Friday, July 17, 2009

Speaking truth to power

Just a quick note: I attended the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago last weekend. The theme of the event (believe it or not) was gaming and how libraries can foster game clubs. As such, Wizards of the Coast had a large booth where they pimped their Magic: The Gathering and D&D novel tie-ins. I dropped by and struck up a conversation with one of the WOTC staffers, who apparently worked on 4e a little bit.

This staffer asked me if I had tried 4e yet, and I responded that no, I hadn't, but that I played D&D regularly via some of the free retro-clone games available on the net. I made sure to slowly and carefully pronounce their titles: "OSRIC" and "Swords & Wizardry."

It's not often you get to speak truth to power, but when you do, it's simply sublime.


David The Archmage said...

And their response was???

Patrick W. Rollens said...

Just that I should give 4e a whirl—but honestly, I think the reps were just glad to talk D&D with someone. They'd been dealing with a convention center full of librarians who were more interested in finding fantasy novels to appeal to Harry Potter kids.

Unknown said...

Then you haven't played D& played a 3rd-party knock off. Why would the WotC guy care?

Osric and S&W aren't Dungeons and Dragons. They're knock-off of old editions. Like a copy of an old VHS tape.

4th Edition is Dungeons & Dragons. You can tell because it says "Dungeons & Dragons" on the cover. Little tip there.

There is no truth in your statement about playing through other games. Only opinion.

David The Archmage said...

DJSeanD - I disagree. While I have played neither OSRIC or S&W, I can see how they are still D&D without it being splashed on the cover. But then I suppose it all depends upon how you define D&D. If you think that D&D is what TSR/WOTC/Hasbro publishes, then you are correct. If however D&D is something more intangible than that, then all the retro clones and ogl games ARE d&d.

And a copy of an old VHS tape of say Ghostbusters? It still has the movie on it. It's still Ghostbusters.

Unknown said...

See, that's the problem. There's this constant whine of "it's not D&D" even though it has what's considered the hallmarks of D&D; the stats, hit points, AC, alignments, and so on.

It's pretty clear that Diehard was just hating on 4e for no other reason that it was "the new thing" without any reason. (as well as insuling someone who's there to help promote kids reading, but that's another topic).

As for the video, would you rather watch an old copy of Ghostbusters with static, scan lines, and other artifacts of being a copy; or a nice clean DVD picture that takes advantage of trends of the industry in the past 10 years?

Patrick W. Rollens said...

Would definitely rather watch the DVD.

But you misread my original comments: If anything, I was cheerleading for OSRIC and S&W. Nothing I wrote about could have been construed as hating on D&D.

Unknown said...

Sorry, should have been clearer: my original comment was directed at the original post, not PatrickWR. Sorry 'bout that Patrick.

And yes, you should try 4e. It's a lot of fun. ;)

Patrick W. Rollens said...

Heh, PatrickWR = Diehard. It's my blog. :) I did play in a very brief demo of 4e, just a quick in-store session of grid-map combat. Everything ran smoothly, and the GM was on top of the rules, but it didn't really make me want to buy the game.

Anonymous said...

If you're interested in library gaming, you might check out Scott Nicholson's recently concluded online course for librarians, "Gaming in Libraries."

Patrick W. Rollens said...

Thanks for the link. Actually, I've been entertaining the notion of walking over to my local Chicago public library outlet to see if they'd let me set up and run an intro S&W game for whoever would show up. I'd actually like to try to attract some kids and see what happens.

Atomu said...
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Supah said...

@ DJ: I regularly game with Patrick, and we've played several games lately that at least strongly reflect various editions of D&D: We've played Microlite, Osric, and AD&D2e. I've personally played a lot of D&D from the original boxed sets, AD&D1e, and 3.0 in the past, along with the 4e playtest Patrick referenced. Imho the "retroclones" represent old editions of D&D very well.

There really is no hating of 4e going on. I think we generally just prefer games that are either miniatures/map focused or focused on more traditional rpg mechanics - for us, 4e isn't a happy compromise between the two.

I completely get where you're coming from with the hating on 4e - I can see the title of the post could give off that vibe. But I think Pat's just saying that it's nice to let WoTC know that there are D&D enthusiasts out there for whom 4e just doesn't work. That's probably the reason all this "old school" revival has happened.

Felipe Budinich said...
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Felipe Budinich said...

"4th Edition is Dungeons & Dragons."

I was unaware that trademark was the most important part of the game. I must have been playing it wrong.

"As for the video, would you rather watch an old copy of Ghostbusters with static, scan lines, and other artifacts of being a copy; or a nice clean DVD picture that takes advantage of trends of the industry in the past 10 years?"

I would rather watch Starwars in Laser Disc as it has the best sound quality and edition of any of the formats it has been released into.

In contrast the DVD version has high audio compression so it can be better enjoyed in lower quality equipment.

Or you could also make the case that most remasters of old movies that appeared in DVD where just copied from betamax tapes and then upscaled.

I would rather have a re-master made from the original film stock.

But yeah you can always count on corporate bean-counters to think about fidelity and quality first, and revenue as a secondary concern.

New isn't always better.

Anonymous said...

Congratz, you were a jerk to someone that was just there to do their job.

You have some serious issues. Glad I ran into this post. I won't be returning to this Blog.

There, I just spoke "Truth to power" myself. Should I feel proud about it too?