Monday, March 30, 2009

Anniversary

One year ago, I wrote this entry. 632 entries later -- well, 633 now -- here we are. Back then, there was no Swords & Wizardry or Mutant Future, no Fight On! or Knockspell, and the number of old school blogs was so few that I could actually keep up with everyone of them. What a year it's been!

I began this blog in the weeks following the death of Gary Gygax as a place where I could celebrate the hobby that he, Dave Arneson, and innumerable others had created and that had brought me so much joy in my life. I'd begun my return to the old school about a year before that, having become thoroughly disenchanted with the then-current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. At first, I thought I could "fix" my problems with that game, but, as I attempted to do so, I quickly found myself recapitulating the history of the hobby, albeit in reverse. I was treading well-trod ground and decided that, rather than re-invent the wheel and call myself clever, I'd instead embrace the history and traditions of this hobby wholeheartedly.

Together, these two events gave birth to Grognardia, a place where I naively thought I could collect my thoughts and share them with a small handful of likeminded people. I'd already been posting on a number of old school forums, most notably Finarvyn's Original D&D Discussion and had been drinking deeply of its collected wisdom. At the time (December 2007), those forums were already very lively, but the number of posters was, I think, less than 100 -- certainly not the 400+ that now can be found there -- and, of those, only a handful posted often, myself being one of them. I expected a similar level of readership for this blog, as I knew its subject matter, not to mention my own idiosyncratic style, wouldn't have a lot of appeal outside a small circle of eccentrics.

How wrong I was! Confounding my expectations, Grognardia has somehow managed to acquire more than 137 regular readers, quite a lot more in fact. I'm frankly amazed and humbled by this -- and occasionally a little frightened. I still treat the blog as a place where I can "talk out loud." That means many of my posts, even if written in a pontifical style, don't necessarily represent my final thoughts on any given subject. I work out my thoughts on things by talking about them with others and that's what I always intended this blog to be. For the most part, it's worked brilliantly and I've clarified many of my feelings on various matters because of my interactions with commenters. Unfortunately, there are times when an unfinished thought of mine gets interpreted as dogma and it's led to misunderstandings and, worse, misrepresentations of where my thoughts actually lay. That's the danger of a public blog, of course, and I'm slowly coming to accept that, but it's still a mite frustrating nonetheless.

My frustrations, though, are comparatively few. How can I be unhappy when the past year has brought me in contact with so many others who share my love for the Old Ways? Likewise, I've been inspired to create, just for the fun of it, more than I have in years. From articles in fanzines to Urheim to the Cursed Chateau, I feel reinvigorated about my hobby, which is a remarkable reversal of where I was two years ago, when I started to wonder if maybe I'd "outgrown" gaming entirely. Obviously, I hadn't, but I think it's fair to say I'd outgrown a certain phase in my interest in the hobby. I won't call it "adolescence," but it was characterized with an obsession with the new and the "innovative" at the expense of the things that drew me into the hobby in the first place.

By the time I'd begun the blog, I had understood this for nearly a year and was ready to begin the next step in my journey of re-discovery. I'd like to extend my most heartfelt thanks to everyone who's joined me on this journey. The last year has been a blast, in no small part due to the people who've bothered to read what I've written and grapple with it the same as I have. Here's to many more years of the same.

32 comments:

  1. You've done a fantastic job, James. Fight On! #1 was in layout at that point, but I guess you did beat us to press by a couple of weeks. Hats off!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations, James!

    Let's see what Year Two brings...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations - and thank you for helping inspire me to revisit the games and worlds that first drew me into this amazing hobby back in the late '70s.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Here's to many more years of the same."

    Many more, indeed! Bravo, James, and thanks - it was the dynamic duo of Grognardia and Jeff's Gameblog that reignited my slow-burning passion for "legacy" D&D, and spurred me to add my voice to the blogosphere. (For better or worse! :P)

    I look forward to many more inspirational posts!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Having been around in the "old days", I find your blog to be very stimulating and informative. And, a reminder of some great times and greater memories. Jim, you do a quality job. All the best.

    Original Gamer's Guild

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations at reaching this monumental milestone James. You've been highly inspirational to many folks and I personally credit you with my re-ignited passion in the "old school" games.

    I'm very much looking forward to another wonderful year of following your blog, and seeing what kind of "pontifical" meanderings are penned upon Gronardia's pages.

    Game on.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations, and may this date be repeated many times in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations on your first year. While I have not been an old school player, since my youth, your articles have been great insight into what made Old School gaming so much fun, and you have done a great job exploring the history of this hobby.

    I think what I have learned the most from your blog is just what made old school games so much fun, and today I find myself gravitating towards games that support that style of gaming.

    Thanks again for your insight and work over the past year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Are “me too” posts a faux pas in blog comments?

    <shrug> I don’t care. ^_^ As Jimmy said: Congrats and thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on a truly inspirational blog. Keep up the excellent work! Here's to many more years of reading your superb blog entries!

    ReplyDelete
  11. A note to say thanks - been reading your blog over the past couple of weeks and it's amazing how everything is falling into place - it really crystalizes what I'd slowly been coming around to thinking about RPGs and why they were increasing falling short of expections for me (yep, it appears that I am being reborn as an old schooler).

    Here's to the next year!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are the Gygax of RPG bloggers, James. Thanks for giving gamers of all sorts such an articulate voice and encouraging your readers to think, write, and, most importantly, play.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for your insight and inspiring me to actually get off my behind and actually work on gaming material rather than talk and think about gaming material.

    You, Jeff Rients, Philotomy Jurament, and Jim over at Lamentations of the Flame Princess broadened my knowledge of what old school is; and while I don't have a perfect or even great understanding by all means, you and everyone else who has taken up the banner of the old school has motivated me to actively learn about old school gaming. Thank you, again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cheers, James. I've really enjoyed you sharing your thoughts and thinking out loud. I think as far as quality old-school gaming in particular, this past year has been absolutely tremendous, and I can't wait to see what we have a year from now...I think the groundwork has been laid and the tools on place for an entire new generation of old-school goodness

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations on a great year!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Anniversary and many happy returns of this day. As I've said before, you've been a main inspiration to me and my participation and enjoyment of this little niche of a niche. My blog probably would not exist were it not for Grognardia. You just managed to get a few "crazy people" to start writing their own thoughts and look at what happened...

    I'm very happy for you and I hope you keep on Fighting On!

    ReplyDelete
  17. You've done a man's job, sir!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations! This was the first blog I started reading when I started my own return to the idea of playing RPGs, and it has not only been one of the best, but spawned my interest in waaaaaay too many other blogs and associations (as my recent sky-high Lulu bill will attest 8l ). Keep up the excellent and insightful work!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations from Spain. One of the best old school blogs out there. Thanks for such an awesome work.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Huge congrats for stamina if nothing else! My personal gaming preferences are more modern than yours but I still read Grognardia avidly. It says plenty to me about my hobby, so thank you for that.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations. It really blows my mind that it's been only a year. I'm really impressed and excited the way the old school movement is building a small but solid foundation that has the potential to be a significant institution in our hobby going forward.

    I take this opportunity to repost the podcast interview I did with James for those of you haven't heard it before. He expands on some of the background he mentions in this post:

    http://midnightslair.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=404681

    I think you may find it interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Another spaniard (me) wants to say you.. ¡congratulations! ¡And Thank you very very much for your excellent work"

    ReplyDelete
  23. Cheers! I look forward to many more excellent posts in the future. Thanks for your efforts.

    [Word verification: "ablest". That seems like an apt description of your contributions to old school renaissance!]

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I wonder how many readers, like me, got the B/X box sets as a birthday present, then AD&D, and have never seen the "old books." That's been one of the unexpected delights of this blog for me.

    But what I like best is the unapologetic, but always humane and very real intellectualism. Because this is a thinking game. Somewhere I heard an intellectual defined as someone who is "interested in everything-- and nothing else." And I really appeciate how this blog brings out all the ideas and maybe even better the half-ideas that are in D&D.

    James, when are you going on tour?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congrats...hopefully many more years to follow!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just want to say that I am a huge fan and avid follower of your blog. You've gotten me to think more and more about the roleplaying hobby - and I must say it has had some effect. I got a group of 4e players to try out Acererak's Tomb of Horrors!

    Keep up the good work, and I will continue to read.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You are the Gygax of RPG bloggers, James.

    That's high praise and I'll accept it in the spirit in which it was intended, but I do not consider myself Gary's equal when it comes to contributing to this hobby -- but then who is?

    ReplyDelete
  29. When are you going on tour James?

    Don't think I haven't considered it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hey there, just wanted to drop a comment on your one-year post. I've been a long time lurker here and, while I don't always agree with what you say (I've a long running 3.X campaign and dabbled successfully in 4th Ed, so sometimes talks like "is the Thief relevant?" come across as a bit surreal to me ;-) ) I've always enjoyed popping in every so often and your posts can get me thinking.

    I hope you'll continue to share your thoughts with us.

    George Q

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.