As I read through the writings of Gary Gygax in the original Players Handbook, I am struck by a couple of things. The first is that Gygax provided a lot more information to running a good Dungeons & Dragons game than many of us (myself included) give him credit for. It's been so long since I've sat down and read the books...even the last few times I've played AD&D, or researched it for a blog post or personal writing project, I've only used the books for reference (what are the strength limits of an elf, what level do druids gain abilities, what's the casting time of "x" spell, etc.). Now that we've reached the point in our hobby when we are using other editions (like B/X or 5E) or retro-clones (like OSRIC or S&W or Labyrinth Lord) and the collected knowledge of gaming to be found on blogs and forums, many of us have neglected to actually mine the original source material for the wisdom that's there. The AD&D books really were Gygax's magnum opus, and much of what he presents is masterfully done. There's little that new "old school" texts really add to the discourse, when you get down to it...they're just refining things EGG was already saying.
The other thing that strikes me is that I'm really blogging down a silly road here. My half-formed idea of the last couple days was to do a series of comparisons between AD&D and 5th Edition, comparing and contrasting the two and (contrary to some folks presumptions) NOT necessarily just as an exercise in bashing 5E. Regardless of what 5E does or does not deliver in a gaming experience, me dredging up the past...or critiquing the present...isn't a very practical use of my time. What might I accomplish? Make people feel bad for enjoying 5E? Make people pine for the days when 1E was a thriving, supported line? Drum up supporters for my position? Antagonize people who've done nothing to deserve it?
No. I took a look at 5E (as much as I could stomach) and I noted my two cents on the blog and I'm tapping out. Done. There is no winning "edition wars;" to coin a phrase from that '83 classic film, WarGames, the only winning move is to to not play the game. I feel pretty silly that I got so lathered up as to even consider rattling off more potshots at WotC.
|As fun as global thermonuclear war...just less death.|
Now, if you'll please excuse me, I shall now get to writing something about Vancian magic. Again.