Some of the most fascinating people I've ever met are religious converts. I find the idea of someone raised in one faith (or no faith at all) who makes a conscious decision to adopt another one -- almost always a fairly demanding one, I might add -- very intriguing. I think it takes a lot of courage to do something like that, not to mention a willingness to challenge one's own preconceptions and long-held notions. Regardless of whether I agree with the convert's specific decision, they've earned my respect by being serious about questions that a lot of people never even think about, let alone think about deeply enough to change their own outlook and behavior.
From my dealings with religious converts, I know that they often encounter hostility from people who don't understand and/or approve of their decision and suspicion from those whose religion they've now adopted. That's why I say I respect converts; it can't be easy to have people you've known all your life think you've gone "God crazy" or, worse yet, to have lifelong members of your new faith suspect your motives and imply that you're not a "real" X because you weren't born into the fold.
Now, I don't want this entry to become an excuse to talk about religion specifically and I ask anyone who comments on it to bear that in mind. I brought it up at all, because I often get emails from people who either think I've gone mad for having returned to my gaming roots over the last couple of years or who believe, because I wasn't there in 1974 and "only" started gaming in 1979 that I'm a poseur and this whole blog is just a big put-on. I find it bizarre honestly, but, for the first time in my life, I think I finally understand what it must be like to be a religious convert, even though I'm actually closer to what, in a religious context, is known as a "revert," that is, someone who returns to the religion of their birth after some time away from it.
For myself, my feeling remains the same: these are games we're talking about and, I hope, playing. That my tastes and interests have moved back toward those I had when I first entered the hobby is not, in fact, a sign of either insanity or deception. Neither is it evidence that I'm trying to suck up to that world renowned bunch of jet setters, the "true" grognards, you know, the guys who introduced me into the hobby 30 years ago.
At the end of the day, all that matters is that I'm having fun with my friends, which is the true measure of any hobby. I don't begrudge anyone who doesn't enjoy the old school stuff, but I do ask that no one question whether I am in fact enjoying it. Contrarian though I may be, even I lack the stubbornness necessary write over 700 blog posts just to show I'm not one of the great unwashed who'll never understand the deep wells of meaning contained within OD&D's lacunae. And if anyone does think that, I humbly suggest they know even less about human psychology generally than they do of me.
The Sage of Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, very aptly described Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy." There seems to be a lot of such Puritanism in the online gaming world these days. I know I've occasionally indulged in it, which is why you'll find that I rarely if ever talk about non-old school games on this blog anymore. I never talked much about them in the past either (fewer than 3% of my posts talk about any edition of D&D after 1e, for example), but I've made a concerted effort to avoid doing so in the interests of focusing on what I like to play and why. I certainly don't expect everyone to share my enthusiasm for this stuff, but I just don't get why anyone should doubt my sincerity. Mind you, the Internet is filled with things I just don't get, so perhaps I'm in good company.