Mar 12, 2009

Old School vs. New School - Or how to properly destroy something all profess to love.

The above picture was stolen from Greyhawk Grognard.
I have no idea where he in turn, stole it from. The shoe fits, so here it is.
New school

Old School


Why are we even in school in the first place? Especially when none of you seem to be able to even define them to begin with - not without fiery argument anyway.

Someone asked if we are becoming too tribal about this. I say HELL YES! This is especially important, because tribes do two things; they either go to war or form an alliance and merge together. To tell the truth, I don't want either one. Fighting over who's imaginary world is better stinks of Religion, and agreeing just to agree blends all points of view into a hideous sausage nobody wants to eat...

My question to you, my readers, who cover all points of the "school" spectrum is this: WHY?

IS it REALLY important to you to stand up on top of a soapbox and shout out to all that anything that Gygax didn't personally wipe his ass with is worthless? It can't be what is it?

Is it really gaining you or the hobby anything to hoot like a monkey and proudly proclaim that you moved beyond OD&D, but have skipped the 3E crapile? The 3.5 Debacle? I'm sure Lorraine Williams would love to have you over for dinner, you can play Dragon Dice, and reminisce over the collapse of TSR.

How about all of you who so vocally proclaim Pathfinder as your new prophet and savior, even as you shell out another 2-300 bucks to re-purchase all of your 3E books with the houserules moved from the margins into the print? "But Wizards is just takin yer moneez!" They say, while shovelling it to someone else who wants it just as badly. Forest for the trees, people?

And lastly, What about 4orons who think of bearded cave dwellers when they hear the words "previous editions"? How about those that treat them as such? WTF ever happened to the golden rule?

I am not advocating TOLERANCE. Tolerance is a poisonous placekeeper that says that the status quo is acceptable as long as "some" forward progress is made. That's bullshit. It's a form of governmental dithering.

I AM, advocating ACCEPTANCE. It's really easy. All you have to do is stop telling people that they are dumb for enjoying...


This encompasses not only the idiotic "rants" (while this IS a rant, It's un-idiotic, because I say it is) about how all new school generations are WoW addicted sheep, to someone telling you that sharing your project online is a stupid waste of time unless you are sharing a FINISHED project. It's cut and pasting forum posts from RPGNet because you really don't care and just want to pick a fight. It's refusing to give ANY game a fair chance because "ZOMG! ITZ LIK A VIDEO GAME!" - sight unseen, game unplayed.

With our hobby's acceptance into pop culture, we now, for the first time EVER, have no external enemies. No Pat Pulling, no B.A.D.D. Yes Jack chick still draws breath, but he is getting old, and only fools buy his poorly written pamphlets anyway.

In the absence of a great enemy, we ARE tribalising and attacking each other. Anyone else think this is stupid beyond belief? Can anyone provide an argument as to how this really benefits anyone? How about the hobby in general?
How's about this:

I don't care what game you play .

I don't care what edition it is.

I don't care if you love rust monsters.

I don't care if you like save-or-die.

I don't care if you like Gnomes.

It's time for us to graduate out of this school bullshit. Whenever you draw lines in the sand, others will use them for fencelines. GNS theory is a good example of that. In fact, I think this whole blogging community needs to go have lunch with Grandma again, because some of her wisdom would go nicely here. Specifically the part where she said, "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Bickering over subjectives is counter productive, at best. Can we please get back to kick-ass gaming content? As to why any of you should care? The next generation of gamer padawans (if you will) are reading these posts. Dow we really want them to START the hobby with prejudices like this? I sure hope not.
As to you other folks who have stayed away from the temptaion of Trolling from on-high, Kudos to you, and keep up the good work!


Jonathan said...

GET OFF MY LAWN!!!! Yer darn kidz! Ima git u wit dis cane, ye'hear!?

Well said Donny; echoed by me and a few others as well. Let's all just get back to CONTENT, and let the readers decide.

POP! I just had an idea... I'm making a Google Blog Search RSS feed for "Grognard"... bwhahahhahahha... soooo going to be on my blog roll.

oh wait... i don't have a blog roll anymore... =(

in any case... add this to your feedreader...


Swordgleam said...

You don't understand. If I can sense that somewhere in the world, someone is gaming in a way that isn't fun for me personally, it totally destroys my game. What some people do in the privacy of their own home affects ALL of us, and the only reason you can't see that is you're a communist/terrorist/scientologist/shetland pony.

On a less utterly sarcastic note, amen to that. I'm tired of not even being able to discuss whether 4e's rules facilitate or hinder roleplaying interactions without it turning into a multi-blog flamefest, or whether it's possible to run any specific game in an unusual style without ten different people jumping in to call you an idiot for not just running some other game.

Then again, if this continues, there's a real possibility we could start developing snappy dance routines. And that's an upside I think we should all give serious consideration to before we decide that baseless rabid hatred is something we should try to end.

Christopher B said...

"while this IS a rant, It's un-idiotic, because I say it is"

LOL - Okay, I'll just give you the benefit of the doubt here. :P

Personally, I refuse to descend into the mire that is the school(yard) debate. (Which this post, I'm sure, will stir into violent action once again.) I have my preferences (and very strong opinions), others have theirs. More power to us all! At least we're not a bunch of clones.

BTW: I do love rust monsters. ;)

Jonathan said...

OK... if you love Rust Monsters.. then you MUST sign my petition to save them... on my other blog "SAVE THE RUST MONSTER"

Donny said...

Swordgleam - "Then again, if this continues, there's a real possibility we could start developing snappy dance routines."

They'll get served, no doubt :)

Christopher B - "BTW: I do love rust monsters. ;)"

So do I, and that's the whole point :) Also thanks for the benefit of the doubt :)

Hopefully I am just getting a last shot in at the end of the latest flare-up. This shit is ridiculous.

I actually had someone I had reccommended to RPGBLOGGERS.COM write me back and ask if she could just have a list of "the good ones" as she put it.

I guess she got into research mode, and saw that the tone is moving from DEBATE to DISSENT which is when you get folks turning into assholes.

I won't namenames, but she was adamant about never playing an "oldster" game.

This scares me a little. When I recruit players, will they be biased against my game before they even try it? Because they heard all about it from some jackass trying to whip up his chuckleheads?

It's depressing :(

Donny said...

@ Jonathon, but they did! Isn't it due in the MM2?

Jonathan said...

OH.. yes. you are right.

CRAP!!! another blog made obsolete by WotC! maybe I'll get a C&D letter from them once the MM2 is released. =D

Donny said...

Nah, look at the bright side...YOU WON!

xero said...

psssh, say it, don't spray it!

I agree 100%. This edition war bullcrap is tedious.

RPG Ike said...

I hear what you're saying.

I certainly have my favourite edition, but since joining the blogging community I've warmed up to every other edition at least a little. I had to get tongue-lashed to do it, though, and I'm always worried that my honest concern(s) are going to set off a zillion comments about how I'm not doing it right. I usually find it funny, but I think I'd rather avoid the anxiousness.

I've even been told that blogging my concerns aren't a productive use of my time. Apparently visiting my blog to tell me that is time well-spent, though. Sweet irony.

I'm pretty sure we can disagree without getting angry... right?

Thanks Donny et. al.

Donny said...

You are good people Ike :)

Now that Jonathon guy, I hear he's trouble!

I hate reading blogs and coming across shit like:

"I am oldskool, blah blah blah, 3tards are idiots, blah blah, blah, 4E is for 10 year olds, blah, blah, Old school!"

And now we have old schoolers getting flack for not being old school ENOUGH! The shit has officially gotten ridiculous.

I WANT them to like OD&D or whatever...thats totally okay! IT's when these same people can't be bothered to return the courtesy that I have trouble holding my peace.

And Ike? Your welcome :)

K. Bailey said...

I WANT them to like OD&D or whatever...thats totally okay! IT's when these same people can't be bothered to return the courtesy that I have trouble holding my peace

I don't get it. I don't need you to allow me to like "OD&D or whatever". And I can say whatever the crap I want about 4E. It's "totally okay" whether you like it or not. There's no peace treaty where I'm not allowed to list some reasons why I think 4E sucks or else... what?

If you want to just full-throated slag on OD&D and grognards, just do it! Form your own informed opinions and be true to them, more power to you.

But, this goes in general for the comments and posts I've been seeing in the last few days, I'd love to see more actual thought about things vs. the kneejerk shrill and hyper-defensive "I think they're attacking my style play so I'll make fun of them!" type of responses.

taichara said...

Thank merciful fate, someone with an outlook of sanity in the middle of all this edition bull. And yeh, this is coming from the person who helped touch off the latest round by daring to not like a crack made by a gentleman in print -- and I wasn't even taking it by edition, but by general commentary.

But people will use what you say however they like. And I must say, I didn't fancy being insulted on my own blog.

I don't care what people play. I've made my own gaming decisions based on what makes me happy. Why some of these people think they've been anointed by the gods themselves at the expense of everyone else I'll never know, but ye hells am I sick of it.

Thank ye kindly; you've improved a bad day for me ;3

taichara said...

Back again, because I forgot something:

This scares me a little. When I recruit players, will they be biased against my game before they even try it? Because they heard all about it from some jackass trying to whip up his chuckleheads?

It's depressing :(

It wouldn't surprise me. And on the other side of the coin, it also wouldn't surprise me if the same jackasses lose their own potential players because of the very same crazed frothing.

I can guarantee you, I'll stay the hell away from the zealots.

Donny said...

@ Kay Bailey - Way to lead me on!
I was all ready to go self righteous on yer ass, when you had to go and lighten up in me :)

I see and understand your point. I (and presumably the rest of us bloggers) are big boys and girls. While i find it in poor tate, I can handle seeing my favorite game trashed. That's not the exactly the point.

When newbies or interested non-gamers stumble in or are directed here, I don't want them to see a pimply, bespectacled, bearded bitch fight over who's Paladin is DA ROXXORZ!!

We are starting to move from actual debate to pointless trash talk and namecalling. I call bullshit.

I just want to see cool content again, and I know that personally, I have a hard time coming up with anything when I'm fuming over a pointless bash post.

Understand, I am NOT trying to stifle or revoke your "right" to speak badly about anyone or anything. Just be conscious of the slippery slope you tread when you start making your blog about how much A sucks ass, as opposed to how cool B is.

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing...until people start yelling FIRE! Just for a laugh. Stirring up shit just to get your chuckleheads nodding again is in a similar category.

Thanks for coming though. At the least we can agree to disagree :)

Thasmodious said...

Here here, sir! Nice post. I shifted my time away from the forums to the bloggers because this shit was everywhere there and then it came here. I'm fed up with it. I've really lost respect for some bloggers I read regularly because of the way they've flown off the handle or jumped on the wars bandwagon with their "unbridgeable gap" nonsense. I read the blogs for gaming content, not a pissing match between a bunch of man-childs who think they all know the secret to the One True Way of D&D.

Thasmodious said...

Oh, and Jonathan, I'll give you full credit for saving the rust monster, thanks, man! :)

I really like the new version, too.

Chris Tregenza said...

In Defense of Schoolwars

I don't like 4e and I'm not quiet about it either but this is a good thing for the gaming community and the D&D brand.

I've invested countless hours and a fair amount of money in D&D products in the last 25 years.

This gives me a right to comment, the right to have an opinion and criticize WotC.

With 4e, D&D stopped being the D&D of the last 35 years.

By raising my voice I'm letting WotC know this and hopefully 5th edition will move back towards the spirit of my D&D.

The people who love 4e also have a voice and use it in the hope that WotC will continue with 4e.

It is only by using these voices to promote or belittle certain editions or schools can all of us be heard.

What WotC take from this argument and what impact this makes on the future of D&D is unknowable.

But shutting up and saying nothing is not an answer.

taichara said...

@Chris Tregenza:

But shutting up and saying nothing is not an answer.

Silence is not an answer. Forgetting civility is also not an answer. Opinions can be given and discussed without the bile being expressed on blogs of all stripes.

Were I WotC, I would pay no attention to any opinion delivered with a fraction of the vitriol and zealotry being tossed about as of late.

Jonathan said...

@Thasmodious -- Thank you! Its all part of my masterplan. Nice to know they will be bringing back ol'Rusty to the mix.

Chgowiz said...

Unfortunately, if you look at any sort of small community in Usenet archives, you'll see the same sort of in-fighting. Go to any -insert name of small hobby interest here- forum/blog, and you'll see the same thing. Get more than 3 people in a room, drop in a political, religious or some other topic that we spend time/energy/emotion on, and you'll get 3 opinions and a new online community. :D

I have my games and game style that I prefer and I have my game and game styles I don't prefer. I'm perfectly happy to say what I like and don't like and why I feel this way. I don't think 4E players are any less players than others, I don't think 1E DMs are superior to 3E DMs and I definitely don't look down on LARPers (cause I've done all of the above...) but I know what I like and I'm going to try and get other people to like it too.

If that makes me an opinionated ass... well... *shrug* I have some hair dye around here somewhere for the graybeard.

There's a lot of good happening all over the place and it's fun to see. Someone posted in the K&K forum that we live in awesome times because the hobbyist movement is starting to overtake the bigbadcorps in the amount of good material, and in the direction of where we go. I think that's awesome. I hope to see it keep going. I do think, however, you're always going to have debate and that's not always a bad thing - just like body work and racing, sometimes it's going to get really ugly before it gets really good.

Thasmodious said...

Debate is one thing. Debate is great. Debating the merits of making AC count upwards or if 'save or die' effects are good or bad for the game is extremely valid.

Puerile nonsense like -

"With 4e, D&D stopped being the D&D of the last 35 years."

from Chris is the kind of uninformed idiocy that needs to stop. Really, Chris, you just come off as a disrespectful moron who doesn't know what the fuck you are talking about, but likes to troll about and piss people off.

Donny said...

Hold on now...Lets not go down this route...Please?

We are starting to get a little confused on the topic. This isn't a Praise the game or shut up situation.

This is about the return of genteel debate, or at least a modicum of civility.

I wasn't kidding when I said I don't care what game you play. IT would be presumptuous at BEST to assume my game is "better" than yours - regardless of what EITHER game is. Last I recall, presumptuous was the genteel equivalent of being a Jackass. I'd say that fits.

If you want to talk abotu how you think 4E healing surges suck balls, BE. MY. GUEST. But when you frame it in the context of "ZOMG DA SERGEZ IS TEH SUXXORX, AN SO IZ ITZ FANZ!!1!" you're just being an asshole.

IF you are okay with that, then I guess there isn't anything else to talk about.

Joseph said...

That image is often used in the comments on That's where I first saw it.

Geek Gazette said...

I have moved past proclaiming a "school". I like all the editions, though at the moment 4e is my preference. When Pathfinder comes out maybe that will take top spot. I think that the old school vs. new school is kind of a good thing, as long as it is done in fun. It brings attention to the hobby and creates a bit of friendly rivalry. I tease people for liking GURPS, though I have nothing against the game, and they give me crap for playing D&D. It's all in good fun.
We bitch and moan about changes, but in the end its still a game. A game we all love and enjoy, no matter the edition.
My problem has always been WotC's behavior/attitude. Sometimes they act like they give a damn about their customers, and the rest of the time if feels like a big F U. In that respect I would like to see some one (Paizo) bitch slap some sense into WotC and take them down a peg. It just sometimes seems like WotC, perhaps due to their corporate masters, has forgotten what gaming is all about.
All editions of D&D are good. They all bring something of worth to the table. I still like my D&D, but now I have a choice of flavors to choose from.

BTW, I still hate Gnomes....

Donny said...

Geek Gazette! Welcome back to my humble dominion :)

Agreed. About gnomes too :)

Agreed about WotC as well, they have gotten complacent, and now entertain counsel from what were once their is depressing.

Just remember, too many people having a pissing contest in too small an area makes innocent bystanders swim in said piss.

Said bystanders will likely go and find a less urine soaked hobby to spend their time and money on.

Geek Gazette said...

I agree that all the flame wars and "my edition is better" that is going on is childish, but only because it is genuine. People are actually being malicious about this, and there is no reason for it. We are all gamers, no matter what game we play and should not get into pissing contests. We should at least be happy that there are others out there that share our interests.
I didn't like the fact 4e was coming out when they announced it in 07. I didn't like that they openly lied to fans and mocked us about its existence. Most of all I didn't and still don't like WotC's heavy handed way of dealing the very same 3rd Party Publishers and fans that supported the last edition and made it successful. This includes their handling of Dragon and Dungeons magazine, the OGL, and the recent fan site fiascos. WotC has gotten too big for the britches, as my mom use to say, and needs to remember who put them where they are today.
I like 4e alot as a system, but have to admit I can't quite shake 3e. Even with its flaws there was something really good about the system. Something that made it more fun for me and makes me still want to play it. Which is why I think I will probably be a Pathfinder supporter. Then again it could just be I'm not too fond of the new WotC and that has lessened the new edition for me.

Either way I say play what makes you happy and have fun.