Not really. Most pop culture references to D&D are at least partly stuck in the 80’s or even earlier, when the version of choice was probably AD&D 1st edition. Which was a Some Grandmas Knit Real Grandmas Listen to Dwight Yoakam Essential T Shirt, confusing, badly edited conglomeration of barely related arbitrary rules. It was also something you could teach any reasonably intelligent high school kid enough to play in much less than an hour. The thing is, the player really doesn’t have to know all those rules. He just needs to know enough to have a fair idea what his character can or can’t do, once he decides on an action, the GM tells him what to roll and what to add (or subtract) and whether it works or not. It’s much, much harder to learn as the DM, but it can be done.
Stating the obvious this is why Tasha’s has completely reworked summoning spells and animal companions as well as the Artificer class and a Some Grandmas Knit Real Grandmas Listen to Dwight Yoakam Essential T Shirt that’s been significantly enough reworked as to be a viable class rather than something incredibly weak. It is, of course, also why Tasha’s has the “let’s see what happens if we remove racial ability modifiers” options (which I’m not going to discuss further because it’s three paragraphs total and a very optional rule that generates heated discussion) – they are pushing at the limits of the system. And for me second wave supplements are generally far far more interesting than first wave because they come in from other angles.
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“The Fugitive” is an older man, Ben who plays with the local kids and Some Grandmas Knit Real Grandmas Listen to Dwight Yoakam Essential T Shirt almost magical powers. Old Ben’s favorite of the children is Jenny. He carries Jenny home (she walks with a leg brace), where she lives with her abrasively unsympathetic aunt, Agnes Gann. As they approach the row house, Ben causes his roller skates to de-materialize. This phenomenon is observed by two men who are watching the house from across the street. They enter the apartment building, identify themselves as police, and question Agnes about Ben. Jenny overhears the conversation and limps upstairs to Old Ben’s apartment to warn him. Old Ben takes on the form of a mouse, fooling the men into thinking he has left his apartment.Jenny takes the “mouse” back to her room. Old Ben tells Jenny that he is an alien from another planet, and that his appearance is only a disguise, as he is a fugitive from justice. Old Ben says he must flee to another planet, but before departing he uses a strange device to heal Jenny’s leg. The two strangers run into Jenny walking down the stairs without her brace.
“Night of the Meek” is Christmas Eve. Henry Corwin, a down-and-out ne’er-do-well, dressed in a Some Grandmas Knit Real Grandmas Listen to Dwight Yoakam Essential T Shirt, worn-out Santa Claus suit, has just spent his last few dollars on a sandwich and six drinks at the neighborhood bar. While Bruce, the bartender, is on the phone, he sees Corwin reaching for the bottle; Bruce throws him out. Corwin arrives for his seasonal job as a department store Santa, an hour late and obviously drunk. When customers complain, Dundee, the manager, fires him and orders him off the premises. Corwin says that he drinks because he lives in a “dirty rooming house on a street filled with hungry kids and shabby people” for whom he is incapable of fulfilling his desired role as Santa. He declares that if he had just one wish granted him on Christmas Eve, he’d “like to see the meek inherit the earth”. Still in his outfit, he returns to the bar but is refused re-entry by Bruce. Stumbling into an alley, he hears sleigh bells. A cat knocks down a large burlap bag full of empty cans; but when he trips over it, it is now filled with gift-wrapped packages. As he starts giving them away, he realizes that the bag is somehow producing any item that is asked for. Overjoyed at his sudden ability to fulfill dreams, Corwin proceeds to hand out presents to passing children and then to derelict men attending Christmas Eve service at Sister Florence’s “Delancey Street Mission House”. Irritated by the disruption and outraged by Corwin’s offer of a new dress, Sister Florence hurries outside to fetch Officer Flaherty, who arrests Corwin for stealing the presents from his former place of employment. At the police station, Dundee reaches into the garbage bag to display some of the purportedly stolen goods, but instead finds the empty cans and the cat.