This one is a bit of a rant, and a reminder to myself to stay away from clickbait Reddit self-posts in /r/DnD.
I can hardly believe, or rather for years have been actively conditioning myself to ignore, that people truly treat D&D like it’s some sort of content that needs to be ravaged and handed a dirty sock once they’ve finished. The post in particular was about a player who is conflicted between the thousands of options available to him in all the various sources that you can get with 3.5, and the relatively limited selection of character building in 5e. Conceptually, I began to understand what the issue is, or at least what I thought the issue was. Being that 5e is relatively new, and doesn’t have an open license that hundreds of third-party companies can write material for, you’re gonna have a much smaller selection of course. Clearly the issue lies only in having to forge your own path and find creative new ways to develop the system on your own.
If only that were the problem at hand…
No, this is the type of player that sees every optional sourcebook as a piece of content that needs to be consumed. That each class option, each sub-race, each cookie cutter build which maximizes effectiveness, it’s all just content to him. He’s (allegedly) in the past year played every significant variable of fighter available, whinging about how 3.5 would have so many more options for him to consume than 5e could possibly conjure up. He references his time playing World of Warcraft, and how they RUINED character progression in that game as well by dumbing down the leveling choices to “pick one path”. This is what I’ve been ignoring with the past several years of dice slinging gamers, this is why I’ve been rather adamant on sticking with the OSR community. Content isn’t something to be consumed here, it’s something that’s MADE. We pick and pull from each other because it adds to our own experience, not because we have some ultra-consumerist urgency to devour it and toss away the husk when we’ve finished.
I have rarely in the past been on good terms with “players” of this caliber. I see their designation as “player” not as a fellow gamer, but more in the courtship slang definition. Someone playing the field to see what they can get out of it. Morality tossed aside while taking advantage of every possible unspoken social contract to get their metaphorical dick wet. Not contributing significantly, barely playing beyond the mechanics present on their character sheet. These people have no character, they’re an unholy mashup of skills and feats, combat maneuvers and spells per day. They’re the junk drawer of a wizards tower, brimming with useless shiny junk that can probably do a lot of damage, but never realize it’s full potential. There is no character here, because this “player” cannot fathom the concept of Roleplaying, instead focusing entirely on the Game.
Part of this is bleed over from the Geek\Gamer sub-culture reaching a point of popularity that wasn’t fathomable 20 years ago. Part of it is from our capitalist society pumping out any content they can in order to make a buck, and marketing it to high hell to make damn well sure the pre-orders match the projected income analysis. The innocent part of it is people like you, me, the OSR, the dozens of companies that created for 3.5 with hardly any concern for profits at all. We’re the reason any schmuck can walking into a gaming store and walk out with a dozen third party adventure modules for about the same cost as what I make per hour. Alas, this is something that I haven’t even acknowledged on my radar for several years, it’s not a problem that I want to deal with in any significant way. I just want it to burn out and go back to some other genre to continue it’s leeching ways.