Wednesday, October 28, 2009

(Golden) Ageism

Over at Grognardia, James gives what I would call short shrift to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Given that I've said, on numerous occasions, that it's the best adventure module of all time, I guess that wouldn't be hard.

Still, James' post reads like a manifesto of the "one true way" philosophy of the old school.

I touched on this in my recent post A Portrait of the Game Designer as a Young Man.

One big part of the one true way is that, at some time in the past, there was a golden age where TSR made products for the love, and they were all big happy sandboxes.

Then, at some point, around the mid-80's, it all broke bad and the game became about the money. This is when Gygax began releasing his "repudiated" works: Unearthed Arcana, Temple of Elemental Evil, Isle of the Ape and Oriental Adventures.

Now, since another part of the "one true way" school is an exegesis of the "pure" Gygax, later works like Temple of Elemental Evil, which was partially co-written by someone else, are especially suspect.

Though as I pointed out in my earlier post, this doesn't seem to prevent repudiation of Unearthed Arcana.

But in the case of ToEE, we see all the things these folks don't like: Gygax not solely involved; suspected reason for the module's release being that evil "money" thing; and *shudder* perhaps worst of all: the module has a story.

I know this sounds like I'm beating up on James a little. Please don't read it that way. I love his blog and check it every day and find it consistently entertaining.

In fact, I thanked him in World of Arkara's first book because reading his blog makes me want to read, play and ultimately write more old-school type stuff.

However, I do think old-schoolers try to separate the old school into WAY too many "small toy boxes".

I prefer only two toy boxes: good stuff, and bad stuff.

I don't care if it's 3e, d20 Modern, Spycraft or AD&D 1e. My only goals are to keep the good toy box as full as possible, and the bad toy box empty (hopefully to good homes of people who will play those games I don't personally like).

I don't care if Gygax wrote it by himself, or if 30 people wrote it.

And I don't care if it has a story or not, as long as the PCs have sufficient freedom.

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