Saturday, March 24, 2018

Club Me

I have thought of a different podcast that I might like to try.  I thought it might be a meaningful, constructive experience to have a guest who dislikes me, or at the very least dislikes everything I stand for, and have stood for, since starting this blog.

Now, I really love D&D.  I enjoy the game, I enjoy the set-up for the game, I enjoy the meta-game behind the actual game play.  Of late, I have been enjoying letting other people talk about their games, letting them speak freely, and without criticism, about things I would normally reproach.  I don't say this has changed me, but ... I do think that this particular angle on the activity of role-playing games is intensely authentic.

So we disagree.  So what.  I'm prepared to put myself in front of the gun, in public, so long as my acccuser is able to be polite, erudite, reasonable, exacting in their criticism and potentially willing to stand for a friendly, impersonal debate.  And to be honest, I doubt at this point that the last would be anything more than the product of banter, as people are likely to disagree with one another once a subject reaches a certain death.

I'll be fair in my editing; I will cut out personal comments about me but not about my opinions: and before the podcast goes up, I will allow you to sign off on it.

So, what say?  Good for a clubbing on the grouchiest bastard in RPGs?


JB said...

Hmm. I don't know, man. Do you have a list of "haters" that you can proposition?

I'm just not sure you can find enough folks to do interviews. Oh, there are probably plenty of folks that hate your "disagree" with you. Just not sure if they'd want to be interviewed by the object of their dislike, let alone under the rules of civility you're proposing.

Once upon a time, there was a guy at my local favorite watering hole who...well, he and I didn't see eye-to-eye on a whole lot of things. At best, you might call us friendly (or not-so-friendly) rivals. Anyway, an opportunity arose where we were going to do this Fight Club thing...just him and I..."sponsored" by the bar owner (a mutual friend), after hours. It wasn't even my idea. But after the challenge had been laid out, I felt obligated to show up, even though I was pretty sure this guy would kick my ass (and he seemed very enthusiastic to do just that). Despite my misgivings, I bucked up and showed up to the bar at the appointed time (a bit before close), and waited...and waited...and waited...

The other guy never showed.

The point being: it can be difficult to get your tormentors to take an actual swing at you, even when you give them a legitimate chance to do so (or, perhaps, ESPECIALLY when you give them a legitimate chance). Some folks are content to denigrate so long as there's no real chance of confrontation (and a face-to-face dialogue would count as such). If you can pull it off, great...I'm sure it will make for an intriguing podcast. But it sounds pretty ambitious to me.

Sterling said...

As someone who reads and generally agrees with and values your writings (I have to pretend you never wrote that beer rant a while back...let's never get into that!) you and I had a bit of an off-record debate at the end of the interview we did. Problem was in that case our disagreement pretty much was only a matter of definitions and semantics rather than material differences of opinion.

I think that the debate format offers something different from your first season of interviews, but I'd suggest some modification or refinement of your proposal. Perhaps a specific, single-topic debate for each episode agreed upon ahead of time. It might even be worth figuring out where the impasse between the positions lies ahead of time. Perhaps this is what you had in mind anyway. I think @JB is right that real challenge will be in finding people interested and capable of arguing a point and doing so on "your turf."

Alexis Smolensk said...

It wasn't my intention to build this into a second series. I intended only one episode dedicated to this experiment.

It is, obviously, a bit of an ask. Nevertheless, it really comes down to trust. I have declared openly that any recording will be signed off on before it is presented to the internet. I would expect this to be thrown in my face if I did not stand up to this promise: I think it should be obvious that I cannot risk my reputation being challenged in that way. If I could not provide proof of confirmation, I think it safe to say that I would be the loser.

I don't know what else I could offer. Naturally, I don't expect to debate anyone. There are some who hate me who would not live up to the term, "Erudite." But apart from this, I don't know what else I could do to demonstrate that I am a fair-minded, reasonable, rational person, willing to have my position detracted. I think that anyone worth their salt would stand up for their position on the grounds I've suggested.

I have a very different, likely to be popular idea for a second blog series.

Ozymandias said...

Would love to hear you debate the game with a rep from Wizards, to be honest...

Alexis Smolensk said...

Never happen, Oz. No one at the company is going after a potential customer.

Ant Wu said...

I'd be interested. I don't know if "troll" is still what you think of me. If it is, I imagine the conversation wouldn't go anywhere productive, for either of us.

If it *isn't* far as topics go:

1. I want to ask questions about what you view to be the "character creation metagame" that WotC has developed, and how that contrasts with the game that you view D&D to be. I think there are some disagreements to be had there, but I also think that distinction, in podcast form, is something a lot of people need to hear. It would largely be instructive, I think, for a potentially larger audience.

2. One of the topics I'm curious about is your long-time assertion that D&D is for adults, in a time when a lot of games are clearly targeting a younger audience, or at least focused on making the game "easier". I would want to talk about my own experiences with "easier" games that have been, in my estimation, fun without detracting from D&D. I think this area will run into at least a little bit of me putting words in your mouth - my intuition is that I don't fully grasp why you think this simplification of the game is bad for the game. I'll try not to do that, but doubtless this may cause some frustration.

3. I want to talk in general about how a broader D&D community has helped me, and how I think I've been able to help at least the few people I talk to within it. I want to contrast that with your view, that the community is something which you've left, more or less, and that you've been better for it. I think that's less a disagreement perhaps and more a series of clarifications on your stance (you have entire posts about it, but I'm curious if your views on that have changed or would be differently phrased today).

4. Not a disagreement, but a point of divergence between your game and the rest of D&D - as far as I can tell, no game comes close to creating anything like your Sage Abilities, or your Mountain Climbing rules. I would want to talk about what pushed you to make those, and why you think they enhance the game in a way that (for example) WotC's contributions to all this customization have not. I think it'd be a neat point to highlight not just what drove you to make Sage Abilities, but also your design philosophy behind them, which maybe other designers could emulate, if you deconstructed it a bit.

Alexis Smolensk said...

A troll is exactly what I think you are.

I'm not interested in someone to interrogate me. My positions on all the things you mention are crystal clear. Furthermore, I've clearly not left the "community," since I am here, providing content, interviewing participants and communicating regularly.

I am looking for someone who will specifically outline where I am wrong, in their opinion; and all I have ever seen from you, Ant, is a consistent tendency to confuse, muddy and obfuscate issues. I was 100% sure with the proposal that I would hear from you; and had intended, from the start, to turn you down. As usual, you've given me no reason to think you wouldn't be an awful guest.

That might be the reason you'd be the RIGHT guest ... but I'll have to think about it.