Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Because it will probably come up eventually

I'm a really big fan of D&D 4e.

I really like what Mike Mearls et al have done with the game. I like how much easier it is to run than 3rd Edition. I like how tactical and cinematic it feels and the mechanics of powers. I like the integration of Wushu-esque Skills Challenges, even though I had to go to the Internet to find a better interpretation of them. Yet the more I read Old School forums and blogs, the more I experience a certain disdain for 4e; not only a disdain, but an active desire to see it fail, as if by its collapse, people would suddenly come to their senses and realize that the fun they were having is clearly bad and would pick up a copy of OSRIC post haste. I know that the vast majority of Old School folks are honestly just trying to play and promote older games, but shit like James Mishler's utterly insulting Types Of Adventures chart (sadly non-existent now due to destruction of evidence) and the backlash against Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik playing Swords and Wizardry wrong leaves a sour taste in my mouth and a strong desire to steer myself solely towards the positive side of this scene.

There's a band called Against Me! If you're a punk fan, you've probably heard of them. They played anarchist folk-punk in basements, laundromats and coffee houses for years, releasing their records on small independent labels to pretty universal acclaim. Pretty soon, basement shows couldn't hold the average audience they brought in, and as a result, they signed to Fat Wreck Chords, one of the bigger independent labels in the country. All of a sudden, the same fans who had loved their music were coming to their shows to spit in their faces, slash their tires and pour bleach on their merchandise because God forbid a band adapt and evolve the way that they want.

The most virulent elements of the OSR remind me of all of that bottomless negativity and with us or against us antagonism that I still try to ignore in music scenes across the country. Edition Wars and smug superiority only serve to fracture a hobby that's pretty tiny to begin with, and telling someone that they're not playing real D&D because they use Ascending AC is the worst way to entice people into becoming involved. There are many different ways to play these wonderful old games that many people are rediscovering and that I have discovered for the first time. Just as these games should not be denigrated as 'outdated' or 'nostalgic', their more modern cousins should not be labeled as 'dumbed down' or 'travesties.'

On a completely different note, thanks to A Paladin in Citadel for putting me up on his blogs list and hello to the folks who've just started following Fistful of Coppers! I promise to start talking about Unarmored AC or the Kuo-Tua in the near future. :)


  1. How could I resist, with a blog title like that?!

  2. Apparently, there's another blog called A Fistful of Coppers, but it's apparently about gold farming in WoW. :)

  3. You make a great comparison here - in general the "You are doing it wrong if X" mentality is something I loath in all iterations.

    The 4e hate is odd. For my return to gaming, I picked up 3.0 because it was cheap and pretty, and that mattered when trying to convince friends and loved ones to play when the barbarian blowing a door apart with the sheer force of showing off his biceps on the cover of 2e would scare them off quick. But I have to say... if I hadn't encountered so much negativity towards in online, even from people I respect a lot, I probably would have bought 4e. I'm kind of ashamed I let that influence me, now.

    (and thanks for following me!)

  4. No problem! I started reading your comments on Zak's blog and it seems like we're in a similar boat, coming back to gaming after an extended hiatus (which actually seems to be a significant portion of Old School D&D blogs) Then I read Quinne's Quinnessentials and the rest was history. If I ever run the Western-inspired Eberron game that I've had in the back of my head ever since I played Torchlight, that's how I'm gonna handle guns.


  5. I enjoyed 4E too, and would play it again anytime. Btw, all the online negativity did was make me more determined to enjoy it - not unlike how I've seen far too many movies I would otherwise have ignored just because angry people with signs were picketing :)

  6. Exactly! And, by the way, thank you for following me! I've been reading over your Megadungeon stuff and your Sword and Sorcery Greyhawk posts and they've been super inspiring.

  7. P.S. Down with this sort of thing!

  8. Amens all around. Sorry I'm coming late to the party on this one, but I saw you just became one of my blog's followers and thought I'd stop by your house ;-)

    I just posted my own thoughts on this topic, and it's an utterly stupid thing that the petty people in our "hobby" are propagating. But there will always be the small-minded folk who don't understand that any kind of gaming is gaming. Getting tired of talking about this...guess I should shut up!

  9. Sit yourself down, roll some dice, and have some fun. You do that, you're doing it right. Be warned, there will be tempests in our little teapot every couple of months. Just keep your head down, keep the dice rolling, and don't take any of it too seriously.

    *thumbs up* Welcome, neighbor, and well met!