Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is there going to be a New Age of Gaming? (LONG POST!)

If I were a gaming company with a stylish and rather well written Fantasy RPG I would be putting full steam ahead! The "stars are right" IMHO for many games to get spotlighted that would never have had the chance to do so.

There still is the void out there for many in gaming that is not filled by the Old School Renaissance and is not filled by Modern Fantasy Gaming. Many are out there and want to play but either can't find a group with their style or rules they like.

The Old School Renaissance still holds onto their "preferences" of what drives New School Gamers away. Race Classes, Race/Class Restrictions, or to sum it up not getting to play what you want to play. Some Grognards say tough! Suck it up and like it but many times as I have tried to run an old school game people that have never played Old School before are mystified and then appalled by the restrictions. They simply don't even give it a chance. My biggest killer is Elves that cannot be Rangers. I had both of my daughters about to play 3d6 in order and they just as they read through it said "Dad this game and those other games suck. You can't be what you want to be in those old games." Yes I know I know I could house rule it but why stick to these old outworn restrictions? My largely ignored RPG addresses these problems while staying old school simple but this is about people trying to make it in the RPG business world not my hobbyist approach.

The New School Gaming is somewhat doing fine but it is currently waning. Oh it is alive and well in it's current form but it is no longer in it's heyday like it was in the 80s and the 80s didn't even have the internet and all the conventions crazes that this modern world has.

You see tabletop gaming is at a very unique place at this time and I will get to that.

The D20 system came out in the early 2000s and reinvigorated the dying gaming industry. The 90s did have it's heyday as Vampire did make it's huge mark on the gaming world but by the end of the 90s it was dying as waves and peaks of popularity of things do. Many D&D gamers kept chugging along even though TSR was doing an Atari type glut failure. I must admit I quit playing D&D because of 2nd Edition as I found it really sterile and somewhat boring until the huge glut of Forgotten Realms stiff cam out and other people were running it. We gathered a group and played for years until people being assholes destroyed the group as well as people moving away, divorces, gossip. It's amazing how someone can be an admitted asshole then get their feeling hurt when people start calling him an asshole.

We all know the amazing story of WotC buying D&D and Hasbro acquiring it. They then got it back in order and came out with the 3rd edition. I have to say I had not been so excited about an edition or an RPG like that in a long time. I was blown away by all the detail. You could so many things with a character! Sadly that was replaced by questions on the game design that has plagued modern games for the most part ever since. TOO much damn detail which means too much work for the DM as everyone else sucked as DMs or was too lazy to run the game.

Well 3.5 put a band aid on it a few years after I bought a shit ton of books again and although I tried to resist I found the 3.5 books on Amazon for half price shipped and then I bought another 3.5 library. We played for many years until we gathered a quite large gaming group. Oh then once again the group grew and shrunk. We had gained a particularly brilliant rules lawyer that actually was so brilliant (if not "too brilliant") who actually memorized every rulebook in the 3.5 library. Without ever cheating he tweaked his characters into gods unlike anyone I had ever seen. Like I said he never cheated and used the rules to break the game and did he ever show how completely broken the 3.5 D&D game was. Well there was one alternate DM who did give too much gold when he was running but the Rules Lawyer never mentioned that rules break. I could put a challenge for his character but the rest of the party would die. He ended up killing the party a few months before the release of 4th Edition. He fireballed a villain amongst his own party who he well knew had a necklace of Fireballs and blew up the entire party. Of course he saves and too no damage though the combination of feats and magic items. He tried to say he made a mistake but he just knew the rules too well. Anyway the adventure was a save the world type adventure and he allowed the world to go into a cataclysm!

With my world destroyed and all of my group disliking and really pissed at the the rules lawyer things looked grim. The 3.5 rules had been shown so very broken or at least breakable by a rules lawyer. The rest of my players were story gamers for the most part.

The release of 4th edition things were really going well. The rules lawyer HATED 4th edition because despite all it's faults rules lawyers have a hell of a time breaking the game. He left after a bit of time and my table grew under the 4th edition. A bit of stupid drama and the table shook but the 4th edition game went on for at least a few years. During that time and since 3.5 I had been yearning to play some of the old school stuff. Unfortunately my group outright refused my request save for two game of Swords and Wizardry most of the players would only play 4th.

I kept telling them I needed variations in my games but no one would budge.

The 4th edition games began to slightly bore me and some of the players just did not get or like the rules and left and my wife is a story gamer and on medication and some of the players and DMs were rude when she did not get the rules. Battles that lasted four hours? Tables full of cards as in so many that we almost had no room for maps. The lies and deceit of WotC and their "Online Tool". The Essentials or 4.5 D&D. I began to get sick of 4th edition and one day I just wrote everyone and said not playing 4th for an undetermined time. They were appalled and I was cold. I never said they had to stop playing but the group died out.

I got a Pathfinder game started up using my Labyrinth Lord dungeon. It converted very well with far more options than LL/AEC and I must say Pathfinder is 3.5 perfected and is perfect in every way but it was too much damn work and some of the players were careful (if not boring) players and others story (if not foolish) gamers and there was snippy rude comments that pissed off the story players. When I stated I had no time to prep (as I was working out of town five days a week) the game and finally was going to convert it to Labyrinth Lord/Advance Edition Companion for ease of prep time and I had already written it in LL/AEC already, the players got pissed and threw a fit. The only were going to play Pathfinder. I guess they don't know rule #1 so I said fuck I won't game at all.

I looked round online and find there are many like me gameless. I will play Pathfinder again but life has not given me gaming groups that play on weekends. I have looked for Old Schoolers but they are far and few between and play on weekdays.

So here is how I see it. Pathfinder is successful because 4th Edition D&D did not do very well and is currently NOT doing very well and this time WotC is actually listening to the fan base this time concerning D&D Next. No matter what the reason there was a 4th edition is because of the flaws of 3.5 and after awhile Pathfinder will suffer the same fate when D&D Next comes out IF it is what they claim "a damn good game". The problem is they are FAR from coming out with D&D Next so this leaves an interesting gaming void that IF games like Numenera and The 13th Age do it right MIGHT be able to find a place in gaming BEFORE D&D Next comes out.

You see there are some apparently kick ass games coming out right now. Some have already came out and are chugging along like Dungeon Crawl Classics, Adventurer Conquer, King, Swords and Wizardry Complete, and others.

IF you take this little time in this void you will do well. People are kind of wary of it all and are looking for a gaming fix.

OR am I wrong? How do you see it? What say you?


  1. Slightly off topic, but there are some weekend Old School games on G+. My group, based primarily in Korea but also with dedicated players in the UK, Japan and sometimes Canada and Australia, plays on Saturday evenings Korea time, which is early morning US time (mid-day Europe). Labyrinth Lord with just a few house rules. You're welcome to come give it a try.

  2. Hey I think I might try that. I am about to start a night shift on a job for an entire month but look me up as Eldrad Wolfsbane on G+.
    I admit I have been hearing about G+ but have not tried it. Also in abut a month they replace our outdated DSL.

  3. You may be right or wrong about the "now is the time" thing, but I can tell you one thing for sure: your players don't seem to get it. It's not the actual rules that matter, it's the whole game experience, and meshing with the other people playing. Unless they actually LIKE the work of dealing with stats and so on to the exclusion of the fantasy world and the characters. Personally, I find that such things as rules and stats blend in and are relatively meaningless once the game is in full swing. If they have never experienced THAT, then I have to wonder if they have ever really been gaming! Just my own 2 cents.

    PS: Even your story gamers revolted when you suggested playing an old school game? I find it strange that a story gamer would worry so much about how many detailed rules were in play.

  4. Unfortunately, I am in a similar situation: my former regular gaming group liked 4E while I simply did not (I accept and see its merits, though; it's just not my cup of tea) - so I play with another group irregularly on weekdays.

    The (over)detailed rules set of Pathfinder (or 4E, for that matter) gives the player the impression that they can choose from a wide selection at every aspect of his character; in fact, a character is made up of more parameters than in previous editions.

    What they do not realize is that the same thing is available in older editions, too, but there these things aren't explicitly stated in the rules corpus.

    The other impression, that one had by me, is that these more cumbersome rules assure the players that their characters live longer - or that losing one is not that big deal (you can always make the same stats via a point-buy-based system, and the custom is that the new character is of the same level that the rest of the party).

    As this is getting kinda long, and I am not that much interested in "what's the buzz a-happening?" kinda trains of thoughts (plus, I have to leave for university stuff), so I pass the ball now.

  5. Hey! Just wanted to let you guys know about a new Swords & Wizardry SRD (online rules reference) website built using the S&W Complete rules. The site is at (also available via Have a great day!


  6. Eldrad, just started following you on G+ under my real name, Dennis Laffey (sleestak pic).

    Our next game should be in one week. If you can make it, cool. If you can't make it yet, don't worry about it. You can get in any time. It's a fairly open sandboxy game, and FLAILSNAILS if you've already got a character you want to play (we are in the level 1 to 4 range).

  7. What exactly is this FLAILSNAILS thing I keep hearing about?

    The solution would be a simple set of OGL rules very close to Basic/LL with all the class and race options of Pathfinder without any skills or feats list AND it be written by a crack team of gamers AND be open source. IF the book were to be printed out it would be at no profit or profits going to charity. Now with this set of rules you could use to make modules etc. but the rules would be forever free except the cost of printing. If we got let's say 50-100 bloggers to get together and make this free hobbyist Ultimate Open Source Fantasy RPG it would be the bomb.