"The dark night of fascism is always descending on America,” said Tom Wolfe, “but it always seems to land in Europe."
So we keep hearing about how the OSR is all closing ranks and imposing purity tests on folks to make sure they're not engaging in “deviant behavior.” Only I have yet to see it happen. Maybe I'm not reading the “right” forums (I'm actually pretty much out of the forums thing, but for a some brief passes through RPG.net, these days). Maybe I'm not reading the right blogs. But I just don't see it.
Jameses Maliszewski and Raggi seem to be leading the charge into the future, but it sure ain't a strictly regimented one. Mr. Maliszewski keeps swinging back and forth on thieves and gives us four-armed martian PCs while Mr. Raggi is apparently creating unique adventures the likes of which nobody has seen before, and only avoiding controversy of Carcossian proportions because, hey, it's Raggi, and what else would you expect?
I can't find anyone of any significant standing in the OSR telling anyone they're doing it wrong. I see a lot of “this is the way I do it” and “hey, this worked really well at the table last night.” I see a lot of people playing games and building dungeons and starting magazines. Folks are tossing out rules and building new games and making houserules. They're embracing Vancian magic, or rejecting it for something else, or creating their versions of books which were promised by never published, or playing with alternative experience systems, or creating emo-devouring monsters based on pre-raphaelite nightmares, or...
I don't see purity flamewars or inquisitions or blacklists. People keep talking about how the long dark night of fascism is all ready to smother the OSR in its shadowy tentacles, but I couldn't tell you where it's actually landing.
Art by Jean-Paul Laurens.