Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grognard on Grognard Action!

As Noisms put it, "the wailing and gnashing of teeth" has begun at, among other places, LotFP and Lord of the Green Dragons.

Whatever the hell about, it's honestly hard to tell, but it looks like an Old School internecine edition war. So now, not only do we have "Grognards," "3Etards," and "4rons," we must further divide up that first group into whomever sucks at the teat of which clone or even those who refuse the concept of clones in and of themselves and adhere to their moldering copies of Whitebox edition or BECMI or whatever.

And all I can do is laugh.

In all honesty, who the fuck cares whether an old school product says "compatible with D&D" or "compatible with [insert clone of choice here]" or "compatible with whatever the hell game you play"? In the first place, Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry are only a hop, skip, and a fart away from each other. Osric is just round the corner. Hackmaster ain't far behind, and whatever else game you play probably doesn't need a whole lot of effort before that module or supplement or whatever it is works for you, or at least gives you enough ideas to run off and do it yourself, which would be the point in the first place right?

The Old School movement is not system specific. If anything, it has been largely defined, in my view, by what it is not, and what it is not is "not New School." Not about super powers in the Middle Ages. Not about story driven "campaigns." Not about feats, skill points, or daily/per-battle/at-will powers. Not about WOTC's new thrust. That was the greatest strength of the Old School: the realization that whatever system you use was, for the most part, wildly unimportant, it's what you did with it. It was about not settling for pre-processed mass produced pap! And so now we're starting arguments about what should be the standardized system of publishing for the OSR?

Or is this little tempest in the teapot just an argument for the sake of argument?

Oh, and as an aside, "I play D&D" means just what it did 30 years ago. Those of the Old School should recognize more than most that the "common baseline" is largely illusory as the differences between one table and the next are vast enough to make "I play D&D" largely meaningless. It has little to do with what flavor is current today, though yes, most often it will be interpreted as referring to the most recent supported edition excreted by the coastal wizards.

With all due respect to the Old School: stick your shibboleths where your pride goes and remember what's important about this game and this Renaissance.

And you probably won't see a 2ed clone. We don't need one since pretty much every other edition hates us on principle.


  1. Sigh. I guess it was inevitable, the cries of "I'm more Old School than you are!" reverberating through the land. As if D&D needed even more fractioning. I swear, for a group that wants to preserve their hobby and way of gaming, the old school grognard can sure be as inclusive, unbending and insular as any old biddies knitting club.

    "And you probably won't see a 2ed clone. We don't need one since pretty much every other edition hates us on principle."


  2. Heh. I wouldn't sweat it, this has been boiling in the sands since the start. Just ignore it and continue about your business. :D

  3. Maybe, but it still strikes me as stupidity in the making and the reason why nothing will ever come of this kind of thing except blogs and the occasional pdf or pod product.