I absolutely love writing this blog. I should think that was pretty obvious. Not even a year into its existence and I've already penned almost 550 entries and I don't foresee a slowdown anytime soon. The blog format is really well suited to my particular style of writing: the rambling essay. And, as I've said numerous times over the past eleven months, I am intensely gratified by the fact that I've found readers who enjoy what I've written and give me plenty of food for thought every day. I didn't begin this blog at the end of last March with any grand intentions. I only wanted an outlet for my ideas and opinions that I could share with, if I were lucky, a handful of likeminded people. That so many read my words and helped Grognardia blossom into something bigger than my original, modest goals is, frankly, humbling.
At times, though, it's also intensely frustrating. One would think, given the vast quantity of verbiage I've produced over the last year, that it'd be pretty easy to understand me and my perspectives on things. I've been very upfront about my personal gaming history, my influences, my likes and dislikes, and even my psychological quirks. I've also tried very hard -- not always successfully, I'll admit -- to qualify all my opinions so as to make it clear that I like X or I prefer Y. As I said, I know my zeal for my preferences sometimes gets the better of me and I've made a few pontifical statements here and there, but I think, in general, I'm actually pretty fair-minded and even-handed on most subjects. And when I am not able to be so, I say as much.
I never set myself up to be the Pope of Old School nor do I think we have any need of such. Yet, I regularly find myself treated in this fashion, usually by latter day Martin Luthers looking to demonstrate my theological incorrectness. I don't get this. I purposefully avoid most gaming forums, with a few very specific exceptions, precisely because I know where my preferences lie and I would rather discuss those preferences with others whose mindsets are broadly similar to my own rather than argue with people with whom I have little in common. The same goes for other blogs. I certainly don't go to places where, for example, 4e enthusiasts hang out and start telling them what idiots they are for liking that edition. Such an activity would gain me nothing and I can't abide incivility, which is exactly what I'd be exhibiting if I went over to ENWorld and started tons of threads about how 4e sucks or, worse yet, dropped in on someone else's threads and did the same.
For whatever reason, I seem to be a lightning rod for gamers who just want to be angry or contrary, because I happen to prefer older editions of Dungeons & Dragons. Whatever criticisms I have of modern editions of the game, I make here on my own little slice of the Web rather than on someone else's. I'm always open to genuine discussion and even debate, but I can't abide people who either, out of ignorance or malice, seem intent on misrepresenting my views. I know it takes time to get to know someone and understand them, but the great advantage of a blog like this one is that all my thoughts over the last eleven months are here for you to read at your leisure. If someone is willing to take the time to read even some of them, they'll quickly see that I'm not some fire-breathing prophet of doom and gloom who hasn't actually gamed since 1984 and just likes to look down his nose at "those damned kids today."
Like everyone, my opinions evolve over time and are subject to persuasion. Take the thief class, to cite one recent example. I started this blog convinced of the class's unsuitability. Now, thanks to the rational arguments of many people over many months, people who took the time to understand my concerns and not simply dismiss them as "fetishism" or "dogmatism," I've softened on the subject. If I were really as narrow-minded as the caricature of me would have it, shouldn't I have just covered my ears and anathematized anyone who dared speak against my Papal dicta?
I hope I can be forgiven for venting/ranting at this time. Yesterday, I read some things said about me elsewhere that demonstrated how poorly a lot of people actually understand me (and indeed old schoolers in general). Add to this some of the comments on my post about level titles, where I specifically said "I like level titles" and asked for "constructive criticism" on my lists and yet got "Level stupids are stupid" in addition to some excellent suggestions -- and my nerves are a bit frazzled. I actually have a decently thick skin for such nonsense, but, after a while, it can wear you down. I felt I needed to get this off my chest in a public fashion, so that if, over the next little while, I seem snippier or less tolerant than usual, you know why. Not that that will matter to the usual suspects, of course, but there it is.
Regular service resumes shortly.