Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

We’ve All Been Gatekept from the Hobby

This tweet turned up on my feed today:

Daily reminder that no one can “gatekeep” you from playing ttrpgs. You can just, like, buy the books and play.

Boy howdy, those woke people can’t get to you or your vintage rpg collection! You have every reason to feel super smug about this. I mean, as long as you don’t have kids in public school. And as long as you don’t work in a company that has an HR department. But, yeah. At least those freaks and weirdos can’t ruin the very last thing in your life that you can enjoy without them mucking it all up.

Unfortunately for you, you’ve never been a part of hobby to begin with. I mean, sure, you bought the games back in the day. You looked at the pictures. You rolled up some characters. Maybe you even had a long-running game with a group of your best buds.

But none of that matters. The greatness of those really old games that utterly fascinated your teenaged self? You were gatekept out of it even then.

How did it happen?

Well, some gross nerd told you that you couldn’t learn the game just by reading the rules. The guy seemed pretty smart and what he advised seemed to work okay for what you were doing. And you never found out what the game described by the rules was really like. You counted yourself lucky. After all… you were initiated into the hobby– or so you thought.

If you ever had a desire to find out how the game really worked, your DM more than likely didn’t go along with it. The moment he turned you down, there were five gross nerds on hand to insist that as the DM, HIS WORD IS LAW. And that was the end of it.

Still there might have been some lingering doubt about all this. Maybe you wanted to run an rpg by the rules for once just to see how it went. But chances are, you sat down at the table and someone among your on players sagely explained to everyone there, “if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.”

Even with you at the helm, you faced an uphill battle.

Regardless, all of these gross people worked tirelessly to gatekeep YOU out of the REAL rpg hobby. And as a result, none of you ever experienced the classic rpgs as they were originally conceived and as they were intended to be played. What’s more, everyone involved in creating your favorite rpg products that you are most nostalgic about all had a vested interest in you never learning the gaming secrets that are routinely detailed on this blog.

Pretty sad!

You cannot construct a large, successful ongoing campaign on the basis of rule zero and total arbitrary referee authority. Everyone who told you otherwise was selling you a fake hobby and preventing you from experiencing the real thing.

8 responses to “We’ve All Been Gatekept from the Hobby

  1. Dabdown Jack April 4, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    The BROSR has been the most important thing to happen to gaming since Gygax published his books (okay, maybe since St Andre published his book).

    The most hilarious thing I’ve seen is the amount of Gross Nerds trying to bury the Brosr’s discoveries, stating they ‘read it in the rules’. These are the same people who, for decades, labelled Gygax as everything from a gate-keeping bully to the antichrist himself. Now they expect us to believe they actually read his book? I think they need to pull their masks back on to muffle the cow flops they’re spouting.

  2. Jeffrey Boyd Garrison April 4, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    EGG had a lot of great ideas (some of the best borrowed from Jeff Perren, Dave Arneson and many others) and put together the most viable (and only) set of marketable RPG rules for a large audience needed to create this new hobby.

    Of those great ideas, 1:1 time-keeping between game sessions wasn’t one. Nor was weapon modifiers vs. Armor Class. Both of those ideas COULD have been great if they weren’t broken, inconsistent and maladaptively arbitrary. To my limited knowledge, Gygax never spoke about the supposed travesty of leaving these items out, …and given that he has miles of recorded commentary on rules and interpretations, you’d think he would have taken time to address these two particular items at length (since nearly everyone ignored them in their games).

    Also, while we’re here, I’m gonna be level with you. Gygax was pretty inclusive and multi-cultural and he definitely wasn’t right wing enough for me, however, because he gave us an RPG industry, I’ll give him a pass that but, the Scarlet Brotherhood did nothing wrong.

    Giving this post a thumbs up because, “the spice must flow.”

    • Nagora April 5, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      “To my limited knowledge, Gygax never spoke about the supposed travesty of leaving these items out”

      Your knowledge is limited indeed as he addressed the issue of leaving out 1:1 time in the DMG:

      “You may ask why time is so important if it causes such difficulties with record-keeping, dictates who can or can not go adventuring during a game session, and disperses player characters to the four winds by its strictures. Well, as initially pointed out, it is a necessary penalty imposed upon characters for certain activities. Beyond that, it also gives players yet another interesting set of choices and consequences. The latter tends to bring more true-to-life quality to the game, as some characters will use precious time to the utmost advantage, some will treat it lightly, and some will be constantly wasting it to their complete detriment. Time is yet another facet which helps to separate the superior players from the lesser ones. If time-keeping is a must from a
      penalty standpoint, it is also an interesting addition from the standpoint of running a campaign.”

      It’s hidden away in a section obscurely called “TIME IN THE CAMPAIGN”. Typical Gygaxian, eh? Could mean anything!

      • Jeffrey Boyd Garrison April 5, 2022 at 10:13 pm

        I’m not sure you read me correctly. I’m saying he never spoke about it OUTSIDE the DMG.
        I’m also saying that per the DMG, it was done poorly; GYGAX MAD A BAD RULE. There are better ways to implement time outside of the campaign and better ways to progress time in game that are CONSISTENT rather than just ARBITRARY FIAT (caps for emphasis). The idea that some out of game circumstance beyond players control causing a session to end prematurely can affect in game strategic consequences is about the most non-wargame convention I can think of so people justifying it by saying EGG was a proper wargamer therefore his rule is properly wargame are grasping at straw.
        The time rule was poorly thought out and ill conceived… it could have been done better. As it stands, it’s broken an I advise against its use as written. YES, time should be a factor, and yes having players’ characters constrained to the limitations of time should be a thing. The DMG screwed it up and a better house ruling is needed.

  3. MishaBurnett April 5, 2022 at 3:41 am

    There seems to be to be a direct connection between players discarding all of the rules that make the game challenging (encumbrance, training to level, save vs. death, missile fire range, friendly fire on area effect spells, etc) and then announcing that the game isn’t interesting or engaging without adding convoluted soap opera style plots involving backstories and relationships between characters.

  4. Trimegistus April 5, 2022 at 7:50 am

    You know what’s funny? The OSR and the Storygamers are converging on the same point from different directions. Both are fighting the “arbitrary” authority of the GM and try to encourage player-based worldbuilding and stories.

    The chief difference is that one uses all this to set up fun miniatures battles while the other side uses it as an excuse to make everyone else listen to their furry threesome fantasies.

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