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Thursday, 16 July 2015

A Glaring Omission Indeed

So if you were to write a history of the RPG hobby from 2008 to the present, do you think you'd dedicate a bit of time to the OSR?

Apparently not, if you're the boss over at OSR-hostile RPG.net.  Shannon Appelcline, who runs the forum most famous for its non-RPG 'tangency' political forum, decided that it just wasn't important to bring up the single most influential movement of these last seven years, except for one tiny reference where apparently the only thing worth mentioning to him about the OSR is that it "may be over-saturated" by "multiple retroclones of D&D".  That's it. That's all the OSR means to him, it seems.

It shouldn't come as a tremendous surprise, given that most of the moderation staff at RPG.net is manned by people fairly famous for despising the OSR, including Paul Ettin (who is also a moderator at Something Awful and one of the guiding lights behind their old-school-bashing "grognards.txt" megathread, which is largely dedicated to insulting and planning acts of sabotage on OSR games and writers).  You'd still think that this, being an alleged work of historical research, would at least attempt to put on a facade of objectivity; but maybe you couldn't really hope that given that it was published by Fred Hicks, noted Pseudo-activist, supporter of various attempts at censorship and blacklisting in the hobby, and a guy who has a personal commercial interest in downplaying the OSR while trying to hype up the much less significant works of him and his clique of friends.

I especially love how when someone fairly brave decided to call him on it in his own backyard (the wonder being how the guy who did it hasn't been banned there yet, but I guess Appelcline is sufficiently cognizant of appearances that he'll at least wait a while before contriving some reason), the argument he gave in response  amounted to "who knows, its hard to tell what kind of influence they might really have??"... as if it's crucially important to talk about some shit game by Vince Baker that three people have played, because its place in History is undoubtedly assured, but who the fuck knows if the OSR - the defining movement of this decade that already directly influenced the latest edition of D&D - will actually end up having an impact?! How could he possibly tell? Better to ignore the OSR almost entirely except for a single disparaging remark and focus attention on the vitally needed exposition of the work of obscure games no one likes by alumni of the failed Forge project!

But there you are. This is so par for the course from anyone associated with the trifecta of shit that is rpg.net/something-awful/Fred Hicks & friends, that it almost wouldn't be newsworthy.  Still, I thought I should bring it up just to give fair warning:  if you're considering buying the Platinum Appendix for Designers and Dragons under the impression that it is a solid and accurate work of unbiased research, think again.

RPGPundit

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12 comments:

  1. Where did they say this stuff?

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    1. Initially, they were called out about it on rpgnet itself; but the real "responses" (that is, evasions) came up in a thread on G+

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  2. While Reading the '70s and '80s volumes of his history of RPGs, I couldn't help but note his biases. The references to old games not adapting to "innovations" found in "storygames" and his odd use of the number of supplements published somehow equating to whether a game was good stood out. Not surprising that he would do this as well.

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  3. Also "political forum" is an awfully kind description and misleading as it implies reasoned political discourse and debate, whereas Rpg.net only has politics in the sense that North Korea has politics: you agree with the Supreme Leader or else you are ostracized and expelled. They brook no dissent. Honestly, you can be banned for quoting the dictionary to show that one of the elite is misusing and abusing the language in their persecution of someone they disagree with. True story.

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  4. Having grown up alongside roleplaying games I'm glad to say I don't need Appelcline's happy horseshit. It's a shame those that follow may regard it as a definitive reference work. I weep for the children.

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  5. I liked Something Awful and didn't know it was connected to Black Hat and Fred Hicks. I won't buy anything from those guys so I guess that bookmarks gonna be burned as well. Very sad.

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  6. I thought about buying a membership to SA, once upon a time. I have a few friends who are goons, and I like the WTF D&D articles. but then this whole thought police bullshit of theirs started, so now I say fuck that.

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    1. What's a wtf D&D article? Got a link?

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  7. I originally posted the complaint on G+ but also reposted on rpg.net, therpgsite, and enworld forums cause they're they places I have memberships.

    Appelcline, to his credit, has addressed my complaints in the G+ thread, and as a result of my initial posts is actively researching the history and development of the OSR for future publication. So it's not all bad.

    As for whether the coverage he gives it is fair and balanced, well we'll just have to wait and see.

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  8. I'm not all that OSR-minded but even I can see the relevance and impact of it. Seems really odd to barely mention it in something claiming to be an accurate and complete account of RPG history.

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  9. The way Designers & Dragon was written may change for there are many things going on that won't fit in. The return of Stafford & Peterson to Chaosium is just one example. The OSR may be another one. So why should the OSR have been included in the book about the 2000s when the 2nd wave of OSR-Games (LotFP, Stars Without Number, Crypts & Things, DCC RPG) arrived the early 2010s and a 3rd wave might be on it's way (beyond the wall?) ?

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    1. That's like saying "why talk about the original D&D in the section on the 1970s, when 1e was going to come out in 1979?"

      You talk about the OSR because it was the birth (around 2007-8) of the single most important movement EVER SINCE.

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