What We Have in Common

The wonderful Joshua A.C. Newman recently tweeted this:

In my Human Contact backer’s survey, the players who said they played D&D said, “D&D, of course”. All three of 248.

This raises an interesting point. All three of us here at Transneptune began gaming with D&D. A lot of what we do exists in reaction to this, whether we want to admit it or not. A lot of our idea of what pathological gaming is and can be, and what good gaming is and can be, stems from this common ground we have.

But I think that the whole story-games movement is opening up the field to many people who might never have played RPGs precisely because they weren’t interested in D&D. The game is undeniably still popular, but the audience for games where you sit around a table with friends and make up a story with the aid of some dice seems to be widening.

So what, then, is the purpose of our D&D reactionism? Well, it certainly provides a common language and a common set of experiences among the three of us. But let me turn that question outward for a moment, and ask what you, our phantasmal readers, have found as the recurring touchstones of this genre? What benefit do you see to having a common set of references, and how common do you think D&D really is?