D&D 5E Ray Winninger, in charge of D&D, states his old school bonefides.

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OakenHart

Adventurer
The disclaimer on some of the older products on DMs Guild seems to be the biggest point I've seen with where a lot of older gamers take issue. The original product is there and completely intact (no alterations to the actual original work), and it's not throwing people under the bus or disrespectful to explain that ideas within would be products of their own time.

I think it's largely a generational gap-thing, where the younger generations would notice obvious issues if they were to read through some of the older products today, where the older generation lived through that time and automatically associate it with the time it was printed in (or in some cases, don't see any issue with some of those elements which... is it's own problem we don't need to get into at the moment). It's a good thing to remind a newer audience the context of when they were written.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I see your line of reasoning, I just think it is an assumption that I wouldn't make. You're still making a leap to "gatekeepers," as if somehow those voicing their desire for old school stuff and those involved in gatekeeping are somehow intrinsically released.
"Gatekeeper" sure seems to be this year's go-to term of denigration to throw at whoever disagrees with one's point of view when one has no better argument to make.

Wonder what next year's will be? :)
 

Orius

Hero
Old School is becoming something of a meaningless term in gaming. It seems to mostly have a nebulous meaning roughly equivalent to "whatever feels most like the games I played when I was younger."

I'll start by agreeing that it's a mistake to equate the old school crowd with any form of bigotry. Some might feel that way, but it's a bad generalization to try to tie a preference to an older or newer ruleset to a position in the culture wars. Ernie Gygax made that mistake earlier this year, and it would be just as much of a mistake to take the opposite position, that people want to use older rules or retroclones because they want to oppress women or minorities.

No, the old school position is mostly motivated by issues from within the hobby itself. Some of it predates WotC; there are players who stopped active buying stuff because they didn't like how Gary got forced out of TSR or how TSR caved to the Satanic Panic and so on. Some people didn't like how the rules were being changed in late 1e, and since 2e generally followed those trends, they tend to dislike newer stuff. They were already lost by the time WotC bought TSR.

And some people prefer to stick with a ruleset rather than change things. Unfortunately, 3.0, 3.5, 4e, and/or 5e are part of the problem here, there are some players who feel a certain amount of edition fatigue over all the changes and are less motivated to switch to a new edition. This is especially true of players who have dealt with issues they had with older rules by houseruling. Or in other cases they found a retroclone that was compatible with their preferences. In addition, I've come to the opinion that the old classic D&D game is a pretty solid set of rules in its own right. It's not bogged down with 1e's language and Byzantine complexity, nor is it too burdened by the complexity of options offered by later games. It's a little too simple for my taste, but I can definitely see its appeal.

One particular issue is how WotC does surveys WRT age groups. WotC tends to focus on high school and college aged players in their surveys. Some older gamers don't like that and feel they're being left out, and that contributes to some of the animus they feel towards WotC.

In addition, there's some of TSR's bad business policies combined with William's well documented contempt for gamers. As a result, the old distrust of TSR's suits has spilled over into a distrust of supposed suits who work for WotC and/or Hasbro.

Some of the people who feel alienated by WotC/Hasbro have some fairly irrational views, but I think WotC should simply ignore them. They're not going to come around, and they have more noise than actual influence. Just keep the classic stuff available on the DMs Guild, and they'll buy that stuff anyway no matter how much they hate anything after 2e.

Anyway, this tweet wasn't necessary IMO (is there any such thing as a necessary tweet? Well besides advertising.) Reading it, some people are going to read a confrontational tone in it. If you read it a certain way, it can come off as "I've been playing just as long as you, so I'm old school too and so is my work, nyah nyah." I suspect some of the old school crowd will get annoyed over it, they're not going to be convinced by it. I don't personally feel that way, but I know some people are going to think this.
 
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Dire Bare

Legend
So everybody that prefers OSR games* is sexist and racist? Really? Can't possibly be that it's just a preference for a style of play and a different set of rules.

*I'm not a member of the OSR crowd myself, I prefer 5E.
@Jahydin was referring to the disclaimer WotC puts on all older products now. Which warns folks that some of these older products are problematic due to systemic racist and sexist comment. Folks upset with that disclaimer, who like to proclaim WotC hates old-school products and gamers, would like to return to the days where we didn't have to worry about such things.

He knows it, you know it, I know it.
 

Oofta

Legend
@Jahydin was referring to the disclaimer WotC puts on all older products now. Which warns folks that some of these older products are problematic due to systemic racist and sexist comment. Folks upset with that disclaimer, who like to proclaim WotC hates old-school products and gamers, would like to return to the days where we didn't have to worry about such things.

He knows it, you know it, I know it.

What exactly do I know? That you said derogatory things about people that happen to disagree with some of the current direction and text? That you just told me what I think?

In any case, I'm done with this particular conversation. I think there are people of all ages who's attitudes I disagree with. I can disagree with others without applying broad labels such as sexist and racist to people I've never met.
 





Jahydin

Explorer
@Jahydin was referring to the disclaimer WotC puts on all older products now. Which warns folks that some of these older products are problematic due to systemic racist and sexist comment. Folks upset with that disclaimer, who like to proclaim WotC hates old-school products and gamers, would like to return to the days where we didn't have to worry about such things.

He knows it, you know it, I know it.
I really wasn't thinking of older products at all. Specifically, I was thinking about the Campaign Guides line. When 5E first came out, there seemed to be a ton of buzz over what classical settings would be released; Planescape for instance, according to Mearls, was "on the radar"! But over the years we've seen 5 new settings (3 MtG, a Penny Arcade, a Critical Role setting), Ebberon (a 3E setting), and another Ravenloft product (cool, but a bit of a bummer since we already had the Curse adventure and its re-release version). A bit disappointing for older fans.

My line about being "embarrassed of the past" was mostly in regards to WotC breaking away from Dragonlance and its creators over problematic material. I think that was a pretty good indication of how strongly they felt about Classical D&D considering the time, money, and energy that took...

Maybe not though? It seems to me they realized there was some neglect since they announced that 3 classical settings were in the works. I guess we'll wait and see if they stick close enough to the material to get the old fans to buy books again.
 


It is too bad that Old School now has two meanings. There is the legit Old School that wants the older mechanics and crunch in their games and there are the ones who use "Old School" as a code phrase for wanting to keep in all the racist and sexist elements of the older games that 5E has been slowly eliminating. So let's just hope that Ray was not being tricking into replying by one of those people. Nu-TSR can have all of them.
 




Dire Bare

Legend
The disclaimer on some of the older products on DMs Guild seems to be the biggest point I've seen with where a lot of older gamers take issue. The original product is there and completely intact (no alterations to the actual original work), and it's not throwing people under the bus or disrespectful to explain that ideas within would be products of their own time.

I think it's largely a generational gap-thing, where the younger generations would notice obvious issues if they were to read through some of the older products today, where the older generation lived through that time and automatically associate it with the time it was printed in (or in some cases, don't see any issue with some of those elements which... is it's own problem we don't need to get into at the moment). It's a good thing to remind a newer audience the context of when they were written.

Age has something to do with it, but it's not really about age or what generation you hail from. I'm Gen-X, started playing D&D in the 80s with the Elmore-cover Red Box, I love classic old-school D&D, and I love many of the newer games that are a part of the OSR movement. If you're old, if you love old-school D&D, that doesn't make you blind to the systemic problems in some of those earlier products. It doesn't mean you have a problem with WotC's current direction with D&D, or that you resent the current reflections on racism and sexism in the game.

It's about fragility vs resilience. You can love a thing, like old-school D&D, and still acknowledge what's problematic with it. You can acknowledge that when you were younger, you didn't see those problems, and might not have seen them until very recently when the spotlight was shown on them . . . you can acknowledge your part in the problem, not get caught up in blame, and strive to do better, personally and in what you support. Those who cannot, or will not, see those problems in our game, are fragile rather than resilient.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I really wasn't thinking of older products at all. Specifically, I was thinking about the Campaign Guides line. When 5E first came out, there seemed to be a ton of buzz over what classical settings would be released; Planescape for instance, according to Mearls, was "on the radar"! But over the years we've seen 5 new settings (3 MtG, a Penny Arcade, a Critical Role setting), Ebberon (a 3E setting), and another Ravenloft product (cool, but a bit of a bummer since we already had the Curse adventure and its re-release version). A bit disappointing for older fans.

My line about being "embarrassed of the past" was mostly in regards to WotC breaking away from Dragonlance and its creators over problematic material. I think that was a pretty good indication of how strongly they felt about Classical D&D considering the time, money, and energy that took...

Maybe not though? It seems to me they realized there was some neglect since they announced that 3 classical settings were in the works. I guess we'll wait and see if they stick close enough to the material to get the old fans to buy books again.

So . . . . since not every product is a repackaging of an older setting, some are new . . . that's somehow abandoning older fans?

Regarding Dragonlance, you know not of which you speak. Simply because, none of us do. You are basing your opinions on rumors. And your problem with the supposed situation is the same problem as others have with the disclaimers on the older products on the Guild? Gotcha.

The fact that most of the hardcover adventures harken back to classic old-school modules is lost on you? The reboot of Ravenloft? Ghosts of Saltmarsh?

WotC isn't catering SOLELY to older fans, that doesn't equate to abandoning them. WotC loves you. But it's not all about you, either.
 



Jahydin

Explorer
So . . . . since not every product is a repackaging of an older setting, some are new . . . that's somehow abandoning older fans?

Regarding Dragonlance, you know not of which you speak. Simply because, none of us do. You are basing your opinions on rumors. And your problem with the supposed situation is the same problem as others have with the disclaimers on the older products on the Guild? Gotcha.

The fact that most of the hardcover adventures harken back to classic old-school modules is lost on you? The reboot of Ravenloft? Ghosts of Saltmarsh?

WotC isn't catering SOLELY to older fans, that doesn't equate to abandoning them. WotC loves you. But it's not all about you, either.
The adventures are not lost on me. That's why I said the Campaign Guides specifically. It would be nice to see more classical settings in that format rather than in a mega adventure. For those that like to write their own adventures, they're just more useful. Again, nothing to do with the disclaimer issue.

Regarding Dragonlance, from the creators' claim:
"During the writing process, Defendant proposed certain changes in keeping with the modern-day zeitgeist of a more inclusive and diverse story-world."

Implying that was the reason the contract was terminated. A little unfair to say my opinion is based on rumors.

No reason to get lost in the weeds though. My original post was just answering Hussar's question on why OSR fans still care about D&D. My personal experience is I was excited when 5E launched, but over the years D&D has been on a different trajectory (mostly tone and feel) that I'm less then thrilled about; I think I've purchased three books in the last six years. I still like the system though, and appreciate Ray's Tweet and the fact there is multiple classic settings on the horizon. Maybe it will get me back playing again.

I'll just be playing Worlds without Number until then.
 

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