Thursday, December 22, 2011
Type IV Hypersensitivity + Ask Questions First
No worries, this story has a moral...
Here is quite possibly a new low in mountain-out-of-molehill (mole-valley, really) facepalmingly dumb mom's-basement nerdrage nitpick embarrassment-to-the-gaming-populationdom:
People are calling each other names on account of other people saying 'Type IV D&D' instead of '4th edition D&D'.
Allow me to explain...
So long ago, in the days of yore, I noticed an annoying thing:
Whenever Old School D&D people made any reference to the 4th edition D&D, no matter how oblique or unrelated to the gameplay (''I think my uncle's third cousin on my mothers side worked on the graphic design for a 4e adventure''), some other (often otherwise sane) Old School person would inevitably begin to uncontrollably gush unrelated invective at 4e for 12 paragraphs. Like clockwork.
Like good people everywhere, I found this dull and redundant. Every characteristic of 4E had been exhaustively catalogued by the internet hivemind seconds after it was released and nobody needed now or then to hear about all the alleged problems with it again in the middle of some conversation about Clark Ashton Smith's will or whatever. Saying '4e' on an Old School blog was getting to be like saying 'Israel' on NPR. (Or 'OSR' on the touchier message boards.)
I realized early on that the reason it set people off was that some old schoolers saw 4e as being--consciously or otherwise--an updated replacement for the game they loved--rather than what it de-facto-is-no-matter-what-any-company-says given that games do not ever die--a version of D&D. Just as OD&D is a version, AD&D is a version and Moldvay is a version and Mentzer is a version and Stormbringer is a version and Pathfinder and Rolemaster and whatever else is a version. It just happens to be a version in print.
So I started calling the official TSR and WOTC versions of the game (all of them) Type I, Type II, Type III, and Type IV. This emphasized that they were options--different types of D&D whose bits a DM could call upon in whole or in part to hack together a workable game to fit his or her group's individual needs. It had the added bonus of making the iterations of the game sound like demons from the original Monster Manual, which, if you haven't noticed, is funny.
(For those familiar with the early hobby: pre-2nd ed D&D actually went through way more permutations than just one, so the scheme isn't perfect, but I am not one of those bloggers who cares about or refers to the Moldvay, Mentzer or OD&D versions very much so it didn't much bug me at the time.)
So anyway, this name scheme caught on with some other people. Rather than the to-the-uninitiated-equally-opaque '4e', some DIY D&Ders started calling the official version of the game 'Type IV' (including people who play it almost exclusively). No-one in their right mind really gave a shit because seriously why would you? either the sentence is readable or its not--call it Suzi Quatro for all I care.
Then one day some people saw the words 'Type IV' and decided it was worth calling people names about. Since the term 'Type IV' usually only appeared in stuff written by people who read this blog, it was assumed by some folk eager to be displeased that the phrase was some kind of cryptic Old School slur on 4th edition and it raised hackles.
Assumed out of nowhere, I might add, since I like Type IV and play it sometimes and have said that nearly every time it comes up here. But the internet is like that: people began losing their shit over something and slinging insults into the void when they could've just saved themselves the effort by being like -type type- ''Hey you, why do you call it Type IV?'' and waiting a day or two hours. Which is actually less work than writing a 900-word post on how anyone who says 'Type IV' is a motherless jackal.
And its all the more embarrassing because the phrase 'Type____' was adopted as an anti-edition-warring measure.
Moral of the story:
Before getting upset about something someone said or did, always ask a question first. Otherwise, no matter how many dicks are in the room, you are one of them.
If you're wrong, you saved yourself a pointless argument. And if you're right, your question's likely to make the the offender say something even more clearly crazy and over the line and more entertaining than the original thing that pissed you off, and then you've got a headshot. Furries Undermine Legitimate Cosplay!!!!!!!
Always make sure. And why not? Things are often not what they seem.