Jan 15, 2013

Change in the OSR

For me, I learned about the OSR through blogs.  Grognardia, B/X Blackrazor, D&D with Porn Stars, and Jeff's Gameblog were the most influential at the onset.  Through their blogrolls I quickly learned about retro-clones and the people running them.  After a few months I dove in full-bore and created Digital Orc, a blog named in homage to the gaming fanzine I made during the early nineties.  After a couple of years, I dove a little deeper and published my first adventure, The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! using the OGL and Labyrinth Lord.  A year later, and I find myself having published five adventure and running several of them at Gencon.  I've been reviewed numerous times, seen my material utilized, and made enough money to buy some game products.

As these events were unfolding, I was also coming in digital contact with fellow gamers.  Most of them were also bloggers.  They seemed and seem like great guys (no girls yet), but I've only met a few personally (I'm looking at you, Sniderman).  Their comments, suggestions, and editing services have reminded me of the lighter side of human nature.  This is especially contrasting with the snarkier aspects of online society.  

Some digital friends have come and gone, while others amaze me in their ability to keep at it day after month after year.  I, myself, have seriously considered pulling the plug on a hobby that sometimes threatens to be more than that.  Something more than habit brings me back.  And looking over my short life of nearly forty years on planet earth I see that tabletop gaming is something I've done regularly since 1984 when a friend first introduced me to Mentzer's Red Box.

I take encouragement from that fact now, especially as the OSR accomodates Google+ and many OSR bloggers fall silent.  In fact, looking at the four blogs listed in my introduction, you can clearly see a reduction in posts.  This is not to say a reduction in activity, just that this activity is shifting elsewhere.  Still, it saddens me.  Will I go with it anytime soon?  I'm not sure.  My toes are in Google+, but I have yet to jump in.  I see too many advantages to staying in blog format from a Game Master's perspective.


  1. Right back atacha. I and my blog won't be going anywhere for the forseeable future.

  2. A-yuh! I'd love to Google+, but I'm already beholden to The Google for too much stuff as it is without handing them more information about my online activity (remember, when it comes to stuff online, if you aren't paying for the service, then YOU are the product). Plus, my computers suck because they are old and I don't have full-on broadband at home (only dopey slow DSL). I could game from work, but really, I need to be teaching and grading, not rolling 20s.

  3. I wish Google would have an option so that you could "link" a Google discussion to a blog post if you are the owner of said blog, and are posting to Google plus. The way it is now, you get a lot of split chatter, and the "public" can't see an insightful post on Google plus that should be listed on the blog.

  4. It's important to keep it fun and a hobby. Too serious and then it sucks posting. I've never thought about leaving my blog in the near four years I've been doing it, but I do take breaks. I don't do any announcements cause sometimes I need a week sometimes on a day. I just take a break, recharge and come back with another map, adventure idea, picture of a sleestak or 10 ways to kill a hill giant. Hmmm, I think that last will be my next post. Gotta go.

  5. What Tim said. Except about the giant. We dwarves have to keep SOME of our secrets, after all.
    Hang in there, good sir.

  6. Yours was one of first blogs I discovered in the OSR community after I discovered James' blog and then started my own. You were one of the first to comment on my blog, and I always felt that we had a bit of a kinship give that we're both raising kids around the same age and also we both seem to enjoy wine and craft beers. :)

    That's all to say that I hope you keep the blog up! I do is Google Plus from time to time, but I for one appreciate the thought and depth that goes into blog posts s bit more. Google Plus, to me, is more for short, quick thoughts.

    1. Martin, great to hear from you! Yeah, I remember reading your first comment on my Ralph Bakshi Wizards post.

      Hey, I signed up to brew my first beer at a local training brewery. IPA all the way!!!

    2. Dude, I am jealous! That's so awesome about brewing your own beer. IPA - nice choice! There's a place down here in Orange County called "Brew Bakers" where you can go brew beer. They provide everything you need, and after you do your recipe and put all the ingredients in and spend the day there eating awesome food like pizza made with beer-bread crust, you go home and a few weeks later come back and pick up your beer, along with whatever label you designed to put on the bottles. It's a really fun experience but not as satisfying as home-brewing, I would think.

      My buddy Wil has really gotten into home-brewing and every few months he has us all over to his place for beer-tasting and game-playing. Good times.



Thanks for posting to the Digital Orc! Be sure to pick up a copy of one of my old-school modules available at RPGNow.com!