Friday, May 21, 2010

D&D and Burglary

My wife and I were watching The Mangler Reborn (which I do not necessarily recommend), when I realized that there was something about the idea of burglarizing a house that had a certain D&D-like appeal. Ok, maybe it was just me, but she agreed I was onto something maybe... In discussing it with her, I realized that the appeal ultimately lie in the fact that I knew something evil was in the house - the apparent protagonists, a father and son burglar team, were Chaotic Neutral at best. Once the father had gained entrance to the place and realized it was the den of a murderous evil monster, the whole D&D analogy kicked in for me. What else do our players do but explore and plunder the dark, mysterious chambers where evil has had its way, having destroyed innocence and accumulated “treasure” accordingly… Here I’m thinking of the scene where the father, now trapped in the house and communicating by walkie-talkie with his son, describes how he’s found a dresser drawer filled with wallets still stuffed with dollar bills. That’s how I see most monsters in D&D - sure there are the devolved humanoid species for whom the common coin has its use, but there are so many even more evil creatures for whom money is a psychological trophy which has no actual intrinsic value.


Trey said...

So what makes the difference between adventuring and strictly burglarly (if I take your implication correctly) is that the would-be thieves need to know they're entering into a place where their is a "wrongness"--where some sort of "evil" now holds sway? Sounds good.

Telecanter said...

I think the wallets are a great detail. We give monster lairs treasure-- but hints at where it came from, torn clothes, a moldy pile of coinpurses, would make the whole thing more ominous and make dispatching said monster feel justified. Thanks

ze bulette said...

I really could have put this down better originally here. I think initially as I watched the film, I knew that something evil was in there. That sort of excused the fact that there was a thrill in going into a place of unknown dangers to get some loot. The thieves seemed pretty scum-like until one of them inside the house realizes that there are prisoners in there that he wants to help escape because it's the right thing to do.

So to answer Trey, yes and no. Because "adventuring" I don't see as necessarily having the intent to do good (although it often is in our games). My own players are almost always in it just for the money. But considering they're not evil, there's also a sort of visceral thrill in entering an unknown place in search of treasure, be it a house (and I'm certainly not condoning burglary here!) or a dungeon. In the case of a dungeon, there's the potential for an even more unexpected danger and evil there.

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