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Ok so bit of a rant here.

Games, movies, tv series, books and just about every form of entertainment you can imagine is subject to someone coming along later and going, “Nahhh, the original was fine but lets do things this way now and put the same name on it to capitalize off of the old version and see what we can do about making more money.”

When this thought comes along in the gaming environment it usually means that the older version is not going to be supported any more by the publisher. That means no new material from any official source. And since they hold the copyright and title, that is all on them.

One of the biggest examples of this that you can see in the annals of game history is the evolution of Dungeons and Dragons. From the basic rules, to Advanced D&D, to second edition, to players option (yeah most of us who played through it considered the players option books to be AD&D 2.5 but woe be to anyone who suggested that to someone from TSR). to D&D 3.0 and 3.5 (thank you WOTC for buying up TSR and keeping the game going), and then on to 4.0 (ungh) and then now on to fifth edition. For D&D the changes have been rather extreme after the shift from first to second edition. After that it was no longer about updating the rules, but making something that they thought they could sell better and get a bigger audience into the gaming scene (Sorry WOTC but you know its true).

Now then up until the digital outbreak of books online a few years ago, when a publisher made a change like this they had little choice but to abandon the old material completely, and just print the new stuff. The investment in continuing to print or reprint old materials was just too big. Now though publishers can pull all that old material out, scan it, and keep selling the classic materials online to anyone who wants to still play it, or flash back to a set of rules or an adventure that they played way back when. And thank you WOTC for jumping out there and making so much of our past gaming pleasure available to us all. Now to get the rest of you publishers on board. 🙂

So where is the rant, where am I going with this post, well… here…

So to all my fellow gamers out there. To all of you who have bemoaned that your favorite game system is no longer being published, to all of you who have cried out that you “Have to change to a new system”, or bitched because the new stuff your favorite game system is using just does not match up any more. I have to say, WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM!

Since table top RPGs have been coming out people have been using this little thing called  IMAGINATION. Yeah that’s right IMAGINATION. That thing you use to dream up what your characters will do, or to describe to players what the dungeon was like, or to enhance the tales you tell of past adventures. Why in the HELL would you stop using it when someone stops publishing your favorite game? Why don’t you just keep playing? Come up with your own adventures? Come up with your own worlds? Make your own additional rules? Why do you have to have the latest from someone just to keep doing the things you enjoy so much?

I can understand for something like computer or console game because unless you keep hardware around that works with the old software you just cannot keep playing. And then there are usually only so many endings in any of those games so you can only play the same exact thing over so many times. In that case you really have to update if you want to keep playing. In movies or TV yeah its a remake, or a new “envisioning” of the old idea (I mean how many versions of Sherlock Holmes have we seen in the last decade alone). And if you want more of your character you need to adapt unless you are writing your own fan or slash fic (and while you fans are awesome some of you scare the crap out of me).

The only reason I can see that someone might not still use their favorite table top RPG is because they sold off all the old books (or more charitably all your copies burned up in a fire that cost you so much you may never recover, and for those in straights like that you have my condolences) and you cannot get to a used book store, find a digital copy online, borrow a book or two from other players, find a game store with old stock, hit an auction site like eBay or some of the Amazon markets, and I am sure that there are other ways to get old books back that do not have you selling your soul, or your young (tempting though it may be at times).

Seriously though folks, just because a publisher comes up with something new, you do not have to buy it, you do not have to play it, and you do not have to toss out your favorites just because they did.

Encourage them to make the old stuff available (no strong arm tactics please) so that you can still support them. Get some of your creative friends to publish something online that you can use. DO SOMETHING, that keeps you in touch with the things you enjoy, and quit bitching about change. Yeah it would be nice if the games stayed the way you love them forever, but seriously these things are being published by companies, and companies need to find ways to make money or they die. New things bring an influx of new cash, and that means they can keep doing what they enjoy, and that is creating games.

Ok, rambling rant a players over…

Gimme the dice, I need to make a THACO check on my fifth level halfling

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  1. #1 by dantherpgman on May 9, 2015 - 6:18 pm

    I guess one problem is finding other like-minded people who are willing to play/acquire the older stuff. For example, you couldn’t pay me to play 2nd Edition D&D at this point (I’m not even interested in 3/3.5 any more, strictly Pathfinder for me…). If everyone else moves on then you don’t have much of a choice, since it’s a group game.

    I do have to make one nitpick though:

    For D&D the changes have been rather extreme after the shift from first to second edition. After that it was no longer about updating the rules, but making something that they thought they could sell better and get a bigger audience into the gaming scene (Sorry WOTC but you know its true).

    Sure, they did want to attract more customers (is there a business that doesn’t?), but I really do think 3rd edition was about making a MASSIVE cleanup of the rules. I remember when 3rd came out I instantly decided I would never play 2nd again, it was just such a VAST improvement. 3rd edition D&D changed tabletop gaming forever and took it down a whole new path. Mostly for the better methinks, but some of the curmudgeons you’re talking about would disagree ; )

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  2. #2 by authortao on May 10, 2015 - 2:57 pm

    I will definitely agree that the product that came out of the change to third edition was leaps and bounds above what had been produced for first or second edition. Even though I will still use the modules created for those engines when building stories I change out all the mechanics to an engine I actually like. Now I don’t know any of the designers of the third edition personally, hells I barely know someone who was in the offices of WOTC, but I think that the change to third edition was mostly business and not mostly gamers wanting to make a better game. I cannot back that up with direct witness accounts, so feel free to take it as personal opinion, but I seriously believe that the business choice came first and foremost, the fact that we got a better game, that ended up inspiring the best level based system on the market, well that is a side effect I can gleefully live with.

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