Unusually, given its reputation in the wider RPG world as the most cliched and unimaginative game going, D&D has probably the most innovative players of all. (By virtue of the size of its player base, it probably also has the most uninspired and insipid players, but that's by-the-by.) As some of you may know (I've mentioned it ad nauseum), I've been writing a thread on rpg.net in which I'm going through the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual monster-by-monster, doing a little commentary on each. When I started the thing it was supposed to be a pure nostalgia trip, but over time it has evolved into possibly the most concentrated collection of weird and wonderful ideas that currently exists in the world. Almost none of it is down to me - it's all been contributed by dozens and dozens of different commenters riffing on each other's ideas and volunteering thoughts. We're not even half way through yet and already there are getting on for 1,100 replies.
- Old Johnny in the lake, the crayfish demigod - a gargantuan crawdad worshiped by a cult of backwater peasants whose faith has transformed him into an actual deity.
- The Voice of the Storm - a legendary figure or group of figures who travel across the world sewing confusion, hatred and fear in the aim of starting wars and civil strife. This is for the sole purpose of providing nutrition for Tempests: Living storms who feed off the blood of people killed in combat.
- A re-imagining of gnomes as filthy vermin who live in the lairs and bedding of giants like oversized fleas.
- Farmers secretly breeding ankhegs as a kind of super-powered earthworm fertilisation system for their land. The only catch being that the ankhegs have a habit of killing farmhands and travelers - which the farmers explain away by blaming on an innocent local band of mongrelmen.
- The definitive solution to why blue dragons are blue - it camouflages them against the sky from below; the electricity coursing through their bodies prevents them from becoming a black silhouette.
- Elephant paladins of Ganesh and sperm-whale arch-magi.
- An ancient ruined city whose very mortar was made of living sandlings - who, driven slowly insane by time, are gradually shuffling and vibrating the place into dust.
It's time for the hobby to get an image overhaul. Not through 'kewlness', which is what the design team at WotC seem to think is the Big Leap Forward. No: We should be stressing what a massive headtrip the thing is and how it allows you to come up with literally anything you want, and run with it. That's a game, surely, that anybody would be interested in playing.