The Obscurantist age of fantasy role-playing games

It is known that i decided some time ago not to list any blog in my blogroll, and many persons and bloggers out there took this decision as meaning that i was a somehow arrogant guy or something like that, someone who wanted to live in his "ebony tower", feeling superior if compared to others.

This post marked this transition.

I was even "accused" of "hipstery" on G+ (see here). I honestly didn't know the meaning of this word in english before it being addressed at me, i had to find out in the "urban dictionary" on the web.

Now, let us think.

Look here.

Thoul on his blog unveiled (for the first time, as far as i know) in great detail a huge amount of information about an old-school fantasy rpg, called High fantasy. I have it, i know what it is like. Anyway, i  currently am aware of no other more reliable source than his blog for anyone wishing to collect info on this game of the past.He collected no more than five comments for each post that he wrote about this game (and as you can see he devoted himself to this task, and he wrote many)

Then look here.

Faoladh wrote a lot about another old-school fantasy role-playing game called "Lands of adventure" (an awesome game, published by Fantasy games unlimited , the same company who bestowed C&S as a gift to this world). He did not collect any comment for this post,except for the exchange of words i had with him, and my congrats. look at the bottom of that post to find out.

I turned to Grognardia (1420 followers, arguably the most respected and read among the osr blogs)-and took a look at the retrospectives to see if things were better.

In order:

Powers & Perils (here): a total of 26 comments

Adventures in fantasy (here): a total of 22 comments (AIF was co-written by a titan of the rpg industry, a man named Dave Arneson)

The Fantasy trip (here): a total of 25 comments

Stormbringer (here): a total of 21 comments

Dragonquest (here) : a total 25 comments

Swordbearer (here): a total of 16 comments

The average number of comments for all these posts and retrospectives is around twenty. It is quite a low response and number.

This is not a post against Dungeons & Dragons, similar to the ones i wrote some time ago and that you can easily find on my blog. I'm not interested anymore in attacking that game, those who follow my blog already know my position.

If the history of a discipline, or of a field of study (let us consider and regard the multitude of fantasy role-playing games that appeared since 1975 as a field of study, for a while)- if this history and development does not arouse much or enough interest among those who play old fantasy rpg's, we can only accept that. And i am not intentioned to do anything in order to change or attack this state of things.

That would be futile, pointless.
But at least we should recognize this state of affairs.
And i think it is not enough to say that the reason is just and simply that AD&D has always been and always will be the 800-lb gorilla of our hobby (as Grognardia pointed out some time ago). The reason lies in ourselves as well, in our approach to all this.

Try to think for a moment about a person engrossed in the reading of the official manuals of 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons who refuses to read any issues of Dragon magazine, stating that the articles contained therein just aren't enticing to him. So, staying, so to say, "on the surface", i certainly can play AD&D just like this.

But each one is different, and there is another guy who is eager to devour any Dragon magazine issue, perusing them, pondering them page by page, certain to find hidden treasure and wisdom in those articles. So he begin reading "The Sage advice" column, finding answers and so forth, and all the articles which goes deeper in the treatment of the rules.

The case for the lack of interest in the other fantasy role-playing games is somewhat similar.

But as i said, i accept that, i take it for granted.

To sum it up: i am not interested in stressing the possible causes of this lack of interest (the 800-lb gorilla, and such).

I am not even interested to fathom the consequences of this attitude, nor to pontificate if this attitude causes a sort of "mental paralysis", or something similar.

The only thing i want to say to my readers and to my future readers is that i am not part of this attitude because i am not for it, i do not endorse it and never will; my interest does not lie in understanding its causes, i am just interested in what this attitude stands for me.

I think such an atitude could produce spiritual harm, and i know for certain that it would make spiritual harm to me, that is- in other words, it is false that such a way of seeing the world is harmless, for a person who is in love with this "hobby".

So, at least it would make harm to me, a spiritual harm. That is why i decided to stay aloof.

I despise it all only from this point of view. You may be certain that this place will become more and more the refuge for those who are sick of Dungeons & Dragons and are searching new, shining shores.

You will be able to come here and breathe a different air, and behold another horizon.

But AD&D has really always held the sceptre, without any doubt, blazing like a sun in the sky?

Whenever i turn to forums such as the Chivalry & Sorcery community, or the Powers & Perils website and others, and i read how they heartily describe what they have always loved, the words they use to convey their feelings, i find myself so hesitant to declare it did.

This is the obscurantism to me; the passing thought that- instead of a shiny, blazing sun, something sheds darkness all around it, and layers of darkness. Hence my nightly nightmare where i see a black sun.

But forget, it is just a cry of an hermit in the desert.


rog said...

As a long time reader, don't worry about what they think.

Keep doing what you like, and we'll keep reading.

Anathemata said...

I must say likewise. You have taught me a lot about older games besides D&D, and I can't wait to learn more. Also, there are those of us who can't wait to really play these games. I have been trying to get a Wizards' World game started for a while now!

beasterbrook said...

Oh goody.. Old shool rpg stuff.. Follow..

As a rpg collector of this sort of stuff of great interest to me (I collect older and rarer rpg stuff).. Unfortunately there aren't too many people with the persistence (and sometimes money) that they become all that interested in it.. and admittedly most of it’s not that good;)

All I have to do now is to remeber to read the blog;)


Philosophical slumber said...

thank you all guys.

Jay Murphy said...

Yeah, I come here often to dip my toes in the deeper water.

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