Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Over The Edge

O I read the whole Jonathan Tweet thread that touched off so much commentary, and I don't think there is nearly the cause for drama it has inspired. Perhaps a poorly worded thread, but not the slander that has some OSR folks so upset.  And I say this as a person who expects to never purchase another D&D book from WotC/Hasbro in my life.

Tweet is a game f'ing brilliant one at that. I have a little copy of OTE in a place of honor on my gaming shelf, despite only having run it 2-3 times. I have the Atlas 4th edition of Ars Magica, a game that came in part from Tweet's creative genius.  And yes, I have a copy of the 3E PHB, designed by Jonathan Tweet.

I took that last one off the shelf tonight. Although I doubt I'll ever again run something so complex (it just doesn't perform as I'd like at either the low level or the high level ends of the spectrum), I cannot deny the book is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. A LOT of time, energy, cash, and love went into making that particular product.  I don't know that we will ever again see the like of 3rd Edition D&D.

Tweet is a designer, and any critique one reads into his thread appears to me to be his personal take from a design standpoint...not a stab at S&W or even a hawking of Paizo.  Just an honest, if off-the-cuff and superficial, appraisal.

So I give JT a pass on everything.  For the record, I prefer DESCENDING armor class in MY D&D (it's just so badass to say, 'well MINE is -8, pal!').

Now this Mearls guy, on the other hand (never heard of him till I read James's post over at LotFP), seems like an asshole.  And I use that not in the American way of "purposefully malicious," but in my wife's way, like when she's watching her favorite soccer team play poorly and says, "they're playing like assholes."  A dumb fuck...pardon my French.  I appreciate James V's explanation (sorry JV...didn't want to link to your food blog), but Mearls seems to have really missed the point of Keep on the Borderlands, which I feel is pretty elementary to either a D&D player OR a game designer.  I mean, what an asshole, right?


  1. After reading the "review" of B2 I'm pretty much in agreement with you on the anatomical comparisons

  2. My nephews would be so embarrassed by my language!
    : )

  3. If you feel like linking to my nearly decade old online repository of recipes, feel free! As a matter of fact, I should update it some time, my repetoire has grown since then. :)

    There's a part of me that can't help having a lot of sympathy for Mearls. Like I explained over at LotFP, he seems to really have the old-school love, but he does some things I find weird, like his porting of O-S ideas in to 4e rules, which usually goes over like trying to squeeze a glove over a foot. His sheer earnestness is the only thing that keeps me from slapping my forehead in shock.

    Then there are times he's just wrong. To heck with his wrongful critique of KotB, don't forget about his views on the rust monster. Talk about missing the point!

  4. In all honesty JV, I started to read his blog and didn't have the stomach (or the heart!) for it. I am not an un-sympathetic soul, despite what my old friend Michael used to call an “inflammatory” style of writing. Earnest types plugging away reminds us we are all part of the human race (we all have our wind mills).

    However, earnest types in positions of power pitching bullshit are scary mo-fos (c.v. George W. Bush) and something I have difficulty abiding. I appreciate you presenting this counter-point…I’m going to stay away from his blog (like I stay away from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and Ann Coulter’s best selling books) so that I don’t fly off into crazy-ass ranting.

    Um…’cause I already do that sometimes.
    : )

  5. At the same time, I love tha vast majority of the games and game material that Mearls has written.

    He wrote some of the best of the d20 books out there. Many of the "One Word" line from AEG, a pile of products for Malhavoc, and even a few old World of Darkness books of note.

  6. Which World of Darkness books? I have many, many tomes from the first few years (prior to all that Requiem bullshit), but I don't recall Mearls name

    "Best of the D20 books" doesn't impress me much these days. I hope he made some money on 'em.

    I'm not familiar with the term One Word or AEG. It didn't come up on a google search. Care to enlighten...?