Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Sheppard Polarization and something useful at the end

Making the rounds around the blogs and forums is this post "Why RPGs suck by Malcolm Sheppard. Some, like the Pundit and James Raggi tear his post apart line by line. Others are basically supportive.

I disagree with many of Malcolm's opinions and design philosophy. But ultimately my disagreement is unimportant. Why? Because we live in the Age of the Internet and people who like the type of gaming he advocates exists. The means of "fixing" his issues are within his grasp. And from his site it looks like he trying to do so with various projects.

He has a done a fair amount of writing for RPGs and is involved with various independent publishing efforts. None of the systems or setting he works with are of particular interest me but more power to him for doing what he likes.

So what the deal with Sheppard's rant? Stake out a contraversial position and reap the benefits of publicity such as they are. Not like it hasn't been done before. It could mean extra sales. In short it is a publicity exercise. And I just contributed by blogging about it. (silly me)

Now that I subjected you to a punditry post I need to give you something useful. So I leave you with this excerpt out of my upcoming Scourge of the Demon Wolf.

Cloudwall Mountains
This section of the Cloudwalls Mountains is dominated by Herald’s Peak. 11,000 feet tall, its crown is permanently wreathed in snow. Two orc tribes, the Green Axes and Blood Spikes, dominate the lower mountains slopes. Higher up are the homes of the Rocknut hill giant clan. They are scattered in five steadings of 4d6 hill giants.

Below the summit of Herald’s Peak is a cave that is the home of Telelarn, an ancient elf. He calls himself the Herald of Truth. He has dwelled here for several thousand years and is the guardian of an armory that has been established by Veritas the High Lord and the God of Truth. The armory is to be opened by Telelarn if the Abyss is broken and the demons escape. Occasionally Veritas will call one of his champions here to receive advice and counsel from Telelarn.


Greg Gorgonmilk said...

RPGs only suck as much as the guys and gals playing them.

It's as simple as that.

They're not like video games where the players are restricted by the boundaries conceived by the game designers. They're amorphous and easily modified. If they fail to entertain it's because the referee fails to be entertaining or his/her players are just not on board with what he's doing.

Geek Gazette said...

I'm not going to say that I completely disagree with some of his opinions, but to be honest it is irrelevant.
He put his opinion out there as all of us do and he has every right to do so, but it is just opinion. He can present this opinion as fact all he wants but in the end it doesn't matter. What any of us say online really doesn't have an impact on what people will like or play.
He hates Golarion, but it has quickly become my favorite setting. He claims you can't run a game in Golarion because it is just a rehash of other setting and has no substance of its own. Yet I have and do. While it is true that many previous settings have been integrated into Golarion, the setting also has enough depth to allow gamers to run something that ignores those previous settings. That's why I like it.
Many people rally against 3e/Pathinfinder and the many other d20 games that came from it. Is it going to stop me from playing those games. Hell no because that is my favorite system.
I dislike a great deal about 4e, WoD, OD&D, Hero System and countless other systems. Should that matter in the least to you or anyone else. Not if you/they have any sense.
I don't care if you just picked up a d20 yesterday or are a 30 year RPG industry professional, your opinion is valid, but only to you and those that agree with you.
I just regret that our opinions cause so much animosity and division among a shrinking community. I also hate that so many of us get off by causing such conflicts. Table top rpg gamers are community that really should try to get along, instead of turning on each other as often as we do. However, that is just my opinion.

AndreasDavour said...

Well, that dude managed to get kicked from for being a total dick, and the only one I ever put on my ignore list. Quite an achievement.

He has some good ideas, but I still can't stand that guy. A pity.

Joe Bardales said...

Eh. Much ado about nothing. After years of seeing them at EN World. I've learned that spending five minutes on anything Sheppard (eyebeams) or The Pundit (Nisarg)for that matter says is five minutes of your life that you will never get back.

5stonegames said...

Greg called it spot on. Even crud systems can be fun with the right group. Pelor knows we have played enough of them.

Anyway in terms of quality games for every taste and style, there has never been a broader selection in gaming history with more support and options and ideas free for the plucking.

The art of design has more than 3 decades refinement too.

The only thing that is "wrong" with gaming is the fragmentation of our social networks.

Since most of us are adults it can be hard to get people together. Plus the same tech that gives us so many wonderful ideas is also a distraction.

If we can overcome that, we can have a golden age