Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mapping the OSR


In this post I describe people and groupings in this purely in the way in which I am most familiar with them. No offence is intended. If you are one of those people or from one of those groups and you would rather be described another way then let me know in the comments and I will amend/add your opinion so long as it is not a bucket of blancmange.

So you can consider this a ‘Living Document’. I will update it for as long as updating it makes sense and it’s still readable.

Also, this isn’t about you pimping your Zine or your G+ community, it’s not a boosterism post. We are not arguing over who has the most people. I am trying to find out where are the people.)

Also, this concentrates on the English Speaking world becasue that's all I speak

I got interested in this when I heard the guys who do the gauntlet podcast were maybe looking for someone to do an OSR-focused podcast.

When I thought about it I realised that I have no real idea what the major groupings in the OSR actually are.

The ‘scene’ in general seems to me quite anarchistic, independent, vaguely flinty, indifferent to the kind of things you need to do in order to build 'a community' in both good and bad ways and that, along with the general fragmentation brought on by the internet, intensified by the culture wars, means we live in a mosaic and don’t know much about the other pieces.

I was also wondering about just how many people can be said to be in this thing. My guess is no more than 10,000 or 20,000 people worldwide. And 20,000 is probably pushing it.

So far my awareness of the OSR is that a pretty good book will eventually sell about 2,000 copies. (EDIT, 3000 copies, and thank you Zak for correcting me.) So if the total number of readers is 10 to 20 thousand then that means 5 to 10 per cent are actually buying stuff, which is about what I would expect.

So I thought I would try to find out. This is my attempt to build a kind of map of where people are in the OSR, what they are reading and where they congregate;


Personalities

So obviously, it’s a personality-driven movement. “Wizards in Towers” as I’ve called it before.

Tenkar

I know we have Eric Tenkar over on Tenkars Tavern who I think of as being a little more traditional/less hipsterish. The leftys in my feed think this guy is right-wing, I'm not sure that he does. Tenkar, if you want to define yourself let me know and I will put it in. EDIT - Tenkar in the comments; "I'm neither right not left. Averaged out (as I hold some beliefs in common with the right and some in common with the left), I'm somewhere in the middle." He’s got his own community thing going on over there.


(Almost nine and half thousand G+ followers.)


Pundit

Then over with the Pundit on the RPGSite we have his Trumpers and Free Speechers and anyone who doesn't mind hanging out with Trump voters. I would personally characterise this as right-wing but there may be a really wide variety of people on there.

(Not that big on G+ but has his own forum.)


Dyson Logos

Dyson Logos the map maker is very central to a wide variety of groups and hated by almost nobody. Significant less through force of personality than through skill and relentless production but due to his uniqueness, his focus on patreon over publishing (he does publish a bit) and the way his talent and production intersect with his personality, I have put him here rather than down below with the publishers.

(Nearly 5 and half thousand G+ followers.)


Zak

Zak. Zak acts as a kind of fulcrum for this part of the community. I think the first time I ever heard of Scrap it was because Zak re-blogged some of her stuff. A lot of the people in my blogroll first found out about each other through Zak.

The wing of the OSR most likely to get mentioned in Vice Magazine (multiple times I think). The poncy hipster wing of the OSR.

Politics tends towards leftism with a high degree of individualism rather than SJ 'comity', I think is the gentlest way to describe it, with some degree of toleration for conservatism providing it is the British kind or that you are quiet about it.

And of course the key to membership is that you have to be able to tolerate, or actively like, Zak.

There are lots of people in my blogroll or who are persona friends who I think of as being pretty big bloggers but I am shoving us all in here under Zak as it seems to me that all of those circles interest much more than they are different.

(Almost 4,000 G+ followers)


Kiel

We would have to add Kiel to this, considering that he is the only vaguely OSR-related person I am familiar with on tumblr, that he has a reasonable following on there and that he is the closest anyone in the OSR gets to the 'tumblr aesthetic’. Bright, nintendoey, not physically or emotionally alienated in the same way as the 'Aesthetics of Ruin' people.

Probably sort-of centrist for tumblr which makes him like the more likeable 'Steven Universe' end of the Social Justice spectrum, rather than the Gawker end.


Gabe Soria

Runs a tumblr called Sword & Backpack about which I knew nothing until right now. If anyone wants to give me a quick factual lowdown then let me know.


Alexis

Alexis from the blog Tao of D&D is another of those guys who has pissed off half of the people they have ever met but he still has a thing going with his blog I think. Anyone who can think of an informative, non-insulting way to describe what he does, let me know in the comments. EDIT, from the comments "Tao Alex is just about the sheer love of detail. For grins in between completing 30 mile hexmaps of the entire planet Earth, and devising systems to procedurally fill each one of those hexes with even finer detail, he's working out an even crunchier extensions of segment-by-segment AD&D combat. "



The Old Guys
Guys with a significant impact in forming the social and interest groupings that lead into the modern OSR but so far as I know, not currently deeply engaged with online social stuff at the moment, with them concentrating on other things.

Courtney Campbell - still runs 'Hack and Slash' which had a big impact on the culture. Is still posting but at a reduced volume. Courtney, if you want me to move you out of the 'Old Guys' then let me know.

James Maliszewski - ran Grognardia, a fundamental OSR blog, currently doing a Tekumel fanzine.

Jeff Rients - ran a central gaming blog, recently released Broodmother Sky Fortress through LotFP.

Justin Alexander - from the Alexandrian blog has a following I know nothing about. (Checks,.. holy shit his Patreon gets $108.00 per post.)

See Stuart Whites comment below for a list of other important influences.


The Bloggers
There is a huge, huge, huuuuge list of blogs by people who have influenced the hobby in some way or another. There are so many that I am debating with myself about even including any as it will just turn into a giant impenetrable list. Almost every individual on this list is in some way a 'blogger'.


Forums
The RPG.Site - see 'Pundit' above.

Drangonsfoot - A forum of the true old Gygaxian Grognards. Had a big influence on the early OSR and still chugging along. Total membership is just over 10,000.

(Described as; "Dragonsfoot is focused on first edition AD&D. The posters seem primarily to have grown up playing that game, many look to have never stopped. There is a strong love of Gygax here, who was a regular poster on the forum until his death. (I would say the forum has an overt anti-Arneson vibe.) Other TSR luminaries post here as well. The forum has produced a lot of 1e modules and other resources.")

odd74 - I know very little about these guys, they seem similar to Dragonsfoot to me. Currently at just over 2000 members.

(Described as; "ODD74 is the forum centred around Original D&D (the "little brown books"). Many posters look to have been playing in the 70s and discovered the original game at that time. Most posters also look to have never really stopped playing old school D&D. Mike Mornard, who was one of Gygax's original players, posts their regularly. The forum is fairly active and congenial. It has official sub forums for some OD&D related projects, notably Carcosa.

Also described as 'chill, drama free, dull and specialised')

In the comments below Settembrini goes into the deep history of 0dd74 and the links between it and later bloggers like James Mal.

Knights-n-Knaves - Similar to the above, currently at just over 1000 total members. EDIT; K&K keeping it real as fuck. Fuck the OSR tourists ruining shit for the real keepers of the flame!

rpg.net - almost all of the people that I personally know, don't use rpg.net or use it minimally. It's almost a defining element for my immediate social circle and even many of the Big Personalities above who hate each other can still agree that they hate rpg.net more. I know Kevin Crawford is still on there a bit.


Publishers


I’m going to classify Major Publishers as ‘can afford a print run’.

Lamentations Of The Flame Princess

We would probably have to say that Zak was the dominant and most emblematic creator of LotFP except perhaps for Raggi himself, but a fair amount of people have done work here. I think one of Zaks earliest blog posts was him running Mandy through DFD and that lead up to I Hit It With My Axe. Vornheim is a central thing that links a lot of people in the ‘Zak Circle’ with a lot of people in the ‘LotFP Circle’, though they are not the same thing.

If you're reading this then you are probably familiar with the LotFP aesthetic. Dark. Horror-themed, with a really-specific and tightly-nested range of values. Plenty of time for the Zak-influenced hipsters but can go Gonzo as well.


Frog God

I know about these guys mainly from Swords and Wizardry and Rappan Athuk.

I don't really know what their culture is, what their aesthetic is, I think of them as being kinda Groggish? A little trad, perhaps bonded closely with the old Old-School forums. I think Matt Finch played or plays some part here but I have no idea if he has a strong following somewhere or what.



Goodman

The only thing I hear about regularly from Goodman is the DCC line and specifically Harley Stroh's work. I'm assuming they have a reasonable fan base because they sell that giant fucking book but it doesn't come up that often in my feed.

I consider Goodman something of a 'Gonzo' publisher. A bit brighter and hairier than the other two. A bit more disco and chunky. They definitely have their own particular aesthetic, or at least, there is a kind of image or a kind of feel that comes into my mind when I think of ‘Goodman Games’ and it’s distinct from the others.


North Wind Adventures

Publishers of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. These guys do print runs and they have been nominated for a few Ennies.


Basic Fantasy Project

See comments; "Chronologically, BFRPG was one of the very first OSR games... it was OSR before the name OSR was coined. Only OSRIC has a similar claim, as far as I know; LL and S&W were both a little later."



New Big Dragon

I know very little about these guys but the comments say they do their own print runs and their biggest seller on RPG.NOW is a gold pick so they must be doing something right.


Autarch

The publishers of Adventurer Conqueror King and Dwimmermount. The owners are connected to the Escapist website, which also first ran the D&D with Porn Stars web series.


Lost Pages

Either the smallest of the big publishers or one of the largest of the small publishers. I’m pretty sure Sine Nomine might sell more but Paolo does actually do print runs, which pushes him into the bigger pool. This should be in here at least for Wonder and Wickedness but Paolo has his own game and he brings out Into The Odd from Chris McDowell. 
  

Sine Nomine

In terms of sales and influence Kevin Crawford is probably a Major Publisher, but so far as I know he doesn’t do print runs. He’s the main reason to occasionally tune into RPG.Net. He’s out there ploughing his own furrow with Stars Without Number, Scarlet Heroes and a bunch of other things.



Hydra Co-Op
Hydra is made up of these guys, they are most well known for the Hill Cantons books, including Fever Dreaming Marlinko and Slumbering Ursine Dunes. I would put their aesthetic somewhere between Goodman and the Ruinophiles around Zak with a reading group, I would guess, largely made up of people from both camps.


Rafael Chandler
Rafael has produced a range of books through POD, including Narcosa, which was quite well known, and did Lusus Naturae with LotFP. I haven't heard much from him lately but he has a grown-up job so is probably doing that.


Johnstone Metzger

I remember this guy plugging along on his own from back with ‘Evil Wizards in a Cave’. I have a copy of his latest Dream thing from Lulu, which I will review at some point, even without reviewing it as a game, as an object, it looks like a professional publication. If Crawford is in then he has to be in.

Kabuki Kaiser

Creator in of Castle Gargantua and the Mad Monks of Kwantoom (I think is the spelling). A one-man publisher in the Metzger and Crawford mold.


Greg Gorgonmilk

Of the Gorgonmilk blog. I'm putting him in as he seems to have his own circle somewhat distinct from others, he is part of a POD publishing group, Necrotic Gnome and largely becasue he played a big part in getting the Petty Gods book to print. 



Geography


So it looks like the major groupings are in;

Toronto

Quite a lot of overlap here with the Storygames community? I certainly know quite a few OSR nerds from Toronto, a surprising number really. How the fuck do I know this many people in fucking Toronto?

U.S.

See comments below but current opinion seems to be that there are no major concentrations in the U.S. but a more general spread.

California

Mainly a cluster because of Zak. Also we have Kirin Robinson, Arnold K (I think) and whatever is going on with the ‘professional’ youtube stuff. Youtube culture is effectively (I think) LA culture since everyone seems to be from there or moving there.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

From the comments; "There seems to be some sort of tiny blob in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA" . See below to see who is hanging out there.

Southern US

The south of the U.S. seems like the powerhouse of traditional OSR gaming. Often seems like there is a a bit of a cultural shift between people who seem like the more liberal members of a conservative community (Southern U.S.) and the more liberal members of a liberal community (Coastal U.S. and Toronto).

I get the vague impression that there is maybe a very large community of people in the Southern U.S. who interact very little, or not at all, with the internet and are therefore almost invisible from our point of view.

See Christopher Richardsons comment below for a deeper look into this.

U.K.

A tiny handful of creators in the north and a spread of people throughout the south. Technically geographically we are probably closer together than any other group of OSR people. If we were American we would probably think of ourselves as neighbours, only a five hour drive away.

Australia/New Zealand

Another handful of important creators and bloggers. Jez Gordon plays a huge part in shaping the modern LotFP aesthetic. Scrap is there, Matthew Adams, Logan Knight when he was still blogging and a bunch of other bloggers.

Those are the major concentrations I think, with a wide variety of people spread out over the US and a bunch of people in Europe.

71 comments:

  1. New Zealand should prob be not grouped with Australia and in all capitals and maybe some kind of animated glitter gif font?

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  2. I thought Tenkar was in New York, but I may be making that up.

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    1. late to the party as always - Gary Con can do that to one.

      definitely in New York ;)

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  3. as somebody from the southern US i don't think there's actually that many people down here who are involved in the OSR but aren't involved in the internet. But maybe??

    i think the big reason that the con presence is larger is because people tend to be pretty spread out here, geographically. in addition, a lot of "serious" roleplaying people probably face a lot of cultural scorn from traditional, conservative small communities. Like, at least in my experience, the scene down here can basically be thought of as a series of small archipelagos of gaming culture. Each town has like, 1 roleplaying group of people that have mostly known each other since middle school, and often pursue their hobby largely in secret. cons are pretty much the only time you get to openly bask in the presence of your fellow geek. the midwest is the same way. California is also technically the same way, but i think when you talk about California in this context you're basically talking about L.A. (and maybe San Francisco, San Diego and Santa Cruz?? I don't really know)

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    1. Nashville has a heavy OSR presence. Multiple B/X, AD&D, DCC, LotFP, S&W, and other groups. My tables max out at 10, are all maxed out, and have lots of people asking for a seat who are specifically looking for old school D&D.

      I know there are OSR games in the nearby towns of Clarksville (Kentucky border) and Bowling Green (just over the Kentucky border). The former is where Matt Jackson, map maker extraordinaire hails from. And not to far from Bowling Green, you have James V. West, of the Black Pudding Zine and Rangers and Rabbits.

      In short, I agree with you: archipelagos describes it well. The growth is in the right places. I have a freaking amazing woman who is a baby boomer at one of my tables, and a few Gen X who grew up with D&D, but many of the new players are in their early 20s.

      But I would disagree on one point: virtually none of my players are active in the "OSR Community" online. I have no idea why.

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    2. Thanks for the mention. 😉 You need to get those guys online!

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  4. No, Tenkar's a New York City cop, now retired.

    I also don't notice a particular spatial clustering in the US. They are all over, Texas, north Midwest, NYC area, Cali, Seattle. Groupings are more ideological really.

    There is of course the proto-grog node that actually kept the flame through the 3rd edition days. Garycon, NTRPGcon, many former TSR staffers and creators.

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    1. I think the internet and VTTs allow for a fuzzying of geographical lines. I regularly play with creatives as far away as the west coast of Canada and as far south as Florida

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  5. Pundit is hard to take but I do think his forum has a fair smattering of folks from a wide political spectrum. Stay out of the backroom politics forum and you'd hardly notice.
    Also, not everyone there drinks the guy's 'swine' cool-aide.
    They do seem to be mostly attract chat on industry concerns and RPG-history.

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    1. I've been posting there for over a year. It's an oddly eclectic group and there are plenty of people that don't share Pundit's politics, myself included. I'd say there are more posters than not that find his Swine War and his politically commentary tiresome.

      When I first dropped in there, the unifying element seemed a grudge against rpg.net, with regular threads griping about mod actions at rpg.net. That's died down a lot. I don't pay enough attention to rpg.net these days to know if it's because the mods become less egregious or because the the RPG Site got tired of complaining about them. Like Stuart, I find the most valuable thing at rpg.net is that fact that Kevin Crawford is active there.

      Things got unpleasant at the RPG Site during the election year, but it seems to have cooled down a little. It doesn't seem to have any real focus beyond traditional RPGs at the moment, skewing towards older games.

      Pundit's attempts aside, there doesn't seem to be any single ideological movement to the place.

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    2. I'm pretty sure Pundit is getting paid by Russia to be a Trump troll. His ideology took an abrupt turn from anti-campus leftist libertarian to straight-up super-aggressive Trump supporter. It's one way to pad an RPG designer's income!

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    3. "anti-campus leftist libertarian"

      wat

      tarnowski's been a right-winger since his nisarg deer-hater days

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  6. There are a few nerds from Manitoba. Western Canada. Not enough for the post however. I can think of atleast 10. Also motbm was manufactured here.

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  7. Tao Alex is just about the sheer love of detail. For grins in between completing 30 mile hexmaps of the entire planet Earth, and devising systems to procedurally fill each one of those hexes with even finer detail, he's working out an even crunchier extensions of segment-by-segment AD&D combat.

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  8. There seems to be some sort of tiny blob in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, or at least, Phantom of the Attic had physical copies of MotBM on shelves and stocks LotFP adventures (I got my copy of MotBM off the Satyr Press website and then noticed my FLGS had it). Might just be the people I know at CMU, plus one employee at the local game store, though.

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    1. Pittsburgh osr gamer here :)

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    2. I live in Pittsburgh and actually didn't know this. My attempts at getting groups together around here have been less than successful. Is there some way to network around here?

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    3. There's at least one Facebook group https://m.facebook.com/groups/282750615473557 also feel free to email me at peterbowensewebb at gmail

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    4. My current group is mostly CMU undergrads from a couple student organizations that play in people's houses, so I'm not comfortable inviting internet people in. Check http://www.pota-oakland.com/games/ for the game store I frequent, they've got a truly impressive indie RPG shelf, and do weekly indie RPG demos, some of which are OSR-related (April's schedule isn't out yetm March had Dungeon World, The Quiet Year, Torchbearer, and Questlandia)

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    5. I got Phantom to carry that. Glad it got noticed :) Theres a fair number of free spots at Game Master's (http://www.gamemasterspgh.com). Feel free to hit me up at pandatheist at outlook dot com if you dont have any luck and Squirell Hill isnt out of the way

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    6. Whoa, also Pittsburgh OSR. Ran an awful lot of ACKS at CMU, between games at the moment.

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    7. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. Some of the playtesters of ACKS are from there. - Alex Macris, Autarch

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  9. "Alexis", actually. His full name isn't Alexander.

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  10. There are a handful of other people and groupings worth keeping in mind. Chris Gonnerman, who authored BFRPG and Iron Falcon, is at the minimum an important early influence on the OSR. The OSRIC people deserve a mention, and the Dragonsfoot community has been an important resource. Although Labyrinth Lord has been neglected for years, it remains an important system with a lot of resources tailored for it. And then there are other individuals like Akrasia's home rules were a major influence on Crypts and Things, the publisher of which probably deserves a mention as well. Joseph Bloch, Adventures Dark and Deep was very deeply researched, and certainly belongs in the geogrpahy of the hobby. Finally (I'm likely forgetting others) there's Jeff Talanian, whose AS&SH system is in the middle of a refurbishment.

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    1. It's primarily a map rather than a history lesson. If that was the case then it would have to include EVERYONE EVER and it would become unmanageable.

      I'm putting in Dragonsfoot as they still seem to have a lot going on, and I've put Gonnerman in as he is still publishing stuff. The rest I won't as I am completely unfamiliar with them and can't judge if they have a significant current following or not.

      I will mention your comment in the post so people know to look for it.

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    2. It's very reasonable to want to identify going concerns. I don't have a sense of how large Labyrinth Lord's community is: certainly the forums were quiescent before the recent re-design of the site. But there's a lot of stuff [still] produced with Labyrinth Lord as the ostensible reference system, so someone must be playing it, but who, how many, and how deeply they engage with the wider community are all open questions.
      I think this is an excellent idea, and will be a hugely useful resource document when it's completed.

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  11. Did you noticed you only listed people from English-speaking places?

    I do think there is some relevant OSR content in other languages as there is some retro-clones quite large in their own languages.

    Some examples:
    - The mega-dungeon Tomb of the Bull King is written by a Spanish guy who runs a blog in spanish.
    - There is also a fancy retro-clone called Old Dragon that was made in Brazil (written in portuguese).

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    1. I did notice. Because I only speak or read English.

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    2. Even if you only speak or read English, you could add some information about the spanish OSR. Such as this small blurb:

      SPAIN

      Some OSR rulesets had been translated to spanish, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics, by Other Selves (http://www.other-selves.com/p/clasicos-del-mazmorreo.html) and Labyrinth Lord by Nosolorol (in a gorgeous boxed set with four books and completely new art, see http://www.nosolorol.com/nuevo/index.php?product_id=452&page=shop.product_details&category_id=111&flypage=flypage-vmblend.tpl&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=54)

      The main spanish retroclone is Aventuras en la Marca del Este, by Pedro Gil and the creative group Aventureros de la Marca del Este (see http://www.lamarcadeleste.com). Aventuras en la Marca del Este has four boxed rulesets. The first boxed set was translated by XD Publishing after a successful kickstarter. Currently, this retroclone has six adventures published under the denomination Clásicos de la Marca (Classics of the March); you can download (gratis!) these adventures from the Codex de la Marca webpage: http://codexdelamarca.com/adventure/all/. Time to practice your spanish! ;)

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  12. Are Gavin Norman and Greg Gorgonmilk on your radar?
    They should be. Necrotic Gnome productions is their schtick.
    http://gorgonmilk.blogspot.com/
    http://gorgonmilk.blogspot.com/

    Also, New Big Dragon is a publisher that does actual print runs. This is Richard LeBlanc's baby.
    http://savevsdragon.blogspot.com/

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    1. Added Greg. Don't know anything about New Big Dragon bu added.

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    2. Greg Gorgonmilk is also dope for posting audio links to droning, soul-disaffected music fit for crafting diy game products by yourself late at night.

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    3. Word!
      New Big Dragon is Richard LeBlanc and he did the lion's share of work on PETTY GODS. Man is a champion of layout and graphic design.

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  13. North Wind Adventures is not BFRPG and Iron Falcon. It's Astonishing Swordmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

    BFRPG and Iron Falcon are something else. I don't know if Chris Gonnerman has a name for his publisher.

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    1. It's called the Basic Fantasy Project. Thanks, have fixed.

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    2. North Wind Adventures do print runs also. They do not do PoD.

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    3. Patrick, I notice you haven't actually fixed it... you say "Basic Fantasy Group" in the actual post. It really is the Basic Fantasy Project. Chronologically, BFRPG was one of the very first OSR games... it was OSR before the name OSR was coined. Only OSRIC has a similar claim, as far as I know; LL and S&W were both a little later.

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  14. I wonder how many people 'consume' podcasts, which are the biggest?

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. As a Southerner, I would say they're mappers, as both Matt Jackson (msjx.com) and Cecil Howe are down here. So is Robert J. Schwalb, but I'm not sure Shadow of the Demon Lord is OSR.
    Also, Jeff Talanian and North Wind Adventures are, in my opinion, the closest equivalent to LotFP's business model in the US.

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    1. I live in Durham, NC presently, and the majority of playtesting of ACKS took place here. - Alex Macris, Autarch

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  17. DCC really seems to be its own sort of community/culture. Seeing it in action at Garycon it felt like a distinct thing (recognizably DnD but with its on emphases/motivations).
    ....I don't know about anyone else but I happily mix my Dnd-OSR with Runequest, Cthulhu, scifi, pulp... and those all have communities and especially tower wizards of their own. You'll probably say that to get any kind of analytical bite we need to restrict it to the one big identifiable group, but I suspect that might not be a very good model of what gamers are actually doing.

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    1. Agreed, Richard. With Jarret Crader maybe the big crossover person to the OSRier parts?

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  18. Hey Arnold, thanks for writing this up! I love the OSR constellation of blogs I read, but there is a lot of new creators and websites I didn't know about listed here.

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    1. Arnold? You are literally killing me.

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  19. I should think that the tenfootpole guy deserves a mention. While he may not have dedicated "followers" his critique of adventure design seems like a major influence on many.

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  20. I like Alexandrian a lot, but I'm not sure if he counts as OSR - there is some overlap (he likes wandering monsters, he dislikes parts of 3e and 4e), but he seems mostly concerned with mainstream RPGs. I think he's less OSR than, say, Mike Mearls.

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    1. I agree that the Alexandrian hasn't been particularly OSR-y in a long time, but his OD&D in the Caverns of Thracia series was my point-of-entry to the OSR.

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  21. I can only discuss Matt Finch, and Texas with any degree of authority. Matt's a fairly private individual, so while I games him, I wouldn't describe him as the nucleus of a community. Last I checked he was into Napoleonic wargaming.
    Gaming in Texas is defined by the two extremes - OD&D and Story games. The Gauntlet is a story gaming community that started in Houston that has a heavy OSR bent. On the other hand me have North Texas RPG Con in Denton. Also Jeff Dee lives in Houston and shows up to nearly every local con.
    The state as a whole is defined by distance and thus we have a polarized patchwork of gaming communities across it.

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  22. You're not including any of the ACKS people. There's probably only a few hundred who play ACKS, but Autarch has run five kickstarters that have all made $10-$20 thousand. I don't know anyone else in the OSR who does very simulation-heavy, naturalistic content like Autarch. ACKS' creator leans toward the Pundit style of politics, but I don't know if the game's community has any such tendencies.

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  23. Some clarification re: ODD74-Boards. This was one of the launch pads for the Internet-OD&D-based-OSR, 2007ish. While Dragonsfoot and OSRIC and the Alehouse (IIRC) existed, there was a conscious effort around 2007 to go back beyond AD&D1e and before B/E or BECMI. One of the main actors of the time was Sean aka Calithena. He was the driving force behind the odd74 boards and especially the Fanzine "Fight On!" that was the kernel from which all the more recent activities blossomed. Note that Calithena was a theRPGsite regular during the time. TheRPGSite back then was Anti-Storygame, Anti-RPG.Net-Moderation and Anti-Edwards, but apolitical.

    Note also that many Discussions that had been had on Dragonsfoot, KnK and thRPGsite on blogs like Jeff's and other's before and up to 2010 were then just edited and summarized by by JaMal for Grognardia. That fact soured many people on JaMal, because he behaved he had that knowledge while he just took it form discussions not even five years old. But then, he found his audience.
    Coming back to the OD&D74 boards, the mission was to differentiate from teh DF-people who were basically "just" playing the game they had been and Calithena and othes like Fynarvin felt there was a real need for reconstructing the proper OD&D as a group activity in order to show how AD&D1e was just ONE possible path and many other roads can be travelled from the common ground of the White Box. WHile I still am personally more a fan of AD&D1E, the fact I write to you guys here on this here blog shows that Calithenas revisionist activism did indeed unleash creativity.

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    1. For the unfamiliar, I think it might be useful to clarify the the ODD74 board has long been the go to place for discussions of the games early history and in particular, creative application and interpretation of the roots of the game. It is also where much of the early Blackmoor and pre-D&D discussion happens, aside from the Blackmoor forum and my Hidden in Shadows 'blog.

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  24. Some infos on Europe: Melan aka Gabor Lux stands tall as a giant among men, hailing from Hungary and publishing in English as well as in Hungarian. He was part of the Judges Guild revival (Necromancer Games etc.) of 3e and subsequently a big contributor regarding dungeon theory, general criticism and especially with his modules. His activities in his native land are big enough to have generated a ORS-scene in Hungary. He has his own game system, currently only in Hungarian afaik.

    Germany lacks any bigger exposure to 1e, so the OSR move back beyond 1E is misunderstood by many, who follow out of outside reasons. Tehy do not properly get "it" and thus mostly remain isolated. If there is anybody that needs to be named, it would be Moritz Mehlem aka GLGNFZ. He used to be a DF regular while still collecting Basic D&D stuff and his Blog is THE German Language clearinghouse for anything pre-2ndE. He is also regularly consulted by German publishers for OSR credibility and comment. While some might say my own activitesmight be important too, you said this is not the place for self-promotion, so I respect that:-)

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    1. Well, that Hungarian OSR scene was very short-lived (it existed maybe for a couple of years). Maybe there are a few dozen people who still play OSR games (most people left Kard és Mágia for 5E, and Helvéczia never got to be really popular),but there is no community to speak of, only tables of gamers.

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  25. Regarding Calithenas politics, I think it's safe to say he is a West-Coast philosophy professor of the non-continental persuasion.
    Fight On! was/(is) very open-minded and Carcosa is a good testament to that spirit. Not everybody liked that, so other 'Zines and activities blossomed rather quickly.

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  26. Fake news alert!

    Sorry dude, but you are clueless retard demonstrating no knowledge of OSR underpinnings or development. :-(

    Did you just get your blog degree from Hipster U or something? LoL!

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  27. Well, for the things I mentioned, I was around to witness, and you can even go back to the Boards, the threads are all there to look at.
    If you disagree on something, please be specific. I am not infallible in that I do not knwo everything that ever happened, but my memory is pretty good regarding the things I was around for.
    The only thing I could see somebody dispute would be a my negative bias towards Grognardia that I indeed have. But Grognardia definitely needs to be on the 'map'.It had a lot of impact (albeit no originality imho)

    Before the odd74boards and Fight On!, the discussions of pre Basic D&D was mostly confined to the collectors surrounding the Acaeum. In fact the Acaeum with it's collector scene should be on the map, too. The biggest tangible product being arguably Jon Peterson's Playing at the World. It gives you a glimpse on the rich behind-the-scenes earthworming that the historians and collectors did, are doing, that created the soil from which all the things on the map spring forth. Note also the late 90ies D&D collector's scene that fueled NobleKnight Games.

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  28. Credit where credit is due: Grognardia started in March 2008. I stand behind my stance that he repackaged prior debates he followed and edited, but that's opinion.
    Re: Calithena and Fight On!, please check out this short thread:
    http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?9994-Old-school-goodness-in-quot-Fight-On!-quot&highlight=Fight+On%21

    Note how there was not even a common way to refer to what the nature of the fanzine was. They say "OD&D anthology". In any way, Our host was a bit at a loss as to the nature of the ODD-boards, and I provided some context. Also, Melan aka Gabor needs to be on "the map" as does Moritz Mehlem.

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  29. I was responding Patrick's main blog post, not your comment, Settembrini. This guy's just another Johnny-Come-Lately without any historical context of who and what drove OSR. For shits and giggles, how old are you Patrick? Guessing a millenial.

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    1. I am 35 years old. So either early millennial or late Gen-X depending on how you look at it.

      As stated above, this is a map of the major current social structures in the OSR now, not a description of its development.

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  30. I think this is a good assessment of the groups. I'm curious about the actual numbers of some of those G+ communities too, because I've joined a few but not all of them. I would guess the people online represent a more hardcore gamer than the regular or casual gamers. I play in two groups with a total of 11 other people and not a single one of them is on G+ or follows any of these blogs.

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  31. I'm neither right not left. Averaged out (as I hold some beliefs in common with the right and some in common with the left), I'm somewhere in the middle.

    That being said, I am pro 2nd Amendment, and for some on the left that is enough to put me on the right ;)

    As a side note, The Tavern's Facebook Community hit and surpassed 1,300 earlier today.

    The OSR might not be the largest gaming community, but I do think it is one of the most vibrant and energetic.

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  32. Nice overview, Patrick. It leaves me scratching my head a bit, but the anarchy is fun.

    I just keep wondering, is there some alternative to G+, because sharing circles and adding people has become so ... painfully slow.

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  33. Strong effort, Patrick -- and I'm shocked at the usefulness and civility of the comments overall. Kudos all around then.

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  34. I'd add Texas as a hub, with NTRPG con, Jeff Dee (not just an artist, but also publishing Tekumel stuff and releasing a new edition of his old V&V game), Finch, Jacob Hurst, Kutalik (and I'm not sure how much more of the Hydra crew), and others who are escaping my memory now but will kick myself for forgetting when they chime in and remind me. ;p

    Plus, they've got some folks who are old-school adjacent down there, like Steve Jackson Games and Reaper Miniatures.

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  36. roll20 puts out a report of what games were being played over the last quarter. This could give you a small sample of whats being played online. It looks like one of the highest listed OSR games is BFRPG.

    http://blog.roll20.net/post/156907010215/the-orr-group-industry-report-q4-2016

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  37. I can confirm, after several years in Austin, that we hub in the South around metro areas. The further out into the country you go, the more clannish it gets, like you said above.

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