Saturday, August 1, 2009

Old School Sociology



The old school gaming movement wouldn't be, well, a school, without a whole bunch of cliques. Some of whom really don't much care for each other. As with any up-and-coming scene, everyone wants to claim to be the first, or if not that, they want to at least influence the direction things take in the future. I won't name names (I might like to work with some of those people one day) but I can run down the 'salient groups' as I see them...

(1) Grognards. These guys never stopped playing the same game they started with in the 70s. They don't need or like anything that they couldn't pay $200 bucks for on EBay.
Habitat: Often seen blogging about their 30 year old Greyhawk campaign and offering intermittent and esoteric rules advice on Dragonsfoot.
Typical Quote: Why do I need (insert retro-clone here) when I still have Gary's handwritten pre-OD&D notes in my wallet?
Natural Enemy: None. He'd need Viagra to get that worked up, and besides, he just doesn't really understand online communities.

(2) The Boys in the Pub. Not quite as old as the grognards, but with more than a healthy respect for the Great Gone Gygax. Can't afford the investment needed to go-old school, so they managed to whip up their own retro-clone.
Habitat: Often seen posting definitive stylistic manifestos on message forums and selling product on Lulu.
Typical Quote: Go eat a bowl of cocks, 3tard!
Natural Enemy: The heretical, and artistically challenged Trolls Den.

(3) The Troll's Den. Pot-smokin' hippy lawyers with printing presses. Feted the Great Gone Gygax with ghostwritten glory before his untimely demise and their untimely loss of license. Their dreams of a back-engineered AD&D crumble along with their revenue.
Habitat: On the fringes of ENWorld, Dragonsfoot and the Big Purple.
Typical Quote: That's an illegal copyright violation. Why? Because I'm a lawyer, and I said so. Play my game instead. Why? Because I wrote it.
Natural Enemy: The crude and amateurish Boys in the Pub.

(4) The Northern Fringe. Outsider gamers who've jumped on the bandwagon too late to gain acceptance into one of the cliques. Can't support any retro-clone largely because they weren't involved in writing one, and they hate those people anyways.
Habitat: Cranking out 3-staple 12 page booklets on their HP printer at home while extolling their own eccentric virtues on their blog.
Typical Quote: I'll ship it to all 6 of you as soon as I can afford another ream of A4 paper.
Natural Enemy: Another blogger or internet blowhard, often a Boy in the Pub or maybe a Troll, who's chewed him a new ass online.

(5) The Celebrity Blogger. Hipsters who couldn't care less what game they or anyone else plays as long as they dig that retro-cool thing.
Habitat: On their blog, replying to comments on their own or other hip blogs. rarely seen on forums as they just don't have that much chance of personal exposure.
Typical Quote: I like Elmore AND Otus. So there!
Natural Enemy: None. Too self-possessed to think for a minute anyone doesn't like him - well, except for the Grognard that keeps sending email death threats.

(6) The Naive Gamer. Regular Joe-the-Plumber types casually scoping out the old-school scene online.
Habitat: Big gaming forums, asking innocent questions that turn into brutal 50-page flamewars.
Typical Quote: I don't understand these Edition Wars. We all roll dice, right?
Natural Enemy: Hapless prey to all of the above.

(7) The Master Bakers. Ex-employees of Strategy Game Regulations before it went belly up. Personal friends, or enemies, of the Great Gone Gygax.
Habitat: Dragonsfoot, holding court in their own personal Q&A thread.
Typical Quote: My good buddy Gary once said to me....
Natural Enemy: Mortality

(8) The Terrible Twos. Fervent proponents of SGR's 2nd Edition. Consider older editions primitive because they lack a skill system.
Habitat: Dragonsfoot, looking for people to help 'update' {insert retro-clone here} to 2nd edition.
Typical Quote: 'Stop calling Ed Greenwood a pretentious pervert you guys!'
Natural Enemy: The Boys in the Pub, who flame them at will.

P.S. If you can't find yourself in one of these cliques - that's a good thing. It means you're probably doing too much gaming to care.

17 comments:

Grim said...

Great post, Kellri

word verification : scheest.

Seems appropriate.

Allandaros said...

Wasn't able to follow all of the references; does that make me Number Six? Because I tell you, sir, I am not a number. I am a free man!

(BTW, the orbitfile link to some of your files, like Old School Encounter Reference, seems to have expired.)

joeskythedungeonbrawler said...

A GOOD EFORT.

Kerry said...

Allandaros, I located copies here:
http://kellri.truculent.org/

E.G.Palmer said...

Ouch. Kellri wields the Wicked Razor of Satire with a sure hand.

Akiva said...

Great post. Is the fact that I can find myself in several of these categories a serious problem? :-)

Tim Brannan said...

Oh crap. I recognized myself a little too easy on that list and picked a few others.

Ok, maybe I had better just get back to playing instead of talking about it. ;)

Cool stuff here, Kellri, you made me laugh!

grodog said...

Thanks for reminding us all that, "Hey, it's just a game" Scot! :D

Allan.

Akrasia said...

Hilarious! :P

satyre said...

Attention gamers! Snorting Pepsi Max through your nose hurts!!

About the only way this could have been better would have been if you had put a table for people to roll on at the top... (I kid).

Otherwise, perfect. :)

K. Bailey said...

You forgot the clique of snarky outsiders who belittle the other cliques completely oblivious to their own!

anarchist said...

At least one of these categories should be renamed 'The Not-So-Great Old Ones'.

Anton Gully said...

Where do the Arduin Grimoire guys fit in this?

ancientvaults said...

I was sweating as I read down the list that I would slip into one of these pigeonholes, but I escaped a couple...just barely.

Chris T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

"ot-smokin' hippy lawyers with printing presses" .. that is a great line.

The Arduin guys all stem from Stafford trying to commission a simpler introductory D&D from Hargrave ;) That didn't happen at all.

But this made me smile.

Teazia said...

Right on brother, I want part Deux!