I’m reminded of this fact once in a while.
Last year, someone blogged about a retroclone they were writing. (I don’t remember who.) And they meant a clone, with all the text copy-pasted exactly as it was from the D&D rulebook. Even the problematic, ambiguous or contradictory text would be unchanged in the interest of posterity. I didn’t understand why anyone would take the time to clone a game, and yet not make even simple clarifications or adjustments to fix glaring problems. And I still don’t. You’re already under the hood, so ya might as well tighten the loose nuts right?
Currently, there’s a debate raging on the WotC forum regarding ability scores. After your 4e character is made, your scores mostly just take up space on your character sheet; so some gamers want 5e to drop scores completely in favor of pure ability modifiers. Other gamers want scores to stay. Many of the pro-score advocates want 5e to attach more rules to the scores, so that they become important again. Even if I’d rather attach everything to ability modifiers and just drop the scores, I understand the “Let’s make scores important again!” argument.
What I don’t understand is the “It’s too big of a change!”, or the “It’s not enough of an improvement!”, or the “Scores are important because tradition is important because they’re iconic because they’re part of the D&D tradition and I can’t role play without scores because they’re the foundation of D&D and it just won’t be D&D without scores.”
I don’t understand this idea that tradition in and of itself is reason enough to not make improvements. To my way of thinking, if I’m going to buy a new game, I want it to be the best game its writers could have made. I don’t care if it’s ‘traditional’ D&D or not; if I want to play traditional D&D, I’ll play OD&D.
So I guess I just don’t know. If you have any insight into this phenomenon, please share.