The past three months have been tough on a personal front, with ongoing issues regarding a family member's health and a rapid fire series of home ownership issues. I've not been able to do any writing of real substance and even had to turn down a freelance job I very much wanted to take. After being displaced from my home for almost four months, I'm finally back home and ready to turn my attention to work again.
But, the problem is that I've got so many projects in a partially completed state that I'm at a loss of where to start. I've got the following projects in various states being drafted and can't bring myself to focus on any particular one in order to bring it to completion.
Saga of the White Box: A stand-alone White Box variant drawing from Norse mythology as a primary focus, particularly the Poetic and Prose Eddas.
White Knights: A stand-alone White Box variant focused on telling stories set during the Crusades and focused on playing crusader knights.
Rad Box: A stand-alone White Box variant dealing with the post-apocalypse genre.
Cybermancer: An homage to and rules clean-up of Shadowrun, particularly the 1st and 2nd ed versions.
Untold Adventures: A Jamesification of B/X D&D and Labyrinth Lord.
Swords of Bulsara: An original system sword-and-planet RPG.
White Star: Lightspeed: A supplement for White Star: Galaxy Edition focusing on starships and space travel.
Heroes of Amherth: A conversion of The Chronicles of Amherth to The Hero's Journey.
I'm usually not this scatter-brained. In fact, I usually hyper-focus on a single project and plow through it at a pretty good clip. But each of these products is sitting in a drafted state, some as much as 50+ pages and now I can't just freakin' pick one and go. No real point or statement to this blog entry, I suppose -- just venting my frustration.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Sunday, March 4, 2018
A large part of the appeal of the OSR is built on nostalgia. Players look to relive those halcyon days of their gaming youth. Simpler rules for simpler times. Yes, there's a lot to be said from a theory and design point of view for a minimalist take on rules design, but I think to deny the wistful gaze into the past we often feel when playing these games is foolish.
The past few months have been very rough for me on a personal level. I won't go into detail, because that's not what this blog is about. I genuinely long for the simpler times in my life. For the days when I got home from school, pulled out my Rules Cyclopedia and my graph paper and just went at it for hours on end. It was a simpler time. Now, I'm an adult. I have the responsibilities and concerns of an adult. The OSR lets me at least remember those simpler times, to hold a time capsule of my own youth bound up in a print-on-demand cover.
But somehow, I can't go home again. Instead of ignoring or house ruling something and going with it, I break it all down to its smallest parts and try to figure it out. Analyze, study, play test. It's something it never was back in my youth: It's work.
I was looking at my bookcase today when this all hit me. I own physical copies of several versions of old school D&D or versions that would qualify as retro-clones: Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry Complete, Swords & Wizardry White Box, White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Adventures Dark and Deep, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Basic/Expert D&D, Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Rules Cyclopedia, and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Hell, I even wrote one myself: The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying. I stopped counting once I hit the teens.
Why? Whenever I look at my shelf, I always default to either Labyrinth Lord, White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, or The Hero's Journey. So why do I keep buying retro-clones? I'm not a collector by any measure. Part of it, I know, is a way to peek into the minds of other game designers. But I can do that just as easily with a PDF. Part of it is also, undoubtedly, a desire to show support for other publishers with my wallet. We're all in it together, after all.
But as I starred at that shelf, I knew the real answer. I'm chasing that twelve year old kid I used to be. Problem is, I just can't leave well enough alone. I can't just game. It's become work. It's become this kind of ceaseless quest to find the perfect game that will somehow whisk me away to junior high -- and I'm not sure that's possible anymore.
I often wonder if it would be best to cut myself off. To simply select a game and use it as my singular go-to -- at least in terms of running games. Yet somehow, I always hold myself back from doing just that. Maybe it's because I'm not twelve anymore, and I never will be again.