Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mentzer Mayhem

Wow…I so wanted to comment on the recent news that Frank Mentzer is throwing his hat into the Old School ring, but I mean…what can I really say? I have following first impressions:

- Welcome to the club.
- Um, you want money because…why?

The whole thing seems like a combo of band wagon jumping and mid-life crisis…except these guys are past middle age. So what gives? Probably some type of Saturn return.

Anyhoo, I don’t see it as a bad thing except that some otherwise perfectly normal movers and shakers in the OSR community might express undue paranoia that famous names of the ORIGINAL “old school” may steal their thunder. Personally, I don’t buy into THAT and I’m not about to stop plugging away at my own OS project. The only people that really seem to care about the names of Mentzer and Kask etc. are Old Schoolers…and Old Schoolers (elitist snobs that we are) already know who’s been leading the Old School charge.

Not Frank Mentzer.

But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be welcomed as yet another publisher of fine OSR materials (assuming his company DOES end up publishing “fine OSR materials”). Hell, if Mark Rein-Hagen wanted to throw down a Labyrinth Lord module, I’d give it a glance.

Here’s how I really see it, folks: the more, the merrier. Anything that helps return table-top gaming to a fun, popular hobby is a GOOD THING. If Mentzer and company can pull people in, good. If name recognition counts enough to pull some Pathfinder or 4E folks to check out Mentzer & Co.’s LL or Osric or HackMaster stuff…cool.

James Raggi recently called for people in the OSR to start providing firm and real ("honest") criticism to those writing and publishing OS stuff, instead of just warm-fuzzy pat-on-the-back fluff pieces. I agree with him. And as such, I am hereby withholding any more judgment on the entire Mentzer “announcement” until I see something actually for sale…at which time I will check it out with as objective an eye as I can. As folks should be doing with ALL OSR stuff.

I hope he’s not mad about me dismantling the War Machine
; )


  1. Agreed...there's plenty of room in the pool. Why not see what the old guard can come up with and judge the result on its merits?

    Who cares how they go about building their business and if they include / exclude the right games. Content is king baby...always has been, always will be.

  2. I don't think that it's so much about stealing thunder as it is that he listed a bunch of games--and as James on Grognardia pointed out--some aren't even OGL. And then he threw in Paizo?! It's clear he's not invested and the old school movement, or even understands which ones ARE old school. So it just seems disingenuous from the start.

    I applaud him for wanting to throw his hat in the ring, but he could at least do his homework!

  3. @ Jay: we all gotta' start somewhere.

    : )

  4. I wish them luck and there is room for more, I agree. I just question this trainwreck of a business plan that is forming.