Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sustainable RPGing: A Letter to the OSR

As I gathered my resources for my OSRIC game I couldn't help but notice something. There are only two books, both out of print, by a major publisher. The City State book is by Sword and Sorcery, I am pretty sure they are White Wolf. The Gygax Names book is by Troll Lord and I am not even sure they qualify as a major publisher. The setting is coming from Goodman Games, some of their stuff is available in B&N so I guess they could be major. But, Points of Light II is written by Rob Conley so it keeps its small community cred as far as I am concerned. Everything else is self published in some fashion. Written by people whose blogs I read.

I get a lot of use out of the Names book, so it was hardly purchased for this campaign. The City State book has been sitting on my shelf for years, I just saw a chance to use it (maybe, if needed). So every single dollar, minus printing costs, spent on this game went right back into the gaming community. Those dollars stayed in gaming. They didn't get taken out for dividends, the weren't used for more popular things by a corporate entity. They went to the creators who will most likely use them to make/buy new gaming stuff.

I am going to nickname that sustainable gaming. Not in any real economic sense, obviously everyone has day jobs, but in the sense that we can get everything we need from each other. I am just using a popular buzzword to describe it. We could do this electronically, or through word of mouth before. Now we can do it by buying actual, quality print products.

As I have said before, I am not an old school purist. I love 4th edition, GURPS, and I am looking forward to trying out this WFRP 3rd edition box I have here. Old school gaming is one of many, many styles I enjoy. I even enjoy "story" games. That means that you are sustainable from the point of view of an outsider to your movement. You can draw people in, and they can make do with only your products. I don't know if this was a planned goal or not, but you accomplished it.

The idea of that much quality, community generated content is something I can get behind. You have created your own little RPG economy. So give yourselves a hand OSR. This can only make it easier to get new people in.

You have several excellent rule sets, a good volume of modules, you are really starting to put out different and interesting campaign settings, and you have the two best gaming mags out there right now. Keep up the good work.