Thursday, May 21, 2015

Settings or Rules or Both and Why Not, Another Giveaway

+Erik Tenkar, the trouble maker over at his tavern region, posted a question based on a comment that +Michael S wrote in a response to a post about someone's critique of +James Spahn's very successful White Star (by the way James when is it going to be in print?).  The question is Where Should the Innovation Be - Rules or Settings?  Which was a response to Michael's comment,
Move beyond White Star for a moment... how do we encourage the next EPT? The thing that really goes beyond the same "orc and pie" or "dusty corner with 2000cp" ad nauseum? When do we get away from the D&D that has been trod and retrod and just "small changes" and really push for the stars? How do we encourage that, grow that? Do we focus on the reskins or do we take those really unique finds and give them the limelight?
Great questions.  As in all cases on this blog I can only answer for myself and what I prefer.  As is the entirety of the OSR we are all smart enough, creative enough to make the choices that suit us best.

While I am interested in new rulesets, recently I have been reading Torchbearer, I need to give Dungeon World a look, Heroes & Other Worlds, Basic Fantasy and I recently received a copy of The Burning Wheel RPG.  That's five rulesets I have sitting in a small pile behind me.  I've have dozens more sitting on my groaning bookshelves.   Even my favorite system, Swords & Wizardry, has different rules systems (Core and Complete) and within them there are different editions.  So for me, new rulesets is not what I'm looking for. 

A picture of someone else's groaning book shelves.
 However, I am always looking for ideas to improve the ruleset I prefer.  There are a few things in Torchbearer that I might try to staple onto my S&W game.  But will I run a Torchbearer game, probably not.  It's interesting, it's innovative (to me), but I'd rather stick to a system I am familiar with and add on to it.  Does that mean people shouldn't create new rulesets?  Absolutely they should.  There is a reason why my shelves groan with all those different RPG rulesets.  I read them like fiction.  For ideas.  And to see what goes on behind their GM screen. 

To me it's an artform.  Folks can draw a maps of the same place, paint a picture of the same object or write a story about the same event and all of them will be different.  To me, the interesting thing is to see other folks' interpretation.  I know when I am looking at other maps I steal from them all the time.  While I will never have the artistic talent of +MonkeyBlood Design, +Pär Lindström, +Gus L+matt jackson, +Dyson Logos or +Simon Forster, I try to learn from them.  See how they do things.  Hoping to improve my own style.

That's what rulesets do for me.  Teach me another way of looking or approaching a ruling.  Options are always good to have.

Setting are something I value.  Again, not as a whole.  Even when I was a snot-nose kid with a head full of hair and still figuring out if the Weapon Speed rule was stupid or was I missing something.  I love new settings.  Again.  Read them like fiction.  Again.  I pick things out of them I like and place them into what I'm doing.  When I find a cool culture or religion I try to integrate it into my setting.  I've been connected with two recent Kickstarters that feature settings and backed a couple more.  And I'll probably back others as they come out.

Here's the thing.  Back when the original neckbeards were creating their thing there were very few of them doing it.  So if someone popped out a setting or ruleset it was significant.  Even through the 80's if something new like that popped up it was like a shiny new thing.  But today, and this is especially true of the OSR, people are creating innovative settings and rulesets all the time.  Can we see it clearly?  No.  So much comes out it is nearly impossible to find and them all.  The subject of White Star that started this conversation, James created something that has been lingering for a while, but he was the one who was able to grab this amorphous idea and mold into something usable for a lot of people.  That is all you can ask.

Alright, now to the giveaway.  I recently ordered a batch of Starter Adventures and one of the copies got a little dinged up in transport.  Here's how this will work, might make you work for it a little.  If you give me an opinion about the subject you'll get entered twice for the giveaway.  If you don't want to give an opinion, comment and you'll get a single chance. 

I'll keep the window open for entries until tomorrow morning sometime.  Say 12 EST on the 22nd of May.   I will then randomly roll to determine the winner.