Tuesday, September 28, 2021

On Artpunk and 5E

 First off, let me say that I do appreciate the aesthetics of the OSR "artpunk" movement. Make the game more weird. Move it away from the bastardized Tolkienisms that have become the "D&D genre" and make your products look visually interesting. I get it. There's definitely appeal there. 

And when I look at things like the artwork from people like Jason Sholtis (Operation Unfathomable) as just one example, I dig the visual style and the oddity of his art. But as you might have guessed from my previous post, I would want stuff like that in my game only in small doses. I wouldn't want the entire campaign to be about making deals with eldritch slug-beings while battling off the hordes of mutant bug folk in a topsy-turvy underworld. The occasional foray to that underworld is fine, but not the whole damn campaign. 

And things like Mork Borg just don't interest me in the slightest. It could be the most revolutionary slimming down of the D&D chassis ever but the idea of using intentionally discordant layout/font choices keeps me away. I'm pushing 50, I can't really wear contacts anymore because I can't read with them in, and I need to take the glasses off to read. Yeah, bifocals are in my near future. Make your damn book easy to read, and I'll take a look at it. 

So yeah, consider me an old fuddy duddy, at least when it comes to my games. The big announcement yesterday of more splat books for 5E -- more races, more subclasses, more monsters, whatever. 5E games - at least the big one I still play on RPoL.net, is already this weird menagerie of kenku and genasi and kobolds and lizard folk and yuan ti and warforged and... I don't want my D&D to be like a shot of the Mos Eisley Cantina. I've got d6 Star Wars for that. The older I get, the more human-centric I think I want my D&D games to be. 

That way, when the players encounter the slug-traders or the birdman empire, it might still seem somewhat whimsical or interesting. Not pedestrian, like in 5E.

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