Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Like

Thanks to Nick, at Carto Cacography, I came across Greg Tito's articles about the Past, Present and Future of D&D at The Escapist.  I posted a very short, blunt agreement with the articles, and was replied to by a couple of guys who had a little heartburn with my comment.

I didn't mean to disparage today's players, and after losing a reply I tried to post the other day, tried again with this:

"My earlier comment was a bit offbase, maybe because I read too much into Mearls' comments:

Mearls admits 4th edition might have gone too far in creating a perfectly balanced game. 'We've lost faith of what makes an RPG an RPG,' he said, admitting that in trying to please gamers with a limited imagination, 4th edition might have punished those with an active one.

My exposure to 4e is admittedly limited, I only started playing recently in my son's campaign.  In reacting to Mearls comments, I brought along the baggage of a 33 year gamer... I started with TSR's original White Box in '76 or '77.  Every edition after AD&D 1e has, in my mind, tried for higher production values in the books (lots of color, pretty pictures), less useful information for any but their campaign worlds, and more tightly defined rules (to make it easier to write software for).

To me, the game is about having fun with friends, not about maxing a character, or listening to a story or running a combat like a board game or a computer game.  I don't want my players to say, "I search the room... I made my perception check.  What do I find?" or anything remotely as out-of-game as that.  I want my players to experience the world as their characters, not think about the number they have to roll to succeed.  I want them to experience the terror of not knowing what's coming next, or whether they'll live.  (You might guess that I HATE the idea of balancing encounters against the party, so it's "fair.")  "Building an encounter is a matter of choosing threats appropriate to the characters and combining them in interesting and challenging ways."  (4e DMG, pg 56)  Yes, I actually threw up a little just now.  I didn't enjoy my forays into story (per 2e) all that much either.  I see myself more as a concierge than as a 4e rules judge or a 2e storyteller... 'Welcome to my world... there's lots to do and see, maybe I can suggest something to interest you?'

Uh oh, I'm on my soapbox again... let me step down off this thing and put it away."

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