Me & my [expletive deleted]

Discussion in 'RPG Discussion' started by prolificvoid, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. prolificvoid

    prolificvoid Troubadour

    True confession time! I bear my soul before my brethren (and sistren?)(cistern?). =P
    I suspect many/most/all of you might see this is as a textbook example of a needed intervention. =]

    To get to the "confession" part, I am a player - AND DM ..........................
    ................... of D&D 4e.
    THERE. I said it.

    If you haven't already begun writing your rebuttal post - or perhaps your congressman - I'll take a moment to explain how I came to where I am.

    I discovered D&D - and very shortly thereafter, AD&D - right around 1980, and was SNATCHED UP in short order. A truly (truly) ENORMOUS part of my life was spent playing. I had some dalliances in Gamma World & Top Secret, and later on a couple other rpg's, but D&D was far and away my preferred game, bar none. Then too though, while I LOVED playing, I never really got into DM'ing. I did it a time or three at the near-demand of my DM, who wanted to, just ONCE IN A WHILE, actually PLAY! But I just never really took to it anything like playing.

    At any rate, in an attempt to condense this tome - in '97 I experienced what was quite possibly similar to what geekpreacher referenced as "the great D&D purge," or somesuch.

    So I was out of gaming for probably 7(ish) years, until I finally got to thinking what a good time I'd always had playing D&D. Eventually I decided to get back into it. Instinctively, I searched the interwebz for Dungeons & Dragons, and discovered that not only had there been a THIRD edition, but there was now an Edition 3.5.
    Wow - Rip Van Winkle'd through a whole edition.

    Certainly lacking the knowledge - and seemingly, the insight - of many/most/all others here, I just went with it. Figured, "Wow - well, this is where the game's gone" and jumped in. I found some people who played (no mention of previous editions either - perhaps reinforcing my thought, above), and started back in. Lots of things alien to me, like Skills, Feats, etc., but I picked up on it, kept playing, acquired books, and generally ... had fun.
    Still never DM'd though.

    When 4e was announced, like oh-so-many 3.x gamers at the time, I was fit to be tied, curses aplenty spewing forth.

    As I read from the designers their thoughts regarding the change, and the reasoning behind it, I further confess that I found it gradually more intriguing. From what I'd read - or at least what stuck out most to me - it was more streamlined and simplified, so as to be less cumbersome to the flow of the game. Part of this was also intended to encourage people to DM as well - it was supposed to be much easier to prepare - and, of greater import to me, run - balanced adventures/encounters/etc., and overall, just make DM'ing more appealing. Instead of making a day of creating a monster with a template or two, this could be done in a matter of minutes - stuff like that.

    So - this piqued my interest, aaaaannd ... I decided to give it a shot - including my first real go at running a campaign, rather than always just playing.
    In fact, my first DMing session was running the Worldwide Game Day adventure - with the "Quickstart Rules" - just before the core books released.
    AAAANNND ...
    I found that I enjoyed it. Both playing, AND DM'ing.
    So I started my first campaign. Ever.
    From my standpoint, the streamlining and simplifying of the rules allowed me to quit stressing so much on the mechanics, and focus more on the STORY.
    A good thing, I would think.

    Now ... I know full well that 4th (or even 3.x - and in some cases even 2nd!) edition is anathema
    to many/most folks here, for some possibly more understandably than others.
    But on the flipside of the coin, the back of my shirt from Gary Con 1 says (though it's my understanding it's a partial quote) :
    "I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games."

    And from what I've read regarding what Gary had to say (and Luke, talking about his dad), to him it was all about having fun - that was the prime requisite.
    It was discouraged to allow rules (and mayhap, by extension, rules systems?) to get in the way of that.

    Ernest Gary Gygax has and will ever be a hero, an inspiration, and indeed, a legend to me. And I do NOT say that lightly. When I found out in Germany that I was stationed with his freaking SON(!!) (Luke), that was like a no-sh*t miracle to me.
    To find out he was hella cool too was (is) incredi-awesome!!

    So, I certainly don't mean Gary (or anyone else) ANY slight in doing the majority of my gaming in the widely-unpopular-among-old-school-gamers that is D&D 4e. I can surely understand and respect others' reasoning for their decisions, but I suppose for me, the bottom line is that I'm kinda having a blast. And at the same time I'm fully aware that without The Great One and his colleagues, it would not be so. I'm all too aware of, and have THE HIGHEST regard for the brilliance of the makers and the Keepers of "The Old Ways" (as I saw the great Mr. Kask dub them in his sig).

    Anyway, hopefully, I can still be part "the gang" now that I've "outed" myself! (puh-WEEEZ?)
    And it actually goes beyond the above also (no I'm not LARP'ing - no offense to you LARPers), but I'll spare you, as you've been most generous in getting this far. Particularly if you had to stop to barf intermittently. =P

    Thanks for your patience. And now, without further ado, let the intervention (and possible floggings/drawing & quartering) begin!!!

  2. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    Wouldn't be any fun. Your to willing to be drawn & quartered. :lol:
  3. shalaban

    shalaban Chevalier

    I concur with ProlificVoid; keep the spirit of the game alive. :arrow: The rules will keep themselves alive. ;)
  4. shalaban

    shalaban Chevalier

    To elaborate on what I said above; D&D and RPGs for that matter, as a concept set forth in print as the late Mr. Gygax conceived them, was so mind-bogglingly unique and connected to the human condition that the concept cannot die. :cool: (As is evidenced by this and other forums.) :)

    However what does suffer at times is the spirit of the game. The spirit is as germane to the game as its rules. The spirit of the game cannot change drastically, but rules can. :!:

    This thought is one of the reasons I feel cons like Gary Con are important to the RPG industry as a whole. ;)

    Of course these are just my thoughts and opinions. :D
  5. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder


    I, too, play D&D 4E but not for the same reasons that you do. Honestly, I play it because it's almost frakkin' impossible to get anyone around these parts to play anything else. Heck, I've even tried to run Cthulu around here and can only get people to play for a few sessions before they want to get on to something else.....which is generally the current version of D&D.

    Don't feel bad about playing. I'm the type of person that loves all games and, to me, the best game that you can play is the one where you can sit around a table with your friends, crack jokes, eat some chips and down a few sodas (or brews).

    So, in my book, as long as you and your friends are enjoying yourselves then that is what is important. I only met Gary once and communicated with him a little via the internetz but, imo, I think he was all about enjoying games. I also get that impression from all the stories Luke is so gracious to share with all of us.

    So, my friend, game on and no matter what version your playing role a crit for me.

  6. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    WOTC D&D players know not to speak to Gene "Human Torch" Weigel so if they keep out of the 5' radius of my head they should be safe...

    I can perform an exorcism on your game if I "table dive" during mid-combat...

    Seriously, I couldn't give a &^%& if you were playing Pokemon Parcheesi as long as I don't have to play or hear about it!


    A PLAYER IN THE BACKGROUND: "My kobold blob rider princess is of the KOBOLDE' tribe the namesake of the founding daughters of Koboldtron the first of THE UNTAINTED ONES according the history discs of Koboldla..."


    Just kidding!!! ;)
  7. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Lulu- I can't say that I agree with your view of 4e. It is not D&D so much as a mini game of medieval-fantasy superheroes. I think it is pretty lame overall. But with that said- if you are having fun with your group then god bless. Believe it or not, my Dad was excommunicated from some serious wargaming clubs because he was playing a game with orcs and dragons and spells. That isn't REAL war gaming! I am still going to make fun of you for playing that crappy game though.

  8. Donal

    Donal Administrator

    You can play 4th edition all you want and I won't make fun of you. As long as you call it what it is, a board/miniatures game. It is no longer a role-playing game in my book.
  9. prolificvoid

    prolificvoid Troubadour

    But ....... then ....... what happens when we find ourselves "playing the roles?"
    Or is that actually not supposed to occur now - the backgrounds and worldviews and interactions and such?
    If so, someone had best call the "4e Puritans" or whatever they must be (???), if that's who instituted the impossibility of role playing in this ... 'cuz that's what we've been up to.
    ("Wanna hear about my character?") =]]
    I'm just sayin'.
    My characters, my story lines, and my players' characters, imho, have just as much background, plot, motivations, etc. as they ever have.
    (To which you may say, "Well then - must suck to play with you!" In which case, ouch, but fair enough!) :p

    And @ Melf -
    "a mini game of medieval-fantasy superheroes."
    Sounds kinda cool at face value.
    'specially when we all find ourselves "messing up" and role playing, despite the apparent machinations to eliminate all possibility of that very thing from occurring. We gamers are a wily lot though, I've gotta say!
    In all honesty though, hypothetically, if that game bore a moniker OTHER than Dungeons & Dragons, do you (or perhaps, many of you) think you'd really have such a low opinion of it. Really? I guess I just don't see how - as a game - it can be viewed with such disdain. Seems like it's more than the fact that it's just not what it used to be. I don't think any reasonably informed gamer doesn't wish that - not only was your dad still here with us of course - but that he'd always remained the owner of the D&D brand. Just from snippets I've heard hither and yon, I personally think it's uncontionable how things played out.
    And to some degree, I also think that's a (if not the) driving factor for so many old school gamers' distaste for anything beyond what Gary did. Unless of course it has a name other than Dungeons & Dragons. Look at ALL OF THE DIFFERENT GAMES being run at the next GC! Many MANY are non-TSR, and SOME people last year I even spotted using MINIATURES with rpgs!
    (They had those back in our day, btw) ;) (Even though I never used 'em)
    But back to point: something else your dad did was to inspire a VAST amount of people.
    I (dare) think also that a LOT of the peeps at WotC - the folks who AREN'T the big "corporate suits" - the ones who currently work on the design, art, whatnot, for the game ... are some of these people. Gamers who love D&D too - and that they KNOW to whom they owe gratitude for gifting them with the game that they, too, love. I have a hard time thinking that they intend the spirit of the game any disrespect whatsoever.
    And in and of itself, I don't find it to be a bad game - at all. (Have you all tried it, btw?)
    And yeah - at the end of the day, it's a business. But you're a capitalist for crying out loud - you can appreciate that. It would still be a business if your dad was running it - and I wish he was. But TLG is a business too, as is Mongoose, Green Ronin, etc. There are any number of other game publishers out there who don't bear the scorn seemingly reserved for WotC, and I can't really see that - substantively - it's about much more than the fact the game bears THE sacred name.
    And I guess on a side note, was it not actually WotC (pre-corporate giant Hasbro acquisition, albeit) that essentially kept it from drying up?
    (Due to she-who-shall-not-be-named, which I believe was when your dad actually got - and I don't use the term lightly - robbed)
    The then-owner of Wizards, from all I've heard, was actually a big D&D fan, and didn't wish to see it fade away.

    I know, I know, "James say blah-blah-blah." :p
    At any rate bro, I am confident that you will never find yourself at a shortage of things for which to make fun of me.
    And that's cool - 'cuz you know you'll be gettin' it dished up to you too! w00t!
  10. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    Its deeper than clogged up rules and miniatures, theres plenty of clogged up rules and miniatures in Gygax designed games as well.

    So whats the problem with 4e?


    Plain and simple.

    It is the deep rooted "go to town bringing this away from Gygax" orders from "NEW TSR BRASS" that killed the interest of millions of fans starting in Gygax's (former) rules. Remember ORIENTAL ADVENTURES? A fake Gygax named book that came across like National Geographic instead of the eloquence we saw with the druid and the paladin we got straight up eastern medieval. Remember FORGOTTEN REALMS? Instead of a world that was ready to play to make your own like Greyhawk you would have to wait for the details of this one in the form of endless yapfest gazetteers that added nothing but yap and more yap. These are the literal "antithesis of weal" ( ;) ) as far as aesthetics. Its these aesthetics that made it into the "Gygax is gone" game systems. Compare the monsters of "fake D&D" to the monsters of the Gygax D&D games. That uncharacteristic feel that is all over 4e only appeals to certain types of people and its all balled up since the day Gygax left. there is no 4e problem there is/was a loss of the designer problem. When he was gone from TSR they were in the long dark of trying to minimalize and reconfigure the focus of the game towards "story worlds" and "talky monsters" instead of coming up Gygax's quasimedieval eloquence. The savage pens that were under hire without his guidance never made one tiny contribution to "D&D" that lived up to Gary's worst day at TSR.

    You hear the names of these creatures and you look at the silly overly "product identified" extrapolations that have buried the thrill of the original games that once appealed to many medieval professors but now could only manage Scooby Doo fans and you wonder when is the corporate ape in a suit gonna sit back and take a good look at this shit and say "what the heck. I think Gary Gygax had it right the first time!" and toss all this "product identity" garbage where it belongs.

    In the trash.

    Hey, at least I'm being honest!

  11. tavis

    tavis Footpad

    I also play 4E (and, until that campaign wrapped up, 3.5E) and enjoy it quite a bit. I even recently cashed a check from WotC for writing for the new edition-that-shall-not-be-named; I'll set aside some of that money to buy folks beers at GaryCon as penance dictates!

    I agree with GeneWeigel that not even later TSR products get the aesthetics right, and with everyone who has said that keeping the spirit alive is essential. For me, actively playing the original editions has been crucial in discovering that spirit - for all that I've spent dozens of hours reading over the evocative goodness that is the AD&D DMG, I learn more each time I play with the New York Red Box group (even if what I learn is often simply "Oh, I should have paid more attention to *that* section of the DMG).

    The last GaryCon was also a great learning experience - as a player in Tim Kask's dungeon, I used tactics that I rely on as a spellcaster in later editions (casting long-lasting detection and protection spells before even entering the dungeon), only to discover that old-school dungeons are big, mostly-empty places. It's not a lair or a chapter in a story, where you can reasonably expect to confront the main villain before the duration of your "buff" spells wear off; the dungeon is an environment all its own, in which (even as a convention game) time and resource management are crucial to smart play, and there's no telling what the outcome will be. If there was a "big bad evil guy" in Tim's dungeon, we happened not to go that way, and what happened instead was all the more wondrous and strange because I didn't feel like it was following any pre-set conclusion about what was going to happen.
  12. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    This is exactly what I'm talking about. The remnant of the Gygaxian game under all this horrible window dressing that when I'm in the bookstore these days and I get the curiosity to pop open a new D&D book and immediately recoil from the content like Bela Lugosi getting snagged by Van Helsing's pocket mirror. But why do I keep checking?

    Remember that old 80's song by Huey Lewis and the News? "The Heart of Rock and Roll"? Its almost exactly what is going on in that song as pertains to D&D. "Its still that same old backbeat rhythm that really kicks them in the..." etc. Thats the draw to these new games: that there was an old game that had a really big draw and everyone is still checking if its up to par. Nobody wants ridiculous sounding "game identity" monsters and stories or to look at a page filled with baroque numbers and game elements. They just want content for the old game coming out of a "new shiny package" again. Thats why lately this whole cottage industry is sparking up.
  13. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    Antithesis of Weal. You just don't get enough of those phrases in D&D today :ugeek:
  14. MAJ Bill

    MAJ Bill Level 0 Character

    I've always thought it was interesting how an already small, fringe group further fractures into smaller groups yet. In "Illuminati", the opposite alignment of "fanatical" is "fanatical". I have decided the opposing alignment to "gamer" is "gamer". :twisted: I wish WotC well with 4th ed. Ain't my cup of tea, and I'm not going to buy book one, but I hope it sells. Anything that keeps table top games alive is Ok as far as i'm concerned. And I believe that a good GM can make any game system come alive with a good, compelling story. No matter how crappy that game may be :p
  15. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    Hey, at least I didn't turn that song into another D&D salute music video...

    My camera is in the shop... ;)

    There was hamlet in the excerpts from GNOME CACHE (Gary's unpublished novel) called "Weal" so I always think of that place as a real dump for half a second when I read "antithesis of weal" in reference to evil in the PLAYERS HANDBOOK or Gord yarns... ;)
  16. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    Exactly, they just want to sell D&D to this little tiny group without any regard for mass appeal at all anymore. Armor class, damage and hit points is all anybody needs to know, once you get past that with skills, etc people just get think this is a big time waster and this is for people who really have nothing better to do. Thats why Gary was against all the early non-offical offshoots of D&D not just for the obvious reason that they were directly competing but because overwrought stories and rules were only appealing to people who can grasp overwrought things and find something good in it.
  17. prolificvoid

    prolificvoid Troubadour

    And please, please don't ... IMHO, the term "the '80's" is a better descriptor for the percentage range of remotely popular music that ate scrotum.
    Antithesis of weal? There, we have it. May it rest in pieces.

    More later (though not on THAT - hopefully) - but I gots to go earn bill-paying creds now ...
  18. GeneWeigel

    GeneWeigel Footpad

    Its in production now as we speak...

  19. Donal

    Donal Administrator

    Alright, alright. I'll admit it. There are aspects of 4th edition that I like and will probably bring back in time to my 3.5 campaign (and maybe all the way down to a 1st edition game). But overall, I'm not a fan.

    To me, D&D as I grew up with it, did not require a map (other than graph paper as the DM designed the dungeon or as the players tried to map it). D&D was played in tight cramped college apartments, computer labs, across two double beds in hotel rooms at conventions, restaurants, cars on road trips, the bowels of submarines and aircraft carriers, tents in Iraq, and all sorts of places where only a book, character sheets, a few dice will fit.

    It was tough converting to 3.0/3.5 as maps because far more necessary than ever before. But the game could be played without and it really introduced some cool concepts.

    I don't think 4th can be played without maps and miniatures, and that's really my biggest issue (with the runner up issue being a complete and total rewrite of all the classical monsters and classes into something almost unrecognizable).

    There's my 2 cents.
  20. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    I believe I can sum this up pretty simply; If it wasn't touched in some way, shape, manner or form by Gary Gygax, or TSR when Gary was there, it isn't Dungeon & Dragons!


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