Friday, September 30, 2016

A Retraction, A Clarification, and Some Inspiration

A flurry of discussion followed my last post, and a man whom I deeply respect (Daddy Warpig)offered up this bit of constructive criticism:
Pundit believes the OSR, and D&D as a whole, is too tied to Western Fantasy tropes. He thinks Appendix N keeps the OSR mired in the same-old, same-old, basically regurgitating D&D over and over, producing game after game (ACK! LFP! 30 other clones!) that are little more than slight variations on D&D, with no true innovations in setting or mechanics. He opposes this, hence his OSR game was Arrows of Indra, dungeoncrawling in ancient India.

His disdain for N is based on a genuine philosophical difference, a genuine desire to see the OSR innovate, not economic concerns. It's unfortunate that the "Pundit just cares about money" became the common belief in the Pulp Revolution crowd.
Daddy Warpig spent some time panning in the gravel bed of Pundit's ravings and came up with a golden nugget there.  Forget all of the RPG Pundit's bleatings and wargarbl, his proxy makes an excellent point.  His selective data bias makes him blind to the exact same calls for innovation that come from within the Pulp Revolution.  Hell, it had a full blown discussion about how the "SF/F Counter-Reformation" makes for a more inclusive and precise description, and only abandoned that title because it is too wordy and esoteric.  People who approach the Pulpsters in good faith will see that themselves, and all the hand-holding in the world won't help those so blind to the Pulp Revolution's aims and goals that they refuse to see.

Regardless, I was wrong to ascribe motive where it was not clear.  I officially retract my accusation that the RPGPundit hates the Appendix N because it competes with his won products for RPG inspiration and tabletime.  The previous blog post has been amended accordingly.

That said...even as I inhaled to point out where Daddy Warpig missed an important point, he continued:
Pundit may be right about the variety of D&D clones in the OSR, but he is DEAD WRONG about the value of Appendix N for readers, however. as I said on Twitter, for a lot of people, Appendix N isn't about gaming anymore. It's about rediscovering the classic roots of SF/F. And for a lot of those people, it's about reinvigorating SF/F tales with the energy and fun of those same classics.

I'm not saying he's RIGHT, I'm saying he's SINCERE. There's a big difference there. I think the lack of innovation in the OSR is that people aren't going back to the pulps ENOUGH. There's so much more wildness and weirdness and awesomeness there that could make for some very cool roleplaying games.
It's not rocket science: better source material leads to better new material.
There you go.  That's it in a nutshell. The Pulp Revolution isn't calling for the train to return to a particular station and halt there forever more.  The Pulp Revolution is calling for the train to return to a string of stations and then set out along a different set of tracks than the one that brought us the bleak and insipid SF/F culture that we have today.

We can do better, but we should learn from the masters, not from the guys who imitate the guys who imitate the masters.

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