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.