I’ve never been a smoker, but I think I understand some of the addiction–because I’ve been a Dungeons & Dragons player.
Smokers tell me that the addiction isn’t so much about the taste or the chemical stimulation; it’s the ritual and the social aspects that are harder to shake off.
So it is with D&D. I can go for years without playing, but like with smoking, you’re always in recovery. Every time I step in a comic book store, there’s the risk that a group will be playing in a side room. I’ll remember the stories, the shared lore, the way that even as a DM I never knew quite what was going to happen next.
Then there are the books, nowadays even decorated to suggest ancient religious tomes–though for my money, the first edition of AD&D was the literary apex, with rulebooks that were a wonderfully random compendium of tiny statistical tables about everything from weather to divine intervention.
As you’ll have heard if you’re a nerd, D&D version 4 is released this month. Even though I’m currently on the wagon (35 gold pieces, weighs 400 lbs, carries 2 tons) I’m going to have to take a look at the new books when I see them in a store. I’ve played every edition of D&D so far, and I liked 3E. What I’ve heard about 4.0 suggests that I’ll like it even more. (Yeah, in retrospect those grappling rules were horrible, and combat could use more variety of action.)
I’ve always been into SF more than fantasy. I have Call of Cthulhu D20 and Traveller D20, but haven’t had the chance to play either. So I really don’t need any more temptation from a new and improved D&D.