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Friday, 15 August 2014

If You Were At Gencon Right Now You Might See... Victory.


Which is awesome, and not something I expected at all (I have nothing to do with the production of these shirts, by the way; I believe Zak doesn't either).

But it also sums up nicely what we've learned is the real issue of the past 45 days' clusterfuck: D&D is better thanks to Zak S & the RPGPundit.

That's what it all comes down to.  Because this whole thing was very clearly not about Social Justice, as any and all claims that I was racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic have been proven to be either false or more often, INTENTIONALLY false (that is, knowingly fabricated as an effort at character assassination).  That means that not only was sexism, racism, homophobia or transphobia never what was at issue, but the people who were out to get me and Zak were quite willing to throw the reputation of those causes under the bus by knowingly lying about them for the sake of weaponizing them against us.

Which if you're really someone who cares about racism, sexism, or prejudice against LGBT (as indeed I am) that's just about the most despicable thing you can possibly do.  It's worse to knowingly make up lies about someone being transphobic than to say or do transphobic things in the first place, because by making up lies or knowingly false accusations you end up damaging the reputation of legitimate issues and legitimate cases of transphobia; people don't know what to take seriously or not anymore, once the lie is caught and discredited.  So the people who made up these lies about me are, from a social justice point of view, the absolute scum of the earth.

With that out of the way, that means that all it comes down to is this question: as this is not in any way about any real claims of sexism, racism or LGBT-phobia, the only thing under consideration is whether it is more important that D&D is better thanks to Zak and the RPGPundit, or that Zak and the Pundit are sometimes mean to people (99% of whom are people who don't actually like D&D and want it to do badly)?

Does it matter more that Zak and I are aggressive to assholes and liars, and often do so in defense of D&D against people who want to see D&D fail; or does it matter more that we had an influence on 5th edition being what it is and looking how it does (I don't mean the art, which is awesome but I can take no credit for, but rather 'looking' in the sense of being a game that has very strong Old-School sensitivities), and that this is something that has been widely praised?

It should also be kept in mind that at least some of the people who are doing the attacking here are people who have either always condemned or rejected D&D, or who had hailed 4e as their final justice where D&D was finally the 'gamist' skirmish-competition-game it was supposed to be cornered into becoming all along, and comfortably neutered from having real protagonism in the hobby when it comes to ideas?

I think it should, because these people have used me and Zak to get at 5th Edition D&D.  They saw that it was going to be vastly popular (and significantly, vastly more popular than the GNS-inspired 4th edition of the game), and that they'd just be marginal voices of sour-grapeing if they went after the rules or system, so instead they tried to get a boycott going based on utterly made-up outrages they libelously  heaped on the two guys who had been so mean to them all along; the guys they thought so inferior to their own pseudo-intellectual sophistication, and who they were aghast to see WoTC turn to as ideological inspirations for the new edition.

Yeah, DIY Zak and Old-School Pundit. Not regular-gamer-hating Ron Edwards, Vince Baker, etc etc. Not the pretentious sophisticates who always wanted their vision imposed by force on the 'unwashed masses' of 'brain damaged roleplayers' who they felt didn't know what was best for them, but Zak and the Pundit: guys who embody the style that actually believes in D&D, and believes in gamers, that says that the way people actually play and have (in the vast majority) always played is the best way to play, and the best possible way to design an RPG is to design it for how people like to play. And NOT to try to invent something new through dubious theories and then try to change the culture of the hobby to force people to play that new way.

In other words, the Grognards they loved to make fun of are now the guys in charge.  Old School has won. And they lost.

And that's what ALL of this bullshit of the past month has been about. It's why they hate us so much; it's all because "D&D is better thanks to Zak S & the RPGPundit".


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia


  1. I don't know what happened in the past 45 days, but edition wars are good for nothing except to fracture our already fractured community. I've enjoyed every version of D&D, even 4E, as I've liked theater of the mind games as well as tactical games and while 4E rules focused on the tactical my group and I still did enough theater of the mind to scratch that roleplaying itch. I take what's good from a ruleset and fill in the missing with past editions. It's all D&D to me and D&D is supposed to be a fun hobby, not a contentious one.

    Anyway, I am a poor writer, especially when it comes to getting my point across. Just mean to say, I am sorry you had a bad 45 days, I am happy that you're happy, and I hope that those who read this can put aside their "My edition is best" mentality and just play D&D.

    1. Part of the point here is that there ISN'T an edition war. the previous edition sharply divided the D&D community; FRACTURED would be a better term. This one has succeeded in bringing most of the groups that felt alienated back into the D&D fold. It was specifically the lack of an edition war, and the general consensus that the new edition is great, that prompted the tiny group that had the most to lose from this to try to create a scandal out of lies by attacking me and Zak.

  2. Vince and Ron had nothing to do with this and have been cool throughout.

    Although there was an element of edition-warring, pin the blame where it belongs: the RPGnet assholes, the Something Awful trolls, and Team Problematic in general.

    Don't let Vince and Ron become collateral damage the way you yourself did--then you're no better than the people who started this shit.

    1. I get that you think "Vince" and "Ron" are cool because they've been playing friendly toward your publisher lately, even as they try to revise history to pretend that the OSR was something THEY invented or what the forge was supposed to be about all along or other bullshit like that.

      But it was largely their ideas, from as far as ten years back, ideas they've never to my knowledge repudiated (did Ron ever take back his statement that all regular RPG gamers are "Literally Brain-damaged in the same way that 12-year old sexual abuse victims are brain damaged"?) that all the people you mentioned largely rely upon as their ideological foundation for how to deconstruct the hobby.

      But no, I'm not saying they had any direct hand in the 'consultantgate' thing (though I question the 'cool throughout', I didn't see either Vince or Ron speaking up about the fact people were lying about us); I'm just saying that 4e was largely the embodiment of what they (through GNS theory) felt D&D should be made into, and it was a huge failure (exactly in the way I predicted it would be). And now, the new edition has moved away from their ideas about gaming and toward my own ideas, the ones I've been fighting them with for all this time.

  3. I didn't realize how bad all this was until i accidentally fell into rabbit hole of hate and idiots willing to believe it at face value and repeat it. Also hatred directed at oldschool and claims which basically included me just because i play BX ed. So i understand more and more you and Zac's position. Far more than just edition war BS.

  4. While I agree that the Pundit-n-Zak haters did a bad thing (in general... I haven't followed every thread and I will not tar-and-feather everybody), I thinks its a bit of a jump to go from consultant on the game to "ideological inspiration" for the game.

    1. Let's put it this way: Mike Mearls was a frequent reader of both the Forge (when it still existed) and my blog. So he knows exactly what both sides were arguing; and he was always a kind of fence-sitter. He was pretty enamoured with some of the forge ideas. 4e, though not Mearls' direct creation, was very clearly an attempt to follow the fundamental notion of Forge theory: that RPGs should be "coherent" and do only very specific things to appeal to a very specific sort of gamer.

      My own 'theory', which I've been espousing for years now (see my "Landmarks of Game Design Theory" essay from like a decade ago) was what I wrote above: "the way people actually play and have (in the vast majority) always played is the best way to play, and the best possible way to design an RPG is to design it for how people like to play".
      5e is very clearly an attempt to follow that fundamental notion.

  5. Personally, I think the whole conflict was more about personalities first, perceived agendas second, and actual design philosophies a distant third.

    But enjoy your victory. Let me know when you plan to start sacrificing 4E, 2E, PF, and 13A fans in the name of the New Old True Way so I can show up at the local Shrine of Demogygax. :)