Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Myth Busting

One of the inevitable consequences of preferring what some have patronizingly called "legacy D&D" is being treated like an exhibit in a natural history museum: "And here we have a fine example of Primitive Gamer, mussitor crassus barbatus, who thrived between 1974 until 1983. Unable to adapt to the changing environment of gaming, his numbers dwindled precipitously. Though scattered tribes of Primtive Gamer still exist, their vitality is sapped, their gene pool shallow. It is only a matter of time before he becomes extinct, taking with him his strange ways, most notably spending his spare time not actually gaming, as one might expect, but complaining about more evolved forms of Gamer."

For reasons I don't fathom, it's a common stereotype that grognards don't in fact game. I'm not sure where this myth came from, because my experience is that old schoolers are no different in their gaming habits than most other gamers. That is, we game as often as we're able to do so, given the demands of our real lives. Certainly we don't game as much as we used to when we were teenagers, but then who does? From what I have gathered, wanting to game and not having a group with which to do so is a pretty common problem, not restricted either to old schoolers or to D&D players in general.

Yet, for some reason, there's this perception that grognards never actually get together with their friends and roll some dice together. All one would need to do is read old school blogs and forums to see this for the lie it is. The most active blogs in our community are filled with discussions of the author's ongoing campaigns, not to mention events at conventions. I'd never argue that old school play is common or that its numbers are as great as those playing the latest and greatest, but since when did quantity becoming the determinant of whether grognards actually game? Our numbers are but a drop in the wider ocean of gaming. Consequently, measuring how many fewer 1e events there are at GenCon compared to 4e and then using it to opine that grognards don't play strikes me as the height of idiocy.

I suppose, to some extent, this misperception is based on the fact that grognards spend a lot of time talking (or writing) about gaming. As a rule, I'd wager that our blogs and forums are, for wont of a better word, much more verbose than those of other games. We spend a lot of time dissecting the rules, divining wisdom from lacunae, and constructing esoteric philosophies of play and design from our sacred texts. Of course, I'd argue that so do most gamers. It's just that old schoolers do it in a particular style that might lead outsiders to misunderstand what we're doing or why.

My own blog, for example, has what at least one detractor has termed "a pseudo-intellectual" style and, while there's no doubt that my chosen idiom is a lot more extreme than that of many of my fellow bloggers, we are all cut from a cloth you can't buy in the big box stores. We're an idiosyncratic, eccentric bunch and our discussions probably aren't easy to pentrate if you're not already steeped in the old school midrash. Because of this, perhaps it seems as if we're more focused on gaming in the abstract than we are in actually gaming. It's a polemically useful stereotype, to be sure, but that's mostly all it is. Believe it or not, grognards do game and some of us game quite a lot.

To that end, if you're currently running an old school game and talk about it on your blog, state this in the comments section of this entry, particularly if you do so on a blog or forum I don't have linked to the right.

67 comments:

  1. James:

    Not only am I gaming and running con games, but I have you (and Rients, and Raggi and Robbins at ars ludi, and Sham, and Mike) to "blame" for moving me back to my roots. It was through reading the blogs and becoming inspired to not only run my own, but to write about it, put up flyers around my neighborhood and reach out to others as well. If we spend the time being as passionate in words as we are in gaming, then we're going to attract a couple of others.

    And to extend the possible "gene pool" analogy, sometimes evolution goes down dead ends, while the main root keeps on surviving. I think that's VERY apropos, given how people seem to want to come back to "old school" in some fashion.

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  2. I run a play-by-post in my homebrew Thool setting using Tunnels & Trolls 5th edition, and I blog about it at worldofthool.blogspot.com. T&T 5th is a decidedly "old school" system but I can't vouch for the orthodoxy of my application thereof.

    Frankly, I could see running a game with any number of newer systems, and have -- wait for it -- even thought about picking up D&D 4e to have a look and do some kitbashing. I maintain a belief, completely unsupported by empirical evidence at this point, that I could run a serviceable game with DIY (or "old school," whatever) sensibilities and influences using 4e.

    In any event, I think my eccentricity is unassailable. :)

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  3. I am just starting up a S&W game (using my Ruins & Ronin rules) on the S&W forums (play-by-post). I blog about it on my sword+1 blog. (I think you have it linked...)

    I also play with a local group, though we haven't played in a few months.

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  4. I was annoyed when I saw one of the categories linked from the RPG Bloggers main page: Legacy D&D. I guess my IT background reads that as "Legacy system, a term for out-of-date hardware and/or software still in use." I understand the connotation does not have to be bad necessarily... "A legacy system is an old computer system or application program that continues to be used, typically because it still functions for the users' needs, even though newer technology is available." -- Wikipedia.

    But still.

    Grrrr.

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  5. The other one I am baffled by is the hubbub about "relevance", as in "all of these opinions are irrelevant because they do not represent the most widespread form of gaming" (at least as the poster imagines it). I mean, do model railroad enthusiasts argue whether Model Railroader X. is relevant to the model railroading hobby? And what the hell, anyway?

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  6. I hate to say it, but I think the RPG audience has changed in part to a dumbing-down of product. IMHO, the way 4E reads is a powerful example. It is written at a 5th grade reading level, if that.

    As early games were marketed to the college/post-grad crowd, I believe the old school crowd has a higher percentage of intellectual types by default. This lends itself to more philosophical discussion, etc...

    Wayfarers bends the definition of 'old school', but yes, I currently game and talk about it.

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  7. And to extend the possible "gene pool" analogy, sometimes evolution goes down dead ends, while the main root keeps on surviving. I think that's VERY apropos, given how people seem to want to come back to "old school" in some fashion.

    It's a very interesting thing, isn't it? I don't quite understand why so many people simultaneously want to denigrate the notion of "old school" as it's usually understood and then adopt the term to describe themselves.

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  8. I guess my IT background reads that as "Legacy system, a term for out-of-date hardware and/or software still in use."

    I'm about the least tech savvy person you'll meet and that's exactly the same thing that crossed my mind when I saw the term. I know it probably wasn't mean to be dismissive or mocking, but that's how it comes across to me and it's one of a couple of things that's kept me from joining the Network.

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  9. The other one I am baffled by is the hubbub about "relevance", as in "all of these opinions are irrelevant because they do not represent the most widespread form of gaming" (at least as the poster imagines it).

    I can't say I've encountered that particular claim very often, but I'm not surprised it's out there.

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  10. "...strikes me as the height of idiocy..."

    Well, if the world wide web has proven nothing else, it's at least proven that there are a lot of tall idiots out there. :P

    I would be one of those gamers for whom games are few, but I try to squeak playing time in whenever possible. And you can bet that, 20 years from now, those who think we're a bunch of crotchety old farts will find themselves in a similar position...

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  11. James, I'm gonna yoink that term, Primative Gamer, for a Frazetta illustration that I've wanted to put up on my blog. Someone should make up stats and a monster entry for that. The Cave Gamer.
    The Cave Gamer is immune to fear, confusion, storytelling, and kewl powrz!
    I also like Chgowiz's term,Dead end, in the evolutionary sense, for newer gaming styles. It's a bit more diplomatic, than 3tard, or 4oron isn't it? Though,not alot more I suppose. Nobody wants their,"thing" to end.
    I tend to think of Old School gaming as radical gaming, in the original meaning of the word. Of the root.

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  12. I've never understood hubbub about the relevance of what the "new crowd" is doing to what we're doing, or what they think of old games. They're not coming to our houses and yanking books off our shelves, and honestly, it seems like there's way more "old school" stuff available for purchase (or for free) now than there was when I was a kid. Why so sensitive about what they're doing, saying, or thinking?

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  13. I have never turned down an invitation to pimp myself. Ergo, my current run of Caverns of Thracia in OD&D. I've run 3 sessions to date. Average table size of 6 players and a total of 11 different players. Three players were completely new to roleplaying games, and they're all coming back. Got another session scheduled for tomorrow night.

    There'll be more actual play stuff from this mini-campaign on my website as I get it typed up.

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  14. It's a very interesting thing, isn't it? I don't quite understand why so many people simultaneously want to denigrate the notion of "old school" as it's usually understood and then adopt the term to describe themselves.

    I think it's a reflect of our social discourse to take over a concept and try to redefine it to make it something that sounds "fresh and new" at the same time trying to push away the older meanings. I'm not sure this is the right word, but "relativism" has become a tool in how we define our gaming niches, I guess.

    It seems to me that the renewed interest from those who aren't traditional games (IMO) is a a mix of marketing and a reaction to just how different D&D is now from what it was then. There's a "buzz" from people doing an awful lot of grumbling on top of a great deal of "old school" hobbyist activity and there's opportunities there to try and make money. (DungeonADay is a perfect example, IMO, of that.)

    I don't we can underestimate the power of a bunch of "crazy people" to bring interest back to our niche of a niche. :)

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  15. @Justin Alexander:

    "There'll be more actual play stuff from this mini-campaign on my website as I get it typed up."

    I am SO glad to hear (read?) that. I devoured your previous posts covering this, and am eagerly awaiting more...

    [Now back to the comments - sorry for the hijack, James.]

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  16. You can read about my weekly Greyhawk 576 CY Castles & Crusades game here:

    http://www.rpgeurope.net/viewforum.php?f=13

    You can read about my weekly Wilderlands Labyrinth Lord game here:

    http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=34270&p=681161#p681161

    I run those both for 2 hour+ sessions online in the Dragonsfoot chat fora. I haven't run a face to face game with pure Old School rules recently; my current twice-monthly tabletop game uses a mix of 3.5, C&C, and Mentzer BECM rules but the players experience it more as house-ruled 3.5.

    I am thinking about starting a tabletop campaign with pure old school rules once my current campaign finishes, likely at the end of the year, and am mulling various possibilities - one idea would be to run the Basic D&D mini-campaign B10 Night's Dark Terror, but add in plenty of my own stuff to make a full campaign with more of an open/sandbox feel. Another would be to run the Myriador Fighting Fantasy modules, which are statted for 3.5 but would convert to (eg) C&C easily enough.

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  17. I run a 1E Greyhawk game every other Friday at my FLGS. Not a session goes by but someone looks carefully at the books, realizes what it is we're playing, shakes his head in wonder, and says how cool it is to see someone playing the old game. I don't talk about my regular game too much on the blog, though; I suppose I should.

    I also run games at local conventions, and those I do mention.

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  18. Oh, if anyone is interested in my mash-up game the utility thread for it is here:
    http://www.meetup.com/London-DnD/messages/boards/thread/5301487

    Discursive Dragonsfoot threads on running it are here:
    Running B7 Rahasia: http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=31561
    Running B5 Horror on the Hill:
    http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=32187

    As you can see, I do not blog. :)

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  19. Since I came back to this hobby a year ago, I've run a PbP Encounter Critical game and played in a weekly 2e homebrew game. In April I'll be running Labyrinth Lord at the monthly Milwaukee D&D Meet-Up (I'm sort of terrified, as it'll be by first time running a game face-to-face in, uh, twenty years?).

    And, while I'm fondest of the old-style games, I'm not the bitter partisan many seem to imagine Old Schoolers to be -- I'm also finishing up a 3.Pathfinder game and playing Paranoia.

    I try not to give a crap about what other people might think about the things that give me joy. An it harm none, and so forth.

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  20. This'll be like throwing a stone at the window, but here goes:

    We do it to ourselves as much as "they" do it to "us."

    One of the key tent poles of the old school is the act of separating yourselves out from "modern" gamers, pulling away and making sure others understand that "they" are not "us." Often, we use terms and tones that are, shall we say, unflattering?

    No, I don't know where they get the idea that old schoolers don't actually play, but then again, there are plenty who play 4e who honestly don't understand where we've gotten the idea that any who play 4e are mindless, drooling, dribbeling children.

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  21. I run a modified 1st ed AD&D game, which uses Runequest skill system with AD&D 2nd Ed Non-Weapon Proficiency system and some combat mechanics and warriors skills/specializations adopted from Players' Option Combat And tactics, 2.5 Ed, I think.

    Anyway, my campagin is called Midlands, and I have a blog, Notes From Midlands, posting is sporadic owing to my busy schedule, but any and all visitors are welcome!

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  22. "the idea that any who play 4e are mindless, drooling, dribbeling children."

    I look at my 4e PHB and it seems like an incredibly complicated game to play, much moreso even than low-level 3e. It's clearly not a 'mindless' game; playing it requires a lot of investment of time and brain-power, far more than any pre-3e edition of D&D. Personally I think that's a bad thing; I want a game I can play with my son in a few years (when he'll be 5-6) as well as with 30 year veterans. 4e seems much more narrowly focused in its suitable play range.

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  23. Nice post. Like many others here, I'm surprised to learn of the misconception folks have of old-school players not actually gaming. I guess it's all the more reason for us to put our esoteric philosophizing into practice and spread the faith by running old-school games at a con, LGS, library, etc. Let gamers physically observe and experience actual old-school play as challenging, exciting, and fun, and not just some kind of outlet for grumpy old guys living in the past.

    I loved your bit about the "pseudo-intellectual" style - a shared trait among our community methinks, from all those hours spent in close scrutiny of St. Gygax's sacred texts... :-)

    I'm running Swords & Wizardry: White Box games for kids at public library branches and prepping a new homebrew science-fantasy campaign, also using White Box. I periodically blog about those campaigns, old-school gaming in general, library RPG advocacy, and other stuff at http://gnombient.wordpress.com.

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  24. Every group is inclusive/exclusive on the basis of certain memes (now, THERE is some pseudo-intellecutal foorah for you!)and to a certain extent, it's understandable...and even desired. It's not out of the question for some to say grognards "don't game" based on the (false?) perception many of the younger generation have of oldsters in general...after all, who wants to imagine their parents having sex? Perhaps today's 4E youngsters shudder at the thought of their parents (or in some cases, grandparents) throwing dice around a table with other stinky old fogeys for hours on end, roleplaying a female character (complete with high voice), and drinking cheap beer until you pass out amid the lead minis and crumpled up notepaper. Better to just imagine they "don't do that" than dwell on the possibilities....!

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  25. throwing dice around a table with other stinky old fogeys for hours on end, roleplaying a female character (complete with high voice), and drinking cheap beer until you pass out amid the lead minis and crumpled up notepaper. Better to just imagine they "don't do that" than dwell on the possibilities....!

    :adds Badmike to the list of people I want to party/play with...:

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  26. I'm still running both the Olden Domain and the Sunday BFRPG games. Took last week off though. I don't do the "I Play" posts anymore since a couple people were a bit iffy on always appearing in my blog, and pictures of food don't do anything for anyone. But the games are still happening.

    How long until someone determines, by counting the responses to this post, that the "old school" crowd has exactly 137 players or something?

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  27. "Perhaps today's 4E youngsters shudder at the thought of their parents (or in some cases, grandparents) throwing dice around a table with other stinky old fogeys for hours on end, roleplaying a female character (complete with high voice)..."

    Are you kidding me? I'm one of those "old fogeys," and sometimes I shudder at this thought! ;D

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  28. I don't think this misconception is as common as you think, James. It's just used by a minority of defensive 4e proponents who have not yet seen the light. They cannot understand how anyone could not be playing the corporate-approved latest and greatest and so search for rationalizations for the existence of a core group that is attacking their dogma. They are also on the defensive and that is not entirely their fault, as S'mon noted.

    But basically, they make it up. The thing about old school gaming is that it survived through play. That's why it is still around today. I'll bet that proportionally the talk-only/play ratio is actually relatively high in the old school D&D community when compared to other fan groups.

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  29. Well what can I say? I run an EPT PbP game and a tabletop Pendragon weekly session (which sadly is going to go on hiatus since I'm returning home and will be separated from my players by an ocean and several thousand miles) and I'll be a player on Mike's Ruins & Ronin game.

    I have never defined myself has an "Old School" gamer, in fact I wasn't around when the whole thing started. What I gradualy realized after discovering the blogosphere was that the style of gaming generaly attributed with that term was something much more in line with my tastes that I had actualy intiutively atempted to run, with limited sucess, for years.

    Old Schoolers not gaming? Well, I'd say certanly most don't game as often as they would like...but who does? Even kids have less free time these days than back in the 80s or 70s, there's been a paradigm shift in the way we live.

    As a final note let me say I do appreciate your erudite writting style. It is all the better because such "verbose" posts are rare in the blog gaming community. Certanly much more entertaining than the "Awesome! Kewl Powerz ZOMG!" that seems to be so popular among certain circles.

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  30. On my blog, the Moldy Vale, I talk my way through setting up an game using the B/X D&D. Though I've read a lot about old school games and gamers, I am not one of them, though the old-school ways and sandbox design really appeals to me, and thus I want to give my hand a go at it (moldyvale.blogspot.com)

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  31. I have a hard-time identifying myself as 'old-school' - have generally shunned group-labels out of habit. As much as some people seem interested in building a fence between old and new schools, I'd rather sit on it - but judged by deeds, I prefer to run older games. The systems don't matter so much to me - it's more the tone-of-play that groups develop that keeps me in the trenches.

    I'm running 5th edition Tunnels and Trolls (with some 1e AD&D and Rolemaster mishmashed in). In the real world this has been with a couple of friends for the last few months, but recent schedules may have derailed it - so I started a PBP over at Vin's Trollbridge and have been contemplating a PBP sandbox environment.

    Blog is www.quietdayinheimdall.blogspot.com, though I think it's getting a little less game-oriented. Wandered into this neck of the blogosphere late last year after several years of no-internet and was amazed and inspired by the quantity and quality both of the Legacy Bloggers (:) - I too got the Vic20 quality of that term...)

    And while I'm writing the longest comment ever, let me say that I like the (dare-I-say) intellectual side of this. Interesting conversation is something to be treasured!

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  32. I currently run a d6 Star Wars campaign, a Megatraveller campaign, a Pendragon campaign, two OD&D campaigns, and play in two other D&D campaigns

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  33. I'm running a Labyrinth Lord game on Sunday nights, and taking part in a play-by-post 2e/Planescape.

    - Brian

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  34. I doubt 4e will leave a legacy. Let alone be cloned for preservation.

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  35. Repentant Apostate returned to her roots, first laid down in 1981 with Moldvay.

    I am gaming weekly with two AD&D players, and two youngin's that have only ever played 3.5-4e, and teaching them to appreciate the OS perspective on player-based gaming, rather than rules-based die-rolling.
    I am also a player in a once-weekly, Pathfinderish game run by an Old School Vietnam Vet.

    My current focus is on designing a system in the vein of Gamma World, Empire of the Petal Throne, and Skyrealms of Jorune, based upon the setting I have used since 1985.

    www.thegrandtapestry.blogspot.com

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  36. I'm not sure that any of this counts, but soon I will be experimenting with using Labyrinth Lord (sort of old-school) to run one of Paizo's Adventure Paths (not old school at all), and I will be documenting the results not on my own blog, but on the blog of my gaming group: http://brightonandhoveroleplayers.blogspot.com/

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  37. I'm starting a campaign for a few friends of mine set in Renaissance Italy and Peloponnesian War era Greece with England and Ireland as lands of Faery.

    I'm using 1st ed.AD&D rules but have a single Dungeon in Vancian England within which OD&D rules will ruthlessly be applied.

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  38. James, besides my blunt comments in general at templeofdemogorgon, I also blog about my ongoing games at acheronlives.blogspot.com.

    It's a good example of somebody coming back to DM'ing after several years off, and trying to keep it simple while appealing to some players who were not around for the Old School.

    I think it is important that anyone blogging or talking about old school games do some gaming, even if it's once in a blue moon. For you guys doing popular blogs, or fanzines, it is especially important.

    My ongoing AD&D 1st. E is on Wed nights in West Los Angeles. If anyone in the area wants to play under an old school fool, drop me a line!

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  39. I ran the third session of my new Swords & Wizardry game last Sunday. Three sessions in three weeks. I know we will not be able to keep up the weekly pace, but playing weekly is fun while lasts. I haven't been writing sessions up in my blog because I have time to either play the game or write up sessions, but not both. Sorry, but playing wins. Big surprise, I'm sure.

    I also run occasional Microlite74 playtest sessions, but those really don't count.

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  40. C&C on the weekends with my son and his friends. When I get back to the states (July), I will be running one campaign and probably playing in another one.

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  41. We've been playing The Fantasy Trip since last fall, in a homebrew setting of our own devising. The adventures have been a mix of my own ideas and modified D&D modules (we've used TFT versions of B2 and B5). I haven't been talking about it online, aside from a few mentions in forum posts here and there. The TFT community isn't blog- or forum-centered (there's a yahoo group), and that may be one reason I've kept the chatter to a minimum. We've been playing with groups of 2-5 players each time.

    We're starting up a new D&D campaign now that will be using BECMI / Rules Cyclopedia as the core rules with the AD&D1 monster books and the fantastic AD&D2 era resources: the 4 volume "Wizard's Spell Compendium" and 4 volume "Encyclopedia Magica." Adding those together, mixing with a healthy dose of Dragon Magazine articles from the CD-ROM collection, and we're good to go. We're taking a "catholic" approach to the D&D rules, I suppose. I will be talking about this campaign on a new blog I've just set up for that purpose.

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  42. I just started up a Call of Cthulhu game last week, but haven't really mentioned it on my blog yet. (http://wargamedork.blogspot.com)

    I know over at RPGsite there is at least one 4e player that accuses all of us that don't like 4e of not getting to play as much as he is since we all have time to gripe and such. (Which makes me ask why he has time to attempt to defend the game instead of like, playing...)

    I've also run Basic D&D, and some Tunnels & Trolls though I really haven't mentioned either on my blog, outside of the odd house rules or world building or SEE MY CHARACTER thing.

    Also done some Car Wars and D6 too.

    Heck, I could game 4 times a week, plus a fifth once a month if I was willing to drive more and not have some goof off/errands time.

    And in MOST cases I have two choices each day!
    Mondays I could either play Mutants & Masterminds or boardgaming.

    Tuesdays I have my current CoC/AT 43/General gaming group or I could play Shadowrun.

    Wednesdays I do 40K, AT 43, and some pickup Magic or I could play in a 4e D&D game. (Obviously I don't do the latter. I have taste.)

    Thursdays I could play oWoD Changeling or drive down for more miniatures gaming.

    Saturdays once a month is my nWoD Changeling LARP. If I did not work, I could have more boardgaming and Battletech on Sundays.

    Basically if I had no job, plenty of money, and did not sleep during much of the day I could game so much my brain would melt!

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  43. My group has been playing 1e for a couple of years now. When we finish this current campaign, we'll probably be playing Labyrinth Lord.

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  44. I tend to think of Old School gaming as radical gaming, in the original meaning of the word. Of the root.

    Someone after my own heart!

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  45. Why so sensitive about what they're doing, saying, or thinking?

    In my case, I check my web stats every day and follow links to places that look out of the ordinary. Many of them are new school sites that are talking about our pursuits as if we really were stuffed exhibits in a museum somewhere. A lot of it is simple ignorance, so I brush it off, but the one "criticism" that made no sense to me was the claim grognards don't game.

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  46. I don't we can underestimate the power of a bunch of "crazy people" to bring interest back to our niche of a niche. :)

    Here's hoping.

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  47. [Now back to the comments - sorry for the hijack, James.]

    No need to apologize; it's all pertinent from my perspective.

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  48. No, I don't know where they get the idea that old schoolers don't actually play, but then again, there are plenty who play 4e who honestly don't understand where we've gotten the idea that any who play 4e are mindless, drooling, dribbeling children.

    See, I don't mind if someone wants to make fun of our preferred gaming style or thinks we're all a bunch of uptight, sticks in the mud who haven't had an original thought since 1982. Those are at least stereotypes that make sense to me, even if they're utterly wrong. What baffles me is this notion that we're all talk and no action, when, from where I'm sitting, there's probably a lot more old school gaming going on now as a percentage of our total numbers than there is among the devotees of the WotC editions.

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  49. Let gamers physically observe and experience actual old-school play as challenging, exciting, and fun, and not just some kind of outlet for grumpy old guys living in the past.

    That's why it's such a pity there aren't more game stores around my way where I might be able to run demos or pick-up games.

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  50. How long until someone determines, by counting the responses to this post, that the "old school" crowd has exactly 137 players or something?

    It's funny because it's true.

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  51. The thing about old school gaming is that it survived through play. That's why it is still around today. I'll bet that proportionally the talk-only/play ratio is actually relatively high in the old school D&D community when compared to other fan groups.

    Not surprisingly, I agree with you.

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  52. On my blog, the Moldy Vale,

    What a great name for a blog!

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  53. I doubt 4e will leave a legacy. Let alone be cloned for preservation.

    I'm inclined to agree with you, but then I didn't think 3e would have a legacy either and it clearly does, at least in the short term, so who can say for certain?

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  54. My current focus is on designing a system in the vein of Gamma World, Empire of the Petal Throne, and Skyrealms of Jorune, based upon the setting I have used since 1985.

    That sounds really intriguing!

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  55. We're taking a "catholic" approach to the D&D rules, I suppose.

    That sounds awesome.

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  56. We've started a new campaign using the '83 Basic rules and posting the recording of the game as a podcast on my site. :)

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  57. I currently run a Traveller campaign, using the LBBs. I blog about it over at Livejournal. I know you're a fan of classic Traveller so perhaps my ramblings will be of some interest.

    Keep up the fantastic work.

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  58. I ran OD&D at the last con I went to and have converted my home game back to (my house ruled version of) OD&D (which went OD&D-AD&D-homebrew-3e-homebrew-OD&D, over the last 30 years of play).

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  59. I'm running a 3.5 game. To some that's old school now. I try to run it with a 0e / 1e feel but I like having some 3.x rules to back me up in a pinch.

    Anyway, I don't blog about my game though I do occasionally mention something about it on Necromancer Games' board.

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  60. I was annoyed when I saw one of the categories linked from the RPG Bloggers main page: Legacy D&D.

    That might be my fault. When RPG Bloggers was starting up I sorta campaigned for an easy way to get to the old school crap but I wasn't forceful in pushing for a specific set of terminology.

    Sorry!

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  61. I've been running a Labyrinth Lord campaign, every sunday without fail and sometimes twice a week, since October last year. I blog about various aspects of the game.

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  62. I've been running a 1e/OSRIC game with five players. Our specific intention is to play an old school sandbox campaign with a tent pole mega-dungeon. And we are having a good time! Although I don't update my blog as often as I should, I just made a new entry today.

    Thanks to this old school renaissance, many people are re-examining what playing RPGs is all about. As for myself, I can't credit the various grognard blogs for my renewed interest in old school-styled game play. Actually, I give thanks to Knights of the Dinner Table for sparking nostalgia that prompted me to find a gaming group. Eventually, when I tried forming my own group, I started to really think about the nature of the D&D campaign. Finally, the death of Gygax and the homogenized fourth edition really sparked an epiphany. It was only after I realized what kind of campaign that I really wanted to run did I find these blogs. It was several years after I picked up my first KotD comic that I finally found these old school blogs.

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  63. I'm a little late to this but I've been running an old school 4e game and it's going well.

    I'm working on starting up a blog about the campaign and the house rules I use to play. I've still got a couple of weeks of work left before launching the site since I've been working on it when the families asleep but the games are going pretty well.

    There were some problems such as the point buy method and slow combat but I think I've figured good solutions that worked for my group so far.

    All in all I think it's very possible to run an old school 4e game. At least in the way that I think old school is since I've learned to play dnd in an area that up til the last 5 or 6 years was practically void of gamers.

    Just for starters, there are three ways that I let the players generate characters. They get to pick one and only one and the first method that everyone seems to like begins with "roll 3d6 for each ability score in order."

    Also the adventure we are playinga to launch the campaign is the Ruined Monastery from fight on #1.

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  64. I just started up a Call of Cthulhu game last week
    Of course! Even with all the talk of it around here of late, I hadn't counted my on/off CoC game. I've been uploading the play reports for that "campaign" at the blog I mention above.

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  65. That might be my fault. When RPG Bloggers was starting up I sorta campaigned for an easy way to get to the old school crap but I wasn't forceful in pushing for a specific set of terminology.

    I think having tags of that sort is a very good idea; I just object to the way the old school stuff is characterized. The general tenor of the Network is very rah-rah WotC as it is and "Legacy D&D" makes it all the worse for me.

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  66. Here's a nice bookend for the 65+ comments so far: I'm playing in Chgowiz's old-school OSRIC game. He's commenter #1 in this thread.

    I'm also GMing my own sandbox campaign via Savage Worlds. While this group is not being particularly slavish to the old school method of gaming, it's certainly informing our shared philosophy whenever we sit down around the gaming table. I'm very glad for this input, and I think we're becoming more faithful to the old school approach as we go along, mainly because it's freakin' fun!

    I'm blogging it to:

    rpgdiehard.blogspot.com

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  67. This is how it was for me:

    1. I don’t like that game; it’s hopelessly obsolete
    2. Ergo, nobody could like that game
    3. I read someone say that they like that game
    4. Obviously, they aren’t actually playing it, or they would realize how awful it is
    5. Ergo, they’re only spouting nostalgia seen through rose-colored glasses

    When I realized I was wrong, I just had to try to understand how people could actually like those obsolete games. Which led me to a renewed appreciation for them. Which led to actually playing them again and having a lot of fun doing so.

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