Saturday, December 17, 2016

Remembering Grognardia

I try to remember that ideas are cheap, but player interest is often priceless.  For some, it can be a hard lesson to learn, but once understood, it more than repays the time and effort spent acquiring it.

~ James Maliszewski

I was going to title this blog post, "Looking Back," but it's really going to focus on the OSR blog of OSR blogs, back when the OSR was just becoming a thing - Grognardia!

I was tuning in a little later than most of the original OSR folks - early 2013.  That's just after Grognardia "went dark."  I probably read about a dozen of +James Maliszewski's posts.  They were good, but by then James was mostly reviewing products or talking about the Gygax foundation / memorial / statue or whatever it is (was).

Grognardia was a bit intimidating and maybe it was my assumption that James and similar folks into the old school ways were "fundamentalists" when it came to D&D.  Perhaps I had heard some negative things about the Dwimmermount Kickstarter or "OSR Taliban" from +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGpundit).

I'm not sure what it was exactly, but I never went that deep into Grognardia... until recently.  Everything from his unsure trials with old school mechanics, DM style, and campaign setting (a megadungeon) to his love of "pulp fantasy" to theorizing about what made D&D so awesome back in the day.  Some of our experiences are eerily similar, others are just really interesting (like his assumptions about 4th edition D&D based on pre-release announcements).  But there's real knowledge, experience, and understanding in many of those older posts.

Here are just a few favorites of mine:  Pulp FantasyGary Gygax 1979, Dice as Oracle, Rough Edges,  Old School Culture, and My Megadungeon: Dwimmermount.

Speaking of Dwimmermount, I'm very interested in buying / reading / running this campaign in the near future... when I start GMing again, of course.

Dwimmermount was James' rejection of "modern" D&D for some kind of primordial version - to see if he could implement the old ways and capture that nostalgic vibe from the 70s and early 80s.  Not merely because he wanted to re-create the past, but he was seeking a return to the much-more-satisfying roots of our beloved hobby.

I started blogging about old school gaming stuff shortly after James stopped.  Here's my first post from March 14th, 2013.  It was shortly after that that I self-published my own crash course in old school fantasy roleplaying experimentation with Liberation of the Demon Slayer.