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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Dumbest Game Ever: Dungeons: The Dragoning 40 000 7th Edition

Yep. I'm doing this.

I'm aware this post is going to be really weird and likely seen as extremely stupid. Its okay, it is. If you've never been around 4chan's tabletop board, or /tg/ as it is called you'll likely not get the significance of this absolute monstrosity. If somehow you are aware of it then skip ahead, this post assume you don't know what this nightmare of a game is.

Context: The /tg/ that was

Once upon a time, 4chan's /tg/ board was seen as something of a 'model prisoner' if one like to see 4chan (and derivative) as the insane asylum of the internet. The board, from what I understand of its early history came into being after too many people were posting on /m/ (the giant robot and tokusatsu board) too much Warhammer 40 000 under the excuse that it had mecha, power armors and giant monsters. This led to the birth of /tg/ which englobed not only Tabletop Wargames (like Warhammer) but also Tabletop RPG (such as obviously D&D) and trading card games (mainly Magic: The Gathering and for a time Android Netrunner).

For a time, it was good. At its peak (pre 2013-ish, I'd say from experience) /tg/ was a relatively beloved board. It would frequently discuss topics utterly unrelated to the actual board focus with far more intelligence and civility than the place you should be posting it on. Wanted to talk history without the loonies of the political board coming to stir up some really politically incorrect shit or the anime without the /a/ssholes degenerating into a war over whose waifu is better? Well, /tg/ was there and in many cases these threads devolved (or rather, evolved) into discussions of homebrew or game hack to run games inspired by whatever topic was being discussed.

Of course, nowadays /tg/ is a fallen board. Time, the accessibility of the internet, younger people getting into Tabletop via Critical Role (or other shows of that type, rather than being introduced into the game by friends with a common hobby or fandom*) and draconian moderators with a stake in a million culture wars has neutered the board. The greybeards of yore have left for the most part.. Things aren't as civil or as creative as they used to be. Or maybe its just me being a sourpuss about imaginary 'good old days'. Who knows?
*Which result in vastly different taste being my point here....

But there is one game which in my mind define the peak of /tg/ self-referential stupidity and unbridled insanity. A game which, in fact, is the byproduct of one loony who 'did it on a dare'. A game so stupid and so utterly ridiculous it surely deserve to live in infamy forever.

That Dungeons: The Dragoning 40 000 7th Edition. Yes, you read that right. No there are no previous editions. The 7th is a visual pun because it come form the 7th Sea logo. This game is a work of art. Demented, stupid, childish, self-referential degenerate art! And it is glorious.

The embodiment of early 2010 internet neckbeard in-jokes.
Gone horribly wrong. Or right, you decide.

The Game In a Nutshell

This whole game is a joke. No, really, every single thing in it is a big in-joke and/or a meme of the time. It is essentially a time capsule of the early 2010 and all the dumb things which had shaped the game table of the people who tend to hang around /tg/. It is a giant in-joke, homage and unholy conglomerate of Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer 40 000, the World of Darkness, Exalted and other things with a serious heaping of the likes of Mass Effect. The latter of which, at the time, wasn't seen as a shameful child which has long since been buried and left to rot due to a squandered potential.

The setting is an insane mashup, with Warhammer 40 000 and its baroque space fantasy as its core alongside D&D-derived material, namely Planescape and Spelljammer. You have the 'Crystal Spheres' model of Spelljammer with Sigil acting as its usual 'hub' purpose. You have D&D outer Planes as planets alongside familiar Warhammer 40 000 locations. The typical D&D races are there mixed with their Warhammer counterparts with each race taking more or less from each version on a case-by-case basis. Then you have more insane crossover mashup. For example, the progenitor of Vampires is Khaine. Not Caine. No no, Khaine.

Yeah. This guy.

Mechanically this game is a monster. Its stupidly crunchy in all the worst possible ways. Its system is a bloated mess drawing inspiration from all these aforementioned games (with Warhammer 40 000 being represent by its then-current RPG incarnation, Dark Heresy). Its a clusterfuck of a system which can only be best described in bullet points as to dive right into it would give anyone sane a headache asking themselves what in the name of Hastur's scrotum they were thinking in making an RPG this messy. Except being a mess is part of the joke. That's the whole point. Especially if you remember how D&D 3e onward and White Wolf games are at time unbearably complex games compared to the slickness and simplicity of OSR games. In any case, it work like this:

You have a Race, which give you some bonus, some skills and a racial power. This range from the classical human of modern D&D with their flexible bonus to fairly recognizable D&D staples like Elves, Gnomes and Dwarves Squats alongside the Warhammer 40 000 race of the Tau. However the stranger races added to D&D as core races can be found here, such as Eldarin (not Eladrin but Eldarin. As in Warhammer 40 000 Eldars), Tieflings (here they are servants of Chaos with a capital C) and the Aasimar who rather than being part-Celestials are re imagined as a different kind of Angel. And by that I mean Angels of Death.

Space Marines. They're Space Marines, okay?

Then you have your Exaltation. Now the name here obviously evoke the Exalted of the eponymous RPG but here it mean any kind of particularly impressive 'supernatural splat', such as Vampire, Werewolves or the utterly-badass-yet-perfectly-mortal-Paragon. It also include the Atlanteans which are an homage to both version of the Mage RPG combined with the Solar Exalted as well as the Promethean which combine ideas from the game of the same name with evert cyborg cliche under the sun. There's also the Chosen, which combine Cleric and Favored Souls-type classes with the Daemon Princes of Chaos albeit extended to all other Gods, meaning you become a demigod essentially. There's also Daemonhost (which again, isn't tied to Chaos as 'Daemon' here mean any kind of Warp entity) who take cues just as much from the OWOD Demon as they do with Abyssal Exalted. Its really bonkers.

Then you have Classes which are the least insane part in the core book as they cover all you'd expect and a few more. These work somewhat like the Dark Heresy classes meaning you need to spend your XP on options offered by your class and the more you spend on it the more you unlock higher tiers which offer better options. When you finish a tree you can start a new one and get bonus.

There's also Feats/Assets/Hinderances as well as Magic. You also have Sword Schools taking cues from the infamous Book of Nine Swords as well as its ranged counterpart in a supplement, which is called Gun Kata and lets you build special attacks.

The whole thing mix something which I've been told is apparently a mixture of the Storyteller System with the 'Roll and Keep' of Legend of the Five Rings with elements of Dark Heresy. Trying to even remember how this game plays gives me a headache and leave my head full of fucks.

So why should we even care about this mess, then? Why post this on an OSR blog?

In many ways, DTD is arguably a poster child for the insane labors of love we put into our homebrew. The entire thing is half of an in-joke but also a genuine love letter to the sheer insanity of tabletop and the pure fun of doing something utterly stupid and gonzo. It may not be an OSR-related system by any stretch of the imagination but what I see in it is a similar spirit to all the homebrewing which went on and still does here.

And lastly...

I kind of want to try to bring this abomination to either Machinations of the Space Princess or Stars Without Numbers. Just because I'm insane like that. Is it nothing but dumb, derivative in-jokes? Oh yes absolutely. But there is no denying the absolute madness of this game was an important step in me discovering the insanity of home brewing and the passion project of people.

Edit: The post has had some typo fixed and some profanities removed since the original post.