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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Classic Rant: To All Would-Be Censors Out There

Look, I get that it is really inconvenient for you to be called censors by people like me. 
You know that word, even now in our society's extreme decadence, still has the capacity to turn people against you, and so you want to lie, manipulate, or use weasel-words to explain that even though you want to ban things and silence people you're somehow technically not a censor. 

Or maybe it bothers you because there is still some vestige of principles hidden deep within a lot of you, that makes you understand that you're actually monsters in terms of what you are doing when you are trying to silence other people. And that this in turn makes you desperately want to try to find some excuse to justify yourselves. 
Because you know that you're actually the bad guys; that our whole culture has for the last couple of hundred years at least considered the people that want to FORCE others to think like them to be pretty much monsters because history has generally proved this true. And ALL of those other assholes who used to do it always claimed they had the very best of reasons. Pol Pot claimed he was doing his thing for social justice, and the guys who invented the Comics Code Authority felt they were just "showing the door" to all those terrible homosexuals, communists, and minorities who were "trying to corrupt America's youth". 
In exactly the same way, you are trying to tell yourself that it's for everyone else's benefit (especially the vulnerable), and not just your own, that YOU personally get to decide what is best for everyone else.

But the thing is, I don't give a twopenny fuck about your moral conundrum. 
If you really think that you know better than the rest of us as to what we should be allowed to read, buy or think, if you really believe that you somehow have that authority because of your education or class or just your totally unearned feelings of social superiority, then not only can you go fuck yourself with a spoon, you ABSOLUTELY DESERVE to be called out as a censoring totalitarian piece of shit over and over again at every opportunity.

And you can count on me to deliver, you gang of shitsacks.


(Originally Posted September 11, 2015)

Monday, 18 September 2017

DCC Campaign Update: Fuck Station Aleph

Last time, the PCs had found an old rocket (being slowly repaired by a bear with a dream of going into the sky), that might just be able to get them back up to somewhere near where they have to go to complete their complicated quest to get the Sunstaff, get to the Crown of Creation, and somehow rescue G.O.D.

In the process, they discovered the rocket had (long ago) belonged to the Archemaster, and they sent out his secret to the whole world, that his obsession with attractive young human girls was a product of his having been dumped by one over a century ago.


-"Remember, eating apples and bananas doesn't make you a vegan. Eating bananas and apples while acting smug about it makes you a vegan!"

-Mu's player is disappointed by the Archemaster.
"I thought he wanted a human girl for some dark ritual, and it turns out he's just pathetic."
"I'm amazed you're surprised by this, by now."

-"We have to do two things to get back up there: we need two days of good no-distraction work to fix the rocket, and careful watches to stop anyone from destroying the rocket."
"Someone is going to trash the rocket."

-PCs are discussing whether to go to Lol or the Geb asteroid, and end up planning to steal a better skyship from the Posh Elves.

-The orc newbie is directed to go empty the rocket's septic tank, and he gets attacked by a giant snake!
"There's motherfucking snakes in this motherfucking rocket!"

-"Mongo, no! Stay back, you don't know where that thing has been!"
"We know where it's been, it's been in the septic tank!"
"Oh, right, the snake is probably filthy too."

-The snake is on its last legs after Sami hits it with a well-placed dagger... well, you know what I mean. The Vegan kills it.
"I'm not retrieving that dagger, it's lost to me."
"It's covered in shit!"
"I'll take it!"

-The party gets back to work on the rocket, but didn't actually clean up the spillage from the septic tank, or the dead shit-covered snake.
This ends up attracting a pair of Shit-Eaters, hideous slime-monsters that feed on... well, you  know.

-"Are they made of shit?"
"A certain percentage of them is made of shit."

-"They were drawn by the septic runoff."
"So can't we just back away from them and let them eat it all?"
"The problem is we all have tastier shit. You know, inside us."

-"I have a plan! Quick, shit on my hands!"
"You already owe me too much money, dude."
"What the fuck is happening here?! When the fuck did this get so weird?"
"You didn't see things thus far as weird?"
"Maybe Heidi is secretly Dutch?"

-They manage to wipe out the Shit-Eaters, and the Vegan Mutant levels up into a Wizard. In following with most wizards in the campaign he gets several mostly-useless spells, but he also gets Animal Summoning, which is a potentially decent spell.
"I collect bear hairs."
"So, if he gets hair from space-bear, does that mean he'll summon sentient bears?"
"We all know why you're really asking that, Sami."

-The Vegan Wizard's only good spell (animal summoning) has the mercurial effect that he randomly corrodes a nearby metallic object every time he casts it. So he picks up several dozen chunks of scrap metal from the rocket repairs.
"OK, that's a good plan, but where are you going to carry all that?"
"I have this sack full of weed, I could use the sack.."
"We'll need to empty that out.. let's get to work!"

-The rocket is ready but the party is undecided where to go (the plan being to go somewhere to probably steal a better ship than this piece of crap they're on); so they decide to check the comments on the video of the Archemaster's humiliation to see if it gives them any ideas. The video got 400000 hits, and over 2500 comments!
"There's tons of comments from the Kekistani Air Force; they keep calling him a 'cuck' for some reason."

-"Hmmm... there's also a lot of comments coming from Fuck Station Aleph."

-Fuck Station Aleph was originally created as an orbital space station with a mega-cannon, meant to be used against the Dark Ones. The weapon failed, and the place was abandoned for centuries until squatters moved in, and eventually the whole place got turned into an enormous red-light-district of the skies. Obviously, the party decides to go there.

-The rocket takes off and it's a very shaky ride. But eventually the station is in sight.
"No, Space Bear, that's no moon.. that's Fuck Station Aleph."

-Fuck Station Aleph looks like a pimped-out Death Star with 'Get It Here' written on one side in giant letters a mile wide.

-The Rocket's landing thrusters are unstable, and it's going to crash into the outer-hull of Fuck Station Aleph.
"Attention, Fuck Station Aleph, we are out of control. We're going to be coming down hard on you."
"Ha ha!"

-The rocket's crash is not terrible, but it does damage the outer hull of the station, and renders the rocket inoperable. The PCs are greeted by a rescue-crew of large humanoid space-gerbils, and a hot tree-woman.
"The Vegan is turned on."

-The Station is gigantic, and has a lot more than just prostitutes. There's an enormous bazaar, and tons of other services. After trading out some gems for credits, the bulk of the PCs want to get high-tech weapons and armor, while Mu wants very badly to check out the magic shops. A passer-by informs him the magic alley is near "the Orgasmotron". They find Tech City first, and Mu decides to ask one of the sales reps for directions.
"Excuse me, sir... do you know where the Orgasmotron is?"
"Oh, you're one of THOSE people.."
"What? No! I didn't mean that!"
"Oh let me guess, you're 'just asking for a friend'."

-The party doesn't just buy high-tech weapons and armor, they also buy healing nanobot hypo-sprays, much to the chagrin of Sami the cleric.
"Hey, don't be offended! This is just in case you die... wait, let me rephrase that: this is for when you die."

-"You always stock up when you get to any high-tech area, because you know that most of the time you'll be stuck in some shit-hole where you're lucky if you can get a pointed stick."

-The Magic Alley of Fuck Station Aleph is not as promising as Tech City was. It's got lots of places selling dubious fortune-telling, Reiki To Full Completion, and Crystal Bead Therapy.

-They find a magic bookstore, mainly filled with useless junk and new-age books. But the Vegan Wizard casts Detect Magic and takes note that there are a few scrolls behind the counter and one book in the "antique books" section that are actually magical. The book is a sinister-looking thing called The Red Grimoire.
"Does it have an index?"
"Does it have a bookmark?"
"No, but it does have one page with a blood-soaked fingerprint mark on it."

-The owner is an obese middle-aged hippie named Grizelda.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for a specific scroll and I'm wondering if you have it?"
"What is it?"
"You know, I don't recall if I have that!"

-The Vegan Mutant is caught trying to tear a page off the Red Grimoire!
"Please don't call the security force! He's just an idiot"
"Yeah, he can work for you!"
"I don't need anyone to work here!"
"Well, maybe you could think of something?"
"Hmm... well, he is frail and sickly.. that's just my type!"
"Oh no..."

-The party leaves the Vegan Wizard behind for a night of what will no doubt be extreme discomfort. Mu makes himself invisible and hides in the store when Grizelda closes it, deciding he might as well make use of the Vegan's temporary status as harem-boy to steal all the scrolls and the Red Grimoire.  Everyone else keeps checking out Magic Alley, and they find that Fuck Station Aleph has a Curiosity Shoppe!

-While stuck in the Magic bookstore, Mu starts to read the Red Grimoire.
"OK, make a Will save."
"You don't have a bonus?"
"Oh, right... 8."

-The weirdo running the curiosity shoppe only accepts barter. He ends up trading some of the PCs' junk for Ekim's Facial Surgery Mask, and a +1 Ring of Strength.
"These aren't cursed, right?"
"Nooo! However, if you use the Mask you should steer clear of high temperature areas."

-"How does this guy stay in business?!"
"Don't question it."

-Vizi also trades some useless items, but instead of a magic item, he gets some sunglasses shaped like stars.

-After leaving the Curiosity Shoppe and while heading to a bar to find a pilot (they decided they might as well hire a ship, rather than steal it), they pass by the magic bookstore and see Mu there. Mu's got the scrolls and the Red Grimoire, but he can't figure out the code to unlock the store's front door to get out before Grizelda is done with the Vegan.  He looks pleadingly at them for help through the shop window.
"Should we let him out?"

-"You could use your sonic tool, Sami.."
"I traded it at the Curiosity Shoppe, remember?"

-Roman still has his Sonic, however. He signs to Mu that he'll let Mu out in exchange for the Red Grimoire.  At first Mu is reluctant but when the party threatens to just keep going he agrees quickly and is set free.

-"Wait, what will we do when Grizelda gets up and sees we stole the scrolls and the book?"
"We have plausible deniability... wait, let me disable that camera. There! Now we have plausible deniability."

-The pilots' bar is a typical 'hive of scum and villainy', complete with funky space-music and a crazy mix of non-human weirdos.

-"Ugh, Cyborg-Knights. I hate those guys."
"What are they?"
"They're cyborgs who are also knights."

-The bar also has a dog-man, someone in a "Sky Police" uniform, and a black guy with an afro and a kind of sci-fi pimp outfit with a cape.
"That guy has a cape, so you know he's cool"

-The cape-guy also has sunglasses shaped like triangles, so Vizi instantly heads to talk to him. Heidi goes to check out the Sky Policeman instead.

-The Sky Policeman is the last survivor of the Sky Police, who were wiped out a few years back by the Sky-Nazis.  He's a deeply traumatized law & order square. He's willing to take on the PCs' mission if it's for the sake of "law and order", and to do it for free, but gives off a clear sense that he could have problems all his own.
"You're not going to engage in any unlawful behavior, right?"
"Oh, yeah, we're totally in it for the Law & Order."

-"I mean, of course, sometimes we break a few of the rules; you know, for the sake of getting things done."
"Well... that's probably fine. I mean, I was a bit of a rules-breaker myself. I was the first man in the Sky Police to break regulations and grow a mustache! But I shaved it off two days later."

-Vizi and the other guy spend a few moments congratulating each other on their cool shades, before they're joined by Roman who wants to get actual facts.
"So what's your name?"
"Blitzkrieg Sakomano!"
"Are you a great pilot?"
"Man, I did the Kossuth Run in 42 minutes!"
"Wow. That's like, 12 parsecs!"

-"Look, we need to stay under the radar."
"That's cool, 'under the radar' is my middle name."
"So wait.. your name is Blitzkrieg Under The Radar Sakomano?"
"That's a rad name!"

-"Would you accept part of your payment in 'medicinal herbs'?"
"Shit, yeah!"
"I can see we're going to get along just fine."

-The PCs are divided as to whether to go with the Sky Policeman or Sakomano. Heidi, Sami, and Mu want to go with the Sky-cop, while Roman, Vizi and Space-Bear want to go with Sakomano.
"Dude, the Sky-cop wants law & order. We were on Fuck Station Aleph for less than two hours and we already committed grand robbery."
"Well, let's agree not to do it again, OK?"
"Oh, please. We all know we suck at not being horrible people, Heidi."

-The vote is still tied.
"We could ask the Vegan?"
"No, lets just flip a coin."
"Yeah, that sounds better."
"I have a fake Smithplium coin. I think it's symbolic of everything this group stands for."
-The coin-flip comes up for Sakomano.
"Ok, but he wants money, unlike the other guy. How do we pay him?"
"I still have the 4900 you gave me, that's almost half of what he's asking up-front."
"Yeah, but what he wants up front is only half of what he's asking in total!"
"That's a problem for Future-Us."

-Meanwhile, Grizelda was finally done with the Vegan Wizard. As soon as she stepped out front into her shop, she realized she'd been robbed. As soon as she stepped back into the back room, the Vegan mutant brutally murders her by summoning several snakes to surprise-attack her.  Then he robs the till and high-tails it out of there, since she'd managed to call for security before he killed her.
"Holy shit! What did you just do?!"
"So much for 'under the radar'."

-Trying to find his companions, the Vegan Wizard gets to the Curiosity Shoppe.
"Do you know where the adventurers who were here earlier went?"
"Are you asking 'do you have information on where the adventurers who were here earlier went'?"
"I DO!"

-"OK, so we'll meet up with you in hangar bay 6 in a couple of hours after I've completed the ship's safety checks."
"Guys? I just saw an alert. The Vegan just murdered someone. Should we leave earlier?"
"Sure we can. Shit, how many security checks do we need, really?"

-"The bear will be my co-pilot!"
"Didn't you say 'Blitzkrieg Sakomano flies alone' like five minutes ago?"
"Blitzkrieg changed his mind!"

-"That's my ship over there.. the Superfly-1!"

-Heidi, Sami and Mongo had gone to get some final supplies. Only Mongo makes his perception check and notices the "wanted" alert for the Vegan wizard, but the others ignore him.

-The station security guards spot the Vegan at the cargo bay and start to chase him.
"Man, I'm glad we didn't go with the Space-cop!"

-"If the shit hits the fan, I'll fly Mongo to the ship, you save the Vegan."
"If we're in trouble.."
"No, I mean why save the vegan?"
"He has the money."

-Mu had just bought a jet-pack. He uses it to try to fly straight to the Superfly-1. But having never flown it before, he fails spectacularly and slams into the side of a Kekistani Meme-Transport Ship.
-"I turn invisible."
"Why didn't you do that before crashing your jetpack?"
"I was nervous, mistakes were made!"

-Blitzkrieg gets Space Bear to start up the ship, while he fires on the guards to cover the PCs still making their way over.

-There's a crazy firefight, with several party members still all but hanging off the gangplank when the ship takes off and escapes from the hangar of Fuck Station Aleph.  It looks like no one actually died, but Blitzkrieg is eager to fly them out of there as quickly as possible, as they might be pursued.
"Next stop, Geb! Punch it, Space-Bear."

-"Great. That's one more locale on our list of 'places we can never go back to again'."

That's it for today. The PCs have a cool new pilot and a cool new ship and they're finally on the way to Geb. That is, assuming they can avoid pursuit from Fuck Station Aleph's Valkyrie fighters.


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Post-Apocalypse Wuxia Campaign Update

Our latest adventure in this series went very well. The characters went into the northern tribelands, into a forest in search of a 'forbidden temple'.

They fought a group of yeti-men.

They found the 'temple' which was actually a ruined Ancients' power plant.

 They had to fight some crazed Qi-empowered soldiers, which led the party to suspect that there's some kind of conspiracy  happening in the Northern Guardians Clan.

They also fought a tentacled blob-monster, and a Fire Ogre.

Now you know, I've had some readers asking me if my DCC campaign is as Gonzo as the updates sound. And the answer is yes. It absolutely is. It's Gonzo to "11".

But this campaign, when I read it above, sounds a lot more gonzo than it really is.  It's mostly about low-key adventuring and political intrigue in a highly unstable empire full of rival clans.

It's a little Gonzo. But not as much as it looks.

Anyways, that's it for now.


Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + C&D's Crowley's Best

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Real Class-Warfare and Relativism

Recently, someone on theRPGsite challenged me to read an article that's gone somewhat viral, from the Atlantic.  It was about the way, allegedly, that America (but especially the Right) has "lost touch with reality".  The person who challenged me on it claimed I would probably not read it, because it was 'critical of Trump'.

But it's the Atlantic. You don't need to bother saying it'll be highly critical of Trump; that's repetitive.

And the assumption was fundamentally wrong; telling me that something doesn't agree with my views makes me MORE likely to read something, rather than less. I'm much more interesting in seeing what the enemy thinks than in reading gushing cheerleading from my own side. It's why I read or watch surprisingly few right-wing media sources, usually the informative ones (Breitbart, The Rebel, The Thinkery -though Sargon would object to being called right-wing) and almost never the ones that are just about how awesome we are.

Now, as to the article itself: my overall analysis is that it is too clever to even be wrong, and thus creates the illusion of a coherent argument when it is in fact championing something else entirely.

The way author conflates the rise of the idiotic new-age "Green Meme" (as Ken Wilber puts it) with the methodical and intentional Anti-Western position of the academic relativists and deconstructionists is either naive or intentionally deceptive.
The notion that the Right was opposed to relativism because it was "threatening to their white privilege" is insulting. They objected to relativism because it denied the reality of Objective Truth, and people on the Right (be it for religious reasons, or philosophical reasons) understood the consequences of spreading that lie that 'nothing is true'.

Also, it was ultimately not the 'elite left and the populist right' who were on the same side. It was the Establishment Elite, on both sides. The Neocons betrayed the right-wing intelligentsia when they decided that 'we can create our own reality' was a great excuse for their empire-building fantasies. The Leftist elites created this myth that America was the worst country in the world and Western Civilization the worst civilization in the world, and needed to make up for it. Both of these lies seem opposed, but in fact both of them served a single goal: Establishment Statist-Corporate Globalism. In practice, that was the purpose of it, to destabilize and destroy our Civilization to create a civilizationless void-state run by Public Employees and large Multinationals, free of all those pesky barriers to their power like nationalism, democracy, or free speech.

Their problem is: it isn't working. Not just because of the opposition of people like me. But fundamentally, because these people are all a gang of nepotistic inbred incompetents. The further they get in their goals the less they can make things actually function, so we've had a collapse of economic success and a collapse of military/police stability, and all those foreign workers that they needed to import are turning out to be causing more problems than they're fixing and all of this is just generating much more pushback from the hoi poloi than any of them had expected.

Well, sort of. Almost anyone. Because if you look at the pre-marxist model of Class Warfare, this is obvious. There are really only two classes, which were elaborated on (before Marx ever came up with his nonsense) by the Enlightenment Philosophers as the "productive class" and the "political class", but would now be better put as "producers" and "parasites".
These people who have pushed for the erosion of our civilization and (to that end) the elimination of the idea of absolute values are every one of them to a man (or woman, or miscellaneous) part of the Parasite Class. The Rich Rockefeller Republicans, the Hippie bullshit-selling academics, the Celebrities, the Lobbyists and 'career Activists', and the people who work that very special type of corporate job that involves making money without creating anything and often without even selling anything.

It is inevitable that the Parasite Class, achieving their goals, will bring down whatever polity they've managed to subvert to the level of harm that there will be a revolution against them from the people of the productive class: actual workers, actual farmers, actual businessmen, actual artists, actual intellectuals, actual aristocrats, etc.

All of these groups have ultimately got more in common with each other than with anyone (even someone closer to their own income level, whichever it is) from the Parasite Class; and the more the Parasite Class fucks everything up the more the varied members of the productive Class from such different backgrounds realize that. That's why today you have the alliances of Atheist Biologists and Gay Dilettantes and Game-designing Shitlords and Christian Factory Workers and Computer Engineers into Meditation and Jewish writers that aren't self-hating and Black Cops and Anthropology Professors who actually did their work and crazy half-Latino wizards and Lesbian Feminists who don't want little girls' clits cut off even if they're not white little girls.

You know, "deplorables".

It's not about Republican or Democrat, because the Republican Establishment is as completely a part of the Parasite Class as the Democrat Establishment are. It's not about Rich vs. Poor, which is what leftists don't get when they ask why it is that the working poor feel like the multi-millionaire Clintons don't represent them but somehow feel that multi-millionaire Trump does. It's not even about religious vs secular, except in the sense that those religious people and communities that actually believe in something will stand against the Parasite Class (unless what they believe in can be defined as "the destruction of western civilization", a belief strongly-shared by faith communities of Gaia-cults and Salafist Islamism alike), even if they don't get all they want from it and even if some of their fellow spokespeople in the opposition seem like 'sinners' to them.

The idea in the article that "the Right became more unhinged than the Left" is absurd. The left has become SO unhinged that it has essentially abandoned the Productive Class altogether. That's why in some ways the Democrats (in spite of their massive losses last year) seem stronger or more-united than the GOP, and at the same time why they can't win an election outside of massive urban megalopolises disproportionately populated by the Parasite Class.

It's because what had come to emerge gradually after WWII, in almost all the West, was a situation where the elites of the mainstream political parties of all Western Democracies had been taken over by the Parasite Class (who had always had a strong, but not a virtually absolute showing among the Political Elite like they do now) while they continued to use smoke & mirrors to fool the rubes in the Productive Class into following along with them.

But the inevitable result of the mass-embracing of relativism the way it was done on the Left was that by the end of the 1990s the Left has, almost everywhere in the West, just decided to slowly and then quickly purge its ranks of the Productive Class altogether. They are so Unhinged that Hillary Clinton thought she could shit all over the actual working citizens of the country, call over half the nation "Deplorables" and applaud feminists who were making videos for her about the Extermination of White Males, and still win.

By the time the article gets to the part about the internet, its argument is laid bare as having the agenda of someone who is very clearly a member of the Parasite Class resenting the loss of their ability to Invent THEIR Own Reality, and how the democratization of information on the internet has meant that the Establishment is no longer able to decide for you what information you will or won't see. Has that led to all kinds of people believing all kinds of idiotic things? Sure. It's also led to Wikipedia. And to Wikileaks. It's also led to the mass exposing and laying bare of the Parasite Class and all their teams: showing the bad behavior of leftist academia, showing the corruption and criminality of the DNC and the Clintons, exposing the control-freak nature of the Big State and the Deep State alike.

And part of why they despise Trump so, so badly and madly is that he is anti-Establishment (as the article correctly suggests, but not for the reasons they suggest) but moreso because he is just so much better than they are at using their own weapons, and turns it against them; and at mastering that free-flowing democratized-information Internet to bring together everyone who fucking hates the goddamn fucking Parasite Class.

The author here (who if you're familiar with him, is a longstanding member of the Establishment Left) is not actually trying to condemn relativism. He's bemoaning the loss of control of the failing Parasite Class, too incompetent and useless to even put on an effective Totalitarian State. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't just keep trying harder, becoming more repressive, and trying even more to use propaganda like this to get tighter and tighter grips on control.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake

Friday, 15 September 2017

What I'm Working On!

So, as I've been assured that the Pundit Presents series of short products should be starting to come out sometime very soon, so I decided that this week I would get off my lazy ass and start making some new material.

This week, I'm working on a product called "Last Sun: Gazetteer of the Middle-Northern Wilderlands".

It is a bare-bones guide to the original starting region of my Last Sun gonzo campaign.  The bulk of it will be a totally different Occupation table for starting characters, with some information about certain items they have.

So anyways, stay tuned! I'm really really hoping that you'll be able to start getting the Pundit Presents series sometime real soon.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Billiard + Image Latakia

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Classic Rant: The Americanism of D&D and the Gonzo Aesthetic

It isn't a new subject, in fact I've brought it up a few times in the past, but a recent essay that is really quite good addresses the issue of how D&D, in terms of its setting and ambiance, is fundamentally an American invention (written by a gamer who started to understand D&D better after visiting America for the first time in 30 years of being a gamer). The default "world" of D&D is full of Americanisms. It isn't really, in that default state, "European fantasy"; it is rather very much 'American Fantasy'. It is only Europe as Hollywood imagined it.

There's another important point: D&D in its origins is Gonzo. It was in fact invented around the same time that this very particularly American version of magical realism came to exist as a literary form of its own. 
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the seminal Gonzo novel, was published in 1971. D&D came into being in '74, after a process of many years of protodevelopment. Whether or not Gygax, Arneson and co. had ever read Hunter S. Thompson, the vibe of Gonzo was everywhere at that time, and had created big effects on the general culture (while today, Gonzo has become so normalized in American popular culture that we pretty much no longer distinguish it except for in its most blatantly exaggerated forms).

One big part of why D&D is so American is because it is so Gonzo. The weirdness of Gonzo is a thoroughly American weirdness, very different from the weirdness of, say, Alejandro Jodorowsky and what the latter did to comics and scifi aesthetics in Europe and Latin America.

What this means, however, is that it is relatively easy to De-Americanize D&D, by shifting out of the gonzo aesthetic (plus by adding a bit more historical and cultural rigor).

In the linked essay, the author suggests that maybe D&D is better when it's not trying to be more "historical" (rather than American pseudo-historical). Obviously, I disagree. Dark Albion lets you recreate D&D in a new and exciting way. The shifting out of Gonzo and into a grittier and more factual kind of historical reality let's you explore all kinds of worlds in D&D that the Americanized version does not. Consider, for example, the very big significance of Social Class in the Dark Albion setting, and it's almost apparently meaninglessness in most (Americanized) D&D settings. That total sense of ignorance of Class is a very American feature in general (dating back long before gonzo, of course); and putting class consciousness back into the game changes the dynamics of setting completely.

I think what all this does mean is that within the confines of the OSR boundary markers alone, we have only just barely begun to scratch the surface of what you can really do with D&D. So much of the game so far has been looking at it from a strictly American lens. Far from just assuming that will be the best way to do it, I think now we can really start to explore how the game becomes new and exciting in totally unexpected ways when you have designers creating worlds that shift out of that cultural context and are informed by different ones than the game's creators could have envisioned.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker & Brebbia no.7

(Originally Posted August 21, 2015)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Frank Mentzer Was Hanging Around With the Wrong OSR

So, famous old-school D&D creator Frank Mentzer has apparently been banned from the Dragonfoot forums.  I don't bother hanging around there, so I can't speak to the particulars of what happened.  How did a situation get so fucked up that one of the remaining living legends of D&D ended up being thrown out of a forum exclusively dedicated to old-school D&D play?  I could take a few guesses, but that's not what this short blog entry is about.

If you want more information about what happened, you can check out Tenkar's Tavern where he's been writing about this.

What I want to talk about is a quote from Mentzer, originally on the Tavern, that I was initially surprised and later less-surprised to read.

How could we get to a situation where Frank Mentzer believes that the OSR is "irrelevant to the current market" because they buy "the fewest new products"?!

The OSR is a huge section of the modern RPG hobby. Obviously not the biggest part, that would be D&D 5e, but the OSR has formed so much of a vanguard in the hobby and is so utterly relevant to the current market that more than one OSR personality (myself being one of them) was paid stupid amounts of money by Wizards of the Coast to make their latest edition of D&D successful by making it more like the OSR.

And the old-school crowd on theRPGsite, which is one of the biggest membership-groups in the forum, are big-time purchasers of RPG products (and not just OSR stuff, for that matter).

But the reality of what might have caused Mr. Mentzer to think this way is pretty basic, really: he's been hanging around with the Wrong OSR.  While not the worst of the worst, the df forums are still one of the areas where the old "OSR Taliban" had serious prevalence. I'm sure even there, a lot of the members purchase RPG books, and not just old ones. But the overall attitude of those forums is still one of "newer stuff is crap compared to the older stuff".

That's very, very different from the attitude of the OSR at theRPGsite (and other places, like the G+ OSR communities).  Of course they love old-school material, but they don't obsess over old-school purity at all. They recognize that the time we live in today is the best of times: all the old-stuff has become accessible again thanks to the wonders of the interwebs, and at the same time there's AMAZING new material being created for old-school gaming through the OSR.  There's more genius and more creativity in old-school gaming today than there ever was before.

These are the Big Picture OSR people. They want to see what the limits are of what you can create within the landmarks of the Old-School rules, and those limits are constantly being pushed in fascinating and weird and marvelous directions.
And when great new material for old-school rules, settings, supplements and adventures come up, they buy them. They buy them in droves. As one RPG-designer to another, Mr.Mentzer, I can assure you of this, and the huge success I've had with Dark Albion is my proof.

So, Mr.Mentzer, I'm sorry for whatever has brought about this perspective for you. My advice to you is this: come check out theRPGsite! Besides our main forum, we have news & advertising forums where you can promote your stuff, and we even have a design and development forum where if you like you can go into detail about what you're working on and get advice or playtesting from fans and future customers.

Don't count the OSR out because you've had bad experiences with the Old-School Absolutists out there.


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