Monday, May 15, 2017

A Digression on the "Stop Having Fun" Guys and Similar Phenomena

This isn't directed at anyone in particular. I suspect I'm preaching to the choir, here, but I wanted to make my position clear on this subject. (The post title is from TV Tropes.)

Just because I love old-school and OSR-type games doesn't mean I don't also like a lot of new-school stuff, too. There are all kinds of awesome games and gaming styles out there. To quote myself from a few posts in the LotFP fan group on Facebook:

"OLD TSR FAN: How about we admit that older versions of D&D had a lot of good ideas that worked just fine, but that don't get enough credit for it and don't get used anymore even though they work just fine?
NEW SCHOOL D&D FAN: How about we admit that the older versions weren't perfect and the newer editions have introduced some stuff that is easier to use or that makes more sense?

Also, I've seen a lot of OSR folks admit that so-called "storygames" are just fine, and if you want to play those, good for you. I personally don't see why someone who plays Chess can't also play Mancala. Lately, I've been in the mood to either run or play LotFP, a mix of Holmes Basic and OD&D, Stay Frosty, The Hateful Place, Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, and Kult. And I'm a video game fanatic. So I don't like hearing this one-true-way crap that some people spout.

[...] I've been glancing through old TSR modules a bit lately and finding a lot to like. (The layout could be more convenient, but there are lots of cool ideas, and I think I'd enjoy running a lot of the ones I've seen.) But when someone is then like 'And that's why nothing released after 1995 (or whatever) is ever worth playing, period,' I'm all like 'Actually, I used to have a blast with 3.5, and in hindsight we actually did play in a pretty old-school fashion in many ways without even realizing it, so how about you shut your mouth before you say something else stupid?' The elitism is what really gets to me, I suppose."

And that's my rant about that. The OSR is my favorite thing going on in RPGs, and I've come to love old-school gaming, but it's okay to like other stuff, too, and even to pull ideas from other sources and try them out in games that are otherwise old-school. The constant experimentation is, after all, one of the best things about the OSR, if you ask me. It's one of the best things about RPGs in general, really.

I think the key to changing the rules of, and pulling outside content into, one's RPG campaign successfully is to do so with intent, and then to test the results of the alterations against what you intended to accomplish. If you don't get the desired effect (or get undesirable side-effects), you could tweak things, or try something else entirely, or even decide that what you accidentally created is interesting enough on its own merits to just go with it, even though it didn't match your intent.

But the reason for a change should be kept in mind. Even a silly reason is a reason. I just think that a little thoughtfulness goes a long way if there's any particular kind of mood or spirit or tone or je ne sais quoi or whatever that you and your players are reaching for.

Anyway, I'd generally be up for some D&D 3E or 4E if someone else wanted to be DM. I just don't think I'd personally want to run the former anytime soon, or the latter at all. D&D 5E also sounds pretty cool, but I haven't read the rules yet. And there are so many RPGs out there besides D&D and the games it has inspired, and I want to play more of them.

Or at least read some of the books.

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