A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

#op-ed

The OSR Isn't All Fat White Dudes

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on September 09, 2015

Tagged: op-ed osr

I saw this over on G+.

People being dicsk

What does that even mean? I’m not sure. There is generally a constant stream of this stuff online, if you go looking for it. I normally don’t, but somehow it still finds me. This annoyed me more than other similar posts, for no particularly good reason. I guess this stuff gets tired after a while.

The OSR isn’t all fat White dudes. I didn’t think that needed to be said, but maybe it does? (Spoilers: it includes at least one skinny Brown dude.)

One of the first posts I made here was about not being an asshole to other gamers. At the time it was in response to seeing people in the OSR moan about 4th Edition or D&D Next. Fast forward several years and I see that the discourse is dumb all over.

Anyway, my pro-tip to you all remains the same: stop giving a fuck about the games people play. I promise you, no one else cares. No one.


Update 2015-09-10: I could have written this post about a million different things I’ve seen online since the first one from 2012. In the grand scheme of things the image above barely rates as obnoxious compared to what’s come before. Still, yesterday it annoyed me.

I had a brief conversation with Ettin on Twitter. He thinks my take away from his snark was incorrect. I’m not sure the point he was trying to make was much better, but sure. Later he had this to say: “If your problem is a tweet about your community but your pals obsessing over TLs of people who blocked them is OK I have some bad news.” That’s fair: trawling someones timeline is annoying, and that’s how I ended up seeing this. I am sure I say dumb stuff often, and having that thrown back in my face days or weeks or years later would probably get tired. That said, it doesn’t make what I originally said any less dumb. Calling people in the OSR garbage is something I think is shitty. I don’t think you can really massage that. Of course, Ettin is entitled to his opinions.

Update 2016-01-31: … but Ettin is probably a troll and his opinions are likely dumb.

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Rule 0': don't be an asshole

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on June 08, 2012

Tagged: op-ed 4e 5e dndnext osr

When someone makes fun of me for playing D&D I now know that makes then a bit of an asshole. Different people have fun in different ways. A lot of people find different things fun. Most people I interact with nowadays don’t care one way or the other that I play D&D: this is because I’m an adult who now interacts primarily with other adults. Most adults are mature about these sorts of things. The only people I encounter nowadays who mock this outlet for fun are in fact other gamers.

I’ve played every other edition of D&D: original D&D as a kid, 2nd edition as a high school student, and now 4th edition as an adult. Did you know that if you are playing 4th edition you are doing it wrong? I didn’t either till I took to the internet–always a mistake.

For my friends and I 4th edition was the success Wizards of the Coast was probably hoping for: it got a few of old school gamers playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I don’t think any of us had really paid much attention to the game in well over a decade. It’s certainly quite different than the previous editions I’ve played, but having missed 3rd edition I thought many of the rule changes were mana from heaven. (No more negative AC! Even when I was 12 that seemed like a stupid idea.)1

After playing 4th edition for a while I was pretty delighted to discover the community that surrounds old school D&D. There are lots of great articles, books, and modules being put out by an engaged group of people. I’d argue the most interesting stuff happening with hobby right now is a result of the old-school renaissance and all the indie and DIY publishing that surrounds it.

With the noise from Wizards of the Coast around D&D Next I now get to witness the arguments and complaints I wasn’t privy to when 4th edition was first released. It takes real energy to get angry over a game you don’t play, and aren’t interested in playing in the future. People can get defensive about their hobbies. For some I suspect enjoying the game they are playing takes a back seat to justifying to others why it’s the one to play. Those sorts of arguments can be interesting, but it takes a level of effort and maturity that doesn’t seem to come across in much of what I read about 4th edition and D&D next on some of my favourite OSR blogs.

In many ways hardcore D&D fans remind me of hardcore indie music fans. Reading responses to D&D Next reminds me of reading reviews in Pitchfork. Both groups fandom is so transcendent it can only be expressed by hating all music, in the case of hardcore indie music fans, and all tabletop gaming, in the case of your hardcore D&D fan.

There is enough room in this hobby to accommodate everyone and the wide variety of things that draw them to the game. Rule 0 in role playing games is that the DM is always right. I would suggest a Rule 0’: don’t be an asshole.

  1. I don’t think 4th edition is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but those thoughts will have to wait for another post.

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