It is exactly 12:21am, PST as I start this post.
I've been busy folks, not dead...just in case folks are wondering. Lots of family (i.e. kid, i.e. soccer) stuff. Things are fine around my parts, a few tertiary deaths and Covid outbreaks aside. Not in my household...for whatever reason, I've been blessed so far. Thank goodness.
ANYway. Let me tell you about my day.
Teaching newbies AD&D. Had six kids around the table today: Diego, Sofia, Maceo, Winston, Jacob, and Julia. Ages of children: 11, 11, 11, 10, 9, 8. Diego, my son, is the oldest; Sofia, my daughter, is the youngest. I was the DM (duh). Because half the players were new, we all went through the character creation process together, making first level characters. Ended up with two clerics, a paladin, a ranger, a magic-user, and an elven assassin (because elves are straight villains y'all).
Truthfully, this was Winston's SECOND foray into D&D at the Becker Household, but his original character was killed by an adolescent owlbear some 40 minutes into play so, yeah, he's still a rookie.
DMing kids can be...mm, challenging at times, but it's fun, too. When you skim the intro for them in about six sentences (because children have even shorter attention spans than adults), and they spontaneously break into fist-pumping chants of "TREASURE! TREASURE! TREASURE!" you know that you're playing the game right. I ran them through B1: In Search of the Unknown, pretty much straight out of the box I bought it in...literally, it even had the monsters and treasures already penned in by the previous owner, and I didn't bother changing them.
[please let me say for the record that Mike Carr deserves to be drawn-and-quartered for using Roman numerals as a keying mechanism...unless he plans on paying for my laser-eye surgery anyway]
They loved it. All of it. They were cooperative with each other, shared gold, tried to work as a team, tried to do stupid shit, got themselves in trouble, somehow managed to find their way out of it okay, and everyone stayed alive. Not much treasure in B1, but the encounters are VERY forgiving.
We played from 1pm till 5pm. There were healthy snacks: fruit and veg and crackers and water and juice. About midway through the kids took a 40 minute break to have a pillow fight upstairs while I cracked a beer on the sly, lush that I am. Then they came back for more.
Kids don't want fucking video games. They want to play and use their imagination. They want to be rambunctious / active...at times. They want to be empowered to use their minds...at times. They want the support of supportive adults in safe spaces.
I don't know...D&D, even "advanced" D&D, isn't really rocket science. At least, I don't see it as such. It's just poorly understood, poorly explained, and...often...poorly played.
SO...I saw Tim's post about the launch of One D&D this evening, though I didn't have a chance to watch the actual video till after folks had went to bed (fam was up till 11ish, watching disk two of the extend Fellowship of the Ring...go figure).
You know, when Xbox moved to Xbox 360 and then to Xbox One there was a purpose and reason behind their branding (you can read about the etymology here, if you care). D&D moving from version 5E ("D&D Next") to One D&D is...just more stupid shit. There is a LOT of stupid shit here. Lots.
So much stupid.
And that's (*sigh*) fine. People spend their money on all sorts of stupid things these days. Beer, for example...I spend entirely too much money on it, as I tend to buy the expensive stuff (though I try to get it on sale) and drink it far, far too quickly (it's been a hot summer). So people want to fall for the shtick one more time and pony up the cash for the NEW IMPROVED version of D&D...whatever. Do what you want. I just bought Trent Smith's Heroic Legendarium a month or two ago (in printed hardcover!) and the only thing I'm using it for is the corrected ACs and psionic points for MM entries (so I don't have to do the work myself). We all have "stupid" that we throw our money at.
But it's GALLING to listen to the idiots...er, "experienced professional game designers"...in this video talking about the what and why of this One D&D thing. Selling it. Selling the shit out of it. Because, make no mistake, this is all about selling folks a product in order to put money in the company coffers. Here are the pertinent bits:
[2:05] "We're revising the major core rule books that every player uses: the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, the Monster Manual."
[2:32] "That's what 2024 holds is this promise of getting new versions of the books that are the game you know but reflect where the game is presently."
[2:42] "One D&D has three pillars and one is the, uh, rule set which is built on the base of Fifth edition, but updated."
The 'second pillar' is "D&D Beyond," of which I know little, but appears to be an additional revenue stream for the company based on doing work for players that is inconvenient, perhaps because of shoddy rule construction. Okay.
The final pillar appears to be the creation of a "digital playspace" that is "still in the early days of development"...because we want to be able to have a video game-like experience because we simply cannot pull ourselves away from our screens? Or something? What?
I don't know who this idiot...er, professional game designer...is (he shows up at 4:28) but here's what he has to say:
"We chose the Unreal Engine for several reasons. Reason number one: make it look dope. That's the first thing. Number two is: take care of the lazy DM. 'Cause we're all lazy DMs (*laughs*)."
I guess I'M the idiot here, because all this sounds like stupid, stupid shit. When figuring out where characters were in the imaginary gamespace of today's game, I took three, spare 3x5 cards, cut them in half, and had everyone write their character name on a square. Then I told them to arrange the cards on the table how they were walking. The guy with a light source got a die placed on his card so I could not only keep track of illumination, but turn the die as the fuel got used up (works better for torches...with a D6...than lanterns, but they ended up throwing the lantern at the first monster encounter when ambushed by a pack of giant rats). Would it have worked better to have virtual minis in an "immersive digital environment?" Um...no. Would it have helped to players' imagination to have digital images fed into their brain from a finite repository of images? Probably not.
All this is part of the general plan to make money which...as documented extensively by others...involves REselling core books to the same customer base every 6-10 years. That's all this is. It has nothing to do with creating more "inclusivity" by helping women and/or people of color see "heroic characters" that resemble themselves...the art directors have been including illustrations of non-white, non-male adventurers since at least the days of 2nd edition (I have the books and can cite page numbers if you like). The video implying that THIS new edition will rectify some sort of inequity/discrepancy is clearly a bogus one...as is the rope-a-dope, shit-wrangling of 5E being "the most stable rule platform yet" that they are simply ADDING TO, for YOUR BENEFIT.
Sure, suckers. So why revise the core books and sell them to us again? Why not just publish an addendum of sorts. Oh, wait...you already DID ("Tasha's Hideous Hardcover" or whatever it's called). Now, you're just going to cut-and-paste that into the core books and have everyone buy the same thing again. I know this hustle...Siembieda's been running a stripped down version of the same scam for YEARS.
At least Palladium always provides SOME new content.
Mm-mm-mm. Capitalism sucks and, unfortunately, is the world we live in. Astounding ignorance in the masses ALSO sucks and, unfortunately, is the world we live in. I'm sure "One D&D" will sell fine (at least at first), dredging the wallets of the same marks that always get caught (plus a couple extra)...and, you know, that's probably fine. Idiots...er, "professional game designers"...need to eat, too, right? Support those fine folks at WotC that are #LivingTheDream!
But it IS sad, AND galling, that this is even a thing. I was up in Edmonds on Wednesday at Around the Table Games, pawing through the "used" RPG section with my kids, looking for old AD&D stuff; Diego picked up a copy of the 1986 Book of Lairs to throw some mayhem in his own campaign. While we were there, a woman with her two young daughters (younger than D, older than Sofia) came in and purchased a copy of D&D Essentials...clearly for the girls who (like my kids) were also fawning all over the dice racks.
I couldn't help but feel (a little) bad for them. I mean, I already know how that story goes.
D&D is a great game. Personally, I feel you get the maximum benefit from the advanced (first edition) version, but a lot of people feel it looks too ancent/clunky to learn. Here are the number of children under age 13 that I've successfully taught the game (I'll include myself):
Me, Jocelyn, Jason, Scott, Matt, Rob, Adam, Brandon, Spencer, Zach, Diego, Kieran, Maceo, Caro, Eileen, Nicholas, Sonya, Max, Sofia, Winston, Jacob, Julia
[all right, all right...there's a little fibbing there. Spencer and Zack were ONLY taught B/X, and Sonya and Max were taught OD&D, i.e. AD&D Lite. However, the others all stand]
'Course, if you wanted to count the kids who've been taught by the kids I've taught, the coaching tree's got a few more names on it, including Crystal, Manny, Stina, Ryan, Evan, Evie, and Milana. Pretty respectable, considering the MAJORITY of these kids were taught after the game was out of print.
All right, that's enough. It's after 2am, and I've had my say. I'll post again when I can.