Monday, June 28, 2010

So, Wait, You Play D&D? Like, '80's D&D?

So you're eating a sandwich?


Wouldn't you rather be eating a vegan tuna-melt wrap on a gluten-free buckwheat tortilla?


But don't you find that the texture of the salami on that sandwich inevitably leads to indigestion, fatigue, nervousness and decay of the fine motor functions?


Well I've been eating food for 35 years now and I can tell you that it did in my case, that's why I switched to vegan tuna-melt wrap on gluten-free buckwheat tortillas and now I never have that problem!

Ok. I'll keep that in mind if I'm ever you.

It's because the gluten-free buckwheat tortillas are made with genuine unprocessed tapioca! Do you see the innovativeness of it?


Do you not feel that if you wanted to be a better, smarter, more mature person, you, too, would suffer a great many ill-effects from that sandwich and prefer my spectacular wrap?


You know that the guy who invented sandwiches is dead right?


Don't you think that continuing to eat that sandwich indicates you are less mature, evolved, avant-garde, intelligent, and forward-thinking in your lunch choices than I?


Why must you look upon my wrap with contempt?

I don't, go ahead and eat your wrap.

Do you think the fact that you despise my wrap proves your innate superiority? Because let me tell you now, buster, it most certainly does not!


Why do you let your girlfriend eat sandwiches? Does she not know any better?


Why must you molest me with your atavism? Do you not see that my wrap is a wrap finely-honed and forged through decades of lunch-design-evolution and therefore is, ipso facto, the finest possible of finger foods?

You seem very happy together.


Yeah, champ, good going there. Enjoy that lunch you got.

Would you like to try my wrap?

Sorry, I don't like tuna.

Oh, but this is not just ANY tuna, it is tuna in a WRAP!!!!! Do you not see the glorious, all-applicability, all-lunches-to-all-people appeal of placing the tuna in a wrap? Never will you have to deal with the inconveniences caused by, say, the squeezing-the-protein-out-the-backside-of-your-lunch-effect, or STPOTBOYLE as it is known on the Internet!


Do you not yearn for the worlds of lunchtime pleasure you are denying yourself?

Actually, I really like this sandwich...

Why won't you grow up, spread your wings, fly to new heights?!!!

Well, actually, I was gonna go make some money at my job and then drink with my friends and then have sex with ladies, I just figured, y'know, I'd have lunch first and I like salami so...

You are hopeless! I mock you! I will find a like-minded group of people who appreciates vegan tuna-melt wrap on gluten-free buckwheat tortillas! We will conquer you! You will see! Soon your outmoded neanderthal lunch-eating will be exposed for the fraudulent decadence it is! Lotta Continua!

Uh, ok.


thekelvingreen said...

I see what you did there.

Tuna wrap fans are such tools sometimes.

The Lord of Excess said...

Hey ... you railroaded us ... :)

mordicai said...

...but I just had lunch? WAIT hold on this isn't about sandwiches at all, is it!

Talysman said...

Dammit, now I want a tuna fish sammich.

Definitely not a vegan wrap though (which raises the question "how can tuna be vegan?")

Anonymous said...

last post, i promise!

being the butt of jokes twice in one week on a 2 different rpg-blogs must be some kind of record.

i still don't think my posts are like that. :)

ah well...

Zak Sabbath said...


just do whoever you're talking to the favor of assuming they mean what they say. It'll save you a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

just do whoever you're talking to the favor of assuming they mean what they say. It'll save you a lot of time.

i never did anything else...

when i am questioning some of your (or, in this case, mandy's) statements i do it to get an explanation why you do it your way. i want to hear your reasons.

i never said "yourdoingitwrong" cause thats not what i believe. (what i do say is: don't you think you might have even more fun if you add "this"? and i still don't see anything wrong with that, sorry.) you can play however you like, i don't care at all (your sessions look very similar to the ones i am used to.). i can see you're all having fun. i just don't post that at the end of every post cause i think this goes without saying.

i think discussions about different playing styles are beneficial for everyone involved. and i don't think i was rude or anything. guess i was wrong.

but, like i said, if my comments make you mad enough to rant at me like that (at the escapist) then i know i am not wanted.

it's ok, i can still read the blog. plenty of food for thought here, i just won't be able to voice these thoughts here. bad for me, good for you. and it's your blog, so... :)

Zak Sabbath said...

If you're saying this:
"don't you think you might have even more fun if you add "this"?"

Then be aware that the answer ALWAYS is:

"Obviously not, because if we thought that we'd be doing it already."

Niklas said...

True. True. It goes both ways though, every week I meet someone telling me that my vegan tuna sandwich is awful because it has tuna and that I should go back to the old salami on rye he is playing (always a he).

Al said...

Fortunately, the Open Vegan Tuna Wrap License of 1998 allows us to develop a very close approximation of a traditional Ham on Rye with Mustard, which you can find available for free consumption from a lot of hobby-chef bloggers!

PoeticExplosion said...

Huh, that seems weird. Why is it impossible that you just hadn't thought of "this", or that you had thought of it but hadn't realized something crucial that could be clarified?

(Can someone point me to the discussion that sparked this? I'm getting a strong feeling that I'm missing something important.)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

This is why I eat noodles for lunch. I can avoid the whole sandwhich/wrap arguments.

Brandon said...


Dear Mister Zak S. (I hope the S doesn't stand for Sillypants, as I suspect it does),

I think you are not a TRUE rollplayer because you do not play exactly what I play the way I play it. You are also obviously not hardcore into the game because you "have sex with ladies". If you were a REAL rollplayer, you would know that REAL and TRUE rollplayers do not have sex with others by reason of being too kewl for such activities (and also by reason of constant and continual rejection).

I wish you to reconsider giving this fine (if outdated and wholly inadequate to perfect, harmonic fun) game a bad name by suggesting that what you play is good and that it is possible to be a rollplayer and have sex with others. This last bit is clearly a falsehood and reveals your treachery against the game.


Eddy Webb said...

So, seriously, when are you going to eat the tuna wrap? The suspense is killing me.

Unknown said...

The only thing that can be said in response...


- Neil. :)

Reverend Keith said...

Best line: "You know that the guy who invented sandwiches is dead right?"

Adam Dickstein said...

Funny...I kinda thought he was talking to me for a moment. I can be a real tool with my anti-D&D tirades. :P

Difference is, I know for a fact my way is better...for me, my group and those that enjoy the kind of games we play. My opinions are very much my opinions and I acknowledge them as not standard for this hobby.

Which is just the way I like it.

Noumenon said...

I'm curious shlominus -- what was the other blog that posted about you?

squidman said...

Been having this conversation for a week, now. Your streamlined version is spot on.

Anonymous said...


Zzarchov said...

You all suck and eating lunch, traditional sandwhich lunches are just a stepping stone to new toppingless indie "soups". These high concept lunches are able to even get rid of outdated concepts like "Solidness", and aren't so "control oriented" by having some arbitrary "bread" control how the food moves about as you interact with it.

Virgil Clemens said...

I find a similar problem with pizza. I can and do enjoy basic pepperoni, but I personally prefer vegetarian. Whenever I'm at my buddy's place, they will brook NO OTHER toppings but pepperoni when it's time for everyone to have pizza, and actively mock me for being an admitted vegetarian pizza lover and insult me if I suggest that we add mushrooms.

The only time I get to have vegetarian is through those tiny personal pan pizzas, when I'm home alone, maybe with my roommate.

Noumenon said...

Huh, that seems weird. Why is it impossible that you just hadn't thought of "this", or that you had thought of it but hadn't realized something crucial that could be clarified? @PoeticExplosion

That's very true, especially for people who have only been playing a year or two. A lot of people say they like a gritty game but later learn they don't, or that they're not roll-players but later find out that's how they get their fun.

But they can go read blogs if they're interested in other ways of doing things -- unsolicited advice from people watching their game is just not going to be helpful.

(Can someone point me to the discussion that sparked this? I'm getting a strong feeling that I'm missing something important.)

A post by shlominus on the Escapist discussion boards, probably just representative of other posts Zak's seen.

Anonymous said...

My Philly Cheesesteak is very good. I'm interested in reading your thoughts on using knives to cut your sandwich because my cheesesteak requires cutting too.

Unknown said...

Wow - Ive been having these kinds of conversations recently - deja vu...

The Cramp said...

"Today the role of soap opera starlet will be played by gamers, and in an interesting twist, the roll of roll players will be played by porn stars..."

Tazz2060 said...

A masterful piece of satire.

Il Male™ said...

OT: buahuhauhauhauauha! Lotta continua was pretty awesome, but you should write it continua and not Continua. Although it was not directly related with terrorist groups during the '60-'70, it's still a sensitive issue here.
Cheers from Italy and fight on!

Anonymous said...

I like my Famous Orange Sandwiches because they're yummy, and I don't eat fish, because it smells like fish. Doesn't mean I've got something against people who say that putting oranges in your sandwich is silly.
Of course, that's the situation with sandwiches. Now when it comes to literature, ooh boy...

Rogue said...


Tom said...

Is it wrong to take the Tuna wrap and Salami Sandwich apart then just eat the ingredients you like, leaving the others for the birds and racoons?

Tom said...

Also, did we even get an answer to how the vegan tuna-melt wrap on a gluten-free buckwheat tortilla difers from a plain gluten-free buckwheat tortilla, since neither tuna nor cheese are part of vegan diets (as recognized by the international society of vegetarians, vegans, and gamblers)

Anonymous said...


Jeremy Murphy said...

But... I like hamburgers...

A GM said...

I had a tasty, tangy post that would have beautifully summed up the whole salami v. tuna debate --

-- and then blogspot ate it. *sigh*

Giving up on Ubuntu said...

I continue to love this blog more and more.

rule one: is the group having fun? if yes, keep playing!

I have never understood the apparent free license to be a douche nozzle the internet seems to grant when it comes to rpgs. Do these same people stop strangers at a bowling alley and tell them to mark it a zero because a toe was over the line? doubtful.

Zak, it was a combination of Hit it with your axe and the penny arcade D&D podcasts that got our gaming group back together after 10 years. good times are being had by all.

Keep being awesome.

Rick Marshall said...

@shlominus: I believe you when you say you aren't trying to be insulting and that you don't understand why your comments are being read that way. But I also agree with Zak and Mandy that your comments were indeed insulting.

It is very easy in English to give offense without meaning to (just as in Navajo it is very easy to unintentionally make a pun - each language has its pitfalls). Here's how you did it (from the Escapist Thread for I Hit It With My Axe episode 15 at

When Mandy quoted Gygax ("Character background is what happens between levels 1 and 6." -Gary Gygax), you responded with:

"so what/who do you play during these first levels? a blank sheet? do you care about this... i don't know what to call it as it's obviously not a "character"? is she a peasent, or maybe a noble? developed during play? her family, developed during play? personality, likes, dislikes, what drives her, what made her become an adventurer? all developed during play?

"in what way is having a background for a character from the start a bad thing?

"and last, but not least, considering your character is now lvl5, what does her "backstory" look like now? i'd be interested to see how this might work out."

This compositional structure is called the barrage of questions; it always carries an emotional charge of some kind, since normally in polite discourse we only ask one or two questions at a time to give the speaker a chance to respond. Therefore, the barrage of questions always signals the reader that there's some kind of strong emotion at work and invites him or her to figure out what it is.

You meant to convey curiosity and humor, as evidenced by your last paragraph, but your second sentence is hard to read as anything other than sarcasm (regardless of how you meant it), the third sentence implies that she might not care, and the second paragraph is a challenge in the form of an accusation of unfair judgment on Mandy's part. In other words, though you hoped to start an interesting comparison of different character-development styles, you used an emotionally charged structure and included the elements of an attack.

To anyone but you, some of what you wrote does carry the flavor of amazed disbelief that anyone would play the way they do, which tars the rest of what you wrote by association. That's why Zak's getting such a positive response for his satire; regardless of what you meant, it captures the spirit of what you said and then belabors it delightfully.

You may have difficulty seeing this in what you wrote, but it's there, and it's why everyone is reacting with such hostility to you. Part of the reason you can't see it is that you're distracted away from the aggressive literal meaning of what you wrote by your private and better intentioned interpretation of what you meant by it. The problem for you as for any writer is that no one else gets to know what you meant; we can only read what the words you actually wrote mean and judge your intentions from that.

One of the hardest things about writing or speaking is that it is your responsibility to control the implications of the words you use, to rephrase your message as many times as you need to until you come up with a phrasing that says what you mean and doesn't imply anything you don't mean. You didn't do that, and now you're unfortunately paying the price.

Rick Marshall said...

@shlominus, continued: You're not alone in writing comments that insult the original author by suggesting they're playing D&D wrong; I've seen a lot of these both here and at Grognardia. I suspect most OSR bloggers get their share of such comments.

Although many of the commenters do mean such an insulting judgment, I believe you when you write that you didn't mean offense. I also agree that you had the makings of an interesting dialog, but you fumbled the ball and then compounded it by not accepting people's criticism of what you wrote, by trying to defend it. You made a mistake and you need to own up to it to regain conversational credibility.

Were I in your shoes, I would apologize whole-heartedly for your unintended insults, promise not to do it again, ask for forgiveness, wait for that discussion to play out (be penitent, not defensive), and then try to relaunch your original promising discussion in a more careful way that validates the choices other people make about how to game. If you do this, you'll not only clearly demonstrate your good intentions, but you'll also lead by example for all those other commenters who make the same mistake, and thereby maybe ward off future flame wars.

I hope you take this in the spirit it's meant, not as an attack but as an attempt to help you understand where all the hostility toward you is coming from. I'm writing because I sympathize with your position, having started a few unintentional flamewars myself in the past. If you don't find my comments helpful, feel free to disregard them. After all, I could be completely wrong about the situation and YMMV.

AGCIAS said...

Dammit, okay, now you did it. I'm hungry.

A GM said...

*nominates Rick Marshall for Best Supporting Comment in an RPG or Gaming Blog*

Masterfully done, sir. :)

Delta said...

@shlominus: "when i am questioning some of your (or, in this case, mandy's) statements..."

But you promised :(