After nearly a week's absence from regular posting, I'm going to start small by pointing out a couple of blogs and a site that, while many of you are no doubt familiar with, some of you may not be. Even if every reader of this blog already knows about these places, I still feel a certain obligation to mention there here, because each, in their own way, is making invaluable contributions both toward better understanding the past and traditions of the hobby and ensuring the future of those same traditions.
First is Philotomy's OD&D Musings. Philotomy is the guy who's most responsible for my return to OD&D, thanks his posts on various forums, as well as emails we exchanged last year. His website remains my favorite "explanation" of why OD&D is so enjoyable. I say "explanation" because the site isn't set up to provide formal explanations at all. Instead, it presents a collection of thoughts on various OD&D-related topics that I can't help but find incredibly inspiring. If someone asked me to describe what "old school" means, I'd point them to Philotomy's site, because it's probably the single best evocation of that slippery mode of thought that I've yet encountered. It helps too that Philotomy is a really nice fellow with the coolest nom de Web out there today.
A close second is Sham's Grog 'n Blog, another infectiously inspiring website devoted to OD&D. Like Philotomy's site, it's a beautiful evocation of what old school means. Sham should be a role model for any old schooler who's looking to extend that philosophy into the 21st century. He's written a number of excellent posts that expand OD&D mechanically, simultaneously taking the game in new directions while still remaining true to its essence. His recent "What Price Glory Series" on combat is simply brilliant and his "Entourage Approach" is just as good. This is another must read site.
Finally, there's Matt "Mythmere" Finch's Swords & Wizardry blog. Matt is one of the mind's behind OSRIC and he's now turned his attention to the creation and development of not one but two different OD&D-derived retro-clones -- one a "true" White Box clone and the other a "basic" version designed to be used as a Rosetta Stone system to encourage easier communication between different flavors of old school D&D. This is really exciting stuff in my opinion and I'm frankly amazed that one person has managed to do so much for the old school community. I have very high hopes for Swords & Wizardry in both its forms and I believe Matt has big plans as well.