Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Dialogue


Recently, Alexis claimed to be a D&D snob.  He also claimed that people who play the Red Box edition are “probably retarded or possessing of some other mental deficiency.”  In a later post, he claimed to have said those things “in order to instigate a dialogue.”  Anyway, prior to that later post, Alexis and I engaged in a dialogue.  Alexis has deleted this dialogue from his blog comments.  There's nothing wrong with that; it's his blog and he certainly doesn't owe me anything.  However, for the sake of posterity, I present said dialogue.

I said:
Lack of desire to play 4e is not snobbery; it's a matter of taste. Snobbery is treating as inferior people who enjoy a different style of play.



Alexis said:
Defining the Red Box as a different "style" of play is like comparing T-Ball to Baseball.

Just so we're clear on the treatment of inferior I'm defining.

You know what else is snobbish, O Perdustin? The insistence that one's choices are somehow made more "noble" because they are a choice. I'd like to see one of you "stylers" defend your choice upon some better principal than the fact that you have one.

Choosing to do something moronic is a choice too. Doesn't make it laudable.



I said:
I don't think that the T-Ball/Baseball comparison is apt. T-Ball is intended for a narrow age range (5 – 8) while the Red Box edition is intended – as you said – for ages 10 and up. Monopoly is for ages 8 and up. I find that game to be insipid, but I don't consider adults who play as “probably retarded or possessing of some other mental deficiency.” Nor do I consider their choice to play any more 'noble' or 'laudable' than my choice not to play or your choice to drink vodka.

Why would people choose to play Red Box? Perhaps they feel that the Gygaxian morass of AD&D is largely unnecessary for what they consider to be an enjoyable game.



Alexis said:
So, basically, in attempting to come up with reasons, you've actually managed to come up with a bunch of opinions that still say, "Because I wanna ... wah, wah."

Remember what I said in the post about the DM using that lack of rules to fuck over players? Without situational rules, the players are at the mercy of the DM's personal whim, which means less player agency and therefore a greater degree of Storytime Play, Jurisprudence, Railroading, etc. By having MANY RULES that I have to adhere to as a DM, my players know that I am not fucking them over.

That's why AD&D was necessary. I think the T-Ball comparison is Dead Fucking On ... all the more evident in that you're only response to it is to say, "No its not."

Like a child.

Guess what. You're playing the game that is at your level.

I don't consider rules to be a "morass." Not in D&D, not in the law, not in physics, not in medicine, not in any endeavor that requires EXPERTISE. EXPERTISE always is complicated and difficult, and butt fuck morons who know nothing about such things ALWAYS think it's an incomprehensible morass.

Guess what, dummy? You're just not smart enough.
Here is the response I submitted yesterday morning which Alexis declined to post:
Let us assume that your personal attacks against me are true (other than that I run the YDIS site – I’m not smart enough for that).  That way, my limited cognitive abilities will not be distracted.

I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments about rules and EXPERTISE, except when it comes to D&D.  Law, physics, medicine, et al. have profound real-word implications.  The real-world implications of D&D are limited to a group of people sitting around a table, rolling dice, and pretending to be elves.  I believe the difference is significant, perhaps you don’t.

No set of rules can cover every eventuality, so players can never be invulnerable to “the DM's personal whim,” as you put it.  In fact, no one plays AD&D by the book – not you, not even Gygax.  So we can drop the pretense that the rules for a game are inviolate scripture that must be memorized and followed blindly.  Once we accept the notion that the rules are not perfect, we are faced with the task of paring down the rules so that they are efficient and effective.  As JDJarvis states, “no version of published D&D was good enough.”

One of Gygax’ more cogent quotes was, “The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.”  He didn’t churn out rulebooks to establish an “ideal” to which “real players” should commit themselves; he churned out rulebooks to rake in the cash.  Some people like what the rulebooks have to offer; that’s fine.  Some people would rather not be bothered with ‘alignment languages’ and similar Gygaxian nonsense.
Alexis favors complexity in D&D for two reasons (if I understand him correctly):  (1) more rules mean less “DM's whim” and (2) world-building and rule-making enhance the play experience.

With regard to reason #1:  Rules are not going to protect players from a bad DM.

With regard to reason #2:  World-building and rule-making absolutely enhance the play experience; it's all a matter of degree.  Alexis decries the lack of 'investment' among DMs and players.  Perhaps they're lazy, perhaps they're not very intelligent, or perhaps they have different priorities – they choose to 'invest' in their families or careers or other interests at the expense of a make-believe world of wizards and unicorns.  I suppose such people aren't 'serious' enough for Alexis, yet somehow they manage to enjoy themselves.


12 comments:

  1. It is probably best that Alexis Qaeda lacks self awareness. His whole being is built upon the house of cards that he is inately superior to everyone else, and that is why he has no problem moving goalposts, accusing others of making Strawmen, and blatantly lying whenever his faulty reasoning is exposed for all to see and laugh at.

    But he is right about you - you are a total Styler.

    Happy Halloween to you and your gentle readers!

    Timotheus

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    1. Dude, you ought to write greeting cards.

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  2. You are very generous to find a coherent or even consistent argument in his posts there.

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  3. I'm all for involved world-building that enhaces the DMs ability to present the players with a campaign the players can really dig into and get what they want out of it.
    BUT... there is a trade-off between development of a plausible campaign reality and players giving a damn:
    Player: Hey DM why is bread expensive here in this town?

    DM: The growing season hasn't been so great in the three agricultuurally developed hexes to the north and tthe locals are holding the price of wheat high. The adjacent underdeveloped hexes are seeing investment from local lords in hopes that even if the growing season is fair at best over the next year granaries and coffers can be kept full and possibly build a large surplus that will draw traders from as much as 60 miles away.

    Player: uh yeah, lots of exciting opportunities for adventure there.

    Heck, if your game doesn't support such action you might as well be playing T-Ball.

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    1. I don’t know about you but if I was a player in that game, I would be all, “Hey, I could totally organize a farmers’ co-operative and influence grain prices throughout the region! Wait…would my Experience Points be derived from a per bushel price differential indexed against a value determined by the number and quality of trans-hex roads? Because I don’t want to DM to screw me over with a peasant work ethic modifier.”

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    2. What's the roll required to spot the serfs skimming the harvest?

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  4. Do you think you’re playing a kid’s game? Something that important cannot be addressed by a single die roll. First we have to determine whether your character has astigmatism (corneal or lenticular)…No, wait…First we have to consult the Peon Corruptibility Index…No, wait…

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    Replies
    1. If you guys were playing the Stat-o-matic Big League version of the game, you'd know it is simply cross-indexing the serf's Pickpocket percentage with your character's Perceptual Wisdom Bias (minus the Vilolence Inherent in the System) and then modified by the Sun Refractory Table and the Visibility Range Adjustment. Easy.

      You Stylers really are playing T-ball.

      Timotheus

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  5. I find arguments about D&D hilarious. Granted, I don't play it much and have never read any editions past 2nd AD&D, but aren't they all about pretending to elves and hobbits and wizards and what not? Guys really argue about what the best way is to pretend to be a hobbit?

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    1. We live in an absurd world, so it's only natural we should argue about absurd topics. Things become problematic, however, when people start to take disagreements about 'demi-human immersion' personally.

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  6. the world is not absurd; in fact the world is utterly logical and rational. it's the human race that is absurd.

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