There still has yet to be any good or credible explanation for 3.5 hate, 3.0 hate, 2nd edition hate, 1st edition hate, Expert edition hate, or even Basic edition hate. Given that I seriously doubt that there will ever be an explanation for 4th edition hate.
Gygaxian is NOT a slur. Those who use it as such should be punched in the face. Repeatedly.
To play the devil's advocate here, no one should be forced to be creative in order to play DnD...On the other hand, the "4e has no fluff" argument is dumb, since there is an official world, and there are descriptions in the monster blocks.
A good way to point out both side...and I concur. As the repeated saying on this board that "player's who want fluff are not creative", I am a player who wants "fluff", and a quick look at my campaign website will dispel any "lack of creativity" argument. 4e has fluff, that isn't fleshed out, it has an strange mix, one one had, it describes things in rigid detail (something I never liked in older editions, such as 2e), while leaving out the flexible details, things that could be worked with. Some things, like age, have been essentially removed from the game (for better or worse, it was just a stat, but in a few cases, I found it helpful. I don't mind the mechanics of it being gone that much). Some things have been changed so completely to cater to a different group from earlier players (like the half-orc origins). I find it a little harder in this edition to separate the essential qualities of "fluff", with the easily changed ones. For example, you could argue that if I don't like the fey origin story of Eladrin, I can just insert my own version. If I do that, or make any "fluff" changes to the cosmology pertaining to the feywild, suddenly, fey step stops making sense, because it was built with the context of the official content. So this one change forces me to evaluate fey step, changing another factor in the game rules. Do I need to look over all of the Eladrin feats as well? I never felt so restricted by fluff, only to have the "rest of the story" hidden away. It was something I have a bit of issue with in 2e, to a far lesser extent, because I felt more accommodated when I made a change, and when I come up with my own world in 3e, I can easily modify it. It's a small, but significant change. It also poses a problem when I add new players or start a new campaign...how do I explain the world to them, when I don't feel compelled to use the "fluff" as written, and the more I deviate from it, the more I find I isolate players from the game. When I can cite the "framework" and say, "this is how a half-elf lives, but in my game, they usually", that's good. 4e has not removed that, but it has impeded it. When I look up a half-elf entry in 3e, I feel as though I am free to decide where they fit in society. The three paragraphs in the PHB on them describes the racial trends, and some ideas, but they aren't hard-coded. And when I read those three paragraphs, I feel I know half-elves. Those examples are very clear in showing who they are. In 4th edition, I look up the same race. Now I get a vague section that describes such important details as their preference for facial hair. There's some interesting stuff, but it doesn't inspire anything. In nine paragraphs, I feel less intimate with the race than I used to in three. That's a lot of change, and it's hard to describe. Changes like this permeate in the new edition. I consider it change, not a "ruining D&D" thing, but it is a change, and one that I don't prefer.
So it's not that "fluff" doesn't exist, but I feel that it is not defined well enough.
In another issue, the "creativity" issue, the thing is, not everyone is a novelist with a massive imagination and world waiting to be made. Some people want to open a book, have it ready for them, and go. In one of the games I run, we started out playing 3rd edition (3.0), before I introduced them to 4th edition when it was released. They were fairly new players anyway, but in 3rd edition, they had much more fleshed out characters. When we made the 4e transition, the change in how they role-play was so jarring, that it required a change in the game. Because some people rely on having that "framework". Even if a DM can live without it, it doesn't mean the players can, and it's not really the DM's duty to hold a player's hand.
As far as 4e hate goes, it's kind of simple. People are passionate about D&D, it's not like a TV show or a line of frozen food products, and people are fanatical about those things. D&D is a lifestyle to its fans. And when you change that part of things, it's met with resistance and curiosuity. That curiousity did not pay off for a lot of players, who found the changes too jarring. Some people are just resistant to change. Other people, upon reading the books, playing the game, decided it simply wasn't the right game. Others saw something enjoyable in the game, but felt there needed to be improvement (this is where I fit in). And finally, people came in who loved the new game so much because they didn't like the things that made D&D, well, D&D in the first place. So there is 4e hate, for sure. And a lot of it is to me, the same thing as Vista hate. People always complain about imaginary problems with Vista, and since its release, it has been poisoned by bad opinions from people who either never used it, or used it briefly, were intimidated, and got rid of it. Most Vista complaints can be resolved within 30 minutes of installation, and I've found that when I get an anti-Vista person to use a Vista computer, they quickly fall in love with it. It has it's problems, it's made a lot of bad changes, sure. But the hatred for it is irrational. And 4e is having the same reaction from people, only it has it's rabid defenders.
But I completely agree with the concept of having a "real world" feel to the game. It's what pulled me into D&D, not the "I can bash stuff with a greatsword!" idea.
To play the devil's advocate here, no one should be forced to be creative in order to play DnD. Or, at least, not creative enough to create their own world.
On the other hand, the "4e has no fluff" argument is dumb, since there is an official world, and there are descriptions in the monster blocks. They are much, much shorter than the AD&D ones, but I don't really think they're that much shorter than 3e or 3.5... Actually, as 3rd edition progressed, monster descriptions started to get "thinner".
Or so memory serves me, which is good enough for me. :D
I'm actually the type of DM who doesn't really want to work too hard to "put monsters there", but occasionally I like to make interesting choices. In other words, 4e nearly hit the right place for me. I'd rather have some "environment tables" like 3e, but the "choose one monster, and check its suggested encounter groups" is a good option. As someone said, a "orcs, worgs and goblins" encounter is the same as AD&D would describe in half a page of description on how orcs are a savage tribe that raises worgs to hunt, and sometimes enslave weaker humanois etc etc etc.
I agree. I dont think the game needs to tell me numbers of kids and such. Thats useless info that the dm can come up with if he wants to.
Well my elves are better than yours because they live it trees and and they are pretty....fine I can't remember how they are, I usually just make it up on the spot then write it down to keep consistency.
And my elves are the screaming horde... to go along with my tree-loving hippy orcs.
Seeing as there is a disconnect between balance (quantifiable) and fun, (subjective and personal) discussing fun in a thread about balance because you find one system more enjoyable than another is as helpful as discussing religion in a thread about architectural engineering because you think cathedrals look prettier than outhouses.
Use whichever system you and your friends like already. "Gygaxian Naturalism" is plain and simply ONE person's interpretation of how a campaign's denizens should live. It's based on fantasy roots, the cliche, and other sources that work for some and not others. With the amount of people getting into this hobby it would be insane to believe everyone would want to run a campaign the same exact way. The fluff could be utterly useless to most people. Instead they're trying to consolidate each and every aspect into their own books so you don't have to buy a book and not use half of it.
As some have said no amount of published fluff could take the place of the countless ideas, generated by those who love the hobby, in forums, personal campaign web pages, and the tremendous amounts of other sources on the web. We could even be reading more fluffy material instead of edition wars threads.
It must be a rare blessing for someone like me who got their start in the second edition days when fluff was at its all time high and I got to know the worlds I played in first hand. Forget the countless novels, movies, tales, video games, people, magazines that inspired me to make up my own ****.
If you like fluff, do like I do and go get it. I collect everything Eberron because I like the setting. I want fluff in those books. I still use the 3.5 Eberron books in 4th edition. The crunch in those books is useless just as the fluff in the crunchy books is useless.
The publishing models of old worked when three books and a handful of adventures kept the hobby going for years. As evident with 3.5, massive amounts of source material become unruly when it isn't organized. 4.0 is trying to organize.
What about simulating economies or weather systems or vehicles or civilizations. That would have more to do with simulating a fantasy world than one monster book having more fluff about monsters than the other.
1e and 2e had tons of that stuff, not just monster fluff. 3e not so much, that's when the trend towards "more stats less fluff" started to ramp up.
One of my favorite booklets was the World Builder's Handbook. I also loved the Wilderness Survival Guide and Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.
Thats a neat essay. I remember how much I loved all of the appendix of the 1st ed DMG. Especially "Dungeon Dressings." I dont see why you cant take from both-I already have a copy of the 1e DMG, I can just take that and combine it with my existing 4e books.
Is Gygaxian Naturalism an integral part of 4e? Monsters are reduced to roles in combat such as striker/controller etc. I can understand why people wouldn't like that.
On the plus side you can make all kinds of neat combos with it in a pretty short time. For example in 1st ed my party went into the astral plane and encountered a group of Vrocks-in 1e this would have been some Vrocks and maybe some other kinds of allies? Evil cleric or something. But in 4e I can just plop in a combat group of all Vrocks-2 Soldier with shields and wicked swords, then I can make one really evil with a large spore launcher and I have an artillery Vrock. Then I make a 2 headed vrock and I have my controller/leader vrock. Or maybe a Vrock Heirophant etc etc. So you can play with Gygaxian Naturalism in all kinds of fun ways with 4e.
And my elves are the screaming horde... to go along with my tree-loving hippy orcs.
Go, Eberron! =)
Oh Noes!! Your elves are going to eat mine!
I wasn't trying to come off as a dick, but I think I did. All I was trying to say was that I didn't really need the fluff in the book to tell me what I should do with elves. I came off a bit peevish, I guess.
Nah you didn't come of as a dick, and do not think he was trying to call you one either...I think he was poking fun and playing around...
Sorry that you got that impression Fenris_Lathiin, I was just trying to agreewith you (as OnceUponATime said) but in a comical manner.