Make Games Not War!

Since the release of the D&D Basic Rules another war is waged in the RPG community. This time it’s not about editions but about the people who helped Wizards of the Coast to create D&D 5th Edition.

D&D 5th Edition is definitely the first edition of D&D that was ever openly and publically playtested, WotC listened for the first time to gamers out there, and asked people from the gaming community for advice. That’s a huge thing! And from what I’ve seen so far the 5th Edition is the most inclusive edition ever. The times of chainmail bikinis are gone, as are the times when character archetypes are just white males. D&D has gone a long way since 1974. That’s something we all should celebrate.

But alas most of this is moved into the background, because WotC and especially two of their advisors, Zak Smith and the RPGPundit, are constantly being attacked. There are claims that they are bad people and a toxic influence. I have to admit I am not always eye to eye with both of them. But I am also sure that most of the things they have been accued of are totally unfounded. I will not repeat all the arguments pro and contra here, because it would definitely be beyond the scope of this post, and I propose you do your own research and not just trust what I am writing.

What I propose is that people should check out the new D&D and let WotC know what they like or don’t like. If you see some changes that you welcome, let them know. If you think some aspect of the game offends you, please share your thoughts with them. But don’t dismiss it out of hand, just because someone on the internet said, that two advisors are bad people.

I’d also like to see the people who are waging this war use their energy to try to constructively change this. So you don’t like how something is displayed in some roleplaying game? Write your own or endorse people who do it – in your opinion – right. Talk about the games you enjoy. Share your enthusiasm with other people. This is way better and more productive than trying to make things you don’t like disappear.

Last but not least: we are living in a mostly secular, free, and open society (I guess most of the readers of my blog do at least). A huge part of this freedom is being able to voice our opinions. And this also means that people are free to say or write things that we are offended by. But in an open society this is something we have to tolerate, especially on the internet where different worldviews, religions, cultures, etc. clash regularly. So keep discussing the things that are important to you, but always try to be positive, tolerant and friendly. Ad hominem attacks are always the wrong way to voice one’s opinion!

Ah, one other thing: With this blog my co-authors and I have always tried to focus on the positive sides of gaming. We try to share our enthusiasm for the hobby and talk about the games we love. Sure, we sometimes pointed out things we didn’t like but we always tried to stay friendly and constructive. Please keep this in mind when you’re posting comments below. As always every comment is appreciated but please keep things civil. Thanks in advance!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

13 thoughts on “Make Games Not War!”

  1. My take’s pretty similar. I do think that horrible people should be called out however, and it brought to the attention of the folks at WotC. But it should also stop at that more or less. Voicing your concerns isn’t the same thing as attacking someone. (Though there can certainly be overlap..)

    I’ve read through the blog of one of those folks, as I was more or less blissfully unaware of them both when this hubub started. And truth be told, I immediately wrote them off as a crazy person I want nothing more to do with. But that’s that.

    1. That’s a totally valid opinion. I don’t regularly read their blogs, but I think especially Zak creates a lot of cool stuff. I love Vornheim for example. And I don’t think he’s a bad guy just pretty direct and outspoken.

  2. We live in a world now where it is no longer okay to be both an asshole and a public figure. Being neither, I’m perfectly cool with that.

    1. What it means to be a public figure has changed a lot in the last years with the popularity of social media, blogs, etc. Who knew I’d become something of a public figure (albeit in a rather small scene) a couple of years ago?

      And I find this “asshole” thing problematic. Who acts like an asshole is debatable. And sometimes we have to accept a certain level of asshole. It’s part of having an open and free society. I prefer to have a good measure of obnoxious people around instead of living in a world where people are not allowed to say what they think. If I think someone is an asshole I just avoid them.

  3. Oh and I’ll also add, thanks for the thoughtful, kind blog post. There isn’t enough of that here these days!

  4. There’s a certain irony in that I hear about this thing only in blog posts by people pleading that others drop the subject… ; )

    1. This is true. I follow some folks that I think may have more personal beef in this matter than most, and while I’ve seen them express disappointment. I haven’t seen them making huge rants, or attacking folks, or saying anything to encourage such behavior. (In fact, the opposite.)

  5. I thought I was going to hate 5th edition. But was I totally blown away by what i found, when the free pdf came out. I also understand, this pdf will be updated with content right along the way, so everyone will be able to have at least the players hand book on pdf free of charge. I love what they did with the system, cause honestly i was tired of the 3.5 line, and how ridiculous it was starting to get. Seemed more about how much you could acquire , and how powerful you could be. So going back to roots, is a very refreshing turn for me.

  6. >>The times of chainmail bikinis are gone,

    Goodbye sexy ladies, hello tedious inclusiveness propaganda. ..hooray?

    >>we are living in a mostly secular, free, and open society



    Douche magnet.

    1. Because if something tries to be more inclusive and show that anyone is welcome to play RPGs (not just straight, white men), its obviously propaganda. At least, that’s what a lot of people seem to believe on the internet.

  7. Aaaand that’s a wrap people, there is really no more to say after this.

    Good article, Stargazer! Play more, be constructive, don’t jump to conclusions. That could be a cool mantra to live by.

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