Why D&D?

Mankcam

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Once upon a time there was a web forum called The Forge, run by one Ron Edwards, which devoted itself to developing "RPG Theory". Edward's approach to RPG Theory was based upon the premise that the majority of people playing Roleplaying games weren't having any fun playing Role-playing games. Edwards believed this was because RPGs were "incoherent" because they promised one thing, but their mechanics did not support that thing (Edwards go-to example was that White Wolf games used the "Storyteller system" but that system did not support "creating stories"). This premise is summarized in the essay "System Matters" (The Forge featured a lot of essays by Edwards).

Edwards' solution was to attempt to create a lexicon that definitively classified rules, approaches to rules, and playstyles, with the idea that a correct method of game design would chose exacty one playstyle to focus on and then include only rules that were similiarly classified as supporting that playstyle. He and his fellow adherants at the Forge began by taking the Threefold Model developed on usenet that had gained popularity, switching around all the meanings of the terms, and then, over the course of several years, adding more and more terms with more and more baroque explanations.

Meanwhile, there was a very outspoken poster who frequented RPG forums in those days going by the name Nisarg who idolized both Hunter S Thompson and traditional Dungeons & Dragons. As this was years befor the OSR, posters on forums tended to look down on and be contemptuous of D&D in those days, and Nisarg, being the sort of fellow who smoked a lot of weed and got into a lot of online fights, got very angry about people's pretentious attitudes towards D&D. And as Edwards was not only one such person who was basically constructing a pseudo-scientific theorywank that "proved" D&D was badwrongfun, but he was getting a lot of attention for it, Nisarg declared Edwards his arch-enemy. Nisarg saw himself as the righteous protector of all that was good and pure in RPGs and people who actually gamed, and Edwards as the personification of all the worst aspects of pompous theorywanking RPG forum-goers. Niarg launched a personal civil war upon the Forge.

To this day, I'm still not entirely sure if The Forge was even aware of this.

Anyways, Meanwhile The Forge theory had finished it's bastardization of the threefold theory to come up with the terms "Narrativism, Simulationism, and Gamism". And from that point on, every gamer on every forum of the world would completely misunderstand the counter-intuitive explanations Forge Theory offered of these terms and utterly misuse them for all eternity.

An RPG that had Gamism as it's design goal is meant to be a game-game. The Forge members didn't devote much attention to this, it was just sort of tut-tutted as the domain of Power Gamers, D&D-playing relics, and those awful gamers who didn't take RPGs as seriously as they deserved and just played to have fun.

An RPG that had Simulationism as it's design goal sought to model a specific reality or genre, and became associated with those players who talked about stuff like "Immersion". Edwards and co didn't care much for this at all, and eventually backtracked and decided that Simulationism didn't actually exist, and that all those posters on forums who talked about Immersion were just liar-liars pants on fire.

Which left the major focus of the Forge's attention, and those people who adopted the theories, on Narrativism, those games whose goal was to provide a satisfying narrative experience. I'm not sure who first dubbed such games "Storygames", but the name stuck and its usage spread like wildfire.

Cut back to Nisarg, who thus decided that since the evil Forge liked these Storygames, they in turn must also be evil, and in fact were part of a plot to destroy the hobby by being all narrative and stuff and not being real Roleplaying games, because they weren't D&D.

Around this time there was a small forum devoted to a Youtuber named Spoony who was associated with the Nostalgia Critic and that group (there's a whole nother cycle of drama there, but that's a story for another time). Anyways, Spoony got tired of running this forum and decided to hand it off to someone else, and Nisarg was like "I'd like a forum", as by that point he'd been booted off most every other forum. And so Nisarg took over this forum anf re-branded it "The RPGSite", and Nisarg, now having a platform for his gaming ideologies, went super saiyan and transformed into his Final Boss form - The RPGPundit.

Pundit thus declared that "storygames" were all the RPGs that weren't really RPGs, and written by people he disliked from the Forge, and were thus attempts to destroy the RPG hobby. For years and years posters pressed him for an actual definition of a Storygame so they could figure out the distinction between them and "actual RPGs", but RPGPundit never did so, so that eventually people just accepted that "Storygame" was just any game Pundit didn't like.

Other people thus came up with their own definitions of Storygames, some of which made sense, and others didn't*, and anything "not a storygame" became, by default, known as a "Traditional game".

Meanwhile, eventually, Edwards and Co reached maximum Theorywank, and declared The Forge "finished" and "a success". No one was sure what The Forge had succeeded at except causing decades of online arguments about RPG terminology, but Edwards then shut the doors of the forum, turned out the lights, and passed away into legend...or, well, into Google Plus at least.

Then the OSR happened, and suddenly instead of looking down on and tut-tutting D&D, a bunch of people started posting about how awesome D&D was, especially the old D&D. Because Pundit had been doing this for years without any thanks, he initially resented the OSR and called them a bunch of posers.

And the OSR basically ignored him.

Then, abruptly, years later, Pundit declared himself the leader and spokesperson of the OSR.

And the OSR continues to ignore him.

And then, in a move that (in my headcannon at least) was meant to be the ultimate troll of Pundit, Edwards abruptly declared that he and the Forge had created the OSR.

The OSR ignored him too.

Cut to now, now, and we have people who continue to abuse Forge terminology (declaring games "Simulationist" or whatnot) and we have a hundred different individual definitions of Storygame floating around. If you see anyone use that term at any point, the best course of action is to ask them their definition of it, because chances are they will more than gladly pour out their personal manifesto on what that means (presumably while masturbating furiously*).

View attachment 20582


And thus the definition of "Traditional Games" is , ultimately "whatever that person doesn't think is a storygame".



*I have my own definition of Storygames, and I will gladly share it if requested.
OMG @TristramEvans you just totally won the internet with this post !!!
I'm spilling my coffee here laughing at this! Outstanding insight and humour
This post is definately a Critical Success; it's exceptional and will be referenced and quoted for years to come heh heh !!! :thumbsup:
 

dbm

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I don’t think it is very productive to try to classify whole games as one thing or another. It is much easier to try to categorise specific mechanics.

To further complicate things, the game ‘axis’ is also really important in my opinion, and currently that isn’t getting much airtime in this discussion, so it’s not even a linear comparison. After that, the idea of first person versus third person is another facet of games, and isn’t inherently connected to any of the above, although there is a fair bit of correlation.

So - it’s quite a complicated subject! And with no academic community to (mostly) agree on these things, like e.g. literary criticism can fall back on, it becomes highly subjective.

All RPGs have a mix of the three in them*, and to make it worse there isn’t really a spectrum in the sense that ‘X is inherently more [classification] than Y and therefor the presence of X implies Y‘. It’s more like a conglomeration effect, and there are both specific mechanics which people dislike and other times when it is the cumulative effect of multiple mechanics that causes a person to dislike a game.

* ETA: I will qualify that to say (before the hoard arrives :clown: ) that yes - I would really struggle to point at any narrative style rules in early editions of D&D and games very strongly based of them. Nothing is absolute.
 
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Savage Schemer

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OMG @TristramEvans you just totally won the internet with this post !!!
I'm spilling my coffee here laughing at this! Outstanding insight and humour
This post is definately a Critical Success; it's exceptional and will be referenced and quoted for years to come heh heh !!! :thumbsup:
I don't know how true it is, but it actually explains a bit about Pundit that was missing for me. Enough that I'd totally believe it even if it was made up. I'd had one or two debates with him about his unbelievably narrow-minded view of "story gaming" over at his site and ultimately decided he just wasn't woth conversing with on the matter.
 
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Voros

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Oh there's a whole epic story there...which someone has inevitably done better job than I can explaining...

Man, I hate Youtubers. I do like the Down the Rabbit Hole guy though, he does a good job of documenting some of the sadder corners of 'net culture.'
 

Black Vulmea

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Terrific summary, @TristramEvans - there were some details in there I'd forgotten, or repressed, perhaps.

Only one thing I'd add regarding El Pundejo: the lad considers himself a poet game designer and wrote a D&D heartbreaker, Forward! to Adventure, which was inconsequential and barely noticed, leading him to direct his butthurt at the OSR, which in response gave exactly zero fucks.
 

OHT

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Doesn't even have to be a explanation, a link would suffice. Obviously I can Google but in this case I prefer to start with a Pubber recommendation AND work from there.
You're wrong and i'm right.
 

David Johansen

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It kind of sounds like you are saying I am too stupid to understand a good thing because I don't like it. Am I reading that right?

This seems like a good example of edition warring to me here. A backhanded concession about the edition of choice.
Nah, I'm just trying to be funny. If you want to see edition warring ask me about Rolemaster. But the thing is that just because something is theoretically good or ideal (game balance, structure, uniformity experience of play, easier to DM) doesn't mean it's what people want or need. D&D's greatest strengths are its greatest weaknesses. The flexibility that lets everyone tailor it to their own play style is also the reason so many people can't figure the game out by reading the rules (well, that and Gygaxian prose for AD&D) and why so many new DMs and players have bad experiences.
 

Arminius

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Only one thing I'd add regarding El Pundejo: the lad considers himself a poet game designer and wrote a D&D heartbreaker, Forward! to Adventure, which was inconsequential and barely noticed, leading him to direct his butthurt at the OSR, which in response gave exactly zero fucks.
Wasn’t it more influenced by T&T?
 

robertsconley

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Then the OSR happened, and suddenly instead of looking down on and tut-tutting D&D, a bunch of people started posting about how awesome D&D was, especially the old D&D. Because Pundit had been doing this for years without any thanks, he initially resented the OSR and called them a bunch of posers.
Excellent accounting of events. There are one thing missing and one thing not complete.

The missing
The Pundit was every bit as as you described him but by the time he assumed the Pundit personae he was looking to publish RPG materials. I believe Forward to Adventure! was his first published project. It is a "old school" system adapting some ideas from Tunnels & Trolls with Pundit's own idea. It good as these things go but nothing to set the world on fire.

Reading between the lines, I believe he was disappointed in this and ever since commercialism became ever more larger part of his Pundit personae. The point of allowing "gaming" politics on the main forum of the theRPGSite so that his gaming politic screeds get the most views which forms what he considers an essential part of his marketing strategy.

I was a moderator over on TheRPGSite for a time and I quit over this issue. My attitude towards politics of any kind in the gaming forums is to move that shit to the Pundit's personal forum, including his own posts. Leaving the gaming forum to talk about gaming. But we didn't not see eye to eye and so I resigned as I wasn't going to waste my hobby time trying to wade through the muck that it was developing into. And it is also the time I found this place and moved over.

The incomplete
Yes the Pundit thought the OSR was a punch of posers. However your otherwise excellent story omits how this all came about. So back in 2009, the OSR pops up on theRPGSite's radar and comes to a head in this epic thread. Note that I was a participant in this. The summary of his complaints that he was hurt that he hadn't gotten the recognition he deserved for writing Forward the Adventure! And now a bunch of plagiarizers and copiers are getting all the kudos.

However what infused the Pundit with white hot rage was this post by Stuart Marshall by one of the authors of OSRIC. Ever since Pundits tried to reign nuclear Armageddon on the OSR. And when that didn't work tried to become its leader by writing his own "true OSR" products starting with Arrows of Indra. In part because I and other posters of the time challenged him to take advantage of the open content show the rest of the OSR how it done. I even pitched in with the maps.


For those who don't want to wade through the entire thread I posted a 3 post summary here several years later. Memories were starting to fade and folks including the Pundit were trying to peddle inaccurate accounts of what happened.

So that is my side of the story that Tristam excellently recounted.
 

Arminius

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I don’t think it is very productive to try to classify whole games as one thing or another. It is much easier to try to categorise specific mechanics.
It doesn’t really matter. As long as someone can identify and differentiate the mechanics without having the distinctions themselves called into question, you can have a meaningful conversation.

To further complicate things, the game ‘axis’ is also really important in my opinion, and currently that isn’t getting much airtime in this discussion, so it’s not even a linear comparison.
You’re trying to recapitulate the early days of rfga development of the threefold. To sum up a quarter century of history: it was a mistake.
 

TristramEvans

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Excellent accounting of events. There are one thing missing and one thing not complete.

The missing
The Pundit was every bit as as you described him but by the time he assumed the Pundit personae he was looking to publish RPG materials. I believe Forward to Adventure! was his first published project. It is a "old school" system adapting some ideas from Tunnels & Trolls with Pundit's own idea. It good as these things go but nothing to set the world on fire.

Reading between the lines, I believe he was disappointed in this and ever since commercialism became ever more larger part of his Pundit personae. The point of allowing "gaming" politics on the main forum of the theRPGSite so that his gaming politic screeds get the most views which forms what he considers an essential part of his marketing strategy.

I was a moderator over on TheRPGSite for a time and I quit over this issue. My attitude towards politics of any kind in the gaming forums is to move that shit to the Pundit's personal forum, including his own posts. Leaving the gaming forum to talk about gaming. But we didn't not see eye to eye and so I resigned as I wasn't going to waste my hobby time trying to wade through the muck that it was developing into. And it is also the time I found this place and moved over.

The incomplete
Yes the Pundit thought the OSR was a punch of posers. However your otherwise excellent story omits how this all came about. So back in 2009, the OSR pops up on theRPGSite's radar and comes to a head in this epic thread. Note that I was a participant in this. The summary of his complaints that he was hurt that he hadn't gotten the recognition he deserved for writing Forward the Adventure! And now a bunch of plagiarizers and copiers are getting all the kudos.

However what infused the Pundit with white hot rage was this post by Stuart Marshall by one of the authors of OSRIC. Ever since Pundits tried to reign nuclear Armageddon on the OSR. And when that didn't work tried to become its leader by writing his own "true OSR" products starting with Arrows of Indra. In part because I and other posters of the time challenged him to take advantage of the open content show the rest of the OSR how it done. I even pitched in with the maps.


For those who don't want to wade through the entire thread I posted a 3 post summary here several years later. Memories were starting to fade and folks including the Pundit were trying to peddle inaccurate accounts of what happened.

So that is my side of the story that Tristam excellently recounted.

That actually fills in a few puzzle pieces for me, namely that the Pundy persona was born simultaneously with FtA!

I always thought what really held Forward...To Adventure! back was the "art"...meaning intentionally blurry photoshopped pictures of cosplayers. Rather than evoking an "old school fantasy" vibe it was more like a "self-published on LuLu" vibe.
 

dbm

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To sum up a quarter century of history: it was a mistake.
I personally find it very useful to keep that third point in mind, otherwise people end up shoe-horning stuff into one of the other groupings. What about it is a mistake, in you opinion?
 

Arminius

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What follows may be written in a very compressed fashion, without the usual disclaimers and nods to exceptions, that could ruffle some feathers.

Basically, the “simulationists” don’t care why you’re deviating from a simulation with an actor (Forge-sense) perspective, only that it happens. For them, it’s a single axis of cognitive relationship to the game.

The “gamists” stepped in and demanded respect, and the response of a bunch of what would today be called STEM academics was to create a 2-d graph with three axes. It should have been a solid, something more like a misshapen cone.
 

David Johansen

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Remind me, who was the guy who'd written "the greatest rpg ever" that was never going to be published because the world wasn't ready for his genius? He was a frequent poster on therpgsite back in the day and I've quite forgotten his name. It wasn't me, my genius isn't ready for the world which is an entirely different form of hubris.
 

The Mad Hatter

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Then there's his inherent narcissism and mental illness. I don't say these as character impugning things, but rather as simple factors that caught up with him.
You mentioned this as a side factor, but I actually think his mental illnes played a huge part in his self-destruction. I have a serious mental illness and don't see it ever going well if I tried starting a Youtube career. The amount of stress would simply get too much.
Even well-functioning Youtubers fold regularly under the stress.

I discovered Spoony via the AngryJoeShow channel. He featured in some of AngryJoe's videos. AngryJoe also seems a bit burned out be now. Joe actually made me sad, when he in one video said that there were losts of games he wanted to replay, but he simply didn't have the time.

For many Youtubers what starts as something they do for fun, quickly becomes more about just doing if for the money. This eventually means they lose their passion and eventually burn out.

Now I'll let you people return to D&D.
 

robertsconley

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Remind me, who was the guy who'd written "the greatest rpg ever" that was never going to be published because the world wasn't ready for his genius? He was a frequent poster on therpgsite back in the day and I've quite forgotten his name. It wasn't me, my genius isn't ready for the world which is an entirely different form of hubris.
Brian Gleichman and it was Age of Heroes.

And I have a copy. :smile:

20200801_104335_HDR.jpg

He never replied to me after I acquired it.

What it like?.
Dense very very dense. The RPG that it is more like in terms of quality and complexity is Dragonquest not bad but an acquired taste. It been a while so I don't remember all the details. But here is a review.
 

Black Leaf

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Let's just say that some of us felt 4E was more true to what we had wanted out of D&D for decades and enjoyed playing it for the 6 years it existed ... and that others didn't ... and no one in the entire affair was 100% correct ...
Oh, absolutely. And that's why I think they should have put it out with the D&D branding, but not as fourth edition D&D. It would have allowed people like you to actually get the game you wanted without being dragged into edition warring by people who were expecting something more like standard D&D. Put out as a game in its own right (and there's a lot of D&D spinoffs over the years) I think it would have got a fairer shake.
 

dbm

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What follows may be written in a very compressed fashion, without the usual disclaimers and nods to exceptions, that could ruffle some feathers
Ok, but that just tells me some people didn’t like it.

I think it is useful distinction, for example in D&D 3e, the DC of a jump IIRC is the same as the width of the obstacle in feet, and since you normally work in 5’ squares that make it 5 / 10 / 15 and so on. In GURPS, there is an equation where feet and inches are used to generate a penalty instead. In Fate, you would be more likely to think of a gap in terms of ‘you would need to be good to jump this reliably’.

D&D’s answer is from the perspective of what makes a good game experience at the table, GURPS is an attempt to simulate the real-world challenge, whilst Fate cares about the kind of person who would be able to handle it.

I think that is a useful way of looking at their mechanics and design decisions, and I’m not hearing any different.

I don’t say that to be argumentative, I’m just not willing to give on a concept because some people fell out over it in the past.
 
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Faylar

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Nah, I'm just trying to be funny. If you want to see edition warring ask me about Rolemaster. But the thing is that just because something is theoretically good or ideal (game balance, structure, uniformity experience of play, easier to DM) doesn't mean it's what people want or need. D&D's greatest strengths are its greatest weaknesses. The flexibility that lets everyone tailor it to their own play style is also the reason so many people can't figure the game out by reading the rules (well, that and Gygaxian prose for AD&D) and why so many new DMs and players have bad experiences.
Ahh, okay. I retract my criticism. Didnt get it eas meant as humor. Sorry
 

TristramEvans

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Brian Gleichman and it was Age of Heroes.

And I have a copy. :smile:

View attachment 20588

He never replied to me after I acquired it.

What it like?.
Dense very very dense. The RPG that it is more like in terms of quality and complexity is Dragonquest not bad but an acquired taste. It been a while so I don't remember all the details. But here is a review.


For a second I wondered what forum you were on....then I remembered that The Pub has a "light" option....
 

Arminius

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Ok, but that just tells me some people didn’t like it.

I think it is useful distinction, for example in D&D 3e, the DC of a jump IIRC is the same as the width of the obstacle in feet, and since you normally work in 5’ squares that make it 5 / 10 / 15 and so on. In GURPS, there is an equation where feet and inches are used to generate a penalty instead. In Fate, you would be more likely to think of a gap in terms of ‘you would need to be good to jump this reliably’.

D&D’s answer is from the perspective of what makes a good game experience at the table, GURPS is an attempt to simulate the real-world challenge, whilst Fate cares about the kind of person who would be able to handle it.

I think that is a useful way of looking at their mechanics and design decisions, and I’m not hearing any different.

I don’t say that to be argumentative, I’m just not willing to give on a concept because some people fell out over it in the past.
No, that’s not the distinction at all. The idea was you could have a game or a GM where things happen (or would have a likelihood of happening) because that’s how they would happen, or you could have one where things happen to satisfy a non-internal cause. To the simulationists it didn’t matter what the cause was, really, but their initial argument was with someone who wanted games to follow a dramatic arc. Then someone else (probably Brian) popped up who wanted games to be fun in a more game-like way.
 

dbm

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No, that’s not the distinction at all.
I think I get to say what I was meaning when I wrote my post :grin:

What I am taking from this is that it is different from what ever you or ‘they’ were referring to in the past.
 

Faylar

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Given how much of it they kept for 5e, evidently somebody at WotC agrees with you :smile:
5e seems to be a good blend. I am happy they seem to have got it right.
It's not my favorite edition, but it is enjoyable. I would love to see an Advanced 5th edition with some more depth to it and options, but that's just me.
 

Arminius

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I think I get to say what I was meaning when I wrote my post :grin:

What I am taking from this is that it is different from what ever you or ‘they’ were referring to in the past.
Then you’re not even participating in this conversation, since nobody cares about meters or feet or rough guesstimations.
 

Black Leaf

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BTW I have considerable respect for Brian even though he can be a tough person to interact with.
No idea what he's like as a person and not really bothered. But his critique of GNS theory was seminal and the best one out there.
 

Dumarest

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You mentioned this as a side factor, but I actually think his mental illnes played a huge part in his self-destruction. I have a serious mental illness and don't see it ever going well if I tried starting a Youtube career. The amount of stress would simply get too much.
Even well-functioning Youtubers fold regularly under the stress.

I discovered Spoony via the AngryJoeShow channel. He featured in some of AngryJoe's videos. AngryJoe also seems a bit burned out be now. Joe actually made me sad, when he in one video said that there were losts of games he wanted to replay, but he simply didn't have the time.

For many Youtubers what starts as something they do for fun, quickly becomes more about just doing if for the money. This eventually means they lose their passion and eventually burn out.

Now I'll let you people return to D&D.
Official The Mad Hatter YouTube GoFundMe Campaign
 

Faylar

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I'm curious, what sort of depth and options do you feel are missing?
I liked feats that allow you to fundamentally alter the class, but not the way they are implemented in 5th. Mostly just more options.
Once you reach third level all decisions for your character are done. Its just a matter of leveling and selecting spells. It's just way too limiting for me.
In the games I've been in, all characters of a certain class become cookie cutters of their class peers. That's not something easily done in 3.x where every couple levels meant making a fundamental decision for your character's growth.
I also miss a gold economy.It needs better magical items and more reasons to spend gold than it has. Other editions, gold burned a hole in belt pouch. in 5th... I was looking for something... anything... to spend it on other than the usual food and lodging.

5th just seems to play it safe at the expense of depth. I understand a lot of the reasoning behind it, but I also disagree with a lot of the reasoning behind it.

tldr: I get bored of my character after a few sessions because there is no reasonable way to dynamically change it as you level.
 

Black Leaf

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However what infused the Pundit with white hot rage was this post by Stuart Marshall by one of the authors of OSRIC. Ever since Pundits tried to reign nuclear Armageddon on the OSR.
That exchange is amazing and I strongly advise anyone who enjoys laughing and pointing to read the followup argument.

"Actually, I didn't mean whose game sold more because yours doesn't count".
 

Black Vulmea

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Note that I was a participant in this.
As was I.

Wasn’t it more influenced by T&T?
Yeah, I shoulda said 'fantasy heartbreaker,' but he directed his ire at not taking the market by storm at the OSR nonetheless, for the unforgivable sin of making games old school gamers actually liked.

He later demonstrated the strength of his design convictions by jumping on that bandwagon faster than a jackrabbit in heat.
 
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Faylar

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@Faylar You should probably stick to 3x and Pathfinder.
Yes and no. Pathfinder is a little too bloated imo. Less option bloat, and too much core bloat (If that makes sense)
Also, I do really like a lot of the changes that 5th made and would love to see that line of thinking married to the 3.x depth of options.
5th is a move in the right direction, but it also leaves a lot behind that doesn't necessarily need to be left behind. It has the ability to cater to other crowds with supplements while retaining its core. They already have a 1 or 2 supplement book limitation on most official campaigns anyways, so there is nothing stopping a AD&D, or 3.x like supplement from appearing as well.
 

cranebump

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Yes and no. Pathfinder is a little too bloated imo. Less option bloat, and too much core bloat (If that makes sense)
Also, I do really like a lot of the changes that 5th made and would love to see that line of thinking married to the 3.x depth of options.
5th is a move in the right direction, but it also leaves a lot behind that doesn't necessarily need to be left behind. It has the ability to cater to other crowds with supplements while retaining its core. They already have a 1 or 2 supplement book limitation on most official campaigns anyways, so there is nothing stopping a AD&D, or 3.x like supplement from appearing as well.
On the whole, 3x thing, does anybody here still play any Microlite20? I ran that system a great deal when it came out, and still have fond memories of it.
 

Voros

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Brian Gleichman and it was Age of Heroes.

And I have a copy. :smile:

View attachment 20588

He never replied to me after I acquired it.

What it like?.
Dense very very dense. The RPG that it is more like in terms of quality and complexity is Dragonquest not bad but an acquired taste. It been a while so I don't remember all the details. But here is a review.
I remember Gleichman, a good essayist actually but I found this part of his 'Gamer's Manifesto' absurdly absolutionist:

"I reject the concept of play without the equal of a map and miniatures together with solid rules covering the elements of range, line of sight, and terrain. Any other style of play is lazy and nothing more than dependence upon GM handouts." (my bold)
 
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