I once quoted Ken Hite's description of D&D
The original D&D seems, quite obviously, to be a pastiche of Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard adventure stories, set in a Tolkeinian world of Moorcockian morality, using Jack Vance's magic system, redacted for multiple protagonists. No wonder things are confused.
to a friend, and they were a little offended, considering it a criticism of D&D. I guess it is a criticism, but I think it is a valid description of D&D. However, I advance the theory that this “confused” nature of D&D is what makes it successful, because it provides so many different (and sometimes conflicting) elements that you can come up with about anything in D&D, and it will be fun. Each gaming group selects those things from D&D that they find interesting, customizing their play to their taste. This is something that is sometimes much harder in more focused games.
What do you think?