Category Archives: Two Minutes of Hate

The Underground RPG/Franken-Gamer Credo

This has bounced around inside my head for a while. I’ve made similar rants on previous posts and I’ll try to bring a bunch of those ideas together here.

Let’s face it too many people are worried about what game others play and/or how they play it. Sure there are games I don’t like. I don’t like to rant about those until something really starts to tick me off. There’s plenty styles I don’t like. Doesn’t me you can’t play that way. It means that I don’t want to.

I’m also starting develop a little theory. There’s the kind of person who will scroll right by something they don’t like and won’t buy and that’s pretty much the end of it. Then there’s the kind person who doesn’t like something and doesn’t want anyone else to have the option of deciding for themselves. This doesn’t mean that everything is OK. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad actors out there. Things shouldn’t be a total ick fest. But I think a few have gone too far with name calling and bitching.

So here go:

  • Play whatever games that you want with whomever want and have fun without apologies.
  • Make whatever house rules that you want. Take rules from other games and fold spindle and mutilate them to your liking. If a rule doesn’t work at your table. Change it. You do not need the any one’s permission.
  • Spend more time supporting and talking about the things you like rather than the games and people you don’t like.

I know I’m missing a few bits and subtleties here. But in a way, that’s the point. Think for yourself. Do it your way.

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Living in a Small Town

Call it a suburb or what. Basically, I live in a small town. But it’s growing and fast. When I first moved here way back in 2000, the population was just under 8,000. A couple of weeks ago, they changed the sign. It’s now clocking in just over 80,000. That got me thinking on gaming stuff.

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The charm of small town or odd ball community seems to attract people. But then eventually, there are so many people that all that charm and what drew folks to the area to begin with dies and withers. The quaint farmer’s market gets replaced by a mixed use development. The friendly greasy spoon where every one knows your name is replaced is replaced the latest and greatest chain restaurant. That local festival gets moved and morphed into a bare shadow of what it once was. Neighborhoods are replaced by HOA’s. The irony is that they then go and attempt to create artificial “artist” districts or whatever. Communities like that just happen. You can’t make them appear out of no where.

What the hell does this have to do with gaming? One D&D, of course. Sure, I got nothing against businesses making money. Heck, it’s looking like they’re coming up with ways to rake in the cash. But I can’t help but just think that’ll end up being a curated mess. I could be wrong. I hope that I am.

Personally, I’m sticking to my guns. I’m sure there’s this underground community of gamers who don’t care about One D&D. Heck, they might even be using rules based on 5E. Sure I basically don’t care what WOTC does any more but what I’m trying to get across is that us weirdos need to stick together. Preach the gospel that there’s more than just WOTC. Prop each other up. Spread the word about cool stuff. And just have a good time at the game table without apology to some stranger on the Internet.

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One D&D

Well, there’s already been lots of chatter on this so I might as well throw out some of my own thoughts and predictions and see how much hate I get. The best nickname I’ve seen so far is D&Done.

Let me start with that I’ve got nothing against a company making money. That’s cool. But I see in the future a lot of folks getting thrown under the bus. And I’m going to throw this little bit of politics out there. There’s a big swath of the 5E and RPG community that leans pretty strong to the left. You’ve probably seen the “capitalism bad” and “corporations are evil” type rants and posts. But there’s a bit of double think going on out there where some of those very same folks are going to throw cash at Hasbro.

So who remembers back to release original release announcements for 5E? You know where they looked at older editions for inspiration on what worked. They wanted to bring together a fractured fan base. When 5E first came out there was still a feel of some old school or even gritter play but that’s going to go away. It’s hard to find those old posts and articles. WOTC scrubbed their archives. But I did find this old Wired article and here’s one from Bleeding Cool. That mindset is gone. I don’t think they want certain kinds of fans. Oh. I know some of you may be saying old man screaming at clouds. But it’s not about age, it’s about taste and play preferences. Even Matt Colville, the popular Youtuber, has said that D&D isn’t one game. It’s thousands. Each table, each group is their own game. But WOTC wants only one D&D. Yeah, that may be an overreaction on my part but wait there’s more.

I’ve already commented elsewhere that the whole One D&D thing is like renting a house in gated community with an HOA ran by mob of Karens. There’s plenty of folks who claim that gatekeeping is bad then turn around and gate keep. If you aren’t the kind of person that will jump on the group think train then be prepared for even more toxicity. Heck, Ill even go out on a limb to say that their “public” play test is being conducted in an echo chamber.

Now here’s where things are going to get interesting. Hey, OGL. Well, that I bet is going to be unrecognizable. All you third party publishers. Come on over to the curated community or screw you. DM’s Guild/OBS. Screw you. Roll20 or other VTT’s. Well, screw you. FLGS. Screw you. Any other various content creators. Screw you. I don’t think that WOTC is out to get the little guy. They don’t have time for that. But the little guy is just inconsequential collateral damage in pursuit of market share. You don’t matter.

I’m not against WOTC making money. I’m just putting out a warning signal based on my opinion. Let’s face it. They basically have a monopoly in the RPG sphere. I know many say that a rising tide lifts all ships. But also, name any time when a monopoly benefited the consumer.

Sure Hasbro owns the D&D IP. But the real heart and soul of D&D is a bunch of friends around a table (even a virtual one), rolling dice, having fun, and doing their own thing. No matter how hard they try, they can never own that. No matter how big a community, they can never actually control that. They may want to. But don’t let them even think that they can.

So. Now and in the future, it’s important to go out there and support all those little independent creators. This is where imagination, ingenuity, and creativity will live. Let’s face it. They already have to fight against internet algorithms, corporate shill sites, and face a corporate marketing budgets bigger than their gross profits. As I have said before we need to start looking at those small publishers as the garage bands, punk rockers, underground comics, and local diners. They are small and quirky places with actual personality.

I’m not telling you who to support. That’s up to.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

Random 5E D&D Predictions

I admit that I really liked 5E when it first came out but slowly I’ve grown less interested in it for a variety of reasons. So some may say that I don’t have a dog in this fight. Yeah, sure. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion. And why the heck not? All the cool kids are doing it.

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I do want to pat myself on the back about being correct on 5E ending up with an “App Store”. Say hello DM’s Guild. But with recent acquisition of D&D Beyond, I think there’s a lot more crazy ahead.

I’m pretty sure most folks agree that WOTC will have a VTT as part of D&D Beyond. There’s conjecture that they may attempt to buy Roll20. I dunno. I bet that price tag would be pretty high. Astral would be cheap since development has been abandon on it. Or they could make their own. So on this one, I got no idea. But they will add a VTT.

So what’s that mean? Here’s where things start get “interesting”. With a VTT, D&D Beyond becomes a one stop shop and WOTC will push it hard on fans. Here’s where I think things start to get crazy. Sure lots of folks have free accounts but if you want those extras, you’ll need a paid account. They will want fans to flock to it. I’m betting that there will exclusive D&D Beyond content. I’m also guessing that the license that DrivethruRPG has for DM’s Guild is going to come up for renegotiation pretty soon. I’m guessing that what is now DM’s Guild will get rolled into D&D Beyond. Pretty soon, it will feel more like an MMO with DLC rather than a table top RPG.

D&D Beyond also hosts forums. So we stack with fan created content that may not be to liking of all. I’ll bet there will some out there who are going to get really butt hurt. In the end, some one will get a time out or an outright ban from those forums. I betting that it will follow the same pattern as many video game publishers where the form is linked to your account. Get banned or a time out, loose access to all that digital content that you paid for.

WOTC has already started to distance itself from the rest of the RPG industry. They don’t even attend Gencon. So with that and the above in mind, I predict that D&D Beyond will end up being the equivalent of a gated and curated community with all us unwashed barbarians at the gate. Plus even less support for your FLGS.

There’s another thing I want to bring up in this post. D&D made big bucks last year. I attribute much of this to the COVID lock downs. What else are people going to do with their friends? Plus, look around. The economy sucks right now. People have a lot less disposable income. One of the first things that people cut out of their budgets is entertainment. So maybe not so many folks will be buying that cool set of virtual dice?

Just thoughts, folks. Don’t get to hung up in everything. Sit back and roll some dice.

Pizza, Pineapple & RPG’s

I make a lot of analogies with food and RPG’s. This one has been sitting there in the back of my mind for a while. So, I might as well rant.

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Some like pineapple on their pizza. Some don’t. Some think it’s a total abomination. If you go to your favorite pizza place and they tell that all of their pizzas have pineapple and if you don’t like it then you can pick it off when you get home. Or they tell that they won’t put pineapple on any pizzas. What would think about that place? If you’re ordering or even sitting down to eat your pizza, and a stranger walks up to you and yells at you, calling you names, and generally being a jerk just because there’s pineapple or no pineapple on your pizza. If you’re allergic to pineapple. Should you demand that no one else have pineapple on their pizza. If you like pineapple, should you demand that everyone have pineapple on their pizza.

And this is what turns so many RPG groups/forums/communities into cesspools. It boils down to people and even publishers screaming about what someone else has on their pizza.

I know what some folks might say. But about people who say or do bad things. That’s why I said putting pineapple on a pizza and not rat poison. Now, if you can’t distinguish between what’s pineapple and what’s rat poison then there’s very little that I can do for you with a simple blog post.