Wednesday, December 01, 2010

On the history of the OGL

Normally I don't link much to other blog posts, but I stumbled across this recently, and this is a gold-mine of history about the development of d20, D&D 3rd Edition, the buyout of TSR by Wizards of the Coast, and the subsequent buyout of Wizards of the Coast by Hasbro.

What an amazing discussion! You'll have to read beyond the post, into the comments, but this is really good stuff. At least as good as the famous article "Death to the Minotaur" by John Tynes. Probably better, actually.

I've got an interesting relationship with Grognardia; I'm not really a fan of the movement he's supporting or blogging about, and much of what the blog's author and frequent commenters say frustrates me from time to time, but at the same time, there's a wealth of interesting material showing up over there consistently, sometimes almost by accident. So I try to keep my eye on it anyway. I've never been gladder that I did than today, reading all these posts linked here.


brasspen said...


I agree that Grognardia, its owner and its posters, can annoy. I'm wondering how they annoy you. And I agree, that for whatever reason, interesting things pop up there. I'm a convert to the Rick Marshall blog due to what he's been relating about WOC.

Joshua said...

Not so much annoy as... I don't know, cause me to roll my eyes from time to time, I guess? James' adherence to a Gygaxian playstyle, and the almost ecclesiastical reverence with which he approaches old school D&D borders on way over-the-top a bit too frequently for my taste. I'm not actually all that interested in OSR-themed games, having been one of those quys who left D&D before 2e because I was frustrated with 1e and BD&D, which probably sounds heretical and very strange to the average OSRer. And even now, that I've made my peace with D&D and still play it (almost) exclusively, I've heavily house-ruled my "idealized" D&D and excised a lot of the D&Disms and standard D&D paradigms. So I guess I just don't get where he's coming from in a lot of ways, and I don't get the polite yet firm refusal to look at anything that's newer than about 1983 or so unless it's deliberately harking back to that era. His taste in fantasy literature is even more grognardly; I haven't seen him review anything more recent than the early 60s, I don't think.

But I mostly just kind of skim those types of posts and look for others that either review fantasy books that I might have missed the first time around, or a gaming concept that I might have missed, or just some kind of retrospective on the industry, or something like that. And even then, I often read those and end up thinking, "What?! No, I don't agree with that at all!"

One thing that I really do appreciate about Grognardia vs. some of the other OSR havens is that it's less pretentious and aggressively pushy and contemptuous than some. I actually think the whole idea of the OSR movement is quite a fascinating one, even if I have very limited interest in playing an OSR game, but I often find that a few of the more vocal OSRers tend to be... well, let's just say that their approach to RPG discussion is off-putting.

brasspen said...

I find it almost a relief to hear Grognaria described as ecclesiastical in tone. Yea, I agree with that. Pretentious beyond the subject matter, I feel.

Cool stuff does turn up and I've rediscovered the vaguest of memories by seeing items posted on that blog. That's fun.

I can agree with your saying some other discussions in OSR are worse. I got banned from The Knights & Knaves Alehouse in a single post. :) I was pretty happy to irritate them. I get the impression that they see themselves as the keepers of a sacred flame that nobody else, even people who worked for TSR three decades ago, understands.