If we look at expressions of contempt for the OSR, attacks on personalities in old-school, and expressions of disdain or disapproval for or attacks upon 5e D&D, we find a common pattern emerging. Some people might mistakenly assume that the issue is with the personalities in particular, and that things like the OSR or 5e are just "collateral damage"; that attacks on me, for example, may involve insulting the OSR or 5e because I'm a fan of both, but the real point of said attacks are to get to me. I think that's wrong; in fact, it's the other way around.
It's pretty often I get known Forgist/Storygamer types trying to claim
I'm "not a real game designer" because my games are "derivative" and
don't use jenga tiles and tiddlywinks like their serious examinations of
space marines with ennui. There are certainly people who, say, hate me and use the OSR as just a
premise to attack me. However, there's also a general sense of contempt
for old-school gaming in certain circles that has nothing to do with me
or any other "personality". It has to do with the pseudo-intellectual
Forge "theory" crowd feeling pissed off that their ideas largely failed,
and that now the OSR's ideas are hugely influential on things like 5e
The issue is with their resentment over having lost. There are people
who never forgave regular gamers for not wholeheartedly abandoning
D&D and embracing their RPGs about playing degenerate victorian
university professors or holocaust victims suffering helplessly or
pirates raping the corpses of cabin boys.
Many of these people
became the Pseudo-activists who we see all over G+ today, the ones
arguing that regular roleplaying needs to be put down for the sake of
the children or something. It's that same elitist hatred of D&D that
a certain sector of the hobby always had, only now they've weaponized
social causes to use these to attack those people and games they've
never ever liked.
Which is why if you have an OSR RPG that mentions
wenches or shows an image of a warrior woman in skimpy armor (or even in
FULL armor, as the whole "Aleena the Cleric is sexist" thing proved),
you're history's greatest monsters; but if you are a Storygame-designer
who's got a game where you play underaged maids who lust after their
adult masters while wearing transparent uniforms, you're a bold
visionary and sexism is irrelevant because you have the Cool-kids seal of
It proves this isn't about "causes" but about going after the games you don't like. So likewise, attacks on individuals isn't about individuals but about ideology.
These people doing the attacking are people who not long ago were saying all of D&D is
"incoherent" and an inferior game. And the OSR was the furthest away
from the spirit of all their ideas, saying "no, we don't need to invent
all-new theories and radically re-invent the hobby; we need to get back
to the roots. No, we don't need to trust our games to a group of
self-styled elite indie game designers, we need to give the GM more
power, not less". They DESPISE us for that, and for the OSR's success.
mind that the one group is an RPG group, playing games that are about
interpreting a character in a virtual world, while the other are
storygamers, whose goal is the creation of a story (with world and
character being mere backdrops to that). That's the core abyss that stretches between one concept of what RPGs should be like and the other, but the separation in basic philosophy goes further than that, when you look at the details of just what this means in practice.
Beyond that, the
storygamers believe that rules must be played as written, and that no
one should be able to alter them. The GAME DESIGNER is god. The GM is
like a monopoly banker, a mere facilitator who brings the glorious ideas
of the designer (whose word is law) down to the players (who are the
ones who get to be in charge of the group). The GM is in charge of
almost nothing. His 'world' and characters are just a potemkin-village
for the players to weave their story-making in, and he very explicitly
isn't allowed to be the one who makes Story (the whole point of the
storygame) because that would be bad.
The OSR believes that rules
are utterly malleable, you can take stuff out, put stuff in, you can
run a game using the LotFP rule book, the AD&D 1e Monster Manual,
and the Adventures Dark & Deep GM guide while running an adventure
made for Labyrinth Lord and using magic items from Arrows of Indra.
GM is god. The game designer is a producer of ideas to help the GM
create and run his world, and the players get to play their characters,
but are not the ones in charge of the world, or the group. They are in
charge of their characters, which is 50% of the point of an RPG, and the
GM in charge of the virtual world where the characters operate, which
is the other 50% of the point.
Both the OSR, and D&D 5e, are a forceful rejection of all the core storygaming values. So don't expect 'consultantgate' to be the end of things. Nothing will ever satisfy these people because what it's really about is the entire hobby having rejected their idea of 'sophistication'. Take this as a prophecy, cheap and obvious as it may be: it is only a matter of time until the next big attack on 5e, and the efforts to undermine the game, and the entire hobby, will not stop.
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