Wednesday, September 02, 2009

YOU'RE poorly written!*


Found a thread on "Naked Came the Gamer" on therpgsite. Discouraging, depressing. I don't follow the Old School Renaissance community closely enough to realize the absolute contempt with which so many of them regard Forge folks in general and Ron in particular (he's their favorite bete noire, but by by no means the only one).

I just don't get it. Why the hatred? Why the loathing? It's not mutual. Indie gamers tend to regard OSR folks with admiration, if anything. But a lout segment of the OSR just turn vicious when the topic of the Forge and its spinoffs comes up. Er, I meant a "loud" segment. Freudian typo.

Even though the essay challenges the OSR, the challenge is based on the premise that what they are trying to do is valuable -- the challenge is whether they are going to follow through on their valuable endeavor with integrity. (Whether or not Ron is correct about what "integrity" consists of here, the point is that he's saying "you're doing something awesome! Are you going to follow through?")

I just don't get it. If you just read the OSR threads you'd think that this was a longstanding rivalry and the Forge guys go around dissing them, likewise, crowing about how awesome forge games are and how much everybody else, including the OSR, sucks. But that never happens. There are a lot of asshole forge folks, and they say some real jerk-ass things, but pretty much always to and about each other. They don't, as a community, have a contempt for any other community of gamers. If anything they have a contempt for the traditional model of distribution.

Why the asymmetry?


Ah, reaction to Ron's article in Fight On is beginning. In my blog reader today was a piece by James Maliszewski at Grognardia, which complained that other OSR people were getting upset about it, rather than doing the proper thing and quietly shrugging and writing it off as "poorly written and nakedly self-serving." No pun intended I guess.

I like Grognardia a lot, and was kind of disappointed that that was the level of engagement he displayed, but I don't know what else I expected. Grognardia's reaction to Carcosa was exactly the sort of thing Ron was complaining about.

James Raggi was called out directly by Ron, and in his response he simply tells Ron that Ron is mistaken about the nature and purpose of the changes in his work, that in fact Raggi agrees with Ron, basically, on all counts, and wouldn't do what Ron complained about him doing. So that's interesting, he didn't say "Ron, you're totally wrong! I was right to do that!" he said "Ron, you're totally right about everything except what you think I did, I didn't in fact do that, because I am on the same page in the first place!" That's actually a very positive way to disagree.

Ironically the comments to Raggi's blog, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, are much more full of snotty hating than the ones in Grognardia.

Interesting stuff all around; I hope to see more. Maybe I'll have to find some fora where they're discussing it.

Of course, I'll be really geeked when somebody actually buys S/Lay w/Me in response to all that and starts publically hating on or digging my artwork.

* the title of this post is an inside joke which as far as I know will make exactly one reader of this blog chuckle. Hi Dave!

UPDATE: Grognardia's well over 119 comments now, including some thoughtful stuff, positive and negative, and bucketloads of stupid. James M himself does not contribute at all to the stupid in the comments, to his credit, and insists that only a very small fraction of Old School Renaissance folks know about Ron and the Forge, and only a small fraction of those dislike them. It's just that they're very loud people.

As far as I know, there are no loud Forge people hating on neo-grognards, nor spending long comment threads railing against caricatured boogeymen of them, so there's some asymmetry there. Seems a pity. The two groups sure seem to have a lot in common to me.


Jeff Rients said...

Just found this post a month later. Personally I would have been a lot less snotty had the article not suddenly turned into a commercial at the end. It ended up sounding like "Here's everything you guys are doing wrong, so buy my book!" It could have been pretty much anyone and that tactic would put me off. Like the guy who came to my local con with a hard science sci-fi wargame he was demoing. Half of his pitch was slagging on Star Fleet Battles despite the fact that it was obvious that given how complicated his product was, SFB fans were his only possible audience. Or how so many fantasy heartbreakers waste a lot of time harshing D&D. If Ron Edwards wants to call out the OSR, by all means he should go for it. If he wants to sell a book, more power to him. Juxtaposing the two just came off as bad form.

Ed H said...

Hey Jeff. Thanks for stopping by. I think Ron left himself open to that criticism, for sure. And if that's the only problem you've got with the whole thing, I've got no beef whatsoever with that.

BTW, your blog and Grognardia are the two places where I actually keep in touch with the OSR. Thanks for getting me interested in the scene! (I only found Grognardia cause you linked to James. I think I found your blog searching for some T&T stuff, probably.)

Adam Black said...

I'm just happy that the kind of art I normally draw was actually relevant to an RPG for a change. It was nice to not have to tone things down just because people are scared to death of nipples. :)

Trey said...

Reading this late, but...I would say it goes beyond the Ron thing. I've seen comments about certain message boards being hostile to OSR folks, though I haven't actually seen the hostility. Which is not to say its never occurred, but it's difficult for me to see it being widespread.

I think some of it is a tendency on the part of some people to experience any disagreement as an attack. Others I think are out to prove their side is "right" and that's only meaningful if there's another side to be "right" in comparision to.