IGN - The Evolution of RPG Archetypes
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May 6th, 2013, 03:51
One person's "Greatest contribution" is another's "Biggest boat anchor". Class-based systems are a relic of the past.
That was just as true back in the day, and for the same reasons, as it is now. Everyone here knows that people aren't good at everything. How many people in high school with a 4.0 GPA could make the (American style) football team, let alone be the star player? Or run fast enough to be a sprinter on the track team? Or both? How many of those star athletes have a legit 4.0 GPA? And while some of those athletes have the big rep to score the hot chicks, how many of them have the personality to legitimately influence people into going their way? And more unlikely is the proposition that those incredibly bright students could strike up a conversation with random strangers and have it end with anything that wasn't awkward and weird. On the other hand, what are the odds a natural born shit talker would invest the effort to be exceptional in either academics or athletics? But it's FANTASY, isn't it? So people won't accept that their fantasy alter-egos can't be great at everything. That's why the creators of D&D started adding advanced classes and multi-classing and etc etc etc forever. You gotta give the whiners what they want if you want to be successful.
Apparently they haven't done their research. Gygax was far more influenced by weird tales, pulp sword & sorcery and especially Jack Vance (for the magic system), than by Tolkien. The article writer ought to look at Appendix N in the 1st edition AD&D DMG to truly understand the roots. Tolkien is mentioned, but alongside a long list of other authors.
It's true they had a lot of influences, but if it hadn't been for Tolkien it's likely D&D would never have existed. Certainly, it wouldn't have taken off the way it did. I'm old enough (barely) to remember how popular Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit was with hippies and various other weirdos in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lord of the Rings made D&D cool, in a way, or at least understandable, to a lot of people that would have had no clue WTF it was all about, otherwise.
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