What do you think are the most damaging ideas in the hobby?

EmperorNorton

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Yup. A large amount of my cranky feelings toward various RPG things comes from encountering zealous degrees of friction online... whereas my reactions to in-person stuff is generally much milder and nuanced. I think this is a shared issue in many other realms of endeavor, people shouting online vs. talking things out face-to-face.
I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us could probably all play in games together in real life and get along great.
 

Skarg

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... For me, I have run into this idea online that people who play DnD only do so because they do not know there are alternatives.

I think this idea is quite pervasive among younger people and I constantly see tweets or posts like 'There are other TTRPGs than Dungeons and Dragons. Explore them!' I actually have no idea if people who do not know DnD exists are a thing. But to me this idea that DnD players are simply ignorant of the many options out there is not one I believe is particularly helpful.
I think almost everyone who plays D&D knows there are other RPGs. But I also think that it seems like a large proportion of D&D players are stuck on D&D and tend to be not very interested in trying other RPGs. Particularly ones who are really attached to the ideas, tropes and mechanics of D&D.

And, given how many RPGs there are now, or even that there were decades ago, I think almost everyone is ignorant about most other RPGs (at least, if you really include ALL of them), what they are like in detail (many of us have some idea and/or experience with a good number of them, but not all).

What I see a lot of, are people who want to get their friends or available local players to play something other than D&D, but those people are attached to D&D and its ideas, and it's quite hard to get them to try or give a fair chance to other RPGs, because they're so invested in and familiar with D&D.
 

xanther

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Once people can get past that RPGs don't lead to Satan or workable magic :smile: I think the biggest barrier is the notion they take too much time. Not that they don't take up hours, but people spend hours upon hours doing other things and don't think twice about how much time it takes. Although they may complain after the fact they spent all afternoon on TikTok.
 

Stan

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Once people can get past that RPGs don't lead to Satan or workable magic :smile: I think the biggest barrier is the notion they take too much time. Not that they don't take up hours, but people spend hours upon hours doing other things and don't think twice about how much time it takes. Although they may complain after the fact they spent all afternoon on TikTok.

Other than for the DM, most rpgs don't take much time not playing (time learning rules and making characters). What I've largely tired of is many rpg-like boardgames that take half an hour to set up for 2-3 hours of play.
 

Simlasa

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Once people can get past that RPGs don't lead to Satan or workable magic :smile: I think the biggest barrier is the notion they take too much time. Not that they don't take up hours, but people spend hours upon hours doing other things and don't think twice about how much time it takes. Although they may complain after the fact they spent all afternoon on TikTok.
I know a few parents who won't let their kids play D&D because they think it's a big time sink... beyond the time spent actually playing.
At least for some of their kids I am inclined to agree.
(these kids are already on a tight leash regarding video games and online stuff as well)
 

Acmegamer

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Is it your experience that most people who sit down to play an RPG for the first time have read all of its rules in their entirety? I think it's far more common that they would simply be trying out a game, and there would be others there to kind of guide them through the process. Or perhaps that a group of friends might be piecing things together as they learn, and maybe one player (usually the GM) has to have read more of the rules than anyone else.

That's purely anecdotal on my part, but I feel like it's anecdote with a lot of corroboration online. It seems like most, or at least a significant number of, players learn from others and only start researching rules and mechanics once they're more invested in the game.
When I was young and naive before travel and the military, (back in my early years of gaming 78' to 83') I truly thought that most people would read the rules before playing. I didn't realize that I and the people I started out with were the exception and not the rule.

Once I joined the military and started traveling and living in other states and countries I soon learned better. Specially each time I'd move/transfer and had to form a new group. Ugh, how often even after I'd form a core group or join one that even long term players often didn't take the time to read through and learn the rules. I learned this lesson repeatedly because I'd have to carry them, which reinforced my need to always learn the rules like the back of my hand.

Knowing the rules well made the game flow faster and more enjoyable even if it added to my game load. I hate when a game bogs down because no one knows how mechanics work.
 

carpocratian

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Thinking on the OP further I think the most damaging idea in the hobby is probably that all the internet drama around the hobby is actually important far beyond its real world impact.

Probably a result of so much of the hobby being very online, the general tendency on the net to dogmaticism, pedantry and adolescent tribalism combined with a lack of perspective and sophistication about the wider world.

Because the net acts as a bullhorn for extremists and just outright nuts it is always possible to find some outlandish statement from the other side of a debate to buttress claims that this or that side of an argument hold opinions that are not just most likely a tiny minority but sometimes just the rantings of someone seriously disconnected from reality.

I agree. I hardly ever encounter any of the "big contentious issues" you find online when I play and GM with people in real life, at home games, conventions, or elsewhere. In fact, most gamers I encounter are blissfully unaware of most of the big arguments and scandals that seem to dominate online discussions about rpgs on Twitter and some other forums.
 

Ravenswing

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Thinking on the OP further I think the most damaging idea in the hobby is probably that all the internet drama around the hobby is actually important far beyond its real world impact.

Absolutely. The factoid I used in a debate about D&D edition wars a number of years ago was this: that stipulating TBP was the biggest gaming forum out there, that at the time it averaged about 2000 people online at any given time, and of that total, about 150 were viewing the d20 section of the site. Presuming that was only a tenth of the D&Ders participating, presuming each one of them were virulent edition warriors hellbent on driving The Enemy out of the hobby, presuming they each had ten acolytes doing their bidding ... that is a tiny fraction of the total.

I'm completely confident that if you asked your average gamer what he or she thought of the most controversial people in the hobby (at least as far as we Internet denizens reckon) ... the Edwardses, Siembiedas and Halls of the world, 99% would reply "Who?"
 

TristramEvans

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Of course, that basically means that "the most damaging thing in the hobby" is completely irrelevant to 99% of the people in the hobby.

I'd suggest instead that forum wars and online RPG drama, is the least consequential element of the hobby...
 

Silent Green

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The outside world doesn’t know the horrors of Far West!
Well, not even the inside world knows its horrors, does it? I'm pretty sure its horrors exist solely in a well-shuttered compartmentalized high-security prison part of the mind of its creator, a prison they can only ever escape if they put him in a sensory deprivation tank with the last five years of kickstarter comments read to him by Helen Mirren, DBE.
 

Dammit Viktor

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Been thinking about it for awhile... and I think all of my serious responses would count as political here. Which is essentially the most damaging thing of all: that our hobby is being used as a battleground for a larger ideological conflict, and that people should be excluded from it-- by any means whatsoever-- on ideological grounds.

Look... I've said it before, and I will say it again, and I will die on this fucking hill: there's no such thing as apolitical art. But I don't ask people to agree with my politics, or agree with the game's politics, or even keep their politics to themselves while they're sitting at my table; the only thing I ask is that people show up to my game to have fun and to be mindful and respectful of the other players who are trying to have fun. Sometimes... yeah... that does become a matter of telling people to leave certain political arguments at home, even if that means picking sides, but that's a matter of behavior, behavior at my table, not ideology.
 

Ralph Dula

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I'm completely confident that if you asked your average gamer what he or she thought of the most controversial people in the hobby (at least as far as we Internet denizens reckon) ... the Edwardses, Siembiedas and Halls of the world, 99% would reply "Who?"

I only recognize Siembieda out of those three, and I’m terminally online.
 

zanshin

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The counter examples you give involve a diversity of creative content, not a diversity of mechanics you need to learn. All first person shooters are run with closely similar commands; all TV shows are watched by sitting on your butt and directing your eyes at the screen; all romance novels are read by turning pages and reading words. The problem with having literally hundreds and hundreds of unique game systems is that each one of them demands that you learn new (usually pointlessly new) fiddly rules for resolving attack rolls and so forth. If you know how to play D&D you literally don't even know where to start when you sit down to play Runequest or Chivalry and Sorcery or Dragonquest or any the dozens and dozens of other thematically similar fantasy roleplaying games until you've read and digested a couple hundred pages of new rules.
But thats true of most board games and most sports as well. You have to learn how that operates in it's environment.

I agree that the WSAD convention in first person PC play is useful, but my grandkids, who are used to playing console games, really struggle with learning it. That's not to say that there should be multiple conventions, just that most non passive activities have some level of learning curve.

Just because I know how to play Monopoly, doesn't mean I know how to play the (infinitely superior) Ticket to Ride. It just means I know how to approach nearly any version of the Monopoly franchise.

However, perhaps the fallacy is that new RPGs MUST have new core mechanics. The d20 craze showed the possibilities of a lot of genres adopting mostly similar mechanics at the most basic level (you roll a d20 and add something - high is good!)
 

Ralph Dula

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I am guessing Edwards is Ron Edwards of the Forge?
Ah. The Forge is a bit of RPG society online I seemed to have missed entirely. I understand it was a forum where people talked game theiry and design, and that’s all I know.
 

zanshin

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Ah. The Forge is a bit of RPG society online I seemed to have missed entirely. I understand it was a forum where people talked game theiry and design, and that’s all I know.
Thats the essentials. I found some of the ideas useful in my interpretation of games as a framework, but it was very marmite for people.
 

ScytheSong

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Ima just leave this here...

Someone missed the Beeg Horseshoe and D&D 4e being the ultimate coherent Gamist rpg, I see...
 

EmperorNorton

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Honestly, while I think Edwards is a wanker, I think a lot of neat stuff came from the Forge. Most of the people there weren't really all that dogmatically crazy about it.

Granted that is what I think of most of the various movements in RPGs.

(Also, I think Edwards comes off slightly better in my mind just because he made Pundit mad, which I can never fault anyone for. Edwards still said some whacky shit, but you know, I have to smile at that part).
 

Nick J

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Ooh! I just thought of one (apologies to whomever already thought of and stated what I'm about to say upthread, I just skimmed a lot of this and it's worth saying twice anyway):

People that insist that setting "canon" is anything other than something for authors of a game-line to use to keep their products consistent can fuuuuuuuuck right off!
 

VisionStorm

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Ima just leave this here...


I'm one of a rare breed of people who posts at the Pub, but finds Pundit entertaining and at least vaguely insightful (even if I don't always agree with him). But gawdamn, the guy is obsessed with Edwards/The Forge and defending m'lady D&D's honor, like its an abused woman or the eternal underdog, as opposed to the 800 pound gorilla of the RPG industry, ever stomping every other game and asserting its domineering presence whether it goes.
 

Altheus

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The idea that you need to buy lots of things to be involved in rpg's.

Some dice, a pencil, an eraser and that should be you sorted. You can even borrow the dice if you can't afford your own.

Everything beyond that, battlemats, mini's, fancy dice, dice rolling trays, t-shirts and all the rest is unnecessary frippery and can be done away with without losing very much.
 

The Butcher

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Honestly, while I think Edwards is a wanker, I think a lot of neat stuff came from the Forge. Most of the people there weren't really all that dogmatically crazy about it.

Granted that is what I think of most of the various movements in RPGs.

(Also, I think Edwards comes off slightly better in my mind just because he made Pundit mad, which I can never fault anyone for. Edwards still said some whacky shit, but you know, I have to smile at that part).
I’ve had exchanges with both online, and with Pundit in person, and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I was more impressed by Edwards’ grognard cred than by Pundit’s. Dude knows his AD&D.

Pundit’s more of a BECMI/RC and Palladium guy, like me.
 

Ravenswing

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I am guessing Edwards is Ron Edwards of the Forge?

Hall is not springing to mind, and I have internetted about RPGs a fair amount.

I did mean Ron Edwards, aye. My ongoing belief is that he and the Forge collectively is the faction that has caused and provoked the highest ratio in history of bloviation online to offline name recognition.

As to the other one, gosh, guys ... Byron Hall. Does that help? (grins ferally)
 

Acmegamer

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Ah. The Forge is a bit of RPG society online I seemed to have missed entirely. I understand it was a forum where people talked game theiry and design, and that’s all I know.
I've found Ron Edwards to be fascinating in a train wreck kinda way. He started gaming the same year with me, similar age and pretty much followed the same rpgs as I did give or take. Yet somehow went down a mental masturbation route of sucking all the fun of out tabletop rpgs.

Go figure, something lacking in his diet? Who knows. I avoided the Forge because as I already mentioned it just felt like mental masturbation with a mission of telling everyone how they were doing it and why they did it wrong.

p.s: I think TristramEvans TristramEvans deserves some sort of award for that breakdown post he did. Nailed it and in such a fun way. Bravo Tristram.
 

Black Leaf

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I've found Ron Edwards to be fascinating in a train wreck kinda way. He started gaming the same year with me, similar age and pretty much followed the same rpgs as I did give or take. Yet somehow went down a mental masturbation route of sucking all the fun of out tabletop rpgs.

Go figure, something lacking in his diet? Who knows. I avoided the Forge because as I already mentioned it just felt like mental masturbation with a mission of telling everyone how they were doing it and why they did it wrong.

p.s: I think TristramEvans TristramEvans deserves some sort of award for that breakdown post he did. Nailed it and in such a fun way. Bravo Tristram.
When the dust settles, I think we can say that whatever we think of Forge theory it does seem to have inspired people to create games.

A few bona fide hits and then the same number of good, mediocre and bad games as everyone else produces.

(Notably, I don't include any of Edwards in my list of good games to come out of the Forge. I really don't get on with his writing style which biases me).
 

Voros

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When the dust settles, I think we can say that whatever we think of Forge theory it does seem to have inspired people to create games.

A few bona fide hits and then the same number of good, mediocre and bad games as everyone else produces.

(Notably, I don't include any of Edwards in my list of good games to come out of the Forge. I really don't get on with his writing style which biases me).

I like Trollbabe and S/Lay with Me, which as I recall are simple and effective games with interesting concepts and mechanics, minimally written.

I think Sorcerer is also a solid ruleset although it seems to be where he started to mix his essay musings/design notes directly with the ruleset, which is annoying. Not sure why he doesn't just put that stuff into an appendix at the end of the game.
 

Ralph Dula

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Had to look it up, he is the guy who designed FATAL, the 'infamous' sexual assault oriented fantasy rpg.
Interesting. All these years and I’ve never heard any names associated with the creation of it.
 

AsenRG

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I like Trollbabe and S/Lay with Me, which as I recall are simple and effective games with interesting concepts and mechanics, minimally written.

I think Sorcerer is also a solid ruleset although it seems to be where he started to mix his essay musings/design notes directly with the ruleset, which is annoying. Not sure why he doesn't just put that stuff into an appendix at the end of the game.
I agree with you on Trollbabe* and SLWM, but I found the design notes actually useful:thumbsup:.

*Though with that title, it had to be a game about being an internet troll...which it isn't:shade:.
 

AsenRG

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there's no such thing as apolitical art.
And this is, in my book, the most damaging idea both in the hobby and outside of it:thumbsup:!

However, perhaps the fallacy is that new RPGs MUST have new core mechanics. The d20 craze showed the possibilities of a lot of genres adopting mostly similar mechanics at the most basic level (you roll a d20 and add something - high is good!)
The d20 craze also showed that this really isn't a good idea:shade:. There are genres for which the d20 chassi, for example, simply won't work, not without extreme gutting of the mechanics most people associate with it.
Like, you know, most kinds of non-D&D inspired fantasy:grin:!
 

TristramEvans

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However, perhaps the fallacy is that new RPGs MUST have new core mechanics. The d20 craze showed the possibilities of a lot of genres adopting mostly similar mechanics at the most basic level (you roll a d20 and add something - high is good!)

THIS! OMG, yes, this.

I'm changing my answer to this. Whoever got the idea that a new edition of a game meant a completely new, not in any way backwards-compatible set of rules, so that they are the same game "in name only".

Hands down the worst thing in the entire hobby.
 
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