Monday, December 10, 2018

Paul & Dan's Old-School Livestream, Ep. 1

I got together with my good friend Paul (of Paul's Gameblog) for a project we've been kicking around for a few years now; an online, live-streaming conversation about old-school gaming, and the various always-interesting ways in which we agree and differ on philosophies, rules, strategies, and so forth.

We decided to dive in head-first here and get something online as an experiment this weekend; I'm sure we'll be testing and adjusting things like pace, visuals, lighting, audio levels, name of the series, etc., as time goes on -- but I always enjoy conversing with Paul, and if you're a reader here, then I think you will, too.

This first episode tries to wrestle with the foundational question, "What is Old-School Gaming?". Our current plan is to be live on YouTube every other Sunday at 1 PM EST (next episode Dec-23). Feel free to chime in here, or there, if you have suggestions for improvements or topics you'd like to see us hash out. I'm pretty excited about this!


9 comments:

  1. Awesome! Congrats on what will hopefully be a long and productive series of discussions.

    On the subject at hand, I'd make a tentative summation that Old School is characterized by emergent/improv vs. New School being pre-scripted/codified.

    I wonder if that progress from Old to New kinda mirrors the progress from isolated hobby activity to a nationally published product, from making it up as the initial practitioners went along to established publishing companies producing books for the mass market.

    I think part of the rise of the OSR is that since the "industry" has kind of receded to a dull roar in the background, that de-centralization has returned, albeit with the interconnectedness of the 'web allowing all these scattered cooks to see what's going on in each other's kitchens.

    Lookin' forward to your next video! :D

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    1. That's a pretty good take on it. I think it could get hazy if some people take the "improv" keyword and use that in relation to character interactions, while the overall plot is still on rails.

      Related is a thought I had here: The word "plot" is troublesome because of it's multiple meanings, e.g. (1) scripted storyline, (b) secret plan or scheme. So two people could debate whether a game has a "plot" or not and possible be using different meanings.

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    2. Another angle on that discussion is game vs. story, which also arises in video game circles. Game implies more player agency than story, which assumes that its protagonists are going to follow a set narrative.

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  2. Well, I'm a fan obviously....
    I appreciate the comparison to looking over old religious texts.
    Are you a practitioner of the "advanced testament", do you go back to the original texts? How old is your "old school".
    To me DIY is a big part of Old school (in the form of emergent play, rulings, additions, etc.) They hobby is a mish mash of different games and when they needed something, they made it.
    So I think you can still be in the spirit of old school and add in elements you like (critical hits, etc.)

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    1. Great observation and thanks for the comment! :-D

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    2. The comparison to old religious text is especially apt if you've ever read http://playingattheworld.blogspot.com/ where the author picks over original manuscripts from the dawn of the hobby like they're the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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    3. Definitely. J. Peterson's work there (and his book) is tremendous and really increased my understanding (I think) in the last year or two. He told me at GaryCon this year that he's working on a new, improved book based on that stuff.

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  3. I have played D&D since 1977 when in college I acquired the LBBs. ODD has influenced every RPG I referee to this day. I do have trouble at this point recalling exactly how I ran ODD originally. I still run my version of ODD, but it is now influenced by so many experiences with other systems, articles, blogs, other referees and so on. Old School is hard for me to feel comfortable defining. Is it how I played ODD in the 1970's or how I play it now or both? Is it any game published in the 1970's? The OSR is actually easier to define because there are elements that characterise belonging to the OSR, even though we may disagree on some of the finer points.

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    1. That's a good point! I know that once I play with some house-rule for a sufficient period of time (like: some years) it starts to fade and I fail to tell it to other people up front/get surprised when they remark on it.

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