Okay, the workshop.
I've had time to think about it and I must admit, from my perspective, the workshop was a failure. That is not a bad thing. Multiple people considered that it pushed them forward in their comprehension, things were learned, I'm happy with the response and I think there's room for something that would work along these lines.
However, the more I dig into the way the game is being played, contrary to the way I play it, or the way anyone played it prior to 1990, I am stunned by the toxicity underlying 5th Edition's changes. Weakened goal posts, with little to no meaningful acquisitions from advancement, plus what I've seen of the books, both in sentiment and purpose, simply staggers my imagination.
I hear all the time people saying, "One of the things I hate about 5e is ..." ~ followed by expressions that indicate the person is still playing that system. If I were producing a workshop on how to best use medical marajuana, and knew of a strain that was as harmful to its users as 5e, I'd have to begin every workshop by saying, "Stop smoking that crap." I would expect to have people come up and say, "But I like the taste," or, "I've been smoking it for years, what's the problem?" These people always exist.
But seriously. Stop smoking this crap. It is killing your game, it is poisoning the capacity of your readers, it is damaging your own thinking process and it is only feeding a company that is deliberately trying to make you stupider. Take your books, your maps, your modules, your downloaded pdfs, and anything anywhere that was written or produced after the last issue of the Dragon magazine and burn it in your back yard. And I'm being kind. For my money, burn ALL of your modules, except maybe the Keep on the Borderlands. But I don't expect miracles.
If you have questions about your DMing ability, your only means of improving is to practice. But there is no point in your getting better if you're stuck with a system that subverts your setting, pisses on your creativity, defies meaningful preparation and empowers your players to the point where power ceases to mean anything to them or to you. The game as it stands now is totally fucking broken. Stop smoking this crap.
I feel pretty hopeless saying this. And some will argue that I'm an Old School Grognard with my head in the sand. Anyone who reads this blog regularly, however, knows that I am anything but "Old School." The old school is shit. It was the old school's embrace of the module, the prefabricated map, the child-level writing of Forgotten Realms, the "rulings not rules" justification for laziness and the deification of Arneson, Moldvay and Gygax that led to the crowdsourced fueled nightmare that is present day gaming. The old systems, 2e and 3e included, had elements that could be built upon. Unfortunately, building was not the road taken. Building was vilified, shamed, drummed out of the rhetoric and ultimately not rewarded by a company that instead preached participation over passion, nostalgia over nuance and content mining over worldbuilding.
And here we are. There was another path, and most of the dumbfucks did not take it. And here's the big news: if you're playing 5e, and you're thinking there's just a few things wrong with it, and that you're making it work, you, my friend, my reader, my would-be workshop participant, are one of the dumbfucks. Especially if you read this blog, and it hasn't occurred yet that you're toking on a weed that's bent on killing you.
STOP smoking this crap.