So...just winding down for the evening after a couple hours of hiking with the fam (the beagles are completely passed out), and my fantasy football team is all set for tomorrow, and the wife is watching Little Women on the HD...
AND...I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to post for the last hour or so...
[God, sometimes I really want to turn this thing into a political rant forum when I see how F'ing retarded some Americans are. UGH! I can't help being ethnocentric myself...it's human nature...but FUCK I just want to beat some sense into these people...with a cudgel! Anyway...this isn't the proper place...sorry for the tangential venting]
...anyway, I've been reading a LOT o blogs today (well, earlier today), and I couldn't help but take interest in several, throwing my two cents hither and yon (I'm like a goddamn rash all over the internet these days), AND I couldn't help but notice this little piece by Al over at Beyond the Black Gate. Here's the gist of my interest:
I think the OSR really needs a "showcase" adventure. It needs a Keep on the Borderlands or Temple of Elemental Evil of its very own, something shared from group to group regardless of whether they're using LL, S&W, OSRIC, or the systems that orignally inspired them. That's not to say there havn't been some great adventures released for the RCs, there certainly have been. But I think the emphasis of the last couple of years has been on honing the rule sets themselves, diligently recreating the spirit of the three big old-school games into three faithful and marvellous RCs. I'd love to see that level of commitment put into recreating something as epic and iconic as the G or A series of modules.
The other part of the blog is also food for thought, but mainly I think he may have something here...I mean, many OS publishers are putting out a slew of new material, but how many are putting out new modules? Certainly a few, and several of note (if you can believe the blog hype). My thought is: not enough.
But it's tough. Tough because there IS a lack of organization in the OSR...so many independent knuckleheads firing on all cylinders for their own particular pet projects. Tons of creativity, energy, drive...but is there real direction?
No, of course not. We aren't a single company like TSR was or WotC is. There is no one setting project goals for the OSR, no one setting deadlines...hell, no quality control. We are self-policing, and as others have pointed out, we ain't always especially good at it.
However, while it's all well and good to sit around blogging about what we'd like to see happen (for example: writing the new classic adventure of the OSR), the real thing to do is to sit down and write it. Some are already attempting it (you know who you are, even if the rest of us don't), but this is a particular market in little danger of being saturated, unlike say...um...the "new retro-clone" market. Not that quick-start rules, 2nd editions, advanced character editions, and new basic editions truly have worth and value and part of the OSR is a return to the idea that gaming groups are perfectly capable of establishing their own game worlds and adventures outside of pre-packaged game settings and story-pathed scenarios.
But shared adventures...like Keep on the Borderlands, like Tomb of Horrors...create a shared mythology, a shared history, a shared camaraderie, a shared culture. Shared adventures can become the ties that bind between different gamers and otherwise insular groups.
Anyway, as I commented over at Al's, I'm as guilty of sitting on my hands in the adventure department as anyone else. Sure I'm working on my own OS project (my B/X Companion), but as said, there's already plenty of material ready-made to play with (original editions and retro-clones). Maybe we should ALL put off our little projects until we've put out at least one decent adventure with which we're satisfied/proud.
My personal challenge is that my map-making skills are a bit lacking (as far as I'm concerned). Sure, I have some good ideas and I can write and write and write (note the blog), but I prefer to collaborate with someone a bit more skilled in the drawing department.
Enter my buddy Kris, AKA "Dr. Love" AKA "the Doctor" or "Doc" (don't ask...it's a long story in and of itself). I've mentioned Kris before (he's plays the perennial thief) an excellent artist (and fine musician). I called him up today and asked him if he wanted to collaborate with me on an old school adventure module...and lo and behold, Doc agreed! Very cool, as he has rejected other requests for collaboration (despite being a fairly creative dude himself).
So now we finally get to the new poll I've posted to the blog. No, I am not recreating, rewriting, converting or retro-cloning S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. There are some similarities of structure being considered for my new adventure (no, there aren't robots nor spaceships) and I'd appreciate a little honest feedback. I know how I feel about the particular adventure...but I'd like to hear from others. Please post any comments you have about your experience with the Barrier Peaks her on this post. Thanks!