There have been predictions of the resurgence of the anti-D&D campaigns the religious right pushed so hard back in the 80's, due mainly to the publication of this book. I gamed during that period, while living about 6 miles down the road from CBN University. It wasn't fun, and I don't ever want to have to be so secretive about my hobby again. As of this writing, the many-headed hydra of Swaggart, Falwell, Baker, Reed, Buchannan, et al has yet to arise. What has happened is that Monte Cook and WOTC have provided the players of D&D with a unique sourcebook.
When I opened up my birthday present this year and found a copy of the D20 Conversion for Holistic Designs' Fading Suns RPG, my first thought was, "What in the world do I need this for?" But being the rules geek I am, I had to pick it up and read it. While I can't say I loved everything about it, by the time I finished it, I had to admit, I was impressed.
I picked this up on a whim. All of the other d20 books I had bought were based upon franchises I was familiar with. I have to say I am happy with my purchase. I've found a game that mixes my sci-fi with my fantasy and shoots out Drow Elves in jackboots carrying laser weapons and working as a sort of Imperial Gestapo. What more could a gamer ask for in a setting?
I've been a Dungeon Master (DM) for a long time. In this time, I've seen several kinds of people take to the dice in the search of adventure. During character creation the choice of character class usually ends up with a fighter, a cleric, a magic-user/wizard, or a thief/rogue. These are the more common selections, the premier group. The process of stratification continues from the most to the least favored with the latter group including the ranger, the druid, and the illusionist.
Let's be honest. D&D is a game within which you can become an amalgamation of your fantasies: a bold, daring brute of a Fighter, a brilliant and savvy Sorcerer, or a clever and stealthy Rogue. You can be practically anything you like - your alter ego, your antithesis, your fantasy of how success would appear.
I have played D&D for many years and naturally when I heard about the upcoming Epic Level Handbook I was very excited. I had dreams about cool new monk abilities, fun items with interesting new effects and awe-inspiring new spells. I waited patiently for months, but what arrived in the mail was very disappointing.
The stars have aligned. The portents have been read. The Arkham General Hospital has recorded twice as many miscarriages in the last lunar cycle. The nursing staff has been whispering about an abomination being born. What do all of these signs point to? The release of the d20 rules for Call of Cthulhu from Wizards of the Coast.
Most gamers got their start with D&D or one of the other classic fantasy RPGs, but for me that wasn't the case. The first games I played were modern-day games like Vampire: The Masquerade, with the occasional superhero game or Shadowrun session tossed in for good measure. I didn't pick up any epic fantasy games until later on in my gaming career, and even then I didn't play them very often.
I finally broke down and picked up the core book for the new Star Wars using Wizards d20 system. What drove me to this you ask? Well, I decided that for better or worse, I really wanted to see what a non-D & D d20 game looked like. There are others that I could have chosen, but Star Wars seemed the best bet for me. At least with Star Wars, there would be some cool pictures and background information that I would enjoy reading, even if I thought the game sucked.
I hate TSR/WOTC. To enforce my points, allow me to spearhead my (low-fat) negativeness into two fronts, two of the major sources of the much-overvalued green paper with dead presidents that corporations can't seem to get enough of: Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.