I did this crazy white stuff for a year or so, and never took it too seriously, but it did have an influence.
The franchise was created by Gary Gygax. To ‘get involved,’ a player must start with these three (3) fundamental D&D books. Then you can play, with characters you create, in game modules. I honestly found these books, particularly the Monster Manual to be more interesting on their own, and was less interested in gameplay. I still feel the same way.
The Players Handbook shows you how to score-rate each character type (wizard, warrior, elf, dwarf, etc) & traits: such as strength, intelligence, constitution, charisma, etc; and apply then in fantasy battle situations, where your character can earn glory (through higher rank, booty, etc), or get killed.
For example, if a fire dragon torches your 7th-level ranger, you must immediately tear up that piece of paper, which you spent weeks developing in gameplay. It’s very sad & tragic, or silly & comic, depending on your perspective.
Action is moderated by a dungeon-master, who is supposed to know the rules better than anyone, so he (it’s never a she), can direct the players and keep this adventure moving along. He reads & directs from a game module, which other players are not supposed to have seen, so they don’t know what’s coming. Many players cheat on that. It took imagination, and often ended up in feuding, and/or players dropping out quickly. That was my experience.
This is a game module, and one of its original classics. The fact that I know that, makes this a confession in many ways.
Question: What do you do if a demogorgon attacks you with psionics?
Answer: There is nothing you can do to prevent your head from exploding, unless you are at least a 12th-level character with psionic ability, in which case, your best odds of repelling his attack & countering with a slaying psionic blow are no better than 1-in 20. Don’t go there.
I’ve been informed by a hardcore GM/DM that psionics are not allowed in D&D, since the 1st edition. That’s a good ruling. But despite its cheesiness, psionics are intriguing, one must admit. Brain bionics, telekinesis, using the Force, etc. Too powerful for most players to control, so the final ruling is that psionics are strictly for jedis, and not allowed in D&D. I did not know that.
Final confession: I had a fleeting vision of composing my own game module, where I would line-up the most awesome & powerful devils, demons, and evil creatures from the Monster Manual. It would entice every adventurous player, with the lure of the most magnificent treasure & gains in experience points– and then kill everybody. This “Impossible Dungeon” would have slayed any army.
I came up with this idea, because I figured the game had to have an end. But it didn’t, so I ended D&D for myself by not writing the module. I watched T.J. Hooker instead.
I’m sure no player would have entered my dungeon anyways, so it would have been a waste of time, which makes me feel better about William Shatner.