Monday, April 05, 2010
There certainly seems to be a lot of it. That’s a good thing for us and for the gaming blogosphere in general I think. Doesn’t answer the why though, but I think if you spend some time comparing OSR blogs and more general gaming blogs, it’s not too hard to find a likely answer.
A lot of the general gaming blogs out there appear to specialize on advice for GMs. This advice is largely about handling problems that are assumed to be wide-spread in gaming. (Even if the problem isn’t necessarily wide-spread, it behooves the blog writing about it to imply that it is, for obvious reasons.) So you get a lot of talk about all the troubles cast in the path of the erstwhile GM: problem players, getting a group to meet regularly, integrating newly published material into an ongoing campaign, 4+ hours of gaming and prep for 30 minutes of fun, and, after all that, GM burnout.
You don’t see much of that in the OSR. There’s a lot more “hey, we just played and you won’t believe what they did this time” and “look at this new thing I made” or books and stories from the age of pulp you might have missed but should really read or wacky things to do with old monsters or brand new spells and stuff like that.
In short, the folks blogging about the OSR sound like they’re having fun.
Ebullient enthusiasm plus cool toys is pretty much the backbone of Games Workshop’s marketing juggernaut. The new minis are always “wicked cool” or whatever the phrase is this week, and the games are always great fun. The tournaments are always jammed with massive crowds of folks having fun and enthusiastic about this or that army, the forums are always brimming with eagerness to see the new toys and arguing about which are the best in the heat of tabletop battle.
I’m getting something of the same vibe from the OSR. Folks just like you are making adventures and settings the likes of which nobody has really seen before. Folks just like you have pooled their skills and enthusiasm to make new games or new magazines or new companies to showcase their skill. Or your skill, since the DIY attitude invites you to join in.
Watching other people having fun is enticing. Being invited to join in on the fun is only more so, and when there’s actually fun to be had, it’s addictive.
It’s not all sunshine and free pony rides, of course. We have our stumbles as well, and our occasional little flame war. But the majority of OSR stuff I’m reading is upbeat, optimistic, and having fun. We don’t say, “Damn, wouldn’t it be great if they made box sets like they used to?” We say, “Hey, who wants to see this awesome boxed set I’m making?” So long as that can-do spirit continues, the OSR will have a bright future.
Art by Jean Charles Meissonier.