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Discontinuity / Tabletop Games

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Sometimes, even DMs get railroaded by the publishers who make their cherished games. When the canon plot is going south, nothing works quite as well as taking an entire RPG world off the rails. It's hard to pinpoint what sorts of things people will accept in Tabletop RPGs, but rest assured whenever there's a rules change, someone is going to be unhappy.

Note: Do not post examples of personal discontinuity. Examples should only be of groups of fandoms.


  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • For those who never saw them originally, the Squats are simply Canon Discontinuity and an endless source of fun at official Games Workshop events, due to GW wiping them from existence and wanting them to stay that way.
      • The Squats are something of an inversion. The authors hate to acknowledge the Cosmic Retcon, much less the subject of the retcon itself, while fans have turned the retcon into a bit of Memetic Mutation. Though this has cooled down since 2012's release of the 6th edition rulebook, where the Squats made their return with little fanfare but a definite acknowledgement.
    • Dan Abnett's books (especially Gaunt's Ghosts) are either proof of his reputation as the best 40K author, or dismissed as "him getting high on his own popularity". There is rarely any middle ground on this.
    • CS Goto (also known as CS Multilaser, due to his bizarre affection for the weapon) is the only 40K author whose works are near-universally declared non-canon amongst fans, due to rampant Canon Defilement and general bad writing.
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    • Damn near anything written by Matt Ward will fall to this, on account of his reputation as a Promoted Fanboy who loves the Ultramarines so much it borders on a fetish. Accusations include turning the Ultrasmurfs into the bestest Space Marine Chapter ever (whom every other Chapter aspires to emulate, all the while bemoaning their lack of being Ultramarines), ruining literally every codex he has ever written, and every single army he's come into contact with has had its fluff tortured, been turned into an unstoppable table-destroying death-army or, more commonly, both. Amongst a significant section of fans anything the man touches is loathed and ignored, in that order.
      • On the subject of Matt Ward, the Blood Angels codex mentions a battle between Blood Angels and Necrons being interrupted by the arrival of Tyranids. Both armies pull an Enemy Mine to defeat the Tyranids... and then peacefully go their separate ways, claiming Dante is loath to turn against an ally. Despite the Necron Codex asserting it definitely happened, exactly as written in the Blood Angels codex, the fandom at large have declared it little more than a fevered dream. And considering both the BA and Necron books were written by Ward, it isn't surprising.
      • The 5th edition Grey Knights codex, also written by Matt Ward, contains the infamous Khornate Knights incident. Basically, the Grey Knights (who are supposed to be the most elite daemon hunters) willfully killed a detachment of Sisters of Battle (who are supposed to be among the most faithful of Imperial soldiery) and smeared their blood all over themselves so that they could acquire a daemon sword, which is bullshit on multiple levels. In a rare case of GW intervention, this... thing was later officially called Canon Discontinuity.
      • The same Codex introduces Kaldor Draigo, the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues. This is a guy who rampages across the realms of the Chaos gods themselves and carves things into the hearts of Daemon Primarchs with no consequences, and is held up as the defining example of Ward's failure as a writer.
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    • The convoluted attempt to flesh out the backstory of the Necrons from 3rd edition onward has inspired several fans to develop mental blackouts when the words "C'tan", "Necrontyr", or "Old Ones" appear, in response to the overplayed role the Necrons' equivalent of special characters gained in the process. The Necrons themselves faced serious resistance when they were first introduced, as their "armies" at first consisted of a small number of boringly unstoppable robots with little variation and no character. However, that's nothing compared to the new fluff, which is pretty divisive. Fans of the old fluff complain that the Necrons are no longer as threatening as they once were, the new characters brought in to replace the C'tan are half-formed and boring and the C'tan themselves suffered immensely from Badass Decay and were Demoted to Extra.
    • The Tau were considered by some to be a transparent attempt to appeal to fans of mecha anime, without properly making them fit into the "Dark Future" aesthetic. With repeated Codex updates they have, by 5th edition, lessened this attitude somewhat by revealing they aren't as shiny as they like to appear, along with hints of mind control, mass sterilisation, and Imperium-style totalitarianism with a different flavor of propaganda. Tau fans have reacted to this with varying levels of discontinuity, often annoyed at what they see, by and large, as demonization to force their army of choice to fit in with the "Grimdark".
    • Due to the numerous retcons of the lore by recent authors, as GW has stopped progressing the story forward, much of the older books that are still in print now have canon conflicts. GW's official stance on this is whenever something doesn't mesh up with another source, one of them is propaganda. This extends to each of the codexes as well, which allows GW to be a lot more troperiffic with them, since they're intended to be in-game propaganda. This basically allowed fans to make whatever canon they want in their heads as they like it, as everything else can legitimately be brushed off as fabrications.
    • While the vast majority of people follow whatever the latest edition of the rules exist, there are still hardened followers who refuse to move beyond the 3rd or 4th editions of the game. Either because that's the versions they and their group played when it exploded in popularity back in the late 90's early 2000's, or because they are generally considered to be the two best versions of the rules.
  • Warhammer: A lot of fans hate The End Times and the Age of Sigmar, and detest the changes of the lore and the retcons. For a good reason the fan-made Fantasy Battles: The Ninth Age was created.
    • Like 40000, many fans despise the background changes, units and rules introduced in the eighth edition and several army books. Guess who's at fault... You are right, Matt Ward, along with Robin Cruddace.
    • The Soulgrinder in the Daemons Fantasy army. It would be fine for 40k, but it does not fit the low technology of Warhammer Fantasy, mainly because in 40k it's made by combining the remains of a Defiler (a giant crab-like machine) with a daemon. Since Defilers don't exist in Warhammer Fantasy, Soulgrinders shouldn't, either.
    • The Mechanical Horse unit of the Empire. About no one takes it seriously.
  • The Old World of Darkness game Vampire: The Masquerade had a supplement known as Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, which revealed that Tzimisce vampires were in fact infected with spirit-parasites called "soul-eaters"... except for a secret society known as the "True Black Hand." Besides not fitting at all with the themes of the game, this wasn't even an original idea - it was stolen wholesale from Necroscope. Fans refuse to acknowledge this one ever existed, and speaking the name in the wrong place can start a Flame War. White Wolf never officially decanonized it, but the book End of Empires wiped out the True Black Hand and later books dismissed the contents of Dirty Secrets as utterly wrong. Given how often the supplements seemed to contradict each other, everyone had at least one they refused to pay attention to, although seldom with the level of consensus of Dirty Secrets.
    • While never Word of God, it was a fairly well-known open secret that Dirty Secrets was created without official approval by a disgruntled writer as a Take That! against White Wolf management; and its status in canon was never fully accepted.
    • Another World of Darkness supplement a lot of players prefer to ignore is Mummy: The Resurrection, mostly because no modernizing can make bandages wrapped around a rotting corpse look good. (The text seems to suggest that Mummies have their own Masquerade and can blend in fine, but the art depicts them as desiccated corpses wrapped in bandages.)
    • Gypsies is also seen as a dark mark for the period and the pinnacle of the Old World of Darkness's tendency for well-intentioned-but-not-well-thought-out multiculturalism. It was all about secret bloodlines of Romani with powers based on deception and trickery. Oh, and it had a power stat called "Blood Purity."
    • Also in Old World of Darkness, some groups consider Wraith: The Oblivion's Charnel Houses of Europe: the Shoah sourcebook a dirty word, though whether this is because of its perceived disrespect to the Holocaust or because of its stereotyping of Germans as evil is unclear.
    • Some of the tribebooks in the revised edition of Werewolf: The Apocalypse disappointed fans. For example, the revised Children of Gaia tribebook drew criticism for its bad writing, and the revised Black Fury tribebook drew criticism for abandoning the feminist themes of the first edition tribebook.
      • Which is incredibly ironic, since the Black Fury tribebook in its original form also drew criticism for its feminist themes — specifically, its Straw Feminist themes, with the Black Furies being portrayed, in the eyes of many fans, as being psychotic androcidal maniacs who believed that all of the evils in the world can be laid directly at the feet of men — to the point that they used to ritually sacrifice their sons for the "crime" of being born male, until their looming extinction forced them to take up the practice of fostering them out instead. It's bad enough in the original corebook that the first version of the tribebook actually has an In-Universe speaker insist that the Black Furies aren't an entire Psycho Lesbian tribenote ... and then go on to describe men as being, while necessary, "brutish, stupid and jealous" and inferior to male wolves, since wolves at least "know their place better" (read: under the she-wolves). The constant harping on about men being inherently weaker and inferior to women, an entire gender naturally inclined to slave under the Wyrm, made the book itself quite disliked in its time. In fact, the same undertone is quite blatantly clear in the revised version, so, really, nothing important changed.
  • As for the New World of Darkness, the Werewolf: The Forsaken soucebook Changing Breeds has basically gotten this. Why? The writing quality is poor, with rules that are easily exploitable or overpowered, and generally of lower quality compared to earlier splatbooks with similar rules, such as War Against the Pure. Furthermore, the book's fluff presents a very ham-handed take on a man vs. nature motif, outright encouraging players to be kill-happy sociopaths dedicated to the destruction of humanity and/or human civilization. More than one negative reviewer has compared it to the worst elements of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, which in its time caught a lot of flak for similarly hamhanded "human civilization is evil and must be destroyed for the sake of nature!" storylines and attitudes. It has also been accused of pandering to the Furry Fandom. Not that the author would tell you.
  • Within the Legend of the Five Rings gaming community, members of the Scorpion clan have mentally written out hundreds of pages of canon material because, as they put it, "First rule of Zombie Shoju: We do not talk about Zombie Shoju."
    • Many Legend of the Five Rings fans also refuse to acknowledge that the Canon Storyline even continued beyond Toturi I becoming Emperor. Even those that won't go that far prefer not to talk about Hidden Emperor.
    • A large faction of the CCG players considered the game to have ended after it was picked up by Wizards of the Coast, particularly since their first post-acquisition expansion set, Scorpion Clan Coup— and in particular the Hidden Emperor arc— was seen to have effectively destroyed the game balance. Re-acquisition of the game by Alderac, and the Retcon and banning of the Hidden Emperor factions with the release of the Four Winds sets, effectively restated continuity.
    • The aftermath of War of the Destroyer, with Daigotsu supplanting Fu Leng as master of the Shadowlands and changing the way the Taint worked in exchange for elevating the Shadowlands-aligned Spider Clan to Great Clan status, is also occasionally treated as discontinuity.
  • The fact that the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons adjusted the metaphysics to fit 4th Edition by killing off the goddess Mystra and destroying the Weave in the process, despite the fact that she had died once and protected the Weave by storing it inside the human wizard Elminster got a lot of 3.x fans pissed.
    • That's just the tip of the iceberg. There was wholesale deicide that saw not only Mystra killed but a slew of other deities, some of which were also fan favorites, many by virtue of Idiot Ball. The demihuman pantheons received the worst culling, most notably the Drow pantheon, which got whittled down to Lolth and saw Ensemble Darkhorses Vhaeraun and Eilistraee get killed off in a trilogy of poorly-received novels (the former was killed off-screen, and what became of the latter's followers was rife with Unfortunate Implications surrounding race). Bear in mind that there's still a vocal minority in the FR fandom that consider the first, less severe deicide that happened between 1E and 2E to be discontinuity. And that's before getting into the Time Skip that ensured a number of beloved NPCs were killed off-screen. 4e Realms is controversial, to put it mildly.
      • The sheer breadth of the changes (4E changed a lot more than just the metaphysics and the death of a slew of gods, and the 'natural' consequences of a century-long timejump) led some old fans to fanon discontinuity not on the events, but on it being the future of the Realms rather than a new and interesting setting that just happens to use a fair bit of Realmsian names and terminology.
    • For that matter, there are fans who disregard the existence of any Dungeons & Dragons development past AD&D second edition...
      • There are fans who prefer to pretend that Thief class introduced to the game in Supplement 1: Greyhawk never existed.
      • For a work with no actual narrative to it, simply rules content, the Fiend Folio Tome for AD&D can attract something like Discontinuity sentiments. Or maybe everything in it except the Drow and Githyanki. Almost definitely the Flumph.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition doesn't exist for some gamers, but this was to be expected with something as big as DND - They Changed It, Now It Sucks! was in full effect. (Somewhat justified since the changes were massive enough that even most fans of Fourth Edition view it as a very different game.) Then again, for some, neither does 3.5 or 3rd edition exist. For others, it's anything after Gary Gygax stopped working on it directly. A select few ignore anything after 2nd, or even the first edition... simply put, Nostalgia Filter applies heavily when it comes to DND, and everyone has his/her own preference. This isn't as big a difference as some other examples, since there isn't actual canon for the D&D game, just the campaign settings.
    • Psionics has a similar effect as well. Simply put, only Trolls start threads to discuss its pros & cons since neither camp will ever move, or even just agree to disagree.
    • Complete Psionic is one of the only examples of an optional sourcebook receiving this dubious honor. It's a book on psionics, for starters, which already puts it on shaky ground, but it surpasses the mere controversy and occasional brokenness of the original Psionics Handbook it supplemented. The book is about half-finished; several feats and abilities are missing crucial text, the Anarchic Initiate, meant as a Wilder class, is unduly difficult for Wilders to finishnote , and one of the core classes of the book is actively left out of most of it. The actual material it brings to the table varies from generic and forgettable (a whole load of feats devoted to wasting an action on your mind blade; the Lurk, whose entire fluff begins and ends at "Rogue who is psychic"note ) to offensively stupid (the Tier-Induced Scrappy and utterly tone-deaf Divine Mind; nobody telling the designers that Mind Flayers don't breed), to the utterly broken (the Erudite, which is one of the few classes that can make a wizard shudder with Game-Breaker envy). Add in a completely pointless Nerf to the much-loved Astral Construct power, and you have a book where few fans would see a problem in ripping out the sections on the Ardent and Soulbow and throwing the rest away.
  • Very few Call of Cthulhu Keepers run or even choose to believe that Call of Cthulhu d20 exists, though there are some sticklers who enjoyed it and still do. The main reason for this was primarily due to issues converting the system from BRP to d20 and making the game feel "right" as a result, with many feeling it added too much crunch to the game and making character creation lengthier. The other issue had to do with lore being what some perceived as incorrect or monsters seeming "too weak" for the horror game, an issue that has bothered Lovecraftian Horror fans since the time of August Derleth.
  • Quite a lot of Mystara fans prefer to believe that TSR's conversion of their favorite game-world from Basic D&D to 2nd Edition AD&D was All Just a Dream.
  • Don't even MENTION the Champions of Darkness Arthaus supplement on a Ravenloft fan forum, unless you want to kick off a three-day slam fest.
  • Many Greyhawk fans claim that the Greyhawk Wars never happened, or at least happened in a much different way than official TSR canon describes it.
    • Many players reject out of hand the science-fiction elements introduced in modules like Adventure to the Barrier Peaks (which have a dubious canon status anyway).
  • The Planescape adventure "Faction War", which saw the end of the Factions as Sigil's primary movers and shakers (as well as being an end to Second Edition), is ignored by many players who rather liked the Factions as Sigil's primary movers and shakers. This leaves them in a rather unfortunate place, since both 3rd and 4th edition centered their depictions of Sigil on the premise of the Faction War having taken place.
    • Incidentally, each and any attempt to provide the Lady herself with stats and levels have been subjected to this trope, since she is supposed to be an inscrutable and essentially undefeatable force of nature, and anything with stats can, as many players have proven, be defeated. (The Gods have stats and levels, thus establishing where they stand in the pecking order.)
  • There are many elements of Exalted that some of the fans prefer not to think about, but Zeal is the one that absolutely everyone agrees on, by virtue of its sheer ungodly brokenness. Void Avatar Prana is a close runner up.
    • Similarly, no one liked the 1st edition Lunars book, mainly because it painted the entire group as a bunch of rampaging barbarians dedicated to tearing down civilization. Which is why they got a radical reboot in 2nd Ed; the whole "tear down civilization" bit is limited to a few batshit crazy members, and most of the Lunars are dedicated to making a new civilization outside of the models of the Solar Deliberative and the Realm... which is, in turn, on its way out due to an oversaturation of secret masters of Creation and the 2e history of the Lunars being written to make everyone seem like an asshole with no redeeming features at all, number one case in point being the presentation of the Unconquered Sun as a tyrannical maniac with regards to Solar Bond (though the lack of other, similar accounts in the manuals for Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals, and the origin stories of the Incarnae in Glories of the Most High point to a more benign origin). The aforementioned problems may have been slow to anger the readers on account of the second edition lacking a massive, ugly Lunar Charm cloud with a perfect dodge based on Charisma.
    • As of errata in mid '10, the writers agree: Zeal does not exist.
    • Also, pretty much the entire first half of Manual of Exalted Power: The Infernals, due to a spectacular failure of communication. To quote Rand Brittain of "The word from those in the know is that Infernals left out the first four chapters. Not sure why that happened." As it turned out, the whole of Infernals had to be taken out and shot, because Infernal charms were calibrated precisely to Exalted 2nd Ed's mechanics. When the writers overhauled the mechanics to 2.5... Infernals broke irreparably.
    • There is also a bit of disagreement over the existence of Sidereal Martial Arts, as described in the Scroll of the Monk. Some disbelieve them entirely, others use some, but revoke the blatantly game-breaking or badly written ones (like Quicksilver Hand of Dreams). The writers, on the other hand—including the lead one of that book— have decided that the book itself was simply never written.
    • At one point in Compass of Celestial Directions: Malfeas, there's a piece of background that badly strains the "no resurrections or time travel" rule: that whenever someone summons a demon, it leaves Malfeas five days before it was actually summoned. The fans immediately took this down to the back paddock and shot it, and the writers later dug its grave.
    • In the end, the writers decided to leave Malfeas with 2e's nightmarish mechanics, because they'd spent several thousand dollars' worth of unpaid time trying to fix things, and still hadn't managed to patch all the big problems, even with 2.5. Instead, they decided to start over from scratch, with a new edition and a new system.
  • There are more than a few gamers that insist that West End Games never lost the Star Wars license. Fans continue to produce supplements with game stats for the characters and vehicles from the latest movies, twenty years after West End went out of business.
  • Wizards of the Coast downgraded the Magic: The Gathering set Homelands to not-worth-the-cardboard-it's-printed-on status when it "completed" the Ice Age block with Coldsnap. Most fans had already demoted it to that status years earlier. Of course, the printing of plane cards referring to the Homelands setting and creatures like "Barony Vampire" in the base set indicates that Wizards isn't quite done with Ulgrotha yet— they just wanted to get it the hell away from any other Magic settings.
    • Early in design for the Innistrad set, it was suggested that it could be a return to Ulgrotha. Lead designer Mark Rosewater said no, partly because he wanted to create a horror setting free from any baggage of an existing setting, but mostly because of this trope.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! duelists would like to remind you that, except for a very few token cards, there were no such sets as Cyberdark Impact or the Gold Series, or deck types such as all incarnations of the Hero cards (Elemental, Destiny, and Evil Hero) or Neo-Spacians.
    • A popular fan format, "Goat Format", pretends that new cards stopped being released immediately before Cybernetic Revolution.
    • UDE would like to convince duelists that there is no such thing as the OCG or Konami, and Konami vice-versa, but most intelligent duelists are ignoring them and drowning out their perpetual feud with campfire songs around YVD.
    • Don't forget the people who completely ignored the banlist.
    • There's a quiet chunk of players who refuse to acknowledge synchros, XYZ, deck limits, card restrictions and in extreme cases the existence of the extra deck in general.
    • More than any of the above, many fans have decided that there is no Master Rule 4, as it makes many previous decks actually unplayablenote  because of it getting rid of the Pendulum Zonesnote  and limiting Extra Deck summons to one unless they use the new monster type to expand it.
  • BattleTech fans have conveniently dated eras that represent how far forward they consider the timeline to have reached.
    • 3025 only: This represents the purest form of BattleTech as "Knights in 'Mechs". 3025 is pre-Clan invasion, so it has no clan-tech. LosTech is rampant, and Hanse Davion has yet to form his Federated Commonwealth and half-destroy the Capallen Confederation.
    • 3050-3067: The Clans invade and are stopped. Most LosTech has been recovered. The once great Federated Commonwealth has been destroyed. A new Star League rose up, but now stands at a cross-roads. And ComStar has been broken into two pieces. Something is looming on the horizon, but it's not yet clear what. This is the era that is most widely known and the one that's least polarizing.
    • 3067-3080: That "something" was a temper-tantrum by the ComStar splinter group The Word of Blake. This sphere-wide war, the Jihad, annoyed lots of players, as it gave the Blakists seemingly unseen resources. It's also tarred due to its association with the later "Dark Age" era, because it explains how we went from 3067-3132. And many don't see it as making sense.
    • 3132-3145 (present time): The so-called Dark Age, with a return to LosTech. This gets the most discontinuity, even by players willing to play in the Jihad era. This era initially focused on the newly-formed Republic of the Sphere, which formed a mini-Inner Sphere within the larger Inner Sphere. Fans of the old factions wanted to know what happened to them, but information was scant for a long time. Once the "clicky-tech" game died and the main BattleTech writers got hold of it, the Republic was reduced to being a small state (a bit like ComStar) with the focus returning back to the usual factions.
    • Though there is broad disagreement among fans, what most fans will agree on is that the novel Far Country has no place in the canon, and in a strange way, the line developers agree. While the devs won't outright Retcon Far Country out of existence and still declare that as a BattleTech Expanded Universe novel it is canonical, not a single work since then comes within shouting distance of the idea of aliens existing in the Battletech universe. They'd rather just leave it in a cleaning cupboard and not think about it.


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