It’s true. I know, it’s hard to accept, but you have no fucking clue what you’re doing.
You started playing years ago when it was fresh and new, and the world was filled with an endless potential. All those adventures; all those dragons to destroy, those dungeons to delve. But you grew older and your game didn’t grow with you. The “official” rules are the same recycled tripe they were in the ’80s. And you know it. You know deep inside that you’re still playing a child’s game. You know that the glassy-eyed stare from your players signals the heat-death of your hobby. And you have no fucking idea how to fix it.
Maybe you’re new to the hobby. The publisher has made an industry out of packaging their shit with pretty artwork and fancy marketing schemes that leverage the opinions of the hobbyist (by gathering the most vocal and oft repeated fallacies from the internet), and so you could be a newcomer. You’re not familiar with the older games but you are familiar with the forum discussions, with online articles and social media gaming groups. You’ve encountered the arguments, you’ve analyzed the math and you can’t understand why the game is written the way it is. I mean, clearly, after 30 years of design and development, surely the authors would have figured out how to solve all these problems. Surely they’d be able to offer better advice on how to build a world or a fantasy city or a rational weather system…
But they can’t. So it doesn’t matter. That’s how you deal with it. Clearly, these things are not important because the powers-that-be have deigned to not include them in the Rules As Written. Clearly it’s better to nit-pick over the small details and rehash the same concepts again and again until our brains bleed through our pores.
Or maybe your D&D sucks shit because you’re thinking about the wrong thing. You’re focused on the small details. You’re arguing over the definition of hit points or what it means to be a PC vs. an NPC. You think you’re talking about game balance or fantasy economics or the best way to structure the skill rules, when you’re really talking about how to manage people or how to address a complicated topic in a systematic manner (like treasure tables or random encounters).
That’s the rub, isn’t it? It’s not that the skill system isn’t worth discussing. It’s that when you think you’re talking about skills, you’re really talking about shitty players who hog the spotlight and you’re a shitty DM who can’t manage the shitty players and keep them from behaving like little shits during your game.
That’s okay. There are others like you out there. I’m one of them. And I’m here to help you through it.