Friday, March 13, 2009

Edition Wars

It's Friday and time for a look around the web. Seems there's something of a dust-up between the old shool crowd and the 4th edition folks.

One example of dividing line from the Old School viewpoint is found here by Jeff Rients. That post with a follow-up comment sparked this reply by Scott over on A Butterfly Dreaming. In short order insults of tribalism and more are being fired.

In general I find myself on Jeff's side here, not in what I like (because I dislike any and all editions of D&D)- but in the logic presented.

Original D&D was a very different game than 4th edition. That Scott feels that the changes since correct "...those things that I found most senseless and annoying ..." doesn't alter that fact. It only highlights how different the game he plays is. He highlights rules (calling the old ones senseless and annoying) and then goes on to say that D&D isn't about rules.

That's senseless and annoying if anything is.

Yes, D&D is to use Scott's words a- " of rules". And there is no irony in Old School saying that, as their whole mindset is a return to the original version of those rules and the methods of play they inspired.

A D&D Campaign is more than the rules of course, as is any other RPG. But relying upon this fact to say we all (no matter the edition) play the same game is as foolish as saying that those playing GURPS are playing D&D. It makes you look silly, and it belittles people playing older editions for no reason.

I'm for accepting the differences, and flowing with them. Let Old School be Old School and accept that they don't like 4th. Like all old timers, they will whine now and then about the 'kids'. So what? They aren't burning your books are they?


thanuir said...

You, sir, are correct and this is a much-needed post.

I'll add that "fluff" matters, too; all the art and (bad) fiction and example characters give people a mental image of what the play and the setting are like, hence altering the play experience. And all of that has significantly changed as the edition has done so. (Do D&D books even have short fiction? I hope not...)

Tom said...

This, like every edition war post I've ever read, is senseless and annoying. :)

Scott said...

Ambrose Bierce? I don't suppose you intended that as a compliment, but I'll take it as one regardless.

If the rules are what matter most to you, I have a hard time understanding why you play RPGs. More power to you, though.

Personally, I chose to highlight the rules to show just how little they matter. They're more like the uniforms than the game, in my experience. But I've never known two people to take the same message from a given piece of writing, nor to judge in the same fashion what's big and what's little.

Gleichman said...

@thanuir: I think it quite likely that fluff matters, more so today than in the past I think. One of the things White Wolf brought us. A pity I think, people should make their own fluff.

@Tom: :)

@Scott: It was the only name I could find on the site at the time. I think you screwed up the formatting for your quote at the bottom. I'll correct the text.

As for the rules not mattering, you are clearing lying. The rules mattering was the entire point of your post. You prove what you deny.

Scott said...

Yes, clearly lying. Because that would be the intelligent plan, after making the post in the first place and then leaving it sitting there on the internet.

Or... maybe you just took a different point from it than I tried to put into it? This happens with literature and articles, especially during a quick surface reading.

Really, there's no need to stoop to insults.

Gleichman said...

@Scott: People lie to themselves and thus to others all the time Scott. Sadly, intelligence has little to do with it.

As for getting a different point than you intended, I'd suggest better writing on your part. If you didn't intend those words, you shouldn't have used them.

Scott said...

@Gleichman: Perhaps. Or perhaps it's not the writing, but the reading. You did, after all, miss the multiple highlighted comments with my name on them, as well as the "About" link right at the top of the page and the copyright notice at the bottom. Perhaps I simply didn't make those as visible as I'd hoped to, while redesigning my theme, but might it be possible that you missed other things in the course of reading the article?

Either way, I'll attempt to clarify in my next post. I do find it disconcerting that someone could take "The rules are the most important thing" from what I'd written. Although I suppose I should also point out that I never said rules didn't matter. Just that they're of relatively minor importance.

Gleichman said...

@Scott: I didn't read the comments, the quote at the bottom as I said at the time had no name but Bierce's at the bottom and thus I used it as it seem's Bierce was copywritting everything the page. Once found, I didn't go looking for a 'About'.

And know you're the one who can't read. I didn't take away that "the rules are the most important thing" from what you wrote. I took away that you would like to think they aren't, but even so they are for you.

Hence my comment that you lie to yourself. I still believe that. You protest too much.

Samuel Van Der Wall said...

Most people can't capture 'old glory'. Gaming may have had a different feel when you were younger, but that doesn't mean you need to continually chase that old feeling. That's why disco still hangs around with some people when it should be long gone. Instead, why not find a new game that invokes new feelings of excitement inside you? Branch out and play a game that doesn't involve fighting, or doesn't require miniatures, or is different than an old school fantasy setting. You'd be surprised at what you might find 'fun' out there.

Gleichman said...

@Samuel Van Der Wall: It's not 'old glory' unless you've lost it somewhere along the way.

Even if it was, just because you can't or won't regain it is no reason to say others can't. Few things are as cool as vintage cars to some people, and I have a great fondness for western era firearms.

Everyone should be allowed to chase their vision of the hobby, and that includes Old School. Even if you and I (I don't like Old School play styles myself) disagree.