Thursday, November 5, 2009

Opinions on the classics, take two

My post yesterday about how some fans relate to the classics seems to have stirred up some feelings. That is good. I sometimes like to stir the pot a bit, and try to be a bit subtle or a bit outrageous. Quite dangerous on the web, I know. More often that not, nobody really get want you want to say anyway. Yesterday wasn't bad, but I think I actually was less focused than I would have wished, so I'll add some to it.

So, Gygaxitis was my word for when some people seem to be so smitten by the words of Gary that they loose a sense of perspective. Now, there are many reasons to respect Gary Gygax. He was a visionary, and a talented scenario writer with a very personal style. I was very sad to hear of his passing, and did even cry. I am a fairly emotional being. It's also true that for those who are interested in an older style of play, like myself (!), it's not only fun but also instrutive to read old rules like those Gygax wrote.

But, when I first encountered the idea of retro D&D, it was mainly on Dragonsfoot, and I felt that the atmosphere there was sometimes just silly. One thing I felt was weird, and after a while even repulsive, was the venom spewed upon some elements of gaming. Most notable was Dungeoneer Survival Guide and its companion piece about the wilderness. You could very easy get the idea that some persons would benefit from playing something else, at least once!

Now, James gave a very good and far more sensible rejection of DSG in my comments yesterday. I have seen far to little of that. Part of the reason I wanted shake up the wasps nest a bit was to get some good feedback, which I got. Once thing he said was that it felt tiring to hear that those who value Gygax get ridiculed and accused of being blind. Frankly, sometimes it's true. That might be why that accusation pops up once in a while! But, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I personally think a lot interesting can be learnt by studying the "ways of old". It don't have to turn into hagiography, and most often it doesn't. When it does, it's very easy to make fun of.

Maybe I should also mention something about ToEE. I started my post by talking about the Temple, but it was just my way of introducing the idea of how expectations differ. I have absolutely no idea at all how impressions of ToEE differ depending on attitude towards Gary. I don't think I care.

One of these days I'll try to say something simple, straight and easy, instead. I have some ideas on game design percolating. We'll see how much sense that'll make when I have put down some words on screen.

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