Monday, January 18, 2010

Project Shibboleth

Joseph Bloch, the Greyhawk Grognard, has at least revealed the true nature of his previously announced "Project Shibboleth:" the creation of a "retro-recon" of a Gygaxian 2e, based on what we know of Gary's stated plans for such an endeavor. As someone who remembers well those articles Gygax penned in Dragon in which he laid out his plans for a new edition of AD&D, I won't deny that I'm more than a little intrigued by Joe's project. As he's proven again and again on his blog, he's a keen reader of AD&D and has probably thought more about Gygaxian 2e than anybody in our little circle of old schoolers. So, if there's any chance at all of something like this seeing the light of day, Joseph is the man to do it.

My only advice to him is this: don't take any advice from anyone in the peanut gallery, including me. Forge ahead according to your own lights; you know what you're doing far better than any of us do. The end result, even if it's not something I or anyone else will universally acclaim as a "true" successor to Gary's magnum opus, will be far, far better if you follow your muse rather than anyone else's. Good luck!

10 comments:

  1. Yeah, ditto. I've always wanted to know what 3E would have been like without all this WotC business.

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  2. Well, he did a good job with the Jester class. He seems to know where to look for inspiration. Although Savants and Mystics are gonna be harder to duplicate IMO.

    I am not opposed to this project as I was with CotMA, as the latter is not very respectful of Gygax's own wishes. (He even admits that--although I am not as upset with him as his fans who say "Gygax would be proud", when it's clear by his own writings, he was very protective of the Castle--make it your own is one thing, publishing is another ball of wax, even if it's for free). I do know Gary had no plans to re-create AD&D in any way as he had no desire to do so. He pretty much let TLG build the game for CZ, ignored what he didn't like and let others make the stat blocks.

    I kind of wish he'd use that creativity to forge his own game rather than recreate another incarnation of AD&D though. There's too many retro-clones nowadays and I want to see more creativity and innovation.

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  3. To quote John, above me, he says:

    "I kind of wish he'd use that creativity to forge his own game rather than recreate another incarnation of AD&D though. There's too many retro-clones nowadays and I want to see more creativity and innovation."

    I don't for one minute want to sound like I'm raining on other people's projects. After all, these retroclones give people great enjoyment and I'm sure the creators love working on them.

    However, I can see John's point. I'd love to see more of the bloggers I enjoy reading writing their own games from scratch. This Shibboleth Project does sound a little different from other retroclones, but my heart still sinks a little when I open up a pdf for a new game and see AC, STR, DEX, CON etc. again.

    But in this case James is absolutely right. People should work on the project they want to and not just try to appease the comments box. Shibboleth sounds like it'll interest a great number of people and could be an interesting read.

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  4. There's too many retro-clones nowadays and I want to see more creativity and innovation.

    For me, there can never be too many retro-clones. Granted, I won't be able to keep up with them all and I've lamented that in the past, but I really do believe that the central truth of the old school movement is that "the game belongs to us now." Every time someone else makes a retro-clone or offers up his houseruled version of an existing ruleset, he's making a claim on the game for himself -- not for anyone else and certainly not for a big corporation -- and I love to see that.

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  5. I think the one area I disagree with you James is that all this sharing of rules comes at the expense of new ideas and perhaps even new enterprises.

    Two key things I think people forget about Gary's legacy is that he didn't imitate himself, having created at least 3 versions of a Fantasy RPG, all of them being very different yet still having his style. He encouraged others to build their own games as well, such as Ward to write Gamma World.

    The other thing is the entrepreneur aspect. I'd rather encourage people to build their own games and thus (hopefully) their own businesses. It is that spirit that gave us D&D in the first place.

    One of the truly big thing about the "old school" is the gamers back then loved creating their own games. I see less game creation and more game imitation today. I think in part, to get some of that spirit back, we should be encouraging more games of different variations and not just making the umpteenth variation of (A)D&D. TSR made sure to not just offer D&D in their line-up, and I just am disappointed with first the OGL encouraging more imitation than inspiration, and now the OSR all doing variations on a theme.

    Not to further sidetrack anymore. Just food for thought.

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  6. I don't for one minute want to sound like I'm raining on other people's projects.

    That's okay. John does enough of it for both of you.

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  7. Oh, and James, thanks very much for the advice. I shall indeed take it. I have a vision for how this should look, and will indeed follow my muse.

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  8. It certainly sound interesting, I had not heard of Gary wanting to revise the AD&D system. My personal belief is that innovation still comes when the old rules are filtered or outright modified through our own homebrewed rules. Afterall, how many novels and movies are old ideas twisted into something new. If well done, they can be great. But they must still be D&D in some sense, else you must call them something else, right? Me, I run my own edition of AD&D, brewed from the ground up so I really can't use any official rulebook as is.

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  9. I for sure don't mind another retro if it has an interesting angle. This is a very interesting angle.

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