I’d been very diligent in my consumption of Arkham Asylum marketing materials, up until the demo at least, which is typically the capstone of a marketing push. Yet footage continues to leak, leakingly, as though from some kind of… leak machine, and I’ve sworn it off altogether. The Goddamned thing comes out in less than two weeks, I’m sure I can find something to occupy myself in the meantime.
This is probably the most recent opportunity I’ve had to discover that I’m not the person they’re trying to speak to, ever, when they project a marketing message. Who is that person? We may be able to reverse engineer that pocked psychology simply by analyzing their existing ordnance: it is a person who, after being told twelve times in succession that there is a Batman game coming, it is a video game, Batman is in it, and here is a demo, they pause for a moment before replying, “What’s that, now?”
One of the things that makes Dungeons & Dragons so appealing to me is that it has, somehow, retained its illicit nature. I don’t want to dredge it up in its totality, but my mother never knew that I played it, and the very core of that experience - where we began to explore, as a group, campaign-wide themes and more robust characterizations - was Dark Sun.
And now, it’s coming back.
Modularity - perhaps the key principle of Fourth Edition - wasn’t a concern at all, back then. If you wanted character portability, you played Palladium or Gurps. I have to admit that part of me liked how filthy everything was in D&D, by comparison - shimmed in sans caulk, rough seams everywhere, with prodigious lengths of duct tape officiating any number of unlikely systemic marriages. The post-apocalyptic Dark Sun epitomized this concept, with its warring schools of magic, two alternate forms of clerical magic, a truly bizarre path for character advancement beyond level 20, and (for a very long time) a world whose history that was almost completely unknown. The more they told of that history, the less I liked it. Funny how that works.
The new system has the capability to describe the blasted world of Athas with much greater precision, oh, but that filth. I will miss those jutting mounds of junk, where such treasure hides.