Monday, January 16, 2012

What D&D 5e Has Already Done For Me

So I've been keeping up with WizBro's 5e news and fora talk as well as Enworld's 5e update page and one thing has become relatively clear to me. It aint for me. In fact the news of the development of 5e has done something for me already--sent me back to my roots.

After talking to the Wizards on the forum, and rubbing digital shoulders with 4e blogsters and WoTC fans overall I'm tired. I'm also convinced that I don't think Wizards can do it. They have too many new age gaming fans with rabid intent and purpose to get back to their roots. Which is when it dawned on me, that WoTC can never get back to D&D's roots, because they have never made a game rooted in the old school. Their first child was 3.0--a distinctly non-D&D game.

Now don't get all pissy on me. I don't mean non D&D like it's not D&D, but it's not the game TSR made. For one it was changed to a d20 game. And for lots of other reasons I've run over more than once on this blog. I've read comments by true grognards on their fora and they are quickly shouted down by the "new and better" zealots, convinced that the old way of doing things held no merit whatsoever. Try and defend class level limits, racial ability or class restrictions, alignment or more esoteric rules of the old day and they simply can't even entertain that there may have been an inherent logic to these decisions.

Yeah, Wizards may be able to make a d20 rules light game based on the core four classes, but it's just gonna be the same flat Schlitz in a new fangled can. Myself--I've been GMing Pathfinder for going on 10 months now. A total of over 150 hours in our last two campaigns. It's not bad, and I'm not knocking it. I've even tried to get into "my own skin" within the construct of the game. But this past week talking game mechanics and changes I'd like to see in the new D&D has made me see once again that I'm not really happy in my gaming.

I've been spending some time again over on the DCC RPG forums and perusing some of my old school haunts. And I'm still just not sure. I really like the tone of some of the releases, especially Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. And others like Crypts & Things, Dark Fate RPG and the awesome dark metal of Lamentations of the Flame Princess--which has some awesome new Swords and Planets stuff going on lately. But, though I love the settings, the systems leave me a little pale.

They are all based roughly on Original D&D, usually as Swords and Wizardry offspring. Which in itself is cool, as I really like that systems assumptions. And I'm still in love with Matt Finch's A Quick Primer For Old School Gaming. And that makes me wonder a bit about myself. Am I really a crunchy gamer? Or am I a rules lite gamer? What is it about the minimalist approach that games like S&W, C&C, & L&L that turn me off? I'm not really sure as the only one I've ever even tried is C&C. I'm a 1e man, an AD&D gamer--and I never minded the addition of complexity, the crunch, the labyrinthine rules, the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in that version of the game.

And what is it that keeps me going off on my own? Of making my own dark, house ruled version of a fantasy campaign. After all that's what many of those mentioned above have done. Maybe it's because of the fear that I put in the energy and noone wants to play in "my" game. Maybe it's time to put my foot down and make a stand.
For further explication on the development of this line of thought see this
first ...
then, this
and if you're still with me, this.


James Smith said...

Someone will play. There's still plenty of gamers out there, who just aren't that hung up on system. As long as someone will DM and do a decent job, they'll play. God Bless them. :)

ADD Grognard said...

Thank God!

Finally a voice of sanity. I'm so ******* sick of reading 5e posts I'm about to puke.It's doing what WotC wanted-distracting us from what we are doing.

The Pathfinder thing is different for me. The Beginners Box is really good and Sean K. Reynolds posted at the Paizo forums:

Sean K Reynolds (Developer) Oct 21, 2011, 05:40 PM

Sean K Reynolds
mcbobbo wrote:

Does this same preference apply to fan content as well as for-dollars content? I was pretty excited about writing up some stuff for the new GMs to use, but this statement makes me less so. As in, if you don't want (or think the new players need) my help, then I suppose I'll save the effort...

There's no reason why you shouldn't create new content suitable for the Beginner Box! One of the reasons the GM Kit has the section on using PF materials is because we don't have any supplemental material for the Beginner Box. If other people want to pro-publish or fan-publish to support that niche, go for it!

mcbobbo wrote:

EDIT: Actually, it just occurred to me. Beginner's does nothing more than turn Core into a supplement book. That's the extent of the damage. Just as how you'd ignore Gunslingers and Ninjas if you didn't like those, Beginner's ignores rules that complicate things. That's all.

YES! That was our intent--to create a slimmed-down version of the rules that's easy to learn, that didn't contradict the Core Rulebook, and allowed you to add the Core Rulebook content when you were ready.
(end quote)

Now THAT got me pumped! I'm already working on a genetically similar system, how easy to port things over and sell! That's how you do it.

If you haven't grabbed the box yet it is still dirt cheap at Amazon and the free downloads show how to use the box with published material.


As you said, there are plenty of ways to go for that true classic feel. :)

Good to see you posting again :)

Marshall Smith said...

You want a wacky suggestion? Get away from D&D altogether. Check out Fantasy HERO (it doesn't get any crunchier). See if you can find some of the Rolemaster stuff. Look into FATE. I played Dragon Age this weekend, and really enjoyed it.

D&D has a rich history and very strong core. But, the hobby is much wider than that. And if you take a bit of a walkabout, you will come back home with a stronger idea of what bits you do and don't like.

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