Friday, June 1, 2012

Because you're all dying to hear my thoughts on the Next Edition, right?

A couple of my players have expressed an interest in taking the D&DNext playtest for a spin, while I am leaning more and more towards converting the D&DBasic campaign into full-on Labyrinth Lord.

New Editions have always bothered the crap out of me because it is like trying to convince someone else to love bean casserole. You might LOVE bean casserole and could eat it six days a week, but if someone else thinks it tastes and smells like an old, lumpy gym sock, nothing you do or say will ever convince them. While it might be fun to debates the merits for a while or tell them that your homebrewed version tastes better, in the end you are just going to have to let it go. Just because they prefer tuna casserole doesn’t make them an asshole.

Nor do I like new Editions because of the cost. My carefree days of disposable income are long behind me, sucked away by mortgage payments, medical concerns, hungry animals and lots and lots of bills. There is no way I am shelling out $100plus dollars every few years to add yet another Player’s Guide/GM Manual/Monster Manual to my shelf next to all the other editions.

And whether you play the new edition or not, suddenly everything else on that shelf is now obsolete. You’re now driving a Desoto and its damned hard to find parts. If you insist on clinging to your diesel guzzling ways, soon you’re reduced to scavenging through files of Raistlin/Tasslehoff slashfick, hunting for homemade conversion guides on a wayback’d geocities sites.

Not to mention that it is this sort of idiocy results in things like edition flame wars, OSR self publishers and copycats like Pathfinder. They all have their merits (except edition flame war trolls), but they all lead to dissatisfaction and degradation of the original product and causes WotC to shed customers like dandruff off a Con-goer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Hasbro/WotC releasing* miniatures, computer games, board games, apps CCGs or whatever else they want with the D&D logo stamped on the front. Come to think of it, I’d LOVE the idea, because I think that in the end it would help bring proper (imaginative) role-playing back to a whole new generation (lost to ‘passive’ computer rpgs like WoW and Skyrim). Sure they’ll probably use tablets and interactive cards or figures, and who know what other tools to play. Some old schoolers are going to bitch about how the new kids ‘don’t play like we used to’, but those old schoolers are now in their thirties, forties or more. The game MUST evolve or it will die, and I’m not afraid to say that I have caught the whiff of gangrene settling in. Nor do I believe that D&DNext is anything more than a temporary bandage.

But please WotC, for us old school guys pushing forty, the guys who care enough to write bullshit pieces like this for a blog that no one reads, stop fucking with new editions and give us a game we can all rally behind! No more total reboots or attempts to be clever (Next!) or cribbing from MMORPGs. Just give us a straightforward (backwards compatible, or is that too much to ask?) game and STAND BEHIND IT. You give us that, and we’ll stand behind you.

*I can’t help but wonder if Hasbro isn’t promoting D&D harder more because of the wingnut Christian climate in the States right now. Maybe they are afraid of another ‘Mazes and Monsters’ style backlash which could lead to a boycott of other Hasbro products. Just a thought.

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