Rule Zero: Essential(s)

Rules Compendium: An Essential Dungeons & Dragons Compendium (4th Edition D&D)So Dude, Where's My Rule Zero? has gotten far more hits than any other posting here in the Gaming Den of Iniquity. I'm not sure if I touched a nerve or if all the quotes from older gaming books continue to draw people who want to learn about the history of RPGs. Regardless, it's time for a quick update.

Apparently someone at Wizards of the Coast also discovered that Rule Zero had dropped out of the rule books for 4e and took steps to rectify the situation. Recently I opened up the 4e Essentials Rules Compendiumand read the following two sentences on page 5:
These rules are in service to your group's fun. Experiment with them, and make them your own.
In service to my group's fun, plus an invitation, nay, an imperative to experiment with the rules? Sign me up! That's the Rule Zero attitude I missed in the original 4e books. That's the game philosophy that I learned growing up in the '80s. There's a huge difference between "these are the rules for the game" and "here are the guidelines to start from in your game", and it looks like Essentials has changed stance to the latter.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Master's GuideThe Rules Compendium goes on to quote Gary Gygax from the Dungeon Masters' Guide about how D&D is a heroic game and not intended as a simulation of physics or medieval warfare. And then he says this:
Those who desire to create and populate imaginary worlds with larger-than-life heroes and villains, who seek relaxation with a fascinating game, and who generally believe games should be fun, not work, will hopefully find this system to their taste.
I had lost my focus on this front in the Adris game - it started feeling like work to me. That's one reason I've let it lay fallow for so long, but I'm intentionally not fiddling with crunch quite so much any more. There's no need to fully stat up combat NPCs, and there's no need for all the rulebooks. I had fallen into the trap of the Supplement Arms Race and it got a little crazy.

No more. I'm refocused. It's about the story, and it's about having fun. And the conclusion of the Adris game will kick ass.

Welcome back, Rule Zero.

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