Tuesday, July 14, 2015

D&D Product Historian Shannon Appelcline Twists D&D History

With the release of the Platinum Appendix for Designers and Dragons, we get to see Shannon Appelcline's account of recent D&D history. Of particular note is his description of D&D 5e's release since it is arguably the biggest thing that happened in this last year. Something struck me as a little strange.

page 96 
I'm not surprised that the controversy around RPGPundit and Zak S's consultancy made the pages of the book considering it took up a lot of attention in a small corner of the hobby and likely gave Mike Merles headaches for days. What I think is troubling about this passage is the description of the two consultants as "widely viewed as internet bullies." Truth be told, very few people in Wizard of the Coast's audience know or care who either Zak or Pundit are. Outside of their pockets of the RPG hobby, not many people know what either of these people do in games or care that they may have influenced the new edition of D&D in some nebulous way.

By describing the negative view of the consultants as being widely held, Appelcline is showing his bias, that he and those in his echo chamber don't like Zak or Pundit on a personal level. I wonder how else this bias has influenced Appelcline's chronicling of RPG history. 

page 97
The above passage appears one page later and manages to conflate the consultant controversy (which was about internet cliques and deceptive smear campaigns) with Gamergate, which was a completely different can of shit. I'm sure that the underlying darkness that Appelcline is talking about has nothing to do with the bullshit being spread about the consultants and everything about the people taking the detractors to task.

Appelcline's telling of history is a description of his feelings, which I think is a questionable practice for someone who is coming to be regarded as the hobby's historian. I haven't read any other pages from Appelcline's books and I'm not inclined to read more after this misrepresentation.

If you want to know what the deal is with Zak S, click here

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