There’s a lot to unpack in this one statement. I will say, whoever this is kinda reminds me of myself around 15 years ago. They’re bitter, rattled, and going off half-cocked. Unfortunately, I don’t know the background of the person who wrote this beyond their Twitter profile. They’re neurodiverse, which explains some of the rant. My intention is not to disrespect the person, but I do take issue with the arguments being made.
Part 1. Number crunching.
I’m kind of a numbers guy myself when it comes to miniatures wargaming. I put together spreadsheets and crunch calculations to get the best force for the cheapest value in Mechwarrior Clix. I built battlemechs to be optimized in Battletech. I’ve designed some really clutch forces. I took multiple stat classes in college.
But how does that translate to Dungeons & Dragons? I’ve known a fair share of roleplayers who were really good at math. Some of us even took an interest in the game because there is a little math involved. That’s cool. If that type of player is welcome at any Dungeon Master’s table, that’s great.
Math pros offer a lot to a group. Sometimes all of that number crunching does lead to very well optimized (min-maxed) characters. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not everyone’s play style. In general, having a math pro at the table benefits the DM and players by having all of the calculations done for us by someone who is notably reliable. Yay.
Why do we choose D&D? Well, for one, it’s the most well known, most popular TTRPG probably ever. It’s what most people break into the hobby with. Yes, it has lots of tasty numbers
Part 2. The OP goes off the rails.
My best advice for anyone after he discusses the math, is stick to talking about what you love. Sure, actors and cosplayers enjoy the game. They enjoy anime, too. As a matter of fact, I got into theatre in high school and college because of D&D. I’ve always wanted to be a voice actor because of D&D.
Then, I really disagree that D&D has been “taken over by actors and cosplayers.” We never left. Heavy roleplaying has always been a play style, a quite valid one at that. Roleplaying had been around in theatre, psychology, and literature for decades before Arneson and Gygax applied numbers to it and called it a game. The actors have always been here. It’s an integral part of the game, just like the miniatures wargaming math portion of the game.
Part 3. Why are we gatekeeping now?
I will recommend games all day to people, don’t get me wrong. Give me a topic or a genre and I can probably find a game for it. There are TTRPGs out there for literally everyone. If D&D isn’t your jam, totally play something else. That’s how a lot of TTRPGs sprouted up. People got tired of D&D and wanted to do something else. That part is okay.
However, trying to chase people away from D&D or TTRPGs in general? That’s not cool. I wholeheartedly disagree with this part of the original post. It’s not okay to turn people away from the game just because they don’t embrace the same aspects of the game that you, the OP, does. There’s a whole community of role-players out there in the world. The idea is to pull more into the game, not chase people away from it.
I’m going to have to look into Hillfolk. I’d never heard of that until today. Thanks.
D&D doesn’t suck. Sure, Wizards of the Coast Fs up on occasion. Yeah, their corporate culture and practices need a lot of work. But the game itself is still solid, or millions of people wouldn’t still be playing it.
I’m still confused about the “economic incentives.” WotC might kinda be the devil at times, but they still deserve to make money off of D&D. It’s their billion dollar baby. They must be doing something right.
At the end of the day, the point is to pull more players into the hobby, not push them away. No matter what your playstyle is, even if you don’t have one yet, you’re still welcome at the table. There is room in this #DnDCommunity for everyone. I wish I could get out more and run pickup games at the local FLGS to prove it.
Part 4. Fiction first gaming.
I see the point the Original Poster was trying to make. How dare we role-players besmirch, mangle, or otherwise infringe on the number crunchy part of the game. I love crunchy bits as much as the next guy, but I also like a little bit of fluff- aka “flavor text” with all of my statistical bits.
TTRPGs are all about fiction first. Even Traveler, which is well known as a hard science, very statistically burdened game, is still completely fictional. It doesn’t have to have elves and dragons to be fictional. If I just want to read numbers and true accounts of things, that’s a history class. I don’t say that as an insult to the OP, but I’m having trouble understanding the problem here.
If your style is rules-as-written (RAW,) then great. Find a DM who digs RAW. Personally, as a long-time superhero game GM, if a player wants to do something that sounds cool, I don’t let the rules get in the way so long as it’s plausible. I’ve gotten in my share of trouble for allowing character stunts in D&D, but that stuff is cool when it happens. It’s all a matter of preferences.
LARPs have rules, too. I played in Vampire: the Masquerade LARP. The rulebook wasn’t huge, but we had one. I played a City Gangrel enforcer for the Ventrue Mafia. I’m not afraid to admit I skirted the rules with Obfuscate, Celerity and a two gun combo that could torp a regular character in one round. As far as I know they never allowed it again after I left. LARP is awesome, but there are numbers, stats, and house rules, too.
Again, I recommend a lot of games. LARP is cool if that’s what you’re into. But telling people they should abandon D&D for LARP just because they don’t love all the crunchy bits? Not cool. Where’s my motivation for not doing D&D LARP? Yes, that’s a thing.
D&D 5E is pretty fiction oriented. It’s true. 4E was super crunchy. Old School Renaissance games are a little stricter with some of the numbers. As much as the OP is trying to push people into other games, maybe they should look into some older versions of the rules. They’re all great.
Last, enjoying my $5.00 cup of coffee.
I think I still have my 20-something year old iPod around somewhere. It still works. So does my red box set Basic D&D. However, I also have all these shiny 5E books on my shelf that may work better for some play experiences. We should be thanking all of those trendy things such as Critical Role for making D&D popular. I hope thousands more jump on the D&D bandwagon after seeing Honor Among Thieves. I truly want to see 5E be successful with onboarding new players. We should be super grateful we have all of these trends brining people into the hobby. I hope some of them stick around and try other games like the ones mentioned above. (*See, Matt Mercer- I have lots of love for you.)
I’ve been kicked out of public spaces for running D&D in the past. I couldn’t even photocopy character sheets in certain places in my hometown. (Back before everyone had a printer and PDFs.) I saw a kid get beat up for mentioning D&D in school once. Now such a thing would be unthinkable.
Watching others turn people away from the game makes me feel very sad. Please, think about all of those times when kids were picked on, harassed by churches, kept out of free public spaces, or just treated differently all because they embraced the hobby. I’m begging the OP to please think about what the world would look like without D&D.
I don’t make a habit of telling other people what to think or what they can or can’t do at their tables and their games. It’s always better to encourage people to learn other ways of doing things and other ways of thinking than it is to chase them off with negativity. Sure, we all jump on trends, but camaraderie and lifelong memories happen after the fad becomes history. Please help people turn the fad of D&D into a hobby that lasts a lifetime. That’s what we should be trying to do, ideally.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around. I appreciate you. Keep on gaming in whatever style you prefer, in whatever system suits you and your group. I can do a lot of things and still play D&D, not just because it’s popular.