On 80% of Modern Forum Content Summerized in The Alexandrian

Justin over at The Alexandrian, one of my favorite blogs, made a key post about spherical cows, and I feel compelled to extort it's virtues.

I've spent a lot of time on message boards in the past - even some time on more modern ones. I avoid them in general because, well, 80% of the content isn't helping me to run a better game. When I posted about my tricks document on EN world, one of the replies was "We need to see more posts like this", because in their world, actual gaming posts are few and far between.

In his spherical cow post, he summarizes (in a much more entertaining matter) the basics of the majority of modern forum content:
  • Extremely Implausible Hypothetical Scenario, e.g. because wizards can memorize a variety of spells, they obsolete any class that has an ability duplicated by a spell
  • Treat RPGs as if they were skirmish combat games, i.e. the white room DSP crunch.
  • Irrational Spotlight Jealousy, i.e. because a character contributes uniquely, the fun is ruined for everyone else
  • Guideline as God, e.g. the insistence that all encounters be 'balanced' against all parties of their encounter level
It's a brilliant post - if you go to the modern message board forums (4e? EN world? pathfinder?) and look down the list, you'd be hard pressed to find one topic that doesn't fall under one of these flaws.

The fact is - games don't run like that. I have some new school players that would often look to the wizard to solve problems, and because they didn't have access to their spellbook, or hadn't had a chance to rest, or, just gosh darn it, didn't memorize the correct spell today, they were no help. Because, as Justin points out, games aren't run like the examples above.

His post and his blog are highly recommended reading.


  1. 2nd The Alexandrian. Just discovered it not long ago and have been absorbing it. His Node theory material is excellent.

  2. The Alexandrian is the reason I got into reading D&D blogs.


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