On the Problem With the Rules for the Bugbear Roadblock
There are too many rules in the newer editions of the game - too much focus on 'building' a character, and game play that is tedious and boring. Some of the creators of Dungeons & Dragons Third edition have addressed these issues before, and I'd like to talk about where their reasoning is suspect.
Before I delve into that, I'd like everyone to know that I greatly respect all those people involved in the creation of the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and it is very important that they know how important and valuable their contribution was. Not only were they successful at reinvigorating the genera, their decisions paved the way to a future filled with retro-clones. Without their wisdom and work we would not be here today to stand in judgment of their choices.
That said, Monte Cook addressed the question here. In his response he points out (rightly so) that there are a lot of individual rule systems and sub-systems in older editions of Dungeons and Dragons (his examples being primarily first* and second edition - not 0e).**
But Dungeons and Dragons is not that kind of game. He says this: "When Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams and I designed 3rd edition, we wanted something for the DM to be able to fall back on. We wanted to provide rules the DM had at his disposal that wouldn't be hard to adjudicate, wouldn't slow down the game (at least not too much), and wouldn't force him to say "no.""
So they created a comprehensive robust ruleset that covered 80% of possible situations, and therein lies the problem.
Comprehensive robust rule sets lead players to think that the only performable actions are ones that the rules cover. Play ceases to become about 'what can I think of to get myself out of this situation' and instead becomes about 'did I place my points correctly at character creation or level up'.
I know I can adjudicate his bugbear roadblock, but if I do, I immediately have to answer questions from each player about why I'm not using the bull rush rules, and why did someone bother to take the feat for improved bull rush if I'm just going to fiat away it's effectiveness.
He finishes with the admonition that we should change or ignore the rules if we wish, because no one will come to our house and confiscate our books. He says "Do what's fun." Only as the DM they've made my job much more difficult by creating this structure of imbalance I have to adhere to, making the play of the game about maximizing probabilities at creation and level up, and earning the ire of my players as I ad hoc something that devalues their character.
* First edition was designed to do much the same task as 3rd edition, create consistency across games for tournaments and between tables. Second edition was designed from first edition.
**Do not misunderstand me, I like a coherent and robust rules set for a lot of games. I am a fan of magic, and more traditional games like chess. These games are not wishy-washy, every action is clearly defined and there are no judgment calls - and that make them good games.