Today, while idly perusing my site statistics, I came upon a new referrer that seemed to be generating a bit of a tempest in a teapot of visitors. That referrer is Creative Campaigns.
Seems someone posted a link to one of my Redesigning D&D articles, specifically the one on removing racial bonuses and drawbacks to the game. And that has led to a small influx of visitors to peruse the concepts of my redesign. And I think that’s awesome.
These types of reviews crop up periodically and I find the ensuing chatter around them insightful.
So, I traveled back to the referring site, and after some digging I managed to find the discussion in their Shoutbox. Not too surprisingly, most seem to disagree with my track on how to design a better D&D.
No big deal, I recognize I hold a minority viewpoint; to each their own as they say.
I like a system that frees you from rules that limit imagination, others apparently disagree. I’ve already demonstrated I’m cool at the table if someone wants to be a hard-core rules junkie. I probably won’t have as much fun, but that’s no reason they shouldn’t find their own fun.
Now I’m not going to quote the review of my redesign in its entirety. Mostly because, at the core, most arguments of this type are simple Coke vs Pepsi discussions of sorts or a misunderstanding of why I’m going back to AD&D in places to clear the cobwebs and bad choices the game has taken or clung to.
Personally I prefer Pepsi or RC cola, but don’t begrudge someone their love of the other cola.
That I’m misunderstood for stepping back to the beginnings in some places and not in others, isn’t worthy of deep discussion given that my targeting of some AD&D decisions almost invariable leads to a discussion and my being called a crusty gognard, but stripping B/X stuff like Vancian Magic and levels is glossed over in these types of reviews.
But here’s where I can’t just let the discussion pass without some comment. Reading through the discussion, I was struck by these two comments and the ones that followed in suit:
Steerpike - His design philosophy also runs totally against one of his core tenets. He declares that “Rules should lead to interesting options,” then proceeds to remove almost every option for customization D&D provided, casually excising skills, feats, ability scores, and racial bonuses as “unnecessary,” and declared that multiclassing should be cut and that only 4 “iconic” classes should remain. Uh huh…
Llum - Very well said Steerpike. It seems counter strange, like you said, that he wants more options but cuts out large portions of the system.
See what all those rules heavy systems have taught us all?
See the error in our collective understanding?
See the casual acceptance that more rules = more choice?
(And the obvious follow that those choices are necessarily good because there’s more of them?)
Honestly, its almost taken for granted.
More rules only creates more limitations. Plain and simple.
Hidden in all those “choices” and customization options are limitations. Maybe not to the game, but limitations to the scope of your imaginative options on what your character can do.
You can argue that those options open up players to the possibilities of the game, and you’d be partially true.
But the unintended consequence of each rule is that those possibilities you’ve demonstrated to a player suddenly become nothing more than a subset of the whole.
I prefer to offer players the whole scope of options by not limiting their choices.