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Author Topic: Open letter to OSR and Storygames  (Read 7001 times)

VengerSatanis

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« on: July 27, 2016, 04:32:56 pm »
Since the RPGpundit responded repeatedly to my comment threads on g+, I thought why not post my open letter right here?  Please, keep in mind that I have no interest in dissecting what bad shit happened last week or 3 years ago.  Nor do I want to hear about some awful person who did this or that.

This is about moving forward and opening up a dialog with select individuals who might want to move past the tribalism / gaming community faction bullshit.

Here's the link:  http://vengersatanis.blogspot.com/2016/07/open-letter-to-osr-storygamers.html

Here's a blurb...

Quote
I'm an active and outspoken gamer within the OSR community.  Months ago, you might have heard about my sleazy sci-fi RPG Alpha Blue being pulled from OneBookShelf for about 48 hours.  I write, I publish, I play games, and chat with other gamers.  Regardless of your feelings about one or more individuals, I'm not your enemy... and I'm not the enemy.

To read that these two factions are at war seemed ridiculous to me.  I don't know, like, 90% of Storygamers (come to think of it... I probably only know about 75% of the OSR).  For the most part, I feel like the OSR sees the Storygame community as Canada.  We're vaguely aware that you exist, but we just never really think of you.  You guys are the good neighbors who don't cause us much grief, but on the other hand, you don't go out of your way to interact with us.  Has the US been secretly at war with Canada all these years?  I doubt it.  And if that's true, it's not a productive use of our energies.


Have a good one,

VS

AaronBrown99

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2016, 04:47:04 pm »
When was the last time you heard anyone say, 'hey! let's go out for some Canadian food?'
"Who cares if the classes are balanced? A Cosmo-Knight and a Vagabond walk into a Juicer Bar... Forget it Jake, it's Rifts."  - CRKrueger

finarvyn

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2016, 05:04:24 pm »
Dunno what prompted this discussion and/or dunno what went on several years ago. What I do know is that I see the OSR and Storygame folks as having very different goals and have no idea why there should be real conflict between the two. My take is that the OSR is more interested in playing games as they were done back in the 1970's and 1980's while the Storygamers are interested in advancing more modern mechanics to allow story to trump random rolls. If one were to draw a Venn diagram of the two game groups I suspect there they find very little in common, so fighting over the "right way" to play seems futile.

It does seem interesting for an author to refer to his own game as "sleazy", however. :D
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CRKrueger

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2016, 05:18:17 pm »
Here's my Open Letter to you or anyone else with a blog:  I don't give two fucking shits about your goddamn ad traffic, so if you want to boost your shit by posting it here, post the whole damn thing, if I like it, I'll go visit, if not, go take your clickbait and rape your mama with it.

Quote from: The Cthulhu Sex Guy
First off, this blog post is an open letter to both RPG communities - the OSR and Storygamers.  It's in response to the +Mark Diaz Truman post here.  And this is the (now closed) g+ comment stream that followed.

There are a number of things that jumped out at me.  The most important being that feuding between gaming communities is a waste of time and energy.

I'm an active and outspoken gamer within the OSR community.  Months ago, you might have heard about my sleazy sci-fi RPG Alpha Blue being pulled from OneBookShelf for about 48 hours.  I write, I publish, I play games, and chat with other gamers.  Regardless of your feelings about one or more individuals, I'm not your enemy... and I'm not the enemy.

To read that these two factions are at war seemed ridiculous to me.  I don't know, like, 90% of Storygamers (come to think of it... I probably only know about 75% of the OSR).  For the most part, I feel like the OSR sees the Storygame community as Canada.  We're vaguely aware that you exist, but we just never really think of you.  You guys are the good neighbors who don't cause us much grief, but on the other hand, you don't go out of your way to interact with us.  Has the US been secretly at war with Canada all these years?  I doubt it.  And if that's true, it's not a productive use of our energies.

Awhile back, I said something online publicly about +Erik Tenkar.  Then he said something about me.  It went back and forth a bit.  At some point during the exchange, Erik mentioned "getting his Irish up," or something to that effect.  I'm Irish.  My mother's maiden name is Murphy.  And I said nothing - at least, I don't recall saying anything.  Thankfully, we eventually got shit off our chests (proverbially, thank Dread Cthulhu), and now I consider him a friend.

I know both +Zak Sabbath and +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGpundit), but I can't speak for them.  Also, they are not in charge.  We don't have leaders or officials or badges of authenticity.  The OSR is filled with a lot of different personalities.  We're not all one thing or another.  I think all gamers are relatively eclectic, actually.  Our one commonality - we enjoy roleplaying games.

If you're going to communicate with the OSR, and I hope Storygamers will, there are some things I should mention.  Though, I personally consider myself progressive and liberal (most of the time), the following are words and phrases that won't mean much to us.  We don't use them.  At least, I can't remember the last time I've seen them used on an OSR blog, forum thread, g+ post, etc. (except for +Kiel Chenier)

  • People have been hurt by this or that - you can talk about your hurt feelings, but that's not going to garner much sympathy.  Life is a contact sport.  If you haven't been badly hurt physically, rub dirt into it and walk it off.
  • Harassment and abuse - similar to the above... if it's not bad enough that you've gotten the authorities involved, then chances are that it's more hurt feelings by people who strongly disagree with you on the internet.  Not worth crying about.
  • We're not being inclusive enough - I don't give a damn what color, gender, sexual preference, religion, or anything else you are.  If we have common interests, let's chat.  If we have a good chemistry, then hopefully we can be friends.  No one in the OSR feels bad because the guy writing his own Labyrinth Lord modules doesn't have enough ethnic diversity on his cover or collaborating on its design.  Focus on the work, what individuals bring to the table.  Don't whine about being this or that... or this or that isn't being represented as well as it should be.
  • Privilege and power - similar to inclusion, I'm not interested in reading words about how straight white males have it easy or that the powerless are cowering in a little dark corner.  Do something you're proud of that a few other people like, too, and then make use of it.  That's what it's all about.  The more power you have, the more your hands are tied.  So, sometimes the least powerful can become the most powerful.
  • Politics - we're not here to talk about Trump versus Hillary, Hillary versus Bernie, or the 2nd amendment versus pro-choice.  Sure, you can mention whatever you want, but don't expect gaming talk to follow suit.  That would be like combining oil and water and assuming it will mix well.
  • Lumping people into stereotypical groups - oh, well, those people have over there have beards (!) or frequent the Dragonsfoot forum, theRPGsite, Tenkar's Tavern, or the Story-Game boards.  So, that means those people are all like X, Y, and Z.  
  • Continually reminding us that we have a problem in the gaming community - the RPG hobby doesn't have a problem - certain individuals have problems (or are problems).  By and large, everything is fine.  Sure, some bad apples exist.  But constantly trying to shame large groups into behaving a certain way is only going to piss people off.  A gaming community is not the place to advocate for social justice or whatever cause you might have.
  • Playing certain RPGs causes brain damage - Fuck off!  That's all I'm going to say about that one.

Obviously, people from both communities have experienced things way before reading this blog post.  I propose we try to move past all that, turn the page, and start anew.  Let's open up a dialog.  But I'd rather not open up old wounds.  They won't heal by re-examining them.  This, here and now, is about moving forward.

If there's a problem, talk about it openly.  Not getting anywhere?  Maybe you need arbitration.  Tag people you know and trust if you are looking for clarification, reassurance, or witnesses.  Perhaps I can be one of those people.  I'm fairly reasonable and unbiased about a lot of things.  I have a lot of friends and tons of acquaintances, but I try not to play favorites.

Of course, first you'd have to get to know me.  Without that first step of communication, there will always be a wall between individuals and communities.  Personally, I could do without that wall because it prevents me from interacting with people I might enjoy getting to know and game with.

Finally, yes, there are ideological differences between the Old School Renaissance and Story Games.  Storygamers go towards the story, while the OSR lets the story come to us.

When it comes down to it, on a fundamental level, I don't really give a shit about that either.  We all love RPGs, and there's a variety of them for a reason.  If you like one type of gaming, that's not going to prevent me from talking with you, appreciating your work ethic, critiquing a piece of artwork, examining a rule/ruling, or even sitting down at a table together in order to try something new out.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to comment below!

Other than the rocky start, nice post. :D
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

AsenRG

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2016, 05:19:02 pm »
Quote from: AaronBrown99;910070
When was the last time you heard anyone say, 'hey! let's go out for some Canadian food?'

Two days after I last heard someone say "Hey, let's go out for some US food";).
What Do You Do In Tekumel? See examples!
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daniel_ream

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2016, 05:25:45 pm »
I like storygames.  More than RPGs, generally, because they give me what I want out of a play experience more than most RPGs do (assuming we buy the artificial distinction between them).

Storygamers and storygame designers, on the other hand, seem to generally be worst kind of SJW hipsters, which is why I limit my interactions with them to rules discussions.

And Joe McDaldno seems to have just gone insane.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
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jeff37923

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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2016, 05:45:07 pm »
Quote from: VengerSatanis
Finally, yes, there are ideological differences between the Old School Renaissance and Story Games.  Storygamers go towards the story, while the OSR lets the story come to us.

VS

Best paragraph of the blog post. Nice and succinct.

CRKrueger

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 05:57:39 pm »
Quote from: daniel_ream;910079
And Joe McDaldno seems to have just gone insane.
Is that Joe McDonald->JoeMcDaldno->Avery Mcdaldno?
  • "The Deep Forest is a map-drawing game about post-colonial weird fantasy."
  • "A Place To Fuck Each Other - It’s a game about queer women and the relationships they tentatively build within new spaces."
  • "That game was called Abnormal, and it was about body horror. It was about social isolation and self-loathing and dysmorphia."
  • "Crypt Community - A game about twee monsters and complicated interpersonal dynamics."
  • "Dream Askew - Playing Through the Queer Apocalypse."
Not sure where you're getting your ideas from...
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

DavetheLost

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2016, 07:02:51 pm »
Quote from: finarvyn;910071
My take is that the OSR is more interested in playing games as they were done back in the 1970's and 1980's while the Storygamers are interested in advancing more modern mechanics to allow story to trump random rolls.

As someone who was playing back in the 1970s nd 1980s I find this amusing. We never had any hesitation about allowing story to trump random dice rolls, we also had no hesitation about making story out of random dice rolls.  

The OSR seems to be about playing games the way people wish they had been played back then. Or maybe about telling everyone else that their games are BadWrongFun, which is what Storygamers also seem to like to do.

Me, I don't care how you play your Elfgames.

finarvyn

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 08:09:10 pm »
Quote from: DavetheLost;910093
As someone who was playing back in the 1970s and 1980s I find this amusing. We never had any hesitation about allowing story to trump random dice rolls, we also had no hesitation about making story out of random dice rolls.
I was playing back then, too, and we had great stories that came from random rolls. OD&D is a very rules-light game and we often avoided making dice rolls unless they were really needed but I don't think that the feel of the games were the same as the feel of today's Storygames. Maybe I don't have a good feel for what the OSR is trying to do; I'm still playing my OD&D pretty much the way I did in '75.
Marv / Finarvyn
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DocJones

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 08:16:28 pm »
Quote from: finarvyn;910108
I was playing back then, too, and we had great stories that came from random rolls. OD&D is a very rules-light game and we often avoided making dice rolls unless they were really needed but I don't think that the feel of the games were the same as the feel of today's Storygames. Maybe I don't have a good feel for what the OSR is trying to do; I'm still playing my OD&D pretty much the way I did in '75.

We're still playing pretty much the same way we did back then as well.
I have played a few story type games with those who prefer them, and one of the differences I've observed is they seem much more invested in telling personal stories than participating in a group story.
Of course I could be wrong, since my participation is limited to only a few sessions with two groups, so YMMV.

Just Another Snake Cult

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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 09:27:13 pm »
Quote from: AaronBrown99;910070
When was the last time you heard anyone say, 'hey! let's go out for some Canadian food?'


I live in a very rural area in the middle of the American Midwest. Every pub-style bar and small-town ice-cream shop around here serves what is essentially poutine or a variation on poutine... only they call it a "Horseshoe", "Pony", "Cheesy fries", or some such.

Culinarily, a Canadian redneck would be quite at home here.
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AaronBrown99

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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2016, 09:38:40 pm »
Quote from: Just Another Snake Cult;910115
I live in a very rural area in the middle of the American Midwest. Every pub-style bar and small-town ice-cream shop around here serves what is essentially poutine or a variation on poutine... only they call it a "Horseshoe", "Pony", "Cheesy fries", or some such.

Culinarily, a Canadian redneck would be quite at home here.

Ok, cards on the table, I'm a resident of DENVER for goodness sake!  There is NO native food here worth eating.  EVERYTHING is an import, a 'cultural appropriation', for the encephalitic/easily-triggered, and while I joke about Canada not having any original food, OBVIOUSLY beer, donuts, and poutine are exceptions.

Do you know you can't even GET poutine in this g-- forsaken place?  I was in London three weeks ago and you could get a reasonable facsimile of a poutine in several pubs.  In Denver?  FORGET IT!

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daniel_ream

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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2016, 10:15:17 pm »
Quote from: Just Another Snake Cult;910115
I live in a very rural area in the middle of the American Midwest. Every pub-style bar and small-town ice-cream shop around here serves what is essentially poutine or a variation on poutine... only they call it a "Horseshoe", "Pony", "Cheesy fries", or some such.

Well, proper poutine has to be made with cheese curds and beef gravy.  That's something most fake poutines miss.  It really does make a difference.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
~ Opaopajr

daniel_ream

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Open letter to OSR and Storygames
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2016, 10:18:33 pm »
Quote from: CRKrueger;910082
Not sure where you're getting your ideas from...

His Teen Witch game is still my favourite "not sure if Jack Chick or trolling" work.
D&D is becoming Self-Referential.  It is no longer Setting Referential, where it takes references outside of itself. It is becoming like Ouroboros in its self-gleaning for tropes, no longer attached, let alone needing outside context.
~ Opaopajr