Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Dilemm4

If anyone asks, I was here and not being absorbed by Wrath of the Lich King/the TF2 scout update.

That's right, I play WoW. That can be this post's obligatory controversial statement, unless you would prefer one of the paragraphs below.

So, last post - too long ago, considering it's almost been a year since I made the blog and I haven't written twenty posts yet - I said one of my flaws (or at least one I recognised) was "I am wary of new players and indecisive about the ones I am already with". But that wording is bad and I should feel bad; it's better to say that I am wary of new and current players but just kind of let them do what they want to do and be passive-aggressive about it.

I've also been told that I can be a control freak, though the person making that suggestion had pretty terrible arguments. One was this time I railroaded the party pretty hard - but hey, I did realise my mistake and settle it quickly. Not to mention the player in question had done far worse at the time and insists that's all in the past so we should forget about it.

Oh, well. At least now I know it was a mistake. Now I will never speak of this again.

The other was because I think one of the sidebars I came across in my 4E book when I was just skimming it is fucking stupid.

Segue, go!

Here is the sidebar in its entirety, name omitted because I enjoy his work (even if nobody actually read Magic of Incarnum):

Tips from the Pros

Something amazing happened one time I was playing D&D with my 9-year-old son. When we finished an encounter, my son took over. He decided that he was going to search around one of the statues in the room, that he was going to get hit by a trap (an arrow would shoot out at the statue), and that he’d find a treasure there.

Hey, wait a minute. I thought I was the DM!

That was my first reaction. But I bit my tongue. I rolled damage for the trap, and I let him have his treasure. (I determined what it was—I wasn’t about to relinquish that much control.)

He never enjoyed the game more.

I learned the most important lesson about D&D that day. I remembered that this is a game about imagination, about coming together to tell a story as a group. I learned that the players have a right to participate in telling that story—after all, they’re playing the protagonists!

Here's my problem: The story and the moral are fine.

Yes, yes, that's not a problem. BUT!

They don't work together. I mean, imagine if the player in the story was nineteen, or twenty-, thirty-, or even higher-nine, and not the DM's son. Does this story still end the same way in your head, or does it end in ninja hydras coming out of nowhere to eat him? Because personally, if anyone old enough to do the horizontal mambo tried that on me, I'd be more likely to give them five across the face than treasure.

The problem I have is the story's placement as the lead-in to a moral about not railroading or whatever. I mean, the same guy says in an earlier sidebar that to him, "the DM is the person who prepares adventures, plans a campaign, and runs the monsters and NPCs." I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure that means it's him who gets to design the goddamn dungeon. Giving the players freedom is all well and good, but placement of traps and treasure isn't their call. It's the DM, who is hopefully not cocking it up.

That aside... yes, I made a 4E post! Don't get your hopes up, though. I've only skimmed the thing. It's not that I don't like it - I can't really consider myself as having a proper opinion on it until I give it some more reading time - I just can't be bothered. Also, admittedly, what I came across while skimming wasn't good. Like that sidebar above, or tieflings reading like a ham-fisted attempt to attract teenage boys.

But I can't avoid 4E, because I don't want to fall into the age trap. I'm actually pretty young - 3E was my first system - but I don't want to keep playing 3E forever. I'll become one of those weird old guys who grows out his neckbeard and plays only obsolete games people stopped publishing in 1982, or writes long-winded pretentious blog posts about the minutiae of his homebrew system for simulating tectonic plate shift and other things nobody gives a shit about.

To be blunt, I'm too young to be a grognard.

So, I'll give 4E a try sometime soon. It can't be any worse than 3.x, am I right?


Jay said...

That "Just in case" thing is happening in my current game. "I have 7 players, I can't take anymore."
"okay yeah but just in case :D"

I guess I should take it as a compliment.

PeteAtoms said...

Just came upon your blog the other day. Very entertaining.

*Bookmarked :)

NorskVind said...

Hooray another post! Too bad you still haven't mentioned Xiitch. WHY DO YOU HATE DWARVES :'(

Ettin said...

Too bad you still haven't mentioned Xiitch.


Karizma said...

Everything's worth playing once. Hell, I'm not even old enough to drink alcohol in good ol' America and I was brought up on Rolemaster. I played D&D 3.x, didn't like it too much. I'll try 4, nod my head with a "I like this, but don't like that." And go back to playing what I play. I'm not going to damn it to the nine hells because I didn't make it.