A Moment to Reflect

Thursday, April 26, 2012
   Hello all! I'd like to officially welcome myself to Somnambulant Gamer. You may refer to me as Ssalarn, and hopefully that will be both mysterious enough and sibilant enough to match the mood our wallpaper tries to engender. I've done a little behind the scenes work with Somnambulant Gamer, but this will be my first acutal post, and it seemed appropriate to me that this post cover transitions.

   Specifically, I'm referring to Monte Cook leaving the design team for the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons currently being developed by Wizards of the Coast. This announcement was released earlier today on the DnDinsider site and it accentuated for me a certain reality of the dark underbelly of gamer society. Now, hold on, I get what you're thinking. "Ssalarn, gamers already ARE the dark underbelly of society!"
Well, those of us reading this know that that's not accurate BUT- and here's where I start to get to the point- it wasn't so long ago that people thought that way.

   Monte was a major design contributor for the 3.whatever versions of D&D, and I was personally excited to see him on the board for this new project. D&DNext purports to be the edition that will bring the best parts of all previous editions into one new, comprehensive game system, a project that was almost doomed to bring out the worst in RPG gamers right from the start. After all, everyone has their favorite edition (if they play) and has doubtless spent months or years trying to convince people who don't share their particular view of why their edition is the best. Anyone following the boards over at dndinsider.com for the last few months would have had the opportunity to see a host of posters spewing the most violent rhetoric imaginable at every opportunity whenever a discussion of what may or may not appear in the new edition came up. Monte, as the poster-child (get it? no? not funny? sigh...) for the 3.x editions of D&D, an edition that has been loved and hated by many with equal passion and is currently being championed through Paizo via their acquisition of the 3.5 OGL (that's open gaming license for those not in the know), was a particular target for much of this. Don't get me wrong, I understand that older editions had their chance and their time has passed. But, isn't it jumping the gun just a little to call for public crucifixions when they haven't even released the game for open playtest?

  And now I finally get to the point I just rambled through three paragraphs to make. Monte is gone from the D&DNext project, and his experience and talent go with him. The behavior by posters that helped contribute to this is not the kind of behavior we as gamers, and we as human beings, should stoop to. Objective questioning and amicable disagreement are fine, but hate has no place with us. Many can still remember being judged for playing roleplaying games by churches and various and sundry other community "leaders", or being bullied for being the scrawny pale kid who read too much or played video games instead of football. Just because we grew up to be masters of this strangely fundamental force known as the internet doesn't absolve us of the responsibilty to be better than the bullies who tormented nerdy kids in their youth (or beyond). The basic nature of tabletop rpg gaming revolves around the idea that creative people can gather together and pool their imaginations into an immersive experience that allows them to be whatever or whomever they can imagine. This spirit of sharing is inimicable to exclusionary attitudes, is open and accepting by its very nature. Let us try to emulate that openness and acceptance, and be the enlightened and better people we believe ourselves to be.

For anyone who thought that got WAY to preachy, I have good news. In my next post I talk about superheroes!!!