Friday, January 27, 2012

People are complaining that 5th edition D&D will be like 2nd edition?

I've seen some posts and speculation that wow ... since 5th sounds like 2nd ... how horribly unoriginal? I guess that is the point of that banter ... or perhaps it is just more pointless version wars dribble. 

I think it is a potentially valid question ... would a 2nd ed format work?  Core rules with layers of other optional/supplemental materials/rules/etc.  Of course it would and it sounds like that is what they are going to be doing ... and who the hell could complain about giving people more choice and more than a single way to play the damn game?

For the record I played mostly 2nd ed D&D back in the day ... in terms of amount of what I've played during my gaming lifetime I think still to date 2nd ed is what I've played most.  As far as my preference I had loads of fun with 2nd edition D&D but towards the end of the run there was too much there, with all the add ons skills and powers, encyclopedias of spells, magic items, etc. etc. it was a pretty ponderous amount of stuff.  That said no one had to use it all and most DMs and groups didn't.  It was cool to know though that if you wanted to run a roman themed game, there was a book to help, or if you wanted a big amount of extra detail you could get your really cool all about dwarves, elves, what the hell ever ... books.   So for me I fail to see how this would be a bad thing if 5th ed ends up being like that?  And just because 2nd ed was like that ... if 5th ed copies that model somewhat ... its not innovative?  Huh? What?? Why even bring that up??  Yet those kinds of comments are flying around and I guess it bewilders and saddens me. 

For me ... if I want to RP I've never looked to D&D.  D&D is about killing monsters in dungeons.  If I want to have more meaningful, complex and interesting RP there are far better systems available now.  It is frustrating how little people are willing to look to other systems to suit specific needs ... it is actually the OSR guys bitching, the 3.5 guys bitching and everyone bitching that is leading WoTC to now be looking towards an apparently 2nd ed style system.  How can any of those guys bitch that apparently now everyone expects 5th to be a big swiss army knife systems that can do it all.  What the hell else could WoTC do and not end up cutting off their nose to spite their face?  If they want to "re-unify" the community (impossible IMO ... but I guess I can't fault them for trying) and get people with strong preferences to at least take a look at the new system and/or stop ranting against it ... it is going to have to be a big multifaceted system of some kind.  Again if that is the expectation we are either going to end up with a monstrous simulator thing ... (GURPS) ... that some people can handle but most don't even want to bother with or probably at best some sort of 2nd ed style game that has a tiered assortment of books that people can add in to increase complexity at will (ya an I know GURPS is basically that as well ... I'm just not a fan of the system it is far to complex for my taste). As progressive as many OSR people seem to think they are, they seem oblivious of many other systems for doing fantasy role playing outside of the D&D clone/emulator range ... games like BURNING WHEEL ... LEGENDS OF ANGLERRE are two prime examples.

With this latest complaint apparently the argument is that the officially supported version of D&D apparently has to support the denominational preference of all the given complainers ... and I ask why?  If you don't like it don't play because D&D can't be all things to all people.  I don't expect D&D to knock my socks off with amazingly awesome role playing ... the damn game has never been about that!! Just because random people out there feel they are "pro" D&D players who apparently are playing D&D in full iambic pentameter ... the game wasn't designed for that.  The game I think should focus more on providing light hearted hack and slash with some RP on the side.  That is what D&D has always been good at!!  Beyond that people can go play with their old dusty "classic" rules and have fun ... than can play with the newer "tactical boardgame" rules ... if they don't like D&D at all then do what I do and go play what I think personally are the even better  systems (previously mentioned).  But everyone needs to just quit napalming people who don't like their chosen version.  Why must we as a community engage in this pointless factional version war? Even if people have valid points it does no good bashing each other endlessly.  Sadly though that is looking like every step of the way with the roll-out of 5th that is going to continue being the case. 

As I've ranted about in other posts to me all old D&D (pre-3rd edition D&D) is ... erm ... its classic I agree. I have strong nostalgia for it, but it is more a "hey guys lets re-live 1984 for a night .. what do you say" kinda thing, again just from my preference and perspective.  I couldn't as an adult play that for months on end and be happy.  I aspire to run that kind of a game for my own children as they all are between the ages of 8 and 12, I'm sure they'll have fun with it.  But as an adult, who has been there and done that for literally decades.  It just has little appeal in terms of being a primary choice of what I'd like to spend my time doing other than a very occasional "shits and giggles" kinda thing.

Not since I've played games like Legends of Anglerre, Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, Dogs in the Vineyard will I ever view any version of D&D the same way.  So the endless "the old stuff is better than the new stuff ... the new stuff is better than the old stuff" at least to me its mostly moot.  If I want a fantasy game where the goal is to kill monsters with a standard fantasy party, taking loot and completing simple storylines ... I'll go with some version of D&D.  For anything else more involved ... personally I'd rather play another game.

All that said I begrudge the OSR guys nothing, I'm proud of their passion and efforts to keep the old school games alive and furthermore bring them new life. That is going to allow me to be able to easily run some kick ass games for my kids ... so I say bravo.  To the Pathfinder guys I say thanks for keeping RPG sales decent for local hobby shops ... so there is at least some gateway to tabletop RPGing in local stores ... that is the future of tabletop for good bad or otherwise.  So thanks guys and hats off to Paizo I don't care for Pathfinder but I love that company :)

After all this time I just don't get how the holier than though version wars rage on! Can't people see that the denominational fighting between nerds who should be uniting to save tabletop gaming ... is the path to ruin!  All this as the barbarians of video games continue to destroy the empire is just killing me.  I know with 5th ed a ways out ... I have a looooong road to travel.

Hmmmm ... where exactly does the Eastern Tabletop Gaming Empire begin ... perhaps I can flee to Constantinople before its too late ... I think I'm going to head there.

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