4enfreude: the act of enjoying someone else’s dislike of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, usually by prowling online forum communities, such as Story Games, ENworld, Gleemax or RPG.net.
I admit, I have indulged in some 4enfreude. I have joked with friends that I drink their tears like wine.
The rabid dislike some online folks feel is very tangible, because it is so very easy to be-shit a thread in a forum and because negativity is so much easier to bring on than positivity. It just takes more skill to radiate enthusiasm than it does to vomit bile on the internet.
So, what is this post about? Judd hates gamers and loves that many gamers of trad games are upset while his vile Story Game cult plays this hobbled version of D&D and laughs at the rest of us who just want to have fun!
No, not that at all.
I’ve been thinking about why someone might not like D&D’s newest incarnation. Since I’ve posted up Bret’s awesome 4e campaign one-sheet damn near everywhere I’ve been peaking around at the different reactions and some of them are pretty wild.
If you had this pet setting and you took it from D&D to AD&D to 2nd edition, to 3.X, I think it would be pretty damned hard to convert it all over into 4th edition. There is certainly a case that taking a setting or a game from D&D to AD&D or either of those into 3.X would be pretty hard but I don’t think that is necessarily a case of the game’s text but the philosophy behind the text. I think it was pretty easy to take 3.X and turn it into the fantasy game you want D&D to be, whatever that might be or whatever that might mean.
4e feels a whole lot more focused. It isn’t a Rorchach blot of a game that morphs vaguely into what you want it to be, leaving you to hammer off the rough bits and sand the corners for yourself. It is a solid game for taking a character from saving his village, to saving the world to walking the worlds and knocking on demon-gods doors, kicking down those doors very much like you kicked down goblin doors back in the day, in the ole ‘hood.
It is stiff! 4e is not flexible! He is saying it is one of this Forge micro-games that only does one thing well otherwise it’d be incoherent!
No, that isn’t it at all.
I think this version of D&D, more than the other version that I have had experiences with, AD&D, 2nd and 3.0, attacks that dungeon-crawling premise with gusto, moreso than past editions. It no longer wants to cover every inch of imaginary real estate between Westeros and Middle Earth. 4e appears to be covering the imaginary real estate that is taken up by your players at the table while kicking down doors and taking monster’s stuff.
People will hack at it and tinker with the engine, change the tires and all that. We are gamers. That is how we do.
But for now, these three books make it really easy to get friends together and make good on the promise suggested in the title containing dungeons, ampersand, dragons. After making a character, I instantly looked down at the sheet and had a burning desire to roll some d20’s and bash evil’s head in.
I have a human paladin in the making and I fully plan for him to philosophize about death, hack anything that gets in his way with his axe, become a demi-god so that he can marry his goddess, the Raven Queen and kick Orcus in the junk.
I haven’t read the books carefully yet. I might be wrong; it might not the be game for me and if so, you can have your own 4enfreude should I kvetch.
But here’s the thing about those who hate it and love 3.X. They have 3.X. They have all of the books they could ever need for it (and they’re about to get cheaper too). More than that, MUCH more than that, they have an OGL for 3.X that allows their communities of play to gather and publish whatever they can imagine.
This generation of past edition D&Ders, the 3.Xers, have an advantage that none before it ever had. They have the option, should they wish to exercise it, to fully ignore the new edition, and build a culture of play around the past edition that includes a publishing model.
Don’t like 4e and love 3.X? Fine. You don’t need it. You have each other.
That is all you need.
EDIT: had to change my userpic to my swank new Githyanki pic.