Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I a jerk? Are you?

I noted a short while ago that on some of the blogs I read, people were agitated because some guy somewhere had criticized the OSR gang for some kind of crime. Oddly enough nobody seemed to have bothered to link to the poor guy, probably because they didn't want to help him get any more hits in the visitor statistics.

Personally I think that is a bit rude. If you are bothering commenting upon something, I think it's just decent to acknowledge the existence of the guy standing in the same room as you, and whom you are talking about! Come on guys, you can do better than that.

So. I think I managed to find who it was everyone was up in arms against. One think this guy mentioned I found interesting, and I'm going to comment on that even if it wasn't what everyone found so infuriating.

Why do we speak of "educating" players, and "teaching" then proper play by playing rough? I know the idea of Player Skill, and I know all about brutal character killing adventures. I play T&T, remember? Take a look at those solos. Many of them are so deadly it's just silly. Quite a few are still fun. Most of the time. If you have read my blog some you also know I like that Player Skill part.

Now, imagine real physical people telling you about this cool kind of game where you play a scoundrel doing dirty deeds and some heroics for gold and glory in dank dungeons. Also, try to imagine those people acting like total jerks when you sit down to play and telling you they only stabbed your character in the back to "teach you" to become a better player.

I think we have a problem here.

While I think the idea is still valid, maybe the fact that some people tell you that "old school" just mean some jerks trying their best to rob you of fun means that we have a public relations problem.

While I don't think we need a OSR feel-good-ambassador or anything, I think that if a complaint comes up more than once, it might be a good idea to give the whiner the benefit of a doubt and see if there's something to be learnt. He might still be a whining moron, but you can learn something.

That's my two cents.


  1. I didn't really read too much about the controversy, mainly because I could care less. I think organizing the OSR is actually a big mistake. Yes older editions of games are fun and it's great to meet like minded people and play them. But that's where it should end, no mission statements no officially sanctioned games. Just have fun.

  2. Andreas - you mean there's something beneficial to actually listening to one another? Perish the thought! ;)

  3. I'm not sure which event you are referring to. There have been at least three blow-ups in the last 3 weeks.

    Can you be more specific?

  4. I'm afraid that since I'm on a blog burn-out (semi)leave, I have already lost the reference.

    But, a while back someone specifically objected to the idea of "teaching" players, since what you (hopefully) are doing is hanging out with your friends, and that sounded like a very condescending attitude.

    I felt there was a point to that.

  5. I'm not very fond of organizing the OSR, no.

  6. @Andreas

    I'm guessing your talking about this post where you commented about not linking being rude.

    [gotta take a moment to point out the BAT SHIT INSANE level of hypocrisy in complaining about someone not linking to post they discussed while not linking to either post you are discussing] [btw not linking doesn't bother me, hypocrisy does]

    Also, I'm not sure you found the right post. The one I was referring to had same title as my post "I'm Not Nice".

    If my first guess was wrong, please ignore. cept the hypocrisy parts, that was off the hook.

  7. Personally I just wish there was less focus on bashing whatever system and more focus on extolling the virtues of old school gaming. As a noob to the old school gaming blogosphere ... what I've seen are many posts that simply bash whatever version of the game (mainly 4E but I've seen rantings against 2nd and 3.X and others). That said I've seen some awesome posts that give me the kind of detail and information I'm craving. As someone who has been dancing around the edges of OSR games for years now a big part of the info I get comes from browsing blog posts. I've played in several OSR games and run a few myself ... but I don't consider myself a true Grognard of yea olde OSR so perhaps I just don't appreciate whats going on like many of you do. I know many people out there just don't care ... they don't blog to build the community they blog for personal catharsis, etc. and that I think will always create conflict. People who are just placing random thoughts out there and people who are actively trying to build a community ... are likely going to have very different approaches and opinions. There is definitely a lot of denominationalism and various orthodoxies being established ... some reasonable and some not.

  8. But it's way easier to bash, than to be constructive, right?

  9. Norman,

    I was talking more about the general behaviour here, not a specific case. I could have listed a few blogs where I found this happening.

    But, making a list felt more rude than making a point of linking. Maybe I judged this wrong, and in that case I'm terribly sorry.

    Come to think of it, "rude" might come across as too strong a word for what I was trying to say. "Impolite", maybe?

    Anyway, I was hoping to gloss over that and reach what I felt was something constructive. I do value your feedback on this, though. I sure see how my behaviour can be considered very much like hypocrisy while it was an attempt to shrug it off. I'm sorry for that and apologize.


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