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Thursday, July 30, 2009

"I dare you to cross my line drawn in the sand!"


Next catastrophe, please.


  1. Jesus, can't we just play the sodding game?

  2. Yawn indeed. Double yawn, even. :P Yet one more tempest in a teacup - seems we get a new one weekly. To quote an eminently quotable source:

    "I believe the phrase I'm looking for rhymes with 'clucking bell'."

  3. Ryan, Christopher,

    I suppose we simply aren't as fervent as we ought to be.
    --Next thing you know, they'll be passing out pitchforks and torches for a march on any post 1980 game company.

    Clucking bell indeed!

  4. Word to yo momma.

    It is getting pretty effing old.

  5. I'm really dismayed that 'luminaries' in the Classic-Play/Punk-era/OSR/Old Guard community are so frothy about this.

    The really bizarre thing was reading how basically anybody after Gary (and to a lesser degree Dave, and that only because it is undeniable that Dave was the idea man) were 'part of the problem', including Jim Ward, Gary's other protégé.

  6. The responses here sadden me. It's a real damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for those intimately involved in the tiny OSR niche.

    Perhaps those who posted above aren't aware of the constant barrage of criticism and mockery aimed at those involved in publishing OSR materials. Sure there are a minority of intolerant loud-mouths who give the movement a bad name (true of any group), but any reasonable person investigating the movement would know these people aren't representative of the group as a whole.

    When someone in the movement stands up and tries to tackle the constant criticisms by explaining the philosophy in a reasoned manner, the response is sarcasm, eye-rolling and phrases like "passing out pitchforks and torches". If there was a tone of slight frustration evident in T. Foster's post, given the response here I think that's perhaps understandable. And taking this into account, ironically, you could probably distill the whole piece down to Ryan's comment above "Jesus, can't we just play the sodding game?".

  7. David,

    I am sorry that you and the others feel like criticism should be taken to heart.
    --I am a lesbian in an all male business field of High Risk Armed Security, and I get more grief than a bunch of OSR gamers ever will, just walking outside in my uniform with my gear.

    Play what you like, how you like, and publish what you like, and quit giving the opportunity to others who are jealous of the OSR (or whatever you want to call it) 's success and increasing popularity.
    --Can't you and the others be content with the joy of playing the game? Forget those who need to piss in the punch bowl.

    BUT! Don't you dare come over hear and bitch to me that I'm working with the enemy, giving me that 'you're either with us or against us' poppycock.

    May the light of peace shine down upon thee, in the name of Arneson, Gygax, and our St. Andre.

  8. @David: No, you're pretty much just damned if you do. Most of us don't give a fig about who says what, who plays what, or who likes/dislikes what. The fact that the fantasy gaming interwebs get swept up in these teacup tempests every week-and-a-half to two weeks is what makes those of us who refuse to descend into such chaos roll our eyes and make sarcastic comments. (I mean, come on - who cares if your AC is better high or low, or what Person A thinks about the state of the industry, or what the pundit-of-the-week has to say about his gripe du jour, or any of this other BS?) Let's just enjoy the games we enjoy with others who also enjoy them.

    Ah, well, I guess some folks just need to fight. (Even to the point of carrying such pointless debates over to sites where said debates are being mocked.)

    @Timesdhadows: "Can't you and the others be content with the joy of playing the game? Forget those who need to piss in the punch bowl."


  9. Timeshadows said... Don't you dare come over hear and bitch to me that I'm working with the enemy, giving me that 'you're either with us or against us' poppycock.

    Nice to see you encourage discussion on your blog. Actually I don't think I said anything about 'us and them' at all, which just goes to show how easy it is to misunderstand what's being said. Still, the above quote shows your way of thinking crystal clear, I wouldn't dare darken your doorway ever again. Apologies for spoiling the party.

  10. @David: Have fun, and remember, 'wherever you go, there you are.'

  11. High Risk Armed Security?! TS, I had no idea that you were a real life badass!

  12. Ryan,

    --One of my friends jokes that I'm a 1st-level character. :D

  13. In 4e you'd be a 1st level character. In OD&D I think you have to be name level before you can lay a claim to being a badass. ;)

  14. noisms,

    I've not (publicly) claimed any such thing.
    --This year, at least. :D

    Nice to hear from you!
    --Are you feeling better? :D

  15. "business field of High Risk Armed Security"

    Well, that explains why your game synopses are so full of combat. :D

    My problem with the old D&D was trying to adjudicate spell effects. It quite clearly said you could polymorph a zombie into a puppy dog, so naturally we wanted to polymorph puppy dogs into zombies. This kind of stuff rapidly broke the game to the point that even the players noticed.

    However, I'm not sure later versions actually helped.

    Once I got a hold of GURPS, I realized I could have a realistic game if I wanted one. Now I run 3.0E for the flavor of it. I'm starting to become more interested in returning to the old 2E flavor, but I haven't written 200,000 words about that world yet. :D

  16. Yahzi,

    Nice to hear from you again. :)
    --Yes, HRAS 'harass' ;) My players and onlookers are often grossed-out by my very descriptive wounds and the viciousness of attacks (usually kept for NPC on NPC violence, or when players are pissing me off --oops, I wrote that out loud, didn't I?)

    Hmm. I seem to remember GURPS magic as being much more prone to exploitation, especially once manna batteries/powerstones were created.

    OK, my next question is asked in all earnestness: Wht flavour do you find in 3.0?

    Am I only up to 200,000 words on Urutsk?
    --Another 230+ pages for Aqmlk its sister planet, and then there is the STARBLADE: Adventures Amid the Shattered Stars quasi-Victorian Space Opera RPG contemporaneous with the Winter-era of Aqmlk and Urutsk, and then the High Imperial setting, and ... :D

    2E is a mixed bag for me.
    --I had a great Fighter double-proficient in both forms of the Bastard Sword. Bugbears fled from him. Heh-heh...

  17. I've found that if I just change 2 rules, I can make 3.0 provide the flavor that people pretend it has.

    That is, a medieval world with heroes and magic, where killing things for profit is a viable career choice.

    Now, it's not a gritty realistic world like G. R. R. Martin's, but it's not a goofy magic-candyland like Discworld. It's closer to Feist, I think.

    I've worked hard to incorporate magic into the weave of the world. Remvoe Disease is pretty common; Zone of Truth is used by evil rulers on their subjects and by good rulers on everybody; Detect Alignment tells you what you already know, since everybody lives in small communities and pretty much already knows each other's mindset/behaviour. Only strangers are suspect, and that's very medieval feel.

    But what players really like are the levels - the concrete increases in power. GURPS doesn't give you that: instead, your power increases incrementally and in certain areas. In D&D, when you level, you basically get better at everything. Apparently players like this.

    Also, we rely on the skill checks to find traps and even incorporate it somewhat into diplomacy. It feels more role-playing than having the player use his knowledge. I think Old School is less RP, and more player-challenging. In fact, I think that's kind of the point of Old School.

    GURPS magic was just plain weaker from the get-go, so even when it got abused, it wasn't "I have a Contingencied Wish against every possible contingency."

    230 pages probably isn't more than 100,000 words, you slacker. :D Are these stories or game settings/rules?

  18. Yahzi,

    I think I have to agree with your assessment of OS as being Player-Challenging. Sadly, the concept of creating a persona, speaking in character, and caring about said character is often denigrated by OS'ers I run into on Dragonsfoot; mocking it as 'play acting', or 'amateur theatrics'. Their definition of Role is 'Fighter' or 'M-U'. Kind of odd to me. But then again I'm a ...wait for it... Thespian. ;)

    If you have the Yahzi Edit of 3.0 available for perusal I'd be interested in reading it. :)

    Hmm. I can see what you are saying as regards 'levelling-up' in the D&D games, but I distinctly remember GURPS Magic being rather exploutable --not Ars Magica or MAGE-level of exploitable, but my recollections are likely off.

    230 pages is only the current count. There may be an a Setting Manual, and then there are the tech rules, vehicles, aberrations, spells, and at least 25 or so critters (-more). But, you are correct, I have been slacking these past two or three weeks. :( ;)

    Yes, those are all just games I have run in the past. STARBLADE is loads of fun. I look forward to re-writing that one.

    No, my published, and as of yet unpublished, fiction exceeds that total a goodly bit.

  19. I do have the Yahzi edit of 3.0, in fact. Check out my webpage and download the World of Prime game-guide. It's free :)

    Published fiction? Where can I find that? You may have noticed from my website that I'm flogging my book. It's just not publishable in a traditional sense, as the hero is not a young farmboy.

    I remembered what it is I dislike the most about OS gaming. It was the statement in the DMG about how only 1 in a 100 people were capable of gaining levels. This level of relentless aristocratic superiority is at least challenged by 3.0, where even commoners have classes and levels. But in OS, you could literally hire a fighter who was 2nd or 3rd level and "incapable of progressing upwards." What the heck does that even mean?

    OS D&D reduces all the NPCs to scenery by its very metaphysics. 3.0 sort of lamely addresses the problem; I like to think my version of it explains why some people have levels, and some don't, without presuming that most people are simply lazy/stupid/undeserving.

  20. @Yahzi: I'll reply properly when my eyes aren't closing under their own power. I'm drifting off here.
    --Later today. :)

  21. Yahzi,

    I have d/l'd the World of Prime Player's Manual and will check it out in detail, soonish. It looks very nice. :)

    The piece of fiction I am currently pointing potential readers to is at:

    --While I won the local award for it, I haven't received much feedback on it. I think largely due to the metaphysical content.

    I'm sorry, but I likely agree with some sort of statistical breakdown of heroic potentiality if we are discussing the levels exhibited in the game.
    --While 'anyone' (and even then I'd disagree) could be a 'hero' in any given crisis situation as befalls people everyday around the world, I don't think that very many could rise to the fight versus supernatural forces, or versus alien/monstrous races with nearly the frequency suggested in 3.x.
    ---In the realm of the game reality, perhaps a bit more leeway ought be granted, but then again, there are dragons and talking swords, so I think the comparisons are between apples and door-hinges.

    The great heroes in our world die, and the Greatest take up their life again. No mean feat. :)

  22. Call me a Socratic, but I believe Virtue can be taught.

    In my own game world there are the few and the many, but the difference is due to the same differences in our world: personal character, starting social station, and random events. In OS the difference is some unexplained metaphysical quality, much like midichlorians in Star Wars. Which I also hate. :D

    It's fine and even dramatic to have a few heroes defending the world. What offends me is the notion that most people, right out of the starting gate, are doomed to be nothing more than cattle.

    Worse, the rules of D&D then go on to render those without levels as worse than insignficant. 1st level fighters are viewed as "beginners," despite the fact they can kill a number of 0th level fighters. To be fair that's more of a complaint against 3E, but even in 1/2E you had to wonder how peasants survived a harsh winter or an angry housecat.

  23. Yahzi,

    Okay. :)
    --I believe you. :D

    I've heard rumour that there were other films along the lines of The Empire Strikes Back, but I refuse to believe that balderdash.

  24. "I think largely due to the metaphysical content."

    You must admit it's not a particularly accessible piece. :D Reminds me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And one of my favorite authors, James Branch Cabell.

  25. Then it is high praise indeed! :D
    --Thank you.

    From Cabell's entry on Wikipaedia:
    --" is doubtful if the book could be read or understood at all by more than a very limited number of readers."

    I will sleep the sleep of angels after that. ;)
    --Thank you very much. :)

  26. Cabell was like an early Vance. Hard to believe there was a roaring Fantasy industry in the 20's. I wonder what Flapper D&D would have been like? :D

  27. Sounds a bit Dunsany + Vance, but I've read so little of either to know.

    Hoozkows & Howitzers

    Wise-up, ya' see? 'Dem lousy coppers, need a lotta' ventilatin', see? Take the cashola' and run, see? But ya' gotta' watch da' dames, see? One peep at 'dem gams an' yer' up da' creek to Sing Sing, or worser yet, da' Rock, see?

    A game fer' whiners and punks 10 and up.

    $1.50 at yer' local county store.

  28. And an evil race of mind-controlling monsters who wreck the economy and try to spread their perverted genetic disorders...

    Oh wait, I'm thinking of Norman Spinrad's "The Iron Dream."