Category Archives: Two Minutes of Hate

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships, Really?

I keep hearing this and as 5E gains in popularity, I keep hearing it more. At first, I did buy into it but I’m starting to wonder about that.

I get the idea. 5E D&D does well and by default so does the rest of the RPG market. It brings more people into the hobby. More things are sold. But I think that it does get to the point the the rising tide can start to swallow up the smaller ships. Let’s look at a few things.

It brings more people into the hobby is the big one. But how many people come into the hobby via 5E stray from the 5E fold. And how many stay for any long period of time? I can only offer opinion on these two points based on my own observations. There’s a hard core sector that won’t stray from 5E. They don’t look outside that box. And I’ve seen lots of folks who I thought weren’t gamers, get into 5E for a while but not stay that long and just move on. I don’t think many of them will be still be playing their “old” game decades later. I think some are just playing it because it’s popular right now.

It’s mainstream now. So many times, I see this as more of a curse than a blessing. Sure you can get D&D stuff at big box stores and even on Amazon and usually at a lower price than available at your friendly local mom and pop gaming store. So much for supporting local businesses. Along with that, there’s plenty of folks who want to pop in start a shit storm then walk way because they have actual interest in the hobby. And then there’s the higher profile articles about RPG’s from “news” sources that don’t cover table top gaming. Any one who’s been around a while notices that a lot of those articles are very poorly researched and do nothing for other RPG’s and often puts them into a less than stellar light.

Celebrity endorsements! Ugh. There is no gentle way to put this. If you’re playing just because some celebrity is playing then you aren’t going to be looking around for more games. I put these folks in the same bucket as the “playing because it’s popular” crowd.

Corporations kill creativity. Let’s just say that corporate D&D will do for RPG’s what McDonald’s did for hamburgers. And don’t forget the lawyers and accountants. Lawsuits and bean counting aren’t the most creative of environments.

Hello, small publishers. Congratulations. You’re even more insignificant. There’s a steep hill to climb for small publishers. That hill gets steeper as bigger companies dominate the space. Just ask all those local bookstores when Amazon started selling books.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yes, I’ve heard “so goes D&D, so goes the hobby”. That’s bad but it’s an unfortunate reality. Paizo did pull of Pathfinder when many fans disliked 4th Edition. But as WOTC’s influence grows, it makes it even more difficult for another Paizo to come along.

Having one company has so much influence over the market, tone, and community doesn’t lend itself to a long term healthy community. As I said, it kills creativity when the dollars and conversation are centered just one publishers/game. It makes competition even more difficult for mom and pop games stores and small publishers.

What do do? Well, keep the home fires burning and keep the grass roots growing. Support the local games stores. Support the odd ball small publishers. Have fun and talk about it.

Happy Anniversary: LOTFP Ref Book

Well, it’s been a year since the last update on Indiegogo as of this writing. What can I really say? According to that they’ve got the complete draft and no follow up after that on Indiegogo. There was a little update in December on the LOTFP Page: “But now it’s time to advance again. Looks like the next releases won’t be to the printer until March or so (five months later than I’d hoped… sigh) and then the release cycle after that… seriously… the Ref book. So I need to conserve resources for all that, but there is much to do between now and then.” So maybe some months after March? I dunno.

I want to laugh but Raggi’s been sitting on the other people’s money (including some from me) for a long time. The last video on Youtube was basically, we’ve got a plan and we’re coming back! I can only take this as, we’re trying to keep the lights on (after last year’s financial troubles). But then everybody has had some pretty tough times last year.

Plenty has been written about the missteps and faux pas that have occurred over the past years so I’m not going to reiterate all that crap here. But I will say this, if the goal is to rebuild the brand then a good place to start is fulfilling those past commitments or at least be more transparent about what is going on.

Predictions for 2021

Because I can and I think it might be a little fun to look back at this in a year.

What’s going to happen to D&D? There’s been some talk about a 6th Edition or even WOTC selling off D&D. I don’t think they will sell it. I think Hasbro will turn out D&D toys and board games. On the RPG side, my guess is that they are going to do a 5.5 or revisionist edition. Basically, resell as much content as possible. That’s what I think is most likely to happen. I really doubt they will sell it off but they might license out the RPG side. If they decide to go to a 6th Edition. It will suck. Even Editions generally suck. Overall, I think we should start calling it McD&D.

Diaspora & Division: The second D&D of RPG world. I think people will continue to scatter to various social media platforms. The big one’s are just getting too toxic and too people enjoy being an Internet Witch Hunter and Thought Police. Politics and other crap will continue to rear their ugly heads.

The OSR/Old School/Whatever You Want to Call It: For along time I felt the old school was really thriving but last year it just didn’t feel that way to me. I think part of it is the spread of people across various social media platforms and 5E just sucked the air out of the room. But I do think there will be a bit of a revival. WOTC will continue its Corporate Nanny attitude and alienate even more consumers. People will look for an alternative.

LOTFP Ref Book: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah right. I really doubt that 2021 will finally be “The Year”. Based on the financial troubles from last year, there might not be an LOTF by the end of the year.

Despite these being mostly doom and gloom predictions, I do expect 2021 to be good overall from most folks. There’s going to be hiccups along the way but there’s also going to be a lot of successes. Much of this depends on what we as individuals make of it.

Gaming Festivus: Airing of the Grievances

Let’s face it. 2020 has been on giant bucket of suck. If 2020 were to have a theme song well it’d be:

So let me complain about a few things.

COVID-19: Well that screwed everything up. Our daily lives. Our businesses. Everything. It cancelled conventions. It killed or at least greatly damaged FLGS’s. And many a gaming a group just stopped meeting. And then add on that so much of it ended up being politicized. Craptacular.

Whats’ up with the OSR: I remember when weekly and sometimes daily I’d see something new and cool that come for old-school games. I dunno my “Follow Your Favorites” from DrivethruRPG just hasn’t had that much that made me say, “Wow!” Sure I’m seeing some good stuff come out like Old School Essentials and more Midderlands stuff. That’s good. I just don’t see the same enthusiasm as years before. But then I do have a theory about this….

Politics: Oh, that ugly creature continues to rears its head. I don’t need game publishers playing thought police. Just give the a good and fun game. That’s your job. And then of course this follows up with the usual social media lynch mobs. This, IMHO, is one of the major things affect the quantity (and possibly) quality of old-school stuff coming out. It’s just not worth the headache to get attacked for writing an adventure or set of rules on the off chance that bozo is going to construct some wild conspiracy theory that there’s bad stuff there. Or if you create something that does even remotely get popular, somebody is going to dig thru your past posts and if you happen to have liked the wrong thing or person. Oh that’s a lynching.

I Didn’t Really Read The Book: OK. This is one of my pet peeves on social media and forums. Sure be welcoming to newbie picking up a specific game for the first time. Of course, they will have questions. But then I see so many that are obvious that the person posting just wasn’t reading the book. I don’t respond to these because I really feel like it’s a waste of time to say, “Read page 27.”

Trolling for Attention: Sick of it. And ain’t going to give these yahoo’s the benefit of more attention.

LOTFP Ref Book: Last up date February 2020 (as of this writing). The draft was supposed to be done. Ten months later, nothing. Editing? Art? Layout? Updated time table? LOTFP got over $36,000 from backers. Figured we get a little more of an update than that. Who am I kidding? Money flushed down the toilet.

Judging A Game by Those Who Play It

Division and Drama.  I’m sick of it. Yes, it would be nice if folks would at least be able to politely disagree.

Has this ever happened to you?  You buy a new game and play it and like it. Then you go online and try talk about it.  You might go to a group or community specific to that game or even mention it amongst the general chatter.  And oh my god.  You just kicked a puppy or feel like you rolled around on a fire ant mound.

There’s some communities where you’re judged by how long you’ve been a member, how much you post, and how money you shell out to game’s designers.  You make think that’s silly but that was my experience on the old Paizo Forums when Pathfinder 1.0 was still in beta.  After those initial interactions, I walked away from the forum.  No point in sharing there.

Then there’s those communities, where they spend more time talking about other things rather than the actual game.  They tend to complain about “those people”. Generally it’s anybody that they disagree with on some non-gaming issue. Of course, it gets even more craptacular when the actual game designers/publishers are moderating, posting, and even encouraging it.   Often you’ll see the “we don’t money from those kind of people”. You’ve probably seen that more than once.

But what about when you mention a game in passing like in a normal post some where and you didn’t take the time to do a complete background check on the authors, artists, publisher, or whatever.  OMG, how can you like THAT GAME!  One of the artists did something six years ago that was BAD. But maybe it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t bad then. It was rumor. It was proven false but is still “true” according to some one out there on the Internet.

If you’ve been around online gaming communities for any significant length of time, you’ve seen one or more of these little dramas play out. Sometimes even the flame wars started by these have literally lasted decades. Yes, the internet has been around that long.

So let me get back to my main point.  Judging a game by its community. You’ve bought a game and played a game and enjoyed then you went looking for the online communities.  Or maybe, you’re interested in a game and you hunt down an online group.  And you’re first  thought is “What the hell is wrong with these people?” You might post some slightly different view on something and out come the pitchforks and torches. It sours the whole experience.  Yeah, I know.  You’ve got your home game and they can’t change that. It still sours that home game experience.  It’s like when eat some bad sushi and get sick then months or even years later you have sushi again.  It’s perfectly good but it still turns your stomach because of that past experience.

I know a lot of these start of as political or moral arguments.  I have a pretty simple philosophy on that.  There’s obviously right and obviously wrong and a big assed gray area in between and in that gray area different people have different lines in the sand.  Any more, there’s very little “agree to disagree” and move on.

I don’t have any solutions for this.  I can’t tell anybody not to do X or Y. I really don’t think anybody is capable of doing anything to that would have any significant effect. It’s just one drama at a time and try to move on and hope there’s something left when the smoke clears.

And a couple of final thoughts.  No matter how many people agree with an opinion that still doesn’t make it a fact.  And who’s see this: If you are friends with/like X then you can’t be my “friend”.

Ugh.  Enough of this for now.  Need to get back and have some fun!