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

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If he cares so much then give us good treatment of classic settings for 5e. Let's start there.

Also, my 1e Monk lost twice to the Master of Dragons. I want you to care about that too!
 

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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
If he cares so much then give us good treatment of classic settings for 5e. Let's start there.

Also, my 1e Monk lost twice to the Master of Dragons. I want you to care about that too!
Have you not heard of the 4 more classic D&D settings that are getting Setting Books for D&D 5e in the next 3ish years? Two next year, one in 2023, and another in 2024. We also already got Ravenloft. So, yeah, they did start there.
 

JEB

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.
One issue I can also see older gamers having with the disclaimer is that it's indiscriminate, and is applied to every single pre-5E product, without differentiating by content or by era. Is the Wizard's Spell Compendium Vol. 1 really just as likely to be offensive as Oriental Adventures? Should someone have to brace themselves against problematic content in a 4E book from 2011, just as they would a 0E product from 1975?

It's one thing to point out certain specific products or product lines as problematic. But I can kind of understand why suggesting to newer gamers that every single product before 2014 is a potential minefield of offense would bug some people.

(Not to mention, as we've discovered, it's not like 5E has avoided offensive content either...)
 


Older gamers seem to differ on whether or not 5E's version of Ravenloft would qualify as "good treatment of classic settings". It's about more than just bringing the old stuff back. (Hollywood sure wishes it was that easy...)
"Older Gamers" is not a unified group. Some people can't cope with the way society changes with time, and rail against any manifestation of that. See the reaction to the introduction of Rock and Roll music!

Others accept that change, and stepping aside for a younger generation, is a part of life, and that sometimes things even get better!
 

JEB

Legend
"Older Gamers" is not a unified group. Some people can't cope with the way society changes with time, and rail against any manifestation of that. See the reaction to the introduction of Rock and Roll music!

Others accept that change, and stepping aside for a younger generation, is a part of life, and that sometimes things even get better!
Oh, absolutely. There are also older gamers that cope perfectly fine with the way society changes and still don't like various new design decisions. And older gamers who think that certain design changes don't go far enough to match changes in society, or fail to achieve what they think they're setting out to do.

And then there are the older gamers who simply have no interest in newer stuff at all, whether or not it's seen by others as an improvement; and that attitude can be backed by the desire to step aside, or an active disdain for the new, or simple indifference due to being happy with what they already had.

Older gamers, like all gamers, are complicated folks. Best you can do is try to appeal to the widest array possible. Assuming you care. Which Winninger seems to be implying...
 

A bit OT, but perhaps relevant given who this is: Ray Winninger wrote an indie game called Underground for Mayfair in the early 90s involving genetically engineered super-soldiers returning from wars in South America. There was a heavy social-justice angle (though it fit in organically with the cyberpunk dystopian setting), and plenty of jokes about the politics of the era--the Ds and Rs fused into a Republicrat party that ineffectually opposed a Plutocrat party led by Ross Perot, Germany became a theocracy ruled by Scientology (which is actually banned in Germany IRL), Chuck D and Flavor Flav (from Public Enemy) get assassinated and it's commemorated on "Chuck D-Day", and others.

Thing is, Underground had game mechanics for social change, complete with trade-offs--if you improved education, take-home pay would get worse unless you spent double the cost etc.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Huh?

So, WotC's slow steps towards inclusiveness, avoiding systemic racism and sexism embedded in their products, is somehow disrespecting the OSR crowd? Only the ones who don't mind racism and sexism in their gaming, I suppose. I'm okay with that.
the OSR circles I run with is very diverse and young, and find that WotC is behind the curve on this issue.

(edit: for context, I've been playing D&D for over 30 years)
 
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ECMO3

Hero
As an old time gamer myself (started playing in 1980), I think the changes WOTC has made are great overall. That does not mean I like everything they have done, although I do like most of it.

Before I go further I want to talk about the word "race" - From my point of view what "race" refers to in D&D is not the same as what "race" refers to IRL. Race IRL encompasses people who are all human and from different areas or cultures, while "race" in D&D refers to different species. For example in D&D we do not say humans native to Chult are a different "race" than humans native to Rasheman, on the character sheet both say "human" or "variant human". IRL these would be different "races".

With that in mind, I don't find much actual "racism" in D&D, modern or legacy. That is not to say there is none. Certainly 1E Oriental Adventures, several modules and in more recent times the portrayal of the Vistani certainly have racial overtones and I am happy to see them gone.

I am also happy to see the tropes around orcs and other humanoids go away, especially WRT mechanics, although IMO these are not "racist" in terms of the IRL definition of the word. That said, I like them being gone because they lead to a more flavorful world and more variety in character builds. So I am all in on moving "racial" bonuses and adding "typically" to alignment and things such as that.

Finally 1e and 2e are chocked full of sexism and I am glad that is gone and do not want a return to it. There is certainly legitimate scientific evidence of differences in traits which are tied to biological sex, but there is no reason at all these should exist in a fantasy world. If as gamers, we are willing to believe that someone can turn himself invisible or teleport to the other side of a room we should be willing to believe that males and females can have the same strength, height and weight. As I heard a gamer once say - "I have flames coming out of my hair, I'm wield a flaming sword and you are concerned that I should not be 7 foot tall because I am a woman?" Again let people build and play the character they want. I don't really see a lot of sexism in modern 5E, but maybe I just missed it.
 
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Older gamers seem to differ on whether or not 5E's version of Ravenloft would qualify as "good treatment of classic settings". It's about more than just bringing the old stuff back. (Hollywood sure wishes it was that easy...)

Well, with some of those people, you have to read between the lines and figure out whether they are Old School or "Old School". Are they upset about mechanics changes or maybe changes to the general lore of the region? Or are they upset that all the pseudo-gypsy/Romani racist garbage was changed? And now "just bringing the old stuff back" is sounding like another code phrase that the non-inclusive people will use.
 

As an old time gamer myself (started playing in 1980), I think what WOTC has done is great overall. That does not mean I like everything they have done, although I do like most of it.

Before I go further I want to talk about the word "race" - From my point of view what "race" refers to in D&D is not the same as what "race" refers to IRL. Race IRL encompasses people who are all human and from different areas or cultures. For example in D&D we do not say humans native to Chult are a different "race" than humans native to Rasheman, on the character sheet both say "human" or "variant human" while IRL they would be different races.
The books back you up! From the 2e PHB (1989): "This is not a race in the true sense of the word: caucasian, black, asian, etc. It is actually a fantasy species for your character -- human, elf, dwarf, gnome, half-elf, or halfling." The 1e PHB doesn't address this issue at all--it simply lists 'racial stocks' such as dwarf, elf, etc.

So, yes, all human backgrounds would be considered the same 'race' as far back as 1989.
 

whimsychris123

Adventurer
I went ahead and read some of the comments on the Tweet thread to get some context for this statement. Ugh. Usually a mistake and a rabbit hole I always seem to fall into.

At any rate, people can "demand" things of WotC all they want, but WotC is going to do what WotC is going to do. I personally think they've been rather responsive to the gaming community as a whole, new and old players alike.
 

One issue I can also see older gamers having with the disclaimer is that it's indiscriminate, and is applied to every single pre-5E product, without differentiating by content or by era. Is the Wizard's Spell Compendium Vol. 1 really just as likely to be offensive as Oriental Adventures? Should someone have to brace themselves against problematic content in a 4E book from 2011, just as they would a 0E product from 1975?

It's one thing to point out certain specific products or product lines as problematic. But I can kind of understand why suggesting to newer gamers that every single product before 2014 is a potential minefield of offense would bug some people.

(Not to mention, as we've discovered, it's not like 5E has avoided offensive content either...)
Because if they did they'd be opening themselves up for argument. Why Oriental Adventures and not Monstrous Mythology? It has X. They'd be put into a situation where people would be asking them to explain what exactly is problematic about A while others are demanding they explain why they refuse to see that B is horrible and harmful etc.

The way they did it means they actually conceded nothing and were able to wash their hands of it all. They didn't say that all old products had issues, just that any old products might do - which is true - they might.
 
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JEB

Legend
Well, with some of those people, you have to read between the lines and figure out whether they are Old School or "Old School". Are they upset about mechanics changes or maybe changes to the general lore of the region? Or are they upset that all the pseudo-gypsy/Romani racist garbage was changed? And now "just bringing the old stuff back" is sounding like another code phrase that the non-inclusive people will use.
"Reading between the lines" means making assumptions about why someone says or does something. Engaging folks on their reasons is generally much more educational. The ones who have bad reasons for disliking a given change will generally out themselves, eventually. The rest, you will often find, have a variety of other reasons. (In my experience, most often it's just wanting the stuff they grew up with to stay comfortable and familiar, which is hardly a hate crime in and of itself.)
 


JEB

Legend
Because if they did they'd be opening themselves up for argument. Why Oriental Adventures and not Monstrous Mythology? It has X. They'd be put into a situation where people would be asking them to explain what exactly is problematic about A while others are demanding why they refuse to see that B is horrible and harmful etc.

The way they did it means they actually conceded nothing and were able to wash their hands of it all. They didn't say that all old products had issues, just that any old products might do - which is true - they might.
Oh, I perfectly understand why they did things the way they did. As you indicate, it's very efficient - acknowledge and deflect criticism, while conceding nothing. I'm just pointing out why older fans might be offended by such a blanket disclaimer, since it can have unintended implications.
 

Oh, I perfectly understand why they did things the way they did. As you indicate, it's very efficient - acknowledge and deflect criticism, while conceding nothing. I'm just pointing out why older fans might be offended by such a blanket disclaimer, since it can have unintended implications.
I don't really see any reason to. Are they saying that there is nothing in the back catalog that would merit the disclaimer?

I see how they might want be disappointed if they wanted WotC to explicity take an anti-SJW stance. Clearly, that wasn't it. But I don't really see what the issue with this is from an apolitical point of view (other than really being a somewhat silly statement of the obvious).
 

JEB

Legend
I don't really see any reason to. Are they saying that there is nothing in the back catalog that would merit the disclaimer?

I see how they might want be disappointed if they wanted WotC to explicity take an anti-SJW stance. Clearly, that wasn't it. But I don't really see what the issue with this is from an apolitical point of view (other than really being a somewhat silly statement of the obvious).
I'm sure many older fans agree there's stuff in the back catalog that merits the disclaimer. That doesn't mean they're fine with every single D&D product prior to 5E being labeled as potentially problematic.

Warning newer D&D fans that they're in for problematic stuff before they read Oriental Adventures makes sense. But I can see why some folks would consider it unfair to suggest that new fans should be equally cautious when perusing, say, 4E's Heroes of the Feywild.
 
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I'm sure many older fans agree there's stuff in the back catalog that merits the disclaimer. That doesn't mean they're fine with every single D&D product prior to 5E being labeled as potentially problematic.

Warning newer D&D fans that they're in for problematic stuff before they read Oriental Adventures makes sense. But I can see why some folks would consider it unfair to suggest that new fans should be equally cautious when perusing, say, 4E's Heroes of the Feywild.
Why does it matter? Where is the unfairness? Who is it unfair to?
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'm sure many older fans agree there's stuff in the back catalog that merits the disclaimer. That doesn't mean they're fine with every single D&D product prior to 5E being labeled as potentially problematic.

Warning newer D&D fans that they're in for problematic stuff before they read Oriental Adventures makes sense. But I can see why some folks would consider it unfair to suggest that new fans should be equally cautious when perusing, say, 4E's Heroes of the Feywild.
It's a simple solution that doesn't require them to go through every previous official D&D product from 40 years worth of non-5e products and analyze each one to see if it holds up to modern sensibilities. It's way easier, less time-consuming, and far cheaper to just put the same warning on all of the previous stuff. It's more practical and is probably the only way to avoid missing stuff or seeming like they're making attacks against certain people. If people are offended by that, it's not anyone's fault but their own.
 

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