Monday 23 May 2011

D&D Lair Assault brings the rage

It seems that every few months Wizards of the Coasts sparks some new controversy in the roleplaying hobby that sets the blogosphere alight with 4e bashing and defending. You've likely heard now that the gaming goliath is starting a new in-store tournament programme called Lair Assault, which sees a party teaming up to scramble through really tough dungeons, using their tactical know how, knowledge of the rules, and ability to optimise their characters to complete the events.

This has created quite a stir in the community, with some prominent bloggers coming out hard against WotC's move to appease the min/maxers and remove the roleplaying from a roleplaying game.

Look, this isn't something I'm going to take part in. The fact that the press release states that Lair Assault is "pitting the skill of the players against the wits of the DM" really puts me off, since that essentially makes the DM a bad guy rather than a referee in this scenario. But I don't care if people want to play this if they find they enjoy it. I can't really see it taking off, due to the amount of people, both deriding it and defending it, who state they won't play it; but if it does then great, let people enjoy themselves. I can get on with playing D&D the way I like it, and let the tactical players get on with assaulting lairs.

Yes, I'd much rather Wizards spend their resources supporting current games, like Gamma World maybe, which they're really neglecting, but I couldn't care less if they want to put another event on. I don't have to play it and neither do you.


  1. The true DMing wit: "no you don't get a save against that giant boulder SORRY."

    Still, I don't see how anyone can see "take the roleplaying out of D&D" in organized play. Organized play was only barely roleplay-oriented in 3e and 4e before this Lair Assault thing. If anything this is being more up-front about what most organized play entails – low-commitment on and off play where you roll dice for a few hours.

  2. Yeah, I agree with Wyatt, this really isn't substantially different, now we're just calling a spade a spade. Apparently some people loath the idea that spades exist, so spades were called shovels.(note-for purposes of this analogy, tools are ways of playing, not the game itself)

  3. I think that saying "It's not a big deal, play what you like," puts you squarely in the defender crowd, since that's pretty much what the defender's position is anyway. But heck, that's a good thing.

  4. Every time a I see a gaming post that's critical of something without devolving into rage and hate, I feel warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you.

  5. I'm all for the munchkinning of any role-playing game. For as free-fall as T&T can be, the key to designing good pieces is a strong understanding of the rules. Players as munchkins go to some extremes that a decent GM is prepared to deal with. I can do more in getting a narration designed as a scenario with a munchkin than dealing with a "Role-Player."

    Look at it from a theatrical perspective, the casting Director sees a wild-haired ham of an actor. The guy can get a haircut and be fed lines. He sees a mumbling bald guy-- the director sees a homeless man.

  6. WotC should simply re-relase Chainmail.