There is a recurrent theme in Buddhism that crimes and attacks against Buddhism and the Buddha only serve to strengthen Buddhism because of the illustrative lessons they provide. Devadatta preached “wrong” Buddhism, decided to take a nap mid-sermon, and handed it over to guys who said “Remember what that guy just said? That’s the perfect example of ‘doing it wrong'” and brought his followers back to true Buddhism. Taira Kiyomori, whose crimes against Buddhism were so great that he boiled alive in his bathtub from his own evil, was then heralded as something of a ‘reverse-saint’ because the strife he caused that brought so many people to see the need for Buddhism was far more beneficial in the grand scheme of things than the destruction of temples and persecution of monks were detrimental. It’s similar to the school of thought that contemplates the possibly saintly and divinely necessary roles of Pilate and Judas who, while castigated as villains, are absolutely essential to the fulfillment of the Prophecies.
Which brings me to the edition wars. For all of the hatred and backlash against 3rd and 4th edition, their existence may well be absolutely necessary for the OSR. If there were nothing to rail against and say “This is how you do it wrong!” there would not be the strength of momentum behind a return to some sort of Orthodoxy. Therefore, perhaps 4th ed deserves a sainted position as one of the most if not THE most important game of OSR. And contrary to those who claimed that 5th ed might just be what sweeps away the OSR forever, it will only serve to remind those in the OSR community what they love about it and why got into it in the first place.
Hopefully next week, Bull Run Pt. 1 (and maybe 2!) will be up (somewhere).
Apparently 5e has a new stench reeking off it, resulting from a lot of internet infighting and butthurtedness in relation to some of the individuals who are listed and/or thanked as contributors to the new edition.
5e promises to restart the edition wars, but instead of over mechanics, it will be over hurt feelings. “The people who wrote 5e called me a faggot on an internet forum!” Man.
I’m kind of glad that Cirsova has drifted off into its own tiny pocket universe of RPG Blogging community. The most “connected” I ever was was when I still followed Tenkar regularly (the days before his site got filtered out). Not being part of the Google+ community and really only staying in touch with a handful of the gaming bloggers out there, I have not yet had the luxury of getting my feelings hurt by some internet rude-dude’s D&D blog.
But Dreamscape did enjoy my play of Maze of Nuromen, so yay!
The new face of the insensitive D&D Blogosphere:
Divisions in the OSR on what is Old School, what is the “Right Way” to play, and what editions are best are not merely intellectual bones upon which we gamers can chew. It is a serious deal, along the lines of religious convictions and the schisms of Christendom. Though to the outsider they may all believe the same things, in fact those profoundly minute details are what stir up the fieriest passions and rousing the rancor of those who ‘believe wrong’. This struck me when someone in the OSR referred to a particular edition, despite its flaws, as being an ‘inspired’ work. Now, there are lots of known flaws in the King James translation of the bible, but it is still considered to be an ‘inspired’ work, and all flaws can be overlooked due to the inherent divinity of that edition of the work. Now, interestingly enough, the edition to which this blogger referred was not even the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Much like how the King James Version was not even the first English Bible (it was just the most ‘inspired’).
So why the edition wars? For the same reason there are schismatics in the church and heresies among believers. At one point, one grabs hold of a touchstone ideal and makes it the core of his being, central to his faith. But what if that ideal was misintroduced marginalia or if the Orthodoxy simply disregards that atom upon which a number of people have based their faith? People attacking or disregarding that item are not merely assailing an idea, but are perceived as attacking the core of an individual’s faith! Because it is a matter of faith, it is a question beyond reason. And THAT is why edition wars exist. It has nothing to do with which rule set is actually better or whether an edition was ‘commercialized’ or ‘old school’; it has everything to do with what ideas make individuals feel the most safe, comfortable and happy with who they are as gamers, and challenges to those ideas represent challenges to their happiness, faith and nature!
St Augustine tries to convince the D&Donatists that the game has evolved beyond the Gygaxian Orthodoxy.