Friday, November 28, 2008

Good Gaming Goes Groucho

I am really starting to understand the classic Marx quote (stolen from another source, so this will be fourth-rate thievery) of “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”. After looking at months upon months of arguments in the D&D community about Fourth Edition, I’ll go with what I’ve been thinking in this blog as concisely as possible. I know, wackiness and ‘up-to-date’ are not up to my repertoire; however, I wanted to really form a cohesive idea on what 4e does and doesn’t do ‘right’ in my eyes.

4e hit some great notes . . . the whole issue is that a lot of these things weren’t exactly new. Creature-based XP, minions, ‘bigger, better’ solo and ‘elite’ monsters, a collapsing of the rococo skill system . . . well, this has been done. House rules on these things have existed for a good period of time, and I think that they’re great house rules. Hell, they’re great concepts! They belong in D&D no matter what the stripe because they help to take some solid ideas from house rules and early iterations of D&D and place them into the limelight again.

4e also did some really bad turns. Destruction of the cosmology by major shifts, the so-called ‘spell plague’, and the direct establishment of the four roles (defender, striker, etc.) . . . it feels wrong. The problem I have with these flaws is their introduction into the main; yes, a lot of people say ‘well, you can take it or leave it’, and I agree wholeheartedly that in most situations you could do this. In the core system, however, creating all sorts of strange armors, changing the armor choices, and introducing a setting which is antithetical to the settings presented before which were well-received . . . well, it just doesn’t ring well with me.

I really hope that 4e gets nice third-party support, and that WotC gets up off of its behind to develop some good materials from older settings and maybe even a ‘non-fantasy’ version of 4e. 4e feels to me like a great interpretation in combat of wargaming, and in all honesty I think that that style has some great purposes. Hell, the setting itself could do some really good things for people . . .

But it ain’t my bag. And there should be nothing wrong with that. Whenever I bring up these points in conversation with 4e diehards I get the same thing; well, it’s only a bug to you, that really you should do this instead . . . and I get irritated. 3e and 4e have their places in the community; and as long as the OGL keeps producing good solid 3rd party materials which I can adapt to my settings 3e will be my choice. However, in specific ways (as an introduction game, as a game to emulate a world similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, etc.) I could see myself using 4e.

But I don’t want to be part of the 3e or the 4e community. I don’t want to be a grognard, or a fatbeard wannabe, or a deep fanboy for any edition. I want to be a Gamer, and bring you Good Gaming. This is why I will try to keep things very setting unspecific, so as to allow you conversion. When material was done in 3e it will be presented as such with the least amount of frills.

But don’t call me a grogger… I’m a gamer. And gaming shouldn't require a membership.

Good Gaming,


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