Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Simpler - I DON'T THINK SO!

A lot of people accuse Old School RPG's of being too simple, an accusation I think is wrong and without foundation. When the people are challenged, they can offer no real tangible evidence as to why they think its so.

Upon reading the Posts of the 4th Edition Group over at Various RPG Groups (Including Facebook and the Wizbro Forums), a lot of them are along the lines of (and these are direct qoutes) these -

I just started playing with my 4 year old Son this week

I gm, my wife plays a mage, my 10 year old son plays a warlock rogue, and my 4 year old daughter plays a cleric.

My 7 yr-old son and 9 yr-old daughter have played

Those are but three comments out of many, these are spread around the 4e (not) DnD community - for the most part the very people who lay the accusations about OS Games being so simple.

The message there to me is that they have DUMBED DOWN the 4e (not) DnD rules so much that a Kindergardener can play them!

I have spent a considerable amount of time defending my hobbies and passions - people taking the "michael", saying "its for kids" I FINALLY after umpteen years get the respect for the hobby it deserves from my Family and Non-Gamer friends - when gorram WizBro make 4th Edition (not) DnD so damn simple and childish little kids can play it!

It might be a Game/Hobby that appeals to all age-groups, but its NOT supposed to be a Kiddyfied Family Hobby!

Whilst I am not against youngsters playing RPG's (see my Harvesters post) I feel the rules should be appropriate to the age group in question - you wouldn't let an 8 year old play full contact Rugby for (an extreme) example.

This sort of "Teach my 5 year old to play (not) DnD" is going to be damaging to the hobby for us older gamers - just wait and see.


  1. Running a 1e campaign for my (nearly) 7-year-old - he has no problems with the rules. We have not dumbed anything down, we don't have quests for cute puppies or such like. His favourite character was a dwarven fighter who loved his axe. Said fighter was killed by an ettin but his elven (not Eladrin, WTF is that?) F/Mu and the rest of the gang finished it off.

    So yes, kids can play 1e. They can play 4e but why should they have to?

  2. Thats part of the "rub" isn't it, the marketing is all at "must play 4e" and "need ALL these books to play" - as Gary once said "The secret we should never let the DM's know is that they don't need any rules" - most modern RPG's "over egg the pudding" with WAY too many books and supplements . . . . . .

  3. I have to agree with you 100% on that. A point that I have often made on other blogs is that if the OSR was a bit more high profile, then the new gamers would be aware that there are other options than the bloated rules-fest that is 4e. Currently, someone hears about D&D and goes to their local games store and all they see is 4e,4e,4e - we need some visibility for the leaner alternatives.

  4. Im TRYING to do that, I've even been chatting with Gary Son E. Gary Jr. on Facebook! (who is very supportive) - its just hard getting the word out there!

  5. I have been playing 3.x with my kids in one game, Pathfinder in another and 4e in yet one other game. Neither I nor our other DM have ever dumbed things down for them.

    Funny thing is. I was in my local game store recently. One table was playing AD&D1, another Swords & Wizardary (white box rules), another Pathfinder and another D&D4.

    Maybe it is local, but there is no "you must play D&D4!" vibe here. In fact there is more variety now than ever. Sure 8-9 years ago it was nothing bu 3.0 and d20, but now I can pretty much find any game I want to buy or play.

    That's good for the OSR and for the people that do like the new games.

  6. Lucky for you Tim - but thats you and yours isn't it. I can assure you that just because it works that way for you - it doesn't work that way anywhere else.

    Despite you trying to hide it with your name dropping of other systems - you're just coming over as a 4e (not) DnD Fanboy now!

    OK - answer me this.IF WizBro aren't dumbing things down - why are there Licensed D&D Soft Drinks! FFS how LAME can they get!

    It must be 'local' to you, because the broader marketing for 4e (not) DnD is one of pressure to conform.

  7. Tim is lucky in that he lives somewhere where there are probably a great many gamers and game stores, and Chgowiz too! In the UK, Games Workshop has the market pretty well sewn up as regards retail; I would use the net if I wanted to get new OSR product. Our local game store is minuscule and has a back room where they mostly play Trading Card games. They looked blankly at me when I mentioned retro-clones.

    That having been said, I've had a hell of a job even finding players, so perhaps my geographical isolation is not helping. Perhaps if I lived in a city (London, Manchester?) things might be different, but that's just my personal experience.

    Just like Tim's post is his.

  8. If anything I am Unisystem fanboy since that's what I get paid to write. Or maybe a Spellcraft and Swordplay since I am also writing for that system too. That's better name dropping, not systems I play, but ones I get paid to write for. ;)

    But at the end of the day I am just wanting to have fun. And I find I can do that with a lot of systems.

    But don't forget in the licences that there were AD&D action figures, an AD&D coloring book and cartoon. All during Gary's time at TSR. Remember, Wizards/Hasbro is a business. Their job is to make money. World of Warcraft got onto Mt. Dew last year and raised the awareness of their property, Wizards is following suit.

  9. Myths and Monsters is G-r-o-w-i-n-g atm, my Group has requested a FULL Rulebook! FFS I don't know where to start LMAO!

  10. Tim Said - But don't forget in the licences that there were AD&D action figures, an AD&D coloring book and cartoon. All during Gary's time at TSR.

    DO NOT take Gary's name in vain on here - ALL those travesties came about outside of Gary's control. It was a combination of decisions made by Gary's fellow board members, Kevin and Brian Blume and a licensing request from Tohie (who did the Animation in Japan) - the series spawned more than 100 different licenses, the Action Figures were but one. The colouring book, which was released in 1979 by Troubador Press under license from TSR was actually a Mini-Game as well. It was a marketing ploy (that never really worked, and so got abandoned) - before even MENTIONING Gary's name like that again - get your facts straight.

  11. Not to argue, but Gary was involved with the Cartoon as head of "Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment, Inc." A company he helped form to expand D&D into other markets.

    I think I even still have the Dragon magazine where he talked about it and some of the other licensing plans he had back before he was booted.

    I talked to Gary a few times over the years. He was a great guy.

  12. He was involved with the Cartoon yes, but not the fucking toys - and he wasn't booted. He sold his shares and walked after being stabbed in the back.

    From YOUR wikipedia link - "In October 1986, Gygax resigned all positions with TSR, Inc"

    From your PC Gamespy link - "I lost control of the company, and it was then at that point I just decided to sell out"

    Again, get your facts straight.

    Neither article mentions Gary's involvement Toys or Action Figure licensing that I can see.

    Another qoute from Gamespy "I've looked at them, yes, but I'm not really a fan. The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good"

    As I pointed out in a much older post - D&D ISN'T D&D anymore, it might hold the license, the name, and the imagery - but its not.

    Gary (and his children) are wonderful folks.

  13. Cartoons and action figures are one thing,but fucking keds shoes with mind flayers on them and soft drinks is a step too far.It makes my asshole spew diarrhea shit in 90 different directions at once.The action figures and cartoon we're just product marketing to gain a broader audience to the game,this other bullshit is brand marketing,which inspires nothing from no one except to sell shit cause it has a fucking dungeons and dragons label on it.That's why it's fucking evil,there's no soul there,just dollar signs and greedy cocksuckers rubbing thier hands together while swimming in a sea of fanboy money...But honestly,i hope they succeed,that just helps dry out buyer market on Ebay for the rest of us who like good games.4th edition makes my ass wanna dip of snuff!If i wanted to play WoW i'd fucking buy a subscription to WoW,but I hate that fucking game with a passion,here's why...

    Now,D&D is exactly like this shit???WTF is wrong with people?

  14. First I agree with this post and with alot of the comments in response. My own gaming groups have all come to the conclusion collectively that if you have a good group and GM/DM ... you don't even need rules. You can just sit and collectively weave an interactive story.

    I want to be playing RPGs when I'm 80 and I like playing with a diverse group ... I agree WoW is evil but I think its really stupid to say 4E is as bad as WoW. Its idiotic in fact. 4E is a pen and paper face to face RPGing ... PERIOD. Once you get people to love pen and paper RPGs and get it into their blood ... you have a new RPG fan. Many of them will inevitably seek out other RPGs and learn about the history of D&D and maybe one day they'll turn in up one of your 1st ed games. How can an 18 year old who doesn't have a parent or relative who raised them on D&D be expected to automatically find some old out of print game and immediately declare it superior??? You think they are going to take some cranky old guys word for it?? I doubt it. This rational is like being a fan of classic cars from the 50s or 60s and being angry at any new car ... your justified in your belief in your own mind ... but your very unrealistic. 4E is here to stay and its been popular, its bringing new players to the game and providing existing D&D fans with continued entertainment via a PEN AND PAPER RPG ... therefor .. love it or hate it ... you need to learn to deal with it and accept that it will not go away. I think that many of the people out there bashing and hating would be better served in seeking the best revenge and that is to lead by example. Talk about the old games and what is good about them, don't tear down, don't hate, don't rant. Keep what you love alive. I like reading blogs that do that ... I'm not a fan of the endless D&D vs. 4E ranting ... its pointless.

    To me the bottom line is players and DMs can flame and swear and rant about the "evil" companies that are making money from gaming (OMG how dare they!!) ... and as someone whose personal politics are something along the lines of Socialist-Anarchist ... I hear ya! Power to the people!! Yet ... as a greedy gamer who likes new shiny stuff and who likes to have lots of different people to game with ... I support companies like WotC in their continued efforts to attract new players to role playing games. I'm also a mini game fan (GW mainly) and a board game fan. Game companies like Games Workshop, Fantasy Flight Games and Privateer Press are engaging in many of the same practices that WotC are and that is bad and good. To me any efforts to pry people away from WoW ... to ANY type of face to face gaming ... is good and I will do what I can to support such efforts.

  15. Well...i'm angry at new cars,mainly cause they consistantly breakdown after about two years,this wizards of the cock shit is'nt dungeons and dragons,it's just plain old queer shit to fuckin make changes without nessesity cause they wanna cater to emo kids who make out with the same sex and go to dashboard confessional concerts and cry cause thier parents did'nt give em enough allowance money to buy new pokemon cards,how bout i take a big nasty bean burrito shit on a piece of paper and your group plays with that for about two or three hours? It's the same as playing 4th edition.