Friday, February 11, 2011

Why A Blog?

I have to tell you – when I first heard of “blogging”, the concept just escaped me.  I mean, if you’re famous and people want to read about your exploits, I guess that’s one thing.  But, for the average person, I really thinking blogging is somewhat vain.  You’re basically putting thoughts that, in the old days, you would have written privately in a diary, and making them available for public display because you think people might be interested in reading them.  I find most of these types of blogs really boring, for one thing, and again, I normally get a bad taste in my mouth of people who are so self-important as to have a blog about nothing more than “Today I went to the store and was wondering why bread costs so much.”
However, I have been reading a few blogs lately about gaming, most notably one I’ve gotten hooked on by James Maliszewski, a self-proclaimed “Grognard” and huge promoter of OD&D (“Original” D&D, as written in the “three little brown books” and its supplements).  James basically takes a stance that D&D started to go downhill with the “mass marketing” approach that came with the Moldvay Basic D&D box set, and has gotten worse with every subsequent edition, to the point that 4E is so far removed from the original “pulp influences” of D&D that it’s no longer the same game.  I sometimes find it a little odd that James complains a lot about 3rd edition-era D&D considering the fact that he authored quite a few third-party 3E sourcebooks (several of which I own).  I don’t really agree with a lot of James’ lamentations that the game would have been better (or “truer”) if it had just been kept as it was, as a sort of mysterious, difficult-to-comprehend, almost (pardon the pun) arcane set of rules that was really impossible to understand unless you had a war-gaming background.  But, James and I are about the same age (he’s about a year older), and we started playing D&D at roughly the same time (he started in 1979, so that’s three years before me, but 30+ years later, what difference do three years make?).  I would definitely not consider myself a “grognard” by any means, and I don’t have anywhere near the connections to the “old-school” designers that James has.  I certainly don’t have a love-affair with the 3LBBs that James has.  But, James has hit on a few ideas which I find very compelling, and I really do like reading about the history of D&D, which is something that James is trying to promote on his blog.  He talks a lot about the early influences of D&D, specifically pulp fantasy literature, which I grew up on in Junior High School. 
So, you’re asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with you starting a blog, Martin?”  Well, the thing is, there really aren’t that many active gamers currently playing D&D who started way back in the late 70’s or early 80’s, during the “Golden Age” of the hobby (let me clarify that James refers to it as the Golden Age, so I’m going to use his terminology rather than come up with a phrase of my own that essentially means the same thing).  I think it’s somewhat interesting, from an academic perspective, for people who did start playing that long ago to share their experiences and thoughts with those who are relatively new to the hobby.  My views and experiences are very different from James’, so I don’t really think my thoughts belong in the comments section of his blog; therefore, I decided to start my own. 
Please do jump in and share your thoughts, positive or negative, and whether you agree or disagree.  Unlike some of those vain people I mentioned in the first paragraph up above, I’m not doing this to “hear myself talk.”  This blog will only be interesting to me for as long as people comment and offer their own insights and opinions. 

2 comments:

  1. Good start! I look forward to seeing other blogs that you come to enjoy. Do you prefer essays or original content in blogs you read?

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  2. Thanks Dylan.

    I definitely prefer essays versus original game content. I'm really not looking for stats or new monsters or anything like that. I'm more looking for people to share why they created their campaigns the way they did, why they chose a certain system over another one, and just interesting facts about their gaming history or their current group.

    Every once in a while, someone does post some "goodies" in the terms of game mechanics that I find interesting, but I almost never read the actual stat-block. I usually just read the background and how the item is used, and then think how I can incorporate it into my game(s).

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