Special Edition

As someone who came to the hobby only a couple of years ago, I never understood edition wars. I come from comics, where I like rudimentary Golden Age Superman, Silver Age goofy Superman, Pre-Crisis godlike Supes, Post-Crisis Supey, Elseworld versions of Big Blue, John Byrne’s Man of Steel and Grant Morrison’s Man of Tomorrow, out of continuity Superman, and even freestyle what-is-it-to-be-Superman like It’s A Bird… or Secret Identity.

For that matter, I absolutely adore Samaritan, the original Squadron Supreme maxi-series, everything I’ve read of Supreme and, yes, even Marvel’s original Sentry mini-series and Age of the Sentry. I enjoyed Superduperman and the Clark Kent analog in the Tick. I dig Bill Murray as Superman on Saturday Night and even Tim Daly’s performance in the Superman cartoon. And I really feel like any argument about what is or can be the only true Superman to not only be a colossal waste of time but insultingly narrow-visioned and short-sighted. Strict Constructionism of the Superman Constitution means virtually no Superman.

So if I’m wearing chainmail, in a dungeon, fighting a dragon, am an elf, know what dual-classing is, and my hand is full of polyhedrons, as far as I and the other 99.999% of the world are concerned who even know what D&D is….I am playing D&D. And everything beyond that, race-as-class or THAC0 or level adjustments or skill challenges and so on, is just so much frigging tinsel to me.

And yes, the above description could apply to non-D&D fantasy table-top games but again, the world at large is not entirely aware that these exist. Even for those who are aware that RPG and D&D are not synonyms, they don’t know the difference.

Nobody demands that you support a game, or an edition of a game, just as nobody demands that you buy Superman or even a particular issue of Superman. But to come to this hobby and people discount 4e, or 3.5, or in extreme cases anything that came after the most basic D&D rules were released, as not D&D because they don’t think they’re necessary or don’t like the art….I don’t know, to me that’s as if someone asked about a Superman comic you were reading and, because it’s a rebooted Superman you don’t like, you say it’s not the real Superman. At best, this would be followed with “So..it’s an evil twin, or something?” but most likely you’d get a blank state. Of course that’s the real Superman, because I can see Superman right there and that’s what Superman looks like and he’s flying and you are clearly a crazy person who thinks he’s on a date with Marie Curie and it’s a wonder the hospital staff wrestled you into a pair of pants before you managed to break out and run free.

I get not liking an edition, preferring one over the other, and even having very valid reasons why you prefer something to be one way vs. another way. But the idea of complaining that 4e or 3.5 or 2 or whatever is not real D&D or not GOOD because it doesn’t work exactly like a particular edition you favor sounds like lunacy. Of course 4e plays differently from 0e or 2e. It’s not 0e or 2e. I don’t especially like cats, but my reasons aren’t because they’re NOT dogs or cacti.

I’ve played everything but 2e myself and have had a damn good time doing all of it. I’ve run 4e, 0e, and a session of 3.5 and had fun doing that, too. I understand nobody is trying to force me not to like them just as nobody is being forced to play them, I just don’t understand the bitterness and vitriol that fanaticism brings out in people in general. It’s something I don’t possess, being more of an omnivore (I’m not even that big a Superman fan for example). It’s just a little exhausting to struggle against human nature, my own as much as or more than that of those around me, in so many facets of my life and then have to deal with this kind of tribalism when I’m trying to unwind just because I was so CLASSLESS as to say “Man, I sure enjoyed the latest issue of Superman!”

(Not that I can afford to buy Superman right now in order to find out…)

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