MONDAY 7.2.12  UPDATE: Hey guys, I am currently buried under work and couldn’t get a new comic up for Monday (or one that I am comfortable publishing quality-wise) so I’ll have to skip today. Sorry guys, business should resume on Wednesday 7.4.12

UPDATE 2: It turns out I am going to resume on Friday. Sorry guys. Long story. I’ll tell you then.

I never claimed to be an editorial/political cartoonist but today’s comic was an interesting (and entertaining) challenge.

No doubt there are a lot of gaming topics/issues worthy of placement in today’s comic but in the end, I elected to drop in a few of the issues that hit home for me as a long-time gamer.

This line of thinking, (and a few discussions on Twitter), that led to this comic. I cannot imagine the pressure the folks working on the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons are under with so many hot-button issues surrounding the project. Think about it for a moment if you haven’t already. You have a relatively small group of talented people attempting to do with a wholly creative project where few can claim success: Make everyone happy.

Those of you who sighed “Oh man…”or made a sympathetic face for the D&D Next creative team, I am right there with you and I have no doubt that the creative team and most of the rational people playing D&D these days have no illusions about such things. We know making every fan of D&D happy with the new edition is a near impossibility. There are simply too many variables and a near-infinite scope of individual tastes when it comes to play style and presentation. There will be fans. There will be folks who do not care for the rules. There will be extremes on both sides of the pro/con camps. Some people will see no fault in the system at all due to brand or creator loyalty, while some will hate everything about D&D Next simply out of spite or a feeling of betrayal. It is human nature and it happens with every new edition of D&D.

We could talk about love/hate and system specifics all day but that’s not what I’m on about here today. What I really want to get down to with this post (and the comic) is one word: Respect. That’s right, I am making a probably feeble call to the D&D community to take a step back and show this whole thing some common respect and decency. I know it is crazy to ask for such things but hear me out.

If you hit any form of online gaming community (forums, Twitter, etc.) you know there is a HUGE divide in the folks who are pro D&D Next and those who do not care for what they’re seeing. Again, it is to be expected but what’s alarming is the heightened level of venom coursing through the veins of the community these days. I’ve never seem it this bad with previous editions. People are angry. People are arguing. People are throwing respect for the creators, fellow gamers, and people in general out of the window. We all need to take a breath and get a grip.

Watching feeds and discussions, it seems you’re either a fanboy/fangirl, a hater, a game-shamer, an elitist, a grognard, or a troll by most folks appraisals. I’ll cop to it, I’ve fallen into frustration and called out a few people or laid a blanket “calm the fuck down” on Twitter like a hypocrite. It is not the best way to handle things but I’m Human. That said, this week I took my own step back and decided to approach the community a different way.

If D&D Next doesn’t float your boat, be cool about it. I know you love 4e (or another edition) and you may feel betrayed by WotC’s decision to move on to D&D Next. I get that but what I would try to impress upon you is that MOST of the folks working at Wizards of the Coast did not make that executive decision and they are doing their jobs, which is to try to make the best game possible. Every time you throw some venom-filled insult at one of the designers or community managers, you are essentially spitting in their face for doing a job that is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone. Think about it: You’re doing your job and someone walks in and kicks you in the gut, calls you a piece of garbage and leaves. Sure, it’s easy to hide behind internet anonymity but come on this isn’t politics or world affairs, it’s D&D. I live and breathe D&D but damn, have some common courtesy. If Next isn’t for you, play whatever makes you happy. I love Mario 64 but I didn’t quit playing it when Nintendo moved on to new systems. I STILL play Mario 64. No one is taking those early editions away and there is so much reference out there already you can run for years and not use it all.

On the flipside of that, if you love D&D Next thus far, avoid labeling or attacking the folks who do not care for it. If you really want to make your case, invite them to play a session and show them what you’re excited about. If they decline or try it and still dislike it, shake hands and talk about gaming in the broad strokes because at the core, we ALL love gaming. We should try to remember that more often.

Live and let play.

COMMENTERS: What do you do in situations where you disagree with game mechanics or philosophies? How do you feel about D&D Next thus far? Warning: Be cool. If you act like an ass, I will kick you quickly and efficiently. I never have to say this really but this could be a hot-button day.