What was so bad about the Core 2e rules? Why is it the red-headed stepchild of D&D?


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Mallus

Legend
So it sounds like we agree that 2E does in fact use simpler (less complex) language than 1E, right?
Oh sure, definitely. The language used in 2e is simpler and far less idiosyncratic.

But does that constitute a "dumbing down" of the rules? That was the real question I was interested in. I'd say that represents a "smartening up", since the language used in 2e was more suited to the task.
 
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delericho

Legend
To a certain extent, use of language in the rulebooks creates a specific flavour within the rulebooks, which carries over into a specific flavour of game. 1st Edition feels like a game about heroes crawling through musty old tombs in search of treasure and adventure, where life is cheap and often short. Newer editions, on the other hand, feels a lot more heroic and shiny, where the heroes feel less vulnerable, the colours are brighter, and so on. At least part of that is to do with more ornate and esoteric language used in the 1st edition books.

To a certain extent.

On the other hand, rulebooks are, first and foremost, instruction guides to the game. Use of unnecessarily complex language drives away a large number of players (many of whom would otherwise be excellent players and DMs), and probably harms the game more than the perceived benefit of flavourful language.

Does reducing the reading level of the books represent 'dumbing down'? Well, by a strict definition, yes. A person who can handle the newer books may not be able to handle the older ones. Is it a bad thing? In this case, I would emphatically say no.
 

Remathilis

Legend
So it sounds like we agree that 2E does in fact use simpler (less complex) language than 1E, right?

Yeah, and what of it?

You realize most newspapers are written at a 6th grade reading level? Most technical manuals (mechanical) barely break an 8th grade level. Written media designed to teach or inform (such as textbooks) are written far lower than its target audience to allow the largest selection of proficient readers (including those with reading/learning disability or ESL-readers). Writing that is academically elite (that is with complex-compound structure or polysyllabic word choice) dramatically limits the available audience for your product. (and remember, TSR was interested in selling their product to the largest available audience).

IMHO, TSR did right by "dumbing down" Gygax's prose to reach a wider available reading audience. Its how a game grows. Sorry if your intellectual superiority is challenged by that.
 

SHARK

First Post
Yeah, and what of it?

You realize most newspapers are written at a 6th grade reading level? Most technical manuals (mechanical) barely break an 8th grade level. Written media designed to teach or inform (such as textbooks) are written far lower than its target audience to allow the largest selection of proficient readers (including those with reading/learning disability or ESL-readers). Writing that is academically elite (that is with complex-compound structure or polysyllabic word choice) dramatically limits the available audience for your product. (and remember, TSR was interested in selling their product to the largest available audience).

IMHO, TSR did right by "dumbing down" Gygax's prose to reach a wider available reading audience. Its how a game grows. Sorry if your intellectual superiority is challenged by that.

Greetings!

Outstanding points, Remathilis!;)

A bit of a tangent--but when I remember in some of my History classes at the university some of the professors would assign various textbooks to the class, and sometimes, many of these books were written by some fairly obscure scholar somewhere, and the book was written in very *dense* writing, aimed particularly at...other *academics*. I found many of these books very annoying, and oftentimes, just entirely painful to read. I could, of course, understand them--but perhaps because of some of my other background and training in English and Philosophy--where my professors hammered us over and over about the need for being concise, and choosing good, strong, elegant language--I saw much of the pedantic history textbooks written by these scholars--while academically thorough, and authoritative--were at the end of the day, in my view, actually *horribly* written.

Such works were often needlessly long, needlessly dense, and dry. Such books made the students *hate* reading them. I often joked with my colleagues that these particular scholars needed some much-needed lessons in how to write properly! They often discussed topics in the texts in say, 100 pages, when 25 would have sufficed.

Then, also of course, several of my history professors would go on and on--as well as some of the scholars in different textbooks--about critiquing the "Popular Historians" and claiming they were decidedly inferior to the "Academic" historians. Of course, a huge difference between "Popular Historians" as they gave examples, were that such popular historians were regularly guests on the History Channel, or wrote bestselling books that sold in the millions--and made those historians quite wealthy--because they were written for the *General Audience* or the "General Reader"--whereas the Academic Historians...wrote their "great books" for the serious academic...

I noted, with great irony...that the "Academic" Historians were usually obscure, often modest in wealth, more or less unknown--and noone read their damned books except for a handful of other ivory tower academics!

Well, anyways...language is important. Flavour is always great, and should be sought after. However, ease of use and enjoyable comprehension is also an important priority--or should be.;)

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
 

Delta

First Post
IMHO, TSR did right by "dumbing down" Gygax's prose to reach a wider available reading audience. Its how a game grows. Sorry if your intellectual superiority is challenged by that.

Why do you have to throw an insult at me like that?

Seriously, we agree that TSR "dumbed down" the prose in 2E. We can have different opinions on whether that was good or not. To me, 1E is enjoyable reading and 2E isn't. Why do you have to put that last sentence in there? I'm not about to insult you in return.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Why do you have to throw an insult at me like that?

Seriously, we agree that TSR "dumbed down" the prose in 2E. We can have different opinions on whether that was good or not. To me, 1E is enjoyable reading and 2E isn't. Why do you have to put that last sentence in there? I'm not about to insult you in return.

You might want to think about whether or not the phrase "dumbing down" has an inherently insulting quality to it. For a lot of people, myself included, it does. I think it fairly drips with intellectual elitism, of a desire to restrict gaming to a certain educated 'priesthood' rather than the dumb masses.
 

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