Thursday, July 16, 2009

Arguing on the Internet

Whenever one of the continually refreshing old school dust ups comes back around, someone invariably will take the stance that everyone plays their own way and it's all good. This argument implies that anyone having a specific position is shrill or at least wasting their time doing the arguing.

I understand that the old school grognards have been going over this stuff for years before I jumped on. I understand that they are probably tired of seeing the same issues being raised. But come on! Saying everyone does it their own way is the single weakest thing I can think of anyone writing about gaming.

The point of blogs as I see them is to: a) work out things for yourself in a public forum, b) take part in any discussion that arises from said posts. If you are tired of a certain topic, maybe use the blogs for what they're good for-- link to the old arguments, tell us "so-and-so said this a year ago, so-and-so rebutted in this way." If you do that and people still bring up that topic (they will), you can choose not to take part in the conversation.

Here's a hint, if these issues keep coming up, they are in some way central. Or, at the least they are a hurdle beginners need to work through as they learn their craft. Both seem reason to me for discussion and not just a "well, everyone does it their own way."

Update: This is how you do it people! Make a proposal, lay out your reasoning, and even if you are wrong look at the insightful comments the proposal elicited.

Update II: I think my post was a little still-drinking-my-coffee-snippy. I apologize, maybe shouldn't have posted about this at all. It's just I feel like I still have so much to learn and people dismissive of these issues cuts off an opportunity for me to learn from the brightest and most experienced playing. So to sum up the post in a different way:

"Yes we all play our own way, but I'm really interested to hear the reasoning behind why you chose your way."


  1. I am also often frustrated by the "you can do it however you want!" answers to questions about how to do something in a game. Though it's nice to be reminded that we are each ultimately the final arbiter, if that's the answer I wanted I wouldn't have asked in the first place.

    In the case of the DAC vs. AAC debate, however, I just cannot fathom the necessity of debating the issue. If you need a 14 to hit the orc, you need a 14 to hit the orc. All the ideas out there all end up with 14 being the target number to hit the orc, and all the formulas used to get there end up getting there.

    None of the various methods are difficult in the slightest way. I hear claims that "adding is easier than subtracting," but we're talking about numbers under 20 here. If the main reason that AAC is "clearly better" is that 9+5 is easer to compute than 20-6, there's not much to say.

  2. I personally do not feel I need to justify why I like the things I do and the way I play. I don't like the attitude of 'if you're old school you do it this way'. It is possibly the one thing that keeps me outside the OSR movement and based in C&C.

  3. Thanks, for posting guys!

    @Kilgore. I hear you. I wouldn't say it's "clearly better." I think I probably just didn't get what the math was back when I was playing 1e because of the charts or some math deficiency of my own :). Knowing that characters just have to roll over enemy AC just seems clearer to me now, cleaner. If you were designing D&D tomorrow would you start with 9 and go down for AC?

    @Josh, don't get me wrong, I don't see it as people needing to justify themselves. Hell, I like to think of myself as old school but I'm playing Swords & Wizardry primarily because of ascending AC. I guess I just want to think the rules can change and become simpler, cleaner, easier to use. That won't happen if someone shuts off discussion by saying everyone plays differently and they are all valid ways to play.

    Even if the core rules don't change discussion gives me ideas for my house rulings.