So, a couple of days ago someone at theRPGsite posted a transcript/link to a slapfight that's going on amongst the remnants of the Storygames "Indie" movement.
My first thought when I saw this, I kid you not, was "oh yeah... those guys existed!" followed by an even more surprised "and apparently they still do, kind of!"
When you look around, the legacy of the failed Forge/storygames movement is.. well, almost nothing. There's the two vast and trunkless legs of stone that were 4e D&D, done according to the Forge designs, despised by almost all D&D fans, and loved by a group of assholes that despised D&D. Now, it's buried under the desert. No "Pathfinder" for 4e; because unlike 3e, 4e was not a popular game when it was scuttled... or ever.
The Forge is a lifeless tundra. No game the Forgistas/storygamers ever made themselves ended up being of any truly meaningful prominence.
In other words, they have accomplished nothing.
And now, some of the survivors were having a funny argument on Google+. Man, how the full-of-themselves have fallen.
The argument started when one guy, who runs a podcast I'd never heard of, complained about the cult of the game designer, how Indie keeps making games that no one plays (often not even the creators), and how some other people get a lot of attention by talking about diversity but he's not going to do that on his podcast because he's a "blue-collar gamer".
Dude. In your podcast you talk with the dudes who made the pretentious jenga-based non-rpg game Dread, mutated forge-survivor and author of "My Life With Master" and "Nicotine Girls" Paul Czege, Emily Care Boss, Monster Hearts, The Quiet Year, etc etc ad nauseum.
YOU ARE NOT BLUE-COLLAR ANYTHING.
None of those games are 'blue collar'. No one plays them. They're the very thing you're complaining about.
You know what "blue-collar gamers" play? D-AND-FUCKING-D! 5th Edition. The Old School Renaissance. You know, everything I've had something to do with.
Your problem isn't that you don't talk enough about 'diversity', though I'm sure if you did the four remaining indie games people would pretend they watch you more; your problem is that you don't talk about what we're all into now.
Storygames are extinct. I helped kill them.
In the conversation you were in someone mentioned me as a "boogeyman" like "careful, don't be like the RPGPundit!" Why the fuck wouldn't you want to be like me!? People ACTUALLY PLAY shit I was involved with. My games are doing spectacularly well. I rule this fucking hobby. You should fucking wish you were like me, dude.
Seriously, look at the people you're hanging with: none of them have done fuck all. Even the Old Swine like Czege have lost all credibility and influence. Zak Smith, who bothered to show up on Czege's thread to deliver a backhanded slap at the lot of you ("DIY RPG-types who talk about play all the fucking time have been making way better stuff than them, especially lately"), has done more in the hobby than all the rest of y'all put together.
So what is the real Indie movement, bitch?!
If you were involved in the old Indie as a way to feel like you were really special and smarter than the unwashed masses, then you have nothing left for you now but to cry in the rubble of your sad failed ambitions. Or, you know, complain about 'diversity' as though that was the fault for your failings. But if you really wanted to be part of a creative movement that ALSO actually fucking reached gamers, and wasn't just one enormous circle-jerk, that is doing creative stuff that isn't just mastubatory pseudo-intellectual bullshit but an actual CRAFT of design that focuses on long-term actual play, then in every respect the OSR is a superior "Indie game design" movement than the Forge/Storygames ever was. Why would you still stick with the ineffective wankers instead?
You know, I've been busy the last couple of days squabbling with a few other OSR-guys, but this whole thing just reminded me that the biggest assholes in the OSR are still leagues above almost anyone in the Indie-storygames movement in terms of actual value to this hobby, and the OSRs worst most annoying qualities are still tiny compared to Storygaming's status quo.
And podcast dudes have it right as to why: no matter what anyone tries to claim, the Forge & Storygames was ALWAYS about the Cult of the Game Designer. It was all about the designer, in their brilliance, taking authority away from player and (especially) GM alike. So if the greatest value was placed on the Designer, it made any kind of actual-play focus completely unnecessary. This is why you get the phenomenon where most storygames are on ridiculous topics meant to be played once or twice at most, and where play at all seems entirely optional. The point of a Storygame was to write it, to brag about writing it, to own it and feel smug about owning it, but playing it? Well, if you really wanted to debase yourself to being an actual filthy gamer, I suppose they'd say it was better to play their 'coherent' game than those awful games the vast majority of gamers actually like! Ugh.
On the other hand, while you have a lot of 'celebrity designers' in the OSR, the OSR isn't about the game designer. Its about the GM. OSR games are not 'coherent' little models of micro-game pseudo-genius that must not be altered in the least by the grubby little hands of a mere GM. On the contrary, they are almost always toolkits for the GM, who knows his party and what he wants, to create his campaign his way.
The OSR succeeded as an 'indie' movement where Storygames failed because it was pro-D&D, it was pro-GM, it was pro-ongoing-play, and it was pro-gamer.
Seeing this squabble among the shattered remnants of the movement that had intended to tell us all how we had to play is pretty delicious. Tastes like victory.
Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker + Gawith's Balkan Flake