Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gatekeeping

Over at Tenkar's Tavern, there is a post about the Gatekeeping (keeping others out of RPGs due to rules lawyering or other undesirable and stereotypical behaviors) and comments about Retroclones.



Apparently what started the post were these quotes: 

"we might actually have had to play with our original D&D books instead of derivative pdf files of minor edits to the original game. The horror!" 

"hard for new players? Most of us learned to play it in middle school!

First, I'm 45, I would have been in middle school from 1983 to 1986. I didn't know about DnD until our local B. Dalton's put up a display of ADnD hardcovers in about 1981. There was nowhere locally to buy RPG books until the store I now work for, Comic Book World, added an RPG section in 1985.

Unfortunately, no one I knew played DnD of any edition. I moved to Indiana for High School and only one kid in my entire school liked comics, besides myself and no one played RPGs.

I started playing my sophomore year of College.

Now, when I started this blog, DnD 4 was dead. Pathfinder was new and growing and the OSR had become a thing.

You could not legally get older editions of DnD PDFs legally. I would argue that the OSR and the problems of DnD 4, helped WotC to make a more "classic" stance with DnD 5.

I will tell anyone that even though I had played and GM'd RPGs for over 20 years, that it was the OSR that made me understand the strange resolution systems, importance of magic items, the empowerment of the DM, and really the intentions of the designers of early DnD. 

If you were in middle-school in the later 70s and early 80s and you found an edition of DnD you love, then good for you.

I had to wait until DnD 5E to find that edition, but in the meantime, those "house-ruled PDFs" taught me to love those earlier editions.

I am ashamed to admit that I have wasted some of my life being that prick who wants to be superior. I admit that I was bullied as a young person extensively and when I found my social niche with gamers, I bullied people and emulated the behaviors I faced. I know that I am at least 50% responsible for any conflict that I am in.

But, somewhere along the way I stopped caring about all of that crap and realized that an RPG session should be a group of people, comfortable with the game they are playing, rolling dice and having fun. That's it. Age, religion, ethnicity, economic background, education level, disability--NONE of that matters at the table. If everyone is comfortable and having fun, you all move past are daily grinds and for a few hours, at least, share a story and your imagination with other people.

The only gatekeeping that needs to be done, is making sure the gate is wide open and it won't close on anyone.

So play DnD or any RPG however you like, as long as everyone is comfortable and having fun.

Sadly, this is merely yet another tempest in a teapot.
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