"The problem with [blank] is that it doesn't [blank] when [blank, blank, blank] come into play. I agree that [blank] is a good starting point, but it is usually too [blank] where it comes to actual game play."
No alternative rule is ever proposed, nor is it usually argued in depth precisely why [blank] doesn't work because of these instances ... and usually, it is completely ignored that, in fact, the solution is painfully obvious, because there are about twenty other rules in the game that apply, that aren't being mentioned here, because: a) the commenter hasn't thought of them; or b) the commenter has never had any idea these other rules exist.
I would guess that at least three-quarters of all the people online discussing D&D at this moment have not actually played in any session in the last year. I'd say of an eighth of commenters haven't played a game session in the last four years, at least. And I'd say three-eighths of all commenters have never actually played a game of D&D at all ... with the possible caveat that they bought the books, tried to run, and failed to get the game off their campaign off the ground after that first session.
True, some of those non-players can blame the small town they grew up in, or their age, or a disability. But judging from the general quality of the advice/arguments that I see, bereft of anything that sounds like an experienced, worldly DM or player discussing the intricacies of the game, I'd have to say that a lot of what we're reading day to day comes from pikers ... a somewhat archaic term for vagrants that wander the pike, or road.
Granted, the proposal I'm making is something of a straw man. I have no evidence for it, and using it as something to argue with would be a waste of time. I propose it now strictly to suggest that we should at least be questioning how much of what we're reading is actually coming from people who know anything.
|See? Modern D&D is very rules light.|
I think its interesting to discover that the comments sections of today are filled with pretty much the same "arguments" as those of ten years ago, whether on blogs, boards or reddit. Someone writes something about rules. Someone rushes to say that there are too many rules and someone else rushes to explain a rule that doesn't work. Thus the page fills up with people repeating words that have been repeated ad nauseum for a decade.
I don't have to refute them. They refute themselves.
Why have none of these arguments spawned any real effect? I can open a blog page today and read someone arguing that basic D&D is better than present D&D, because of [blank], [blank] and [blank]. I don't even have to fill in the blanks for the reader. The reader already knows what those blanks are. We all do. We've heard it enough. Okay. So the argument has been made. And made. And for the love of all that's cheesy on the moon, made again. So tell me what's next.
What's next, apparently, is to wait around for someone to make the same argument again, in all it's glorious nuance, so that it can serve as a springboard for the next writer to come along and make the same argument.
None of these arguments matter because they don't offer a strategy. They don't offer a "next." The argument is made, but no one acts upon it in a way that matters. The most that anyone does ~ looking straight at the OSR movement earlier in the decade ~ is to create some sort of forum or board where the arguments can be made in perpetuity.
I find myself wondering how many of these commenters are invested in making a system work, any system, right now, who have an investment in what they're saying ... and how many have no reason to give a fuck.
I'm sure that a lot of present DMs and players are absolutely full of shit. I'm sure because I've met them, and they attend every Friday or Saturday night like a South Carolingian Baptist who goes to church every Sunday just to be sure no one assumes ownership of their pew. But I wonder if we shouldn't at least consider these people, "in the game."
There are an awful lot that just aren't. And if you haven't thought of it already, it's a damn easy check to sort the pikers out from the citizens. You only need check their nicks, and see what that tells you:
This is simply a matter of public record. There's nothing disparaging about it. This person is a human. That is what this profile tells us. And that is all it tells us.
Does this person ~ and let's respect that it is a person, hopefully ~ have a blog? Have they included any detail about the game they run, or the experience they've had, or their accomplishments? When they speak in a public forum, and give their opinions, exactly how much weight should we give their opinions? That is all I'm asking.
Perhaps that's unfair. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Someone's opinion, at least ... whatever was lying around. But we really should stop and consider what an "opinion" means where it comes to how "informed" someone is, when they make a claim about a rule working or whether or not there are too many rules in any edition of the game.
We should ask, "What do they know about it?"
And give that answer all the due attention it deserves.