Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yes, yes, I'm sure Old School Rocks...

...but man was it fun (and comforting in an odd way) being surrounded by people who share my opinion...that old school is one of the things that can rock, right alongside indie and new school and the in the middle mish mash that makes up a good portion of what I run.

NerdNYC is a most curious beast. It is directly associated with the old schoolers of New York Red Box and at it's RECESS gaming event on Saturday (June 18th) I certainly saw my fair share of D&D games being played. Yet upon asking the guys I gamed with what games they run or play normally I got Burning Wheel (at least two or three people), Deathwatch, FATE, Pathfinder, Spirit of the Century and a number of other game, many of which were indie titles.

Sometimes I look out on the great, open fields of gaming blogs and see nothing but old school and, while I have said many times it doesn't bother me in any way, it does make one feel a little lonely. As I mentioned in the comments of another blog recently, I am more than content to shout my love for Star Trek, Mutants & Masterminds, Faery's Tale Deluxe, Ars Magica and other games that get little to no blog love but I never expect anyone to shout back. That analogy is imperfect, as I do get comments and therefore I know I am not completely alone in my interests.

Things like this past RECESS and my Muppet Madness Month bring me a feeling of camaraderie with a larger community that I am sure is one of the great perks about being part of OSR 'fandom'. I mean, there were 400 some odd people there (at RECESS) of all ages, creeds and colors and they were all enjoying all kinds of games. That to me is incredibly exciting.

So yay diversity! Hurray for a choice of what to play and how to play it. Thank goodness for the Old School, the New School, the Indie, the Big Guy and the crazy gamers who have blogs.

We all rock.

Barking Alien


  1. Ars Magica was always going to be a hard sell for me and my mates back when we were getting into gaming; the title is more than a little comedic if you're English and fifteen. I regret that now, as it seems like a cool game, and I'd be keen to read more about it here.

    I do agree with you though. I'm involved with the old-school community, but I'm not really an old-school gamer -- or rather I'm not really into D&D, which is more or less what the old-school blogs are about -- so when I'm posting about Rogue Trader or Savage Worlds, I do sometimes feel as if I'm addressing an empty auditorium. That said, if I don't write about it, then that's one less person writing about it, and that's the opposite of what I want, so I carry on.

  2. I try to mix it up over at my spot, alternating posts on Basic DnD, WoD, GURPS and whatever.

    For me -personally - I don't want to define myself as OSR, old school or new school. As soon as you drop a label telling the world what you are, you are also telling people what you aren't and to a certain degree I don't like to exclude myself from new experiences.

    This hobby is small enough as it is, so I'm not sure it helps to build fences around it.

  3. I agree with you that old school is only one style of play.

    Like Christian says, the hobby is small enough as it is.

    I think the main thing is that ever individual game has a rather small blog presence excepting the broad rubric of "old school" so by neccessity, a lot of folks get drawn into the orbit.

  4. If there is indeed a lack, to what do you attribute the dearth of indie-game blogs?

    My OSR is larger than just old-school D&D. I own and blog about Faery's Tale, Savage Worlds, Barbarians of Lemuria, Mongoose Traveller, Dying Earth RPG, to name just a few. Diaspora, a FATE sci-fi implementation, and Dogs In The Vinard, are on my to-buy list.

  5. @kelvingreen - I love your last sentence. That pretty much sums it up for me.

    @Christian - While I also don't really like to label myself in one particular category per se, I will submit to the discussion the following idea - We, as Humans, like to label. It helps us to understand things and gives us a common point of reference when discussing wide ranging ideas with others. As such, what I am advocating is not so much to abolish the labels since I think that's impossible but to acknowledge that there are different styles and each one has its merits and fans. And there is nothing wrong with being a fan of more than one style or a combination of them.

    @Trey - 'Drawn into the orbit' is an interesting way of putting it. I agree.

    It reminds me (for some strange reason) of that one blog that lists the highest rated game blogs based on growth. Several times I've seen that thing and several times I've noted that regardless of the fact that I have had more growth then half the list, I am never on the list. Why? I am not old school. I do not discuss old school games. Well, Villains & Vigilantes. And Champions. And FASA Star Trek. And... I also don't appear on old school blog rolls. Well, except Jeff Rients'. And James Mal's Grognardia. get the picture.

  6. @Paladin - And I applaud your diversity. Heck, that's what I am talking about.

    To what do I attribute the lack of blogs on subjects other than old school gaming in general and D&D in particular? Hmmm...

    I have some ideas but would rather formulate a well thought out response then simply pitch my opinions off the top of my head. I am wary of the nitpickers and the passionate fans of both old and new.

    Still it is an interesting quandry is it not?

    I find, at least in my experience, that indie guys seem to gather on boards more than blogs. Again, this could just be my personal experience and not any sort of truism.

  7. Barking Alien said ... "I also don't appear on old school blog rolls. Well, except Jeff Rients'. And James Mal's Grognardia. get the picture."

    You're on my list of old-school blogs.

    I like diversity.

  8. Thank you Pally. That's what I am saying. Separating and labelling is gonna happen but that doesn't mean they're isn't a blur of the lines in many cases.

  9. I'm right with you. I would play pretty much anything, if I wasn't in endless crunch time and I had players nearby. The existence of Old School took me by surprise when I found it about a year ago. I'm not Old School at all (though I am old) and I'd love to see more general roleplaying blogging. But I find the D&D centrism of the crowd trains my own thoughts to the same set of problems, so most of what I write ends up being broadly on that. It's where the conversation is.

    Here's an idea: what about a X week - publicize it ahead of time, say "this week a group of us will be talking about ...", and maybe get some folks who are normally silent to speak up?

    Topics that come to mind immediately:
    what went wrong with/can we imagine a cool [steampunk, cyberpunk, Napoleonic, hard sf, whatever] game?
    What genres of problem-solving action are we missing? (I've played in some great cops games, frinstance. I like alien invasion setups where you are absolutely ordinary people trying to achieve stuff - old grannies, schoolchildren...)
    Are there things we don't do because of copyright? Since we're in a no profit zone anyway, what could we do if we just grabbed IP characters/settings and used them? (no I don't know where that might go, but we tend to steal scenery and ideas from media. what if we stole characters and names?)

  10. I guess I'm a fany of DIY/Indie gaming and that's part of what attracts me to the OSR. Growing up, I played AD&D 1e. I loved the aesthetic and the game. However, I do like all kinds of stuff (V&V and Marvel FASERIP probably got as much if not more play for me back in the day as AD&D). I guess I'm pretty willing to play just about anything though.

  11. @Johnathan - Play anything sure but do you run it or talk about it on your blog? That's not accusational, just on of those 'something to think about' questions. It's also not aimed directly at you but more to the blogosphere at large.

    I like Richard's idea of a blog challenge/theme across several sites where you say, "This week is Superheroes week" or Cyberpunk week, Traveller/Sci-Fi week, etc.