question, I want you to think of the entirety of existence as one long timeline. Let’s say, end to end, it’s 100 feet long. Now mark on that line where the earth became suitable for human habitation, and then mark it again where it stops. (Just assume the sun eventually turns into a red giant in five billion years. That’ll do.)
Now look at your marks. It the elapsed time even visible? How does it compare to the rest of the line? If you were to randomly jump to some completely uncontrollable place on that line, what do you think your odds are for hitting the spot you have marked out?
In other words, if I had to go, I’d take a space suit and some porn.