Monday, July 15, 2013

Why I'm Apathetic About 5e/DnDNext

You could also call it the "Monte, Why Have You Abandoned Us Edition!?"

So WotC is playtesting this thing they're calling DnD Next. It might be hard to tell lately, but I really like DnD/Pathfinder. Normally, I am resistant to edition changes and rail against them with great violence and vehemence. I said many words when 3rd Edition was announced, and I spoke similar words when 4th Edition was announced. Just imagine me standing on a porch in long johns with a hose spraying books and screaming for them to get off my lawn. That's a pretty solid representation of what went on. Ignore the fact that I was scouring Dragon magazine for information on 3rd Edition and injecting it into my 2nd Edition AD&D game. 

So yeah, I rail crazily against edition changes. It's one of my things. 

When they initially announced DnD Next, I was apathetic. I still am. I just don't care. It doesn't have much to do with Pathfinder. I'm still invested in the name DnD. When I describe my hobbies to people I meet, I say DnD. It's my game, I enjoy it, I love it. I get pissed when it is maligned or mocked or harmed or used poorly. I care that Monte Cook left WotC, I care that Ed Greenwood is forced to hammer his world into a different shape to fit the rules of 4th Edition if he wants to continue writing in his world. I am invested in this shit, even though I've gone to a "different" system. 

When DnD Next was announced, I got a hold of the playtest material and skimmed it. Once. I didn't peruse and discuss and Google to see what people thought or how they were interpreting the material. I opened the files, skimmed, closed them, and never looked at them again. Because I am apathetic. I don't care. I still don't care. I want to have access to the information, but I have no desire to actually review or interpret it. It's a boring fucking TPS report to me (aside from the Penny Arcade podcast of them playing DnD Next whith Chris Perkins as their DM, that was pretty entertaining). It has nothing to do with that lack of a Monte Cook and nothing to do with the vomit inducing changes in the Forgotten Realms fiction. I just don't care. 

I think it has to do with the concept of modularity. 

One of the few things I've heard about 5e is that it is modular. They're building it in pieces that a DM can pick and choose from and decide which parts best fit his game. 

This is an utterly hilarious game design focus to me. Really WotC? In the year of someone else's lord 2012 you're going to make a game modular so a DM can pick and choose which pieces are right for him? How shall the gaming industry recover from this innovation? You have not only broken the mold with this design concept, you have in fact slain the potter himself! Everything will never be the same again ever!

Ok. That was silly, and I know this modular design isn't the entire focus of the way they're making the game, and I've done zero research. So feel free to keep these words in the same head space that you keep those guys who scream "False flag! False flag!" in conspiracy theory YouTube videos. But seriously, DMs have been picking and choosing what they use and don't use from the rulebooks since the 70s. This isn't a unique concept. GURPS has been doing it since GURPS became a thing. 

Look, when DnD Next comes out in actual published physical material (most likely in books of 160 pages that WotC will charge 35 bucks for, grumble grumble), I'll get a hold of it and peruse it. I won't rage against WotC, or threaten the lives of designers. Because I just don't care. The reason I don't care isn't something silly like modular design or trying to inject old school qualities into the game. It's because I don't really play DnD. 

I once posted about this guy who has a blog that still plays 1st Edition AD&D and has been since the early eighties and how I was in awe of and jealous of the fact that it's not really AD&D anymore, because he's altered it to fit his needs over three decades of DMing. It's not Gygax's or Arneson's or TSR's, it's his. I may be invested in the genre and the name and stuff, but I don't play DnD. Hekinoe is mine. The Known World is mine. The Immortals and the Nel are mine. It may all be based on concepts I learned in dusty tomes whilst eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew in a basement somewhere (I didn't, I learned them in church with my friend Aaron and I hate Mountain Dew), but it's mine. Maybe there will be something in DnD Next I come to like or loathe or think fits with Hekinoe, but that doesn't make it 5e or Pathfinder. Hekinoe is mine, it's ours, because it may have been built out of the nonsense in my skull, but it's as much my player's as it is mine. What Hekinoe looks like looks like it does because my players took a chance and wandered into my head space to play around and roll dice. 

I'm not really in awe of and jealous of that guy on that blog anymore (his posts make him seem like a huge ass, by the way). Hekinoe isn't Pathfinder or DnD or any of that, it's Clint's Thing.

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