On this day, 11 years ago, the 2008 Fantasy RPG Wars began. And we won.Well, not everyone. Pretty sure the people who were dedicate to systems other than D&D got nothing out of that war. And certainly, those of us who weren’t interested in D&D 3rd edition or later didn’t receive any benefit, unless you want to say that the battle between two versions of D&D that was totally unappealing to us is what spurred the rise of the OSR as a rebellion.
By “we” of course I mean everyone who plays RPGs.
I remember my involvement with WotC D&D clearly. I was in a mixed 1e/2e game with some work colleagues and the current GM was hyped about this new 3rd edition that was coming out. “I want to play it, but don’t want to GM.”
I agreed to GM and started buying books. I remember in particular buying a monster manual from a 3rd party (the Scarred Lands book from White Wolf’s Sword & Sorcery Studios imprint) because there was no official Monster Manual yet.
And I studied those books, trying to learn the new rules while we arranged for when we would start the new campaign. And kept reading as we were delayed many times. And the more I read, the more disenchanted with 3e I became.
We never did get to play.
As the years went by, I checked each new edition of D&D to see if it improved. And yes, I even checked early Pathfinder reviews and documents. They all felt very much like like 3e.
So the fantasy wars between WotC and Pathfinder really didn’t benefit me in any way. Sure, they pushed each other into being “better”, but measured on some scale of “better” I was totally uninterested in. If anything, their conflict made my life worse, because it produced floods of material I had to wade through to find stuff that either wasn’t 3e+/Pathfinder or had some bits and pieces that could be removed from their 3e+/Pathfinder context. And in particular, I had to deal with a deluge of WotC/Paizo fanboy posts on blogs and forums if I wanted to find the one or two posts that weren’t about the WotC/Paizo approach to D&D.
So yeah, I remember the Fantasy Wars, but not fondly. I mainly remember all the wounded.