Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Up on A Tree Stump #6: The "I" Factor

Please follow my programmed absurdity for a moment or two...

Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!




US, US, US...

Well, you follow, right?

It has come to my attention (again) that "I" and "my products" are being associated in some parts of the blogsphere with the OSR Movement.  Oh Dear.  That won't do. And let "me" explain why "I" am not "WE" or "US".

Start here.

Finished?  Thank you!  Now.  Please refer to the below extract from my Oxford dictionary:

movement |ˈmoōvmənt|noun
[often with adj. a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas the labor movement.
 Let "US" examine this definition closely as it relates to "Me" dba Pied Piper Publishing.
1)  I despise politics.  I am very good at them, do not get me wrong.  I just hate their overall feel.  The best political movement in my estimation belongs to the ranks of those beheaded during the French Revolution.  So.  I am a very bad candidate for such things, really.  That disqualifies one.  Now...
2) Social agendas are often unclear and ill-defined; there are many which may or may not be worthy and I attach myself to some personally, but never in group mode.  As that relates to culture, geez, I helped create a socio-cultural phenomena which exists to this day, but quite unintentionally, the why of which relates to...
3)..."Artistic" ideas... Ooh!  We're on to something here!  Let me take out my Oxford, again, for some slight guidance in interpreting that...
artistic |ärˈtistik|adjectivehaving or revealing natural creative skill my lack of artistic ability.• of, relating to, or characteristic of art or artistry a denial of artistic freedom her artistic temperament.
It appears that the examples all deal mainly with a singular case: "Her artistic,"my lack."  I would say that is generally good usage and appropriate for "Me" (and for other singular "Me"(s) which are not "Me") because of that.  I will also note, for the record, that I quit TSR Hobbies because of creative and company wrought political differences and pursued a free-lance writing career while educating myself.  This is covered in depth in my memoirs (which are making great headway), but suffice it for me to say now that I saw the vision changing which had been established from  early on and it assaulted my finer sensibilities and awakening tastes, then.  I knew what my choices were and I made them.  Further,  during an interview for Gateways Magazine #7 at DRAGONCON #1, the interviewer asked at the end of it if he could title the piece, having derived inspiration from the interview matter.  I said sure, shoot.  The title was, "The Maverick of Dungeons & Dragons."  I said, "Print it."  So for artistic measure alone, I consider myself quite singular and unique, not good for the corporate structure or flattened group think (unless one worked closely with Henry Ford in the day or in some more benign artistic companies today, by comparison, such as Tim Brown's outfit, for instance). 
So,  Where does that leave me?  Exactly where any true artist, IMO, should be.  Alone.  The OSR has its meritorious designers, but I am not here to cast a lot in favor or against them, and I hope the movement does likewise in exchange.  However, my pride at being a TSR alumnus is still with me, as I left the company but could not forsake the true friendships made and the times spent.  In fact, at DRAGONCON #1 EGG and I not only laughed and drank together for days, but we judged the final round together of the RPGA tourney I'd designed (Journey to the City of Brass).  He knew; and he appreciated everything we'd done together, and I did likewise. In keeping with my past association and camaraderie and the efforts of thousands who proceeded me at TSR, next up, a guest editorial...


Anonymous said...

Oooh, an open soapbox...

The Old School Renaissance esthetic is very open to interpretation. What's Old School for me may not be Old School for you. Does that somehow invalidate the way people play their games. I should hope not.

Many writers and publishers imitate what they see as the "classic methodology" of gaming. They tweak and twist past and modern game elements, regardless of the fact that they are seeing it through present-day eyes. Their forebearers had no such references on hand, charting their course on unknown seas.

Sure, in the past, storms arose causing some to be thrown off course, lost, or to discover great new lands. Some people are happy about history, some aren't. It should have been this way or that way. This was really supposed to be..., and so on. What matters is that each of us draws inspiration from their experiences to create something new. By gaming.

No matter that you try to label it as "classic", it never truly will be. Not if you are really creating something.

Only the future decides if it becomes a "classic". Respect history for what it was. Don't try to rationalize history in a way to justify something you are doing and label it as a re-creation.

Creations are created once. Then, new things are created.

falls off soapbox


Rob Kuntz said...

Hello GW: I would agree with most if not all but would like to point out a truth as it relates to "... Their forebearers had no such references on hand, charting their course on unknown seas." This is perhaps misleading, as we (as in the case of the hundreds of games we playtested and published, before and during TSR's reign, and more specifically, BEFORE under the aegis of the LGTSA) were amply fed by the previous history of games and game theory. IOW, creation did not (and does not, ever) occur in a VOID. In fact its processes were no different than they are today, only the tools that expedite their production and dissemination are.

As for the rest, this is as nice and neutral but firm sentiment as I have portrayed. Gygax, Arneson and Kuntz (and our contemporaries) were just gamers and game designers. We attached to no movements--especially any that would claim one did so by default, and so shall it remain. We were all IFW members, for sure, and by choice and through paying dues and understanding all of what that meant up front. We were all avid board- and miniature-game players, but we never spoke of "The Miniatures Movement" or some such.

And so it goes, to this day. People should respect the wishes of others in this matter, and if they do not, what real respect then do they have for the past that they embrace?

Anonymous said...

I apologise for being misleading. I over-generalized with the metaphor there. There I was speaking of history and painted right over it.

I'm a lousy archer and missed the mark. You said what I was attempting to:

"People should respect the wishes of others in this matter, and if they do not, what real respect then do they have for the past that they embrace?"


Rob Kuntz said...

Not to worry, the energy you spent was obvious and well-intentioned. No-one's counting (at least here).

There is much to be said for harmony, as it allows us all to get on with what each "individual" is doing.



Anonymous said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.............................................................

Rob Kuntz said...

"It takes all kinds to make a world"

True. But it takes only only one kind to destroy it.

Timeshadows said...

Sorry I have been away. :(
--Busy creating. :D

I am the postergirl for not being in the OSR.
--My Opa didn't join the Party, I'm not joinin' nothin'. ;)

Looking forward to the guest Editorialist

scottsz said...

You're more than that, Lady T.

You're doing it right. Efforts such as yours are the future of game design, at least as some of us measure it.

Totally with you on the guest editorial. It's been a very disappointing week of reading, conveniently burying Michael Curtis' success under a mountain of Pre-Ennies screaming....

Rob Kuntz said...

What Curtis accomplished with The Dungeon Alphabet did not go unrewarded. More designers should follow his innovative lead. That he designed something which cuts across all RPG mediums and is now within reach of the average consumer is very informative of his "don't look back" design view.

scottsz said...


I really expected to see a lot more joyous rallying behind truly good news this week.

Rob Kuntz said...

Yeah. An idealistic mindset never seems to prevail in the world which is mostly about,"Self". For it to happen, you have to balance selfishness with good intent, and as we've noted (just recently), that's hard for some to do,

Rob Kuntz said...

Our guest editorial will be posted Sunday night.

Hi TS! Get back to work! ;)

In fact that's where I'm heading....

"Gel-Mynds" anyone???

Dan of Earth said...

Hi Rob, just wanted to drop you a note that I understand where you're coming from. I think there is a subtly to it that some people aren't grasping, which is why there has been a small stink about it.

Rob Kuntz said...

Hello Dan,

You have always been level-headed and square, a sign not only of good sense, but also of sound professional acumen.

I don't think some people understand the difference between being in a Movement and dba as a separate and distinct artist/company with his own singular philosophy. I have been doing this a long time, through TSR, Creations Unlimited, online and off and at conventions, and now as PPP. My time never stopped ticking to :"Restart" again. Joe the Lawyer said that I don't need a reason, which is true, my choices like before are my own. But, I believe I expressed them clearly none-the-less, especially if anyone is seriously reading this blog--and many times over.

My philosophy should be clear by now to any seriously inquiring into it through what I publish, blog about or speak of at conventions. And if it is not apparent, if that does not exact the respect for this very personal ideal from others, then IMO those portraying such do not embrace the same philosophy and intents as I do; and that is becoming even more apparent through the many discordant voices raising their levels of angst, disapproval and even sillier demonstrations.

One might ask "WHY for" this reaction? And I leave that to them to deduce their own conclusions therefrom.

I will say this as I respect many who still attach themselves to the Movement. If what this Blog says in defense of my values fits, wear it. If not, don't give it the time of day, That's the challenge, you see, when one attaches themselves to a Movement, they have to suck up the good with the bad, even though the bad may not have been created by themselves.

I wish you luck as always Dan, and am still considering doing those strange insects (I have not forgotten) for Mutant Future--RJK

chatdemon said...

It's been a while, but I recall a brief conversation I had with Grodog regarding forthcoming Pied Piper material and possible conversion to OSRIC/C&C/whatever other OSR clone. My stance was always that the "old guard" designers are better off staying away from the new clone games and keeping on with the fair use compatibility approach. I'd hate to see anyone's new work suffer because of a foolish attempt to conform to a passing trend (which, I hate to say it with some of the OSR folks in the conversation, but I'm sure it's a passing trend).

So, Rob, I was glad to see this post declaring yourself "not OSR involved". Although I'd count you among the "old school publishers" keeping the old game editions alive, I've never considered Pied Piper to be OSR. And that's a good thing. If it aint broke, don't fix it, or feel obliged to join the crowd if you're chugging along well enough alone.

Rob Kuntz said...

Hi Chatdemon, long time no hear. Hope the gaming's been good! :)

Yeah, When Grodog was editor for PPP (before going on to help form Black Blade), he was sorta persistent at mentioning (more than once) that PPP take the OSRIC brand and officially embrace it as the supported system, this with the knowledge of my initial "no thank you" to OSRIC when they initially contacted me before the release of Cairn. I believe it may have been due to his involvement as an editor for them, or just plain enthusiasm, dunno. In any case I said no twice more, and with explanation.

Well, Chat. I'm not much of a crowd follower. I love people who are sincere and honest and devoted to high ideals, and have rarely found that all three of these qualities exist within many groups (most gets flattened, you see, or IMO and in my experience). It's out on the lonely plains that you'll find the wandering dreamer, and that's where you'll find me to the end of my days.

As for the passing trend note: I hope not, but I do see where that could occur and I have touched upon it some in secondary views (or flags). The main idea is to get along, and get along with creating and playing. That will resolve much of why we are doing this to begin with.

I wish you well in your travels.