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D&D General "Red Orc" American Indians and "Yellow Orc" Mongolians in D&D

This is the bailey argument to the motte that the gatekeepers used to defend their gate-keeping. Do you really want to enable the gatekeepers?
I say let the gatekeepers keep their gates.

IME, over time, those gates become doors, and those doors become small windows.

And eventually, after the last shaft of light has been obscured, the gatekeepers are left alone in the dark, railing against the void, self-selecting for extinction.

Like TSR3.
 

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Just because it isn't inherently illicit doesn't mean that it wasn't an illicit comparison then or still now, especially when it was used as a talking point against the edition.
But no one is forcing you to agree. I mean when 3E came out, I remember people complaining it felt like Magic. I understood in their mind they were making a negative comparison. But I didn't feel gate kept out of the hobby because they had that reaction to it. As long as there is only a single edition of D&D out at a time, people are going to bicker over what that edition ought to be. But no one is forcing us to not play simply because they want a game to be a particular way, or even because they get their way and the game ends up a particular way. There are lots of games out there. Heck I don't even play D&D anymore because the editions haven't really appealed to me since the end of the 3.5 era (4E nixed it for me, and I never really fell back in love with it when 5E came out). At this point I have realized I have endless options for gaming, and no one controls the gates of the hobby for real.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Maybe.

But if rather trust someone who can cite his primary sources and has done his homework that @AbdulAlhazred who keeps telling me to shut me (and others) to shut our pie holes because he is the only person who knew what it was really like, even when it contradicts (a) our lived experiences and (b) what other people who have done the work have written.

In addition, I also tend to think history is more complex than “Everyone plays just I did!” And trust the more complication narrative than the self-serving and simplistic one.

But that’s me. You can draw your own conclusions. The great thing about books with cited source is that unlike personal histories - you can fact check it yourself.
Again, I do agree with your overall point, and it is supported with primary sources (or rather Jon Peterson's). But I do advise caution with an over-reliance on one historiographer for the history of our hobby. It would be nice if other scholars shared a similar interest in the history of TTRPGs as there might be a more diverse presentation of historiographies rather than the one. I don't necessarily think that Abdul is entirely wrong, but he is likely not entirely right either as his own experiences respresent a piece in the wider puzzle.
 

Filthy Lucre

Adventurer
Just because it isn't inherently illicit doesn't mean that it wasn't an illicit comparison then or still now, especially when it was used as a talking point against the edition.
As a matter of historical fact, you are correct. But whether or not the comparison is a good or bad comparison has nothing to do with gatekeeping - which is an intention. If your interlocutor is not intending to gatekeep, then no matter what he says he isn't gatekeeping.

Again, to just wave your hand and say "Comparisons in general between videogames and D&D are forms of gatekeeping" seems exceedingly silly.

Saying "X Edition of D&D is too much like a videogame and therefor I hate it! Nyaa!" is composed of two opinions, the former being at least debatably non-opinion, (I.e.: one can argue reasonably, even if not successfully, that 4e adapted popular videogame ideas/concepts/lessons).

Nothing of that is gatekeeping though.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
This is just something we disagree about. I think we have a good measure of control over how we react to someone comparing one type of media to another type (especially if we take a moment to consider what that person is trying to convey with the comparison).
One can be offended without displaying a reaction. It can be a valuable survival tool.

Choosing to display offense by complaining usually requires a sense that one can do so with relative safety, or that the offense is so great that it cannot pass unchallenged, whether or not it is safe to do so.
 

I'm not part of any group which has really suffered constant prejudice (unless you count gamers, lol), however you do want to be pretty careful here IME. People of minorities which are subject to such prejudice aren't just confronted with it once in a while, it typically exists in the very fabric of their lives in every moment. Thus any process of eradicating it, or at least objecting to it, cannot simply be a matter of picking and choosing and "deciding not to get offended by this one." You're on a battlefield, and you deal with each bullet that comes your way, out of necessity. Again, not being subject to it myself I probably don't really understand completely. I've seen it, been married to a PoC and witnessed it all first hand, but I think you'd have to live it to really get why there is no choice, you don't accept it, ever. anywhere. That is the only path that will ever work. It is the only dignified way to live.

I think we have really exaggerated this to an unhealthy degree though. Yes these things exist. I've encountered them in various ways directly. But there is also a tendency now for people to see offense EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING, even where it isn't intended. And we rarely take the time to truly look at something and go over whether it is genuinely a problem (the instant it gets labeled a problem it is toxic and if you don't agree its toxic, you are toxic). I don't think you can live life by saying if someone from a particular group takes issue that automatically means what they are saying is there, is there. You still have a responsibility to use your own reason and judgment, and people can still overreact (whether they belong to a minority group or not). Peronally I think this is a somewhat infantilizing way to deal with people.
 

That isn't how I saw it. I saw it as there was a genuine divide over an edition, and plenty a lot of folks who didn't like the edition, felt it was too much like a video game for their taste. How is that gate keeping?
In the case of 4e it was CLASSIC gatekeeping. Heck, they drove us clean out of the game!!! "We don't like the way you play and the rules you want to use, they aren't D&D, get out!" It was QUITE CLEAR.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
I don't follow. Henchmen are constructed in basically the same fashion as any other PC, are they not?

Not in OD&D. These were random hirelings, remember; at the very least it was never assumed you were going to find spellcasters available.
I don't follow. Henchmen are constructed in basically the same fashion as any other PC, are they not? Certainly before the introduction of the 1e DMG in 1979 there were no rules for rolling up beyond "3d6 in order 6 times." They had the same class choices, etc.

OD&D hirelings--which is what we're talking about--didn't appear to have a class at all. They certainly weren't assumed to be clerics or wizards, and its not clear what combat table they were supposed to use. The weren't really classed any more than a lot of the 1 HD humanoid monsters were.

Since there were no other rules for them of which I'm aware it is impossible to say if they were 'different' in some way, that would have been a choice dictated by an individual GM.

I can only go by what I saw, and what I saw pretty consistently in multiple groups was that they were treated about the same as above. This was probably by implication with the way the follower rules for higher level PCs were set up.

If we take the 1e DMG henchmen rules as roughly how Gygax did it, then they might have had less equipment, perhaps? Usually the first treasure haul rectified any such lacks. As for the personality, our experiences may differ I guess? PCs had precious little personality in most cases to start with, its hard to go down from there!

Yeah, they may not have been particularly nuanced, but virtually everyone I saw in my OD&D days applied a noticable personality to their PCs. They might be ridiculous and over the top, but they weren't personality lacking. Again, remember the people I was playing with came from the SF fandom community; they were thinking in terms of playing fantasy protagonists or at least major NPCs, not random wargame chits (though there were always a person here or there like that).

There are hard limits imposed by Charisma, though even a 12 will let you get up to 4 'hirelings' (the term henchmen and any distinction between them and hirelings is purely an invention of AD&D). I'd note that the limits in 1e are, IIRC, somewhat lower, but only apply to true henchmen. Thus, going by the rules on PP10-13 of Men & Magic, a starting first level party would be hard-pressed to get much, as each hireling requires a minimum of 100gp to enlist! Granted, once a party has delved a few times it would be possible to have 20, sure. I only rarely saw anything like this, and in those cases they were mostly AD&D hirelings, 0 level non-advancing humans who can be hired for perhaps a dozen GP or less and wouldn't even HAVE stats.

I'm just going from what others have said. As I've noted, I never saw a group with more than a hireling or two, usually to manage the pack animals (or to function as two-legged versions of same).

We did often allow 2 PCs, but again I would say that was not super different from henchmen, per se. Also remember that the original rules are a bit different in that they emphasize leadership and service. Monsters can be attracted to your service with reaction checks! Charm is a permanent condition, and it isn't all that unusual to have charmed servitors. Monsters could also be subdued (again refer to Men & Magic in the 'NPCs' section around P12). So, the game, as originally written, was intended to allow for an entourage, and indeed was built on the chassis of Chainmail where 'heroes' are leaders of armies.

Yeah, never saw much of that, either. Don't think I ever saw an OD&D DM that was going to allow you to drag along charmed monsters (or if they did, it was the same way they'd permit small numbers of hirelings).

Again, I'm not talking about what the game was designed for; I'm talking about how it seemed to actually be used in the wild, at least on the West Coast.

Anyway, I still contend that a lot of groups had and allowed for a type of entourage, though the Gygaxian conceit of PCs each having their own wasn't that common IME. The party itself was more of a collective entourage, whereas in the Ur Campaigns it seems there were dozens or 100's of players and they formed parties on an ad-hoc basis. We were not gifted with such numbers of players! If we had 5, that was super, but I only remember having maybe 20 players in a group once or twice in the mid 80s. At that point things did take on a bit more of the form that Gygax seems to envisage.

Keep in mind that in some areas (again, remembering my bias abotu what I saw out here), players were often a rotating function; a lot of games were run at conventions or at game clubs, so while you might have a kind of default group, it wasn't uncommon to be playing with people you only played with rarely or had never played with before. There was even a term for it "open" as contrasted with "closed" campaigns.
 

Aldarc

Legend
As a matter of historical fact, you are correct. But whether or not the comparison is a good or bad comparison has nothing to do with gatekeeping - which is an intention. If your interlocutor is not intending to gatekeep, then no matter what he says he isn't gatekeeping.

Again, to just wave your hand and say "Comparisons in general between videogames and D&D are forms of gatekeeping" seems exceedingly silly.
Most definitely. I have no intention to hand wave that comparisons between video games and D&D are forms of gatekeeping. I think that comparisons between the two mediums can, will, and should be made. There are things that video games can learn from TTRPGs and there are things that TTRPGs can learn from video games. And likewise points of similarity and difference are valid tools for understanding the respective mediums.

I do believe, however, that the comparison in the context of 4e was and still largely is a form of gatekeeping that also extended from a misunderstanding of the video game medium, particularly of MMOs and World of Warcraft. As @Vaalingrade said, the comparison was weaponized for that purpose in the Edition Wars. Nothing is gained from pretending that it wasn't gatekeeping.
 

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