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Unique British aspects of D&D in the UK?

Blue Orange

Adventurer
This is more of a question from a Yank...anyone from across the pond notice any particular British flavour to games over there? I remember reading the Fiend Folio back in the day, and there were UK-specific mods in the early days of D&D...

If this is in any way offensive, I apologise (though I'll say in my defence I used to grow up watching Fawlty Towers and the original Hitchhiker's Guide with my folks)...
 

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aco175

Legend
I wonder how much more flavor you can add when you live in a place with that much history and old ruins. We have internet and such now, but 40 years ago things were mostly books from a library or a TV show.

I also wonder if DMs in these old 'traditional' places for D&D make their worlds in other places like a desert or jungle.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Not really. D&D is very much it’s own genre, a kind of fantastical American ren faire world, not really connected to anything historical. It has a flavour all of its own. I don’t see much difference between my games and those I’ve played in or watched in America.
 

tardigrade

Explorer
There are some things about "default" D&D that strike me (in the UK) as quite American ideas, but I don't usually mess with them in games as (probably not coincidentally) they also make things simpler. The biggest one that springs to mind is the lack of language barriers between most human cultures.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I'm not British, but . . .

I've noticed a different art style and tone in British RPG products than their American counterparts. Somewhat equivalent to the differences in UK vs American humor (America could have never produced the genius of Monty Python).

Compare the art style and tone of Games Workshop's Warhammer products to D&D and other American fantasy/sci-fi . . . . I also remember being struck by the style of the classic D&D modules that were written by TSR UK staff back in the day (mostly Graeme Morris), the famed UK series of modules (and a few others). My favorite was O2 Blade of Vengeance by Jim Bambra.

I'm not sure how to describe the difference . . . . but I think it's there and noticeable. I would imagine as globalization and social media has ramped up that cultural differences in D&D have diminished, especially now that there isn't a TSR UK office!
 

It’s true that D&D has become its own genre and the default has US assumptions. To me it is very Wild West rather than medieval Europe and has increasingly become less and less like medieval Europe over the years.

I think culturally D&D is much more standardised across the US and UK, at least these days.

That wasn’t true in the 1980s when I think different assumptions were brought to the game and you only need to look at White Dwarf and Imagine from those periods to see that there was definitely a British flavour to it, which perhaps doesn’t exist these days.
 

ruemere

Adventurer
Caveat lector: I am not British. EU-person still (regardless of Brexit... that's still not a true Brexit).

To vanilla D&D, I'll say it's Witcher with all its good and bad stuff.

The world is so full of dirt you can't help adopting stoic attitude toward evil, discrimination, poverty, corruption, prejudice and superstition.
The world is full of dirt, yet there are a lot of good people. Simple do-gooders, enlightened idealists and rich philanthropists. There are also decent folk who mind their own business, who prefer not to involve themselves in risky stuff, but who don't mind giving a hand now and than.
The world is full of dirt mostly due to overwhelming number of small-minded folk, who take every opportunity to vent their ire, their complexes on those who, in their narrowminded opinion, deserve it. They are easily swayed by power hungry demagogues and controlled by cynic power mongers.
The world is dirty because there is not enough education, because when you fight for survival on a battlefield, you don't get to question your orders.
There is also a serious crisis of authority, religion and bureaucracy - you don't trust your officials, period.

----
Let's just say that in most of my games, be it fantasy, or not, there is a lot of this. Eberron comes close, though.

So to summarize, you kill orcs not because they are evil, but because, like Mongols, they are out to take away your livelihood and let you starve (if you're lucky). And you don't pardon orcs, because if they are let go free, they will resort to their ways.
 
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turnip_farmer

Adventurer
I play online mostly these days, and my regular group consists of 5 different nationalities from both sides of the Atlantic. I think that modern communication has, to an extent, erased cultural differences in playstyle (within the Anglosphere, at least). Different groups all play differently, of course, but we all have the same Youtube access and many of us play with foreigners regularly online, so I'm not sure regional differences can maintain themselves as they once did.
 

Bagpuss

Adventurer
I wouldn't say there is a particularly British aspect to D&D any more, but there was a definite style difference in the early days that you can see in the UK module TSR did (like Dire Bare mentioned).

I do seem to find that UK players/GMs seem to be more willing to try lots of different games rather than just stick with D&D for their whole gaming life, which some US folks seem almost proud of. It's only anecdotal so I can't really back it up, but for example back when we had RPG magazines the UK polls of gamers they did seemed to find Call of Cthulhu top of the charts rather than D&D.

Perhaps there is a certain grim/dark feel to British and European games/culture that US didn't tend to have, but there has been a lot of cross pollination since the 80's and 90's, so I don't think it is necessarily true anymore. You see it in other aspects of geek culture, you had Star Trek we had Blake's Seven, you had super heroes in Marvel and DC, we had Commando comics, and 2000AD with Judge Dredd, ABC Warrior and Rogue Trooper. US media always seemed more aspirational, hopeful, utopian in their fiction, UK seems more realist and dystopian (probably why CoC was more popular than D&D in the charts).
 

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