Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hiatus; Or, Becoming Jaded; Or, Toys, Pram, Thrown

I am taking a hiatus from the blog and all online discussion of RPGs. There are a couple of reasons.

First, I think I am becoming jaded. When I look around, what I mostly see are people with products to sell, most of which I think are over-priced, focused on style over substance, and not particularly interesting. I can't tell if this is accurate or because I am losing my enthusiasm. Probably it is a bit of both. Either way, it's a good reason to take a step away from things for a while.

Second, I am basically sick to death of the culture war bullshit surrounding the scene lately - which has raised its brainless boring head once again. As somebody broadly in the political centre I look to one side and see nothing but sanctimonious, judgmental pricks and on the other side nothing but childish mud-flinging philistines, and it increasingly feels like being stuck in the middle of a primary school playground. There is nothing for a sane person to do but say "A pox on both your houses!" and disengage. You're all wankers: you know who you are.

Third, my proper career is moving to the next level and I have family commitments which result in less and less time for thinking about RPGs. I am still keen on creating. I have less juice for it. I need to take a break to see if it is rejuvenating.

Don't view this as a melodramatic move or a cry for help. I think a big part of the reason why I am losing patience with this whole thing is because things are going well elsewhere and I can see less and less value in being part of the silliness of what the OSR thing has become. Let me put it bluntly: I can't give a flying fuck whether Writer X wants to work with Publisher Y because of Reason Z or not. I have better things to do. Get over yourselves. You're not important.

I will resume posting if and when I feel like I miss it. I hope most people reading this entry will not feel too alienated by it; sorry.

67 comments:

  1. It's sad how politicised everything seems to have become since Brexit/Trump, which seems to mark the beginning of all this silliness. I rp to escape from real-world BS and to see it being so forcefully injected in the hobby is a shame. The best of luck to you during your hiatus and I hope that you feel able to return once all this nonsense has run its course.

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    1. I think Trump added rocket fuel but the fire was already burning. God knows where it started and where it will end.

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    2. It certainly doesn't mark the beginning. I reckon they're symptoms rather than causes

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    3. Oh, it was bubbling away prior to 2016, but it seems to me that that year was a watershed in terms of this stuff going mainstream, as it were. The amount of friends I've had to unfollow on FB because they've become unbearably uber-political in the wake of these events is startling. Don't even start me on Twitter! I think the contention that politics (particularly those of the Left) is filling the vacuum left by the retreat of religion in the West, by providing meaning and identity, is, I feel, a pertinent one. Although without a doubt the Right can be just as unthinkingly tribal too - I just don't seem to hear from those guys as much. Interesting times indeed....

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  2. A pity. Your blog is one of the good ones.
    Come back and play when you can.
    Uh... So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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  3. Yoon Suin was the first book that let me customize an already evocative setting and led to my love of random tables. The writing for Behind Gently Smiling Jaws is some of the most atmospheric I've seen next to Patrick's Veins of the Earth. I hope we will see it completed eventually. I hope you are able to return when you are ready. In the meantime, enjoy your time with your family and all else.

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    1. Thank you for the nice message. BGSJ is ongoing!

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  4. I think the idea of 'community' (especially online ones) need to die. This is a hobby, not a culture. Not a civilization. But it has become a business. We're here to roll dice and maybe some time have fun. The moment something mutates into an organized community with figureheads is when it all goes to hell because then people splinter into clans, each fighting for domination over the hobby-now-community-now-business.

    At least you're not being as much of a prick about it as Dungeons of Signs.

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    1. The most I can ask is that people see me as less of a prick than Dungeon of Signs.

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    2. Well at least you didn't temporarily shut down your blog in a hissy fit before posting this.

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  5. Be well, man! Enjoy your time away and only come back if it adds value to your life...this is supposed to be fun, after all.

    Thank you for all that you have created and for making me think in ways I do not normally think.

    Sean

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  6. You are a really talented creator. Yoon-Suin is one of my favorites.

    I hope the creative juices are still flowing and we see you back here soon. Congrats on the career picking up!

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  7. Stay safe, be well, thank you for everything. I look forward to your eventual return.

    Hopefully people chill out by then...

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  8. god bless you sonny, and peace be upon you

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  9. Another acknowledgement of how much I've enjoyed your blog, and sympathy with your revulsion at the increasing encroachment of the political on entertainment (which I find extends well beyond the RPG realm).

    I hope you backslide frequently into posting here. Know that we'll still respect you.

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    1. I am sure I will backslide eventually. I've not given up on elf games. Just the crappy "community" involved with the OSR.

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  10. Your my fave blogger and your absence will be missed but i wish you speed man.

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    1. Not dead yet. I will probably be back eventually.

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    2. Relax in Peace

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  12. I know that feel... Be well man, I think we're all gonna miss your cooler head prevailing from time to time.

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  13. I'll miss your writing while you're gone; but I also entirely understand hating the stupid political arguments people insist on having.

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  14. Your work remains and shall remain incredibly inspiring.

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  15. To join my good friend Compare Electric Rates, take as much of a break as you need, and come back when and if you feel better!

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    1. Reason four for taking a hiatus: having to constantly delete fucking spam comments!

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  16. I'll miss your unique insights into the hobby, but as always real life comes first. Godspeed.

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  17. What's the shelf-life for a non-pro, non-revenue generating blog? Ten years? Probably less...and you managed to keep it going for more than a decade. AND you did (eventually) get around to publishing your opus.

    That's pretty much Mission Accomplished, no?

    Hang it up for a while, give yourself time in other arenas of your life, and don't regret moving on to other challenges. You'll be missed by your fans, but are you really going to miss jousting with your detractors? I doubt it. Your work here stands as its own testament. Be glad of that.

    Happy trails, man!

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    1. Thanks for the nice message. Maybe not mission accomplished, but the end of chapter one?

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    2. I like better this one... more chapters to come!
      good luck with the "normal" project

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  18. Very sorry to hear this. My favorite blog as well.

    I'm holding out a sliver of hope because you didn't mention it in your post that you'll still be plugging away on the various non-blogging RPG projects you've got in the hamper? (Gently Smiling Jaws? Troy? Etc?)

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    1. Yes, still plugging away at a billion different things!

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  19. I feel like Bad Luck Schleprock. This is the third blog I began reading in in recent years that turned about and closed up shop this year. Oh well. Best of good fortune for you and your family. I enjoyed your insights and reflections.

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    1. Here he is! This is the guy! Get him!

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    2. David, honestly I don't think this is the end of the road - when I say hiatus, I mean an indefinite one, but all hiatuses have endings. I've not finished, I'm sure.

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  20. Your blog is consistently thoughtful and truly creative; I'll miss it a lot. I am really looking forward to your forthcoming RPG projects. Here's hoping you enjoy your time away and come back rejuvenated.

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  21. Well, I hope you have a break that's long enough for you but sufficiently short for the rest of us! Yours is the best RPG blog on the net, so your return will be eagerly awaited.

    One point: isn't it possible keep on blogging but stay mercifully oblivious to all the shrieking? I had no idea what the fuss you were referring to was about; I found it after a little digging, but I must have read dozens of interesting RPG-related blogs this week while remaining blissfully ignorant.

    Anyway, all the best with family and career, and I look forward to more bizarre arboreal ecologies, cannibalistic elves and crocodile dreams in due course.

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    1. The shrieking is only one reason, really. I also just feel like I need to recharge my creative batteries somehow.

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  22. I understand and sympathize, I believe. I hope the time away (short, long, or perpetual) is beneficial, but I look forward to the possibility of seeing you back.

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  23. Thank you for all the wonderful content and for writing the best D&D setting I've ever purchased!

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  24. Yoon-Suin brought me from a cursory interest in 5e to a full blown obsession with the OSR. Thanks for all you’ve created and hope to see you back soon!

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  25. To really do walking away properly you have to walk away, then IMMEDIATELY run back to get a snide comment in at your culturefoes, _then_ walk away. That is the traditional method.

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    1. There are too many culturefoes and it's difficult to write a snide comment that would fit both camps...

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  26. Yoon-Suin and your blog are two of my favorite things about this "community". I think I speak for the whole non-wanker silent majority in saying that I wish you well and hope you're ready to return to us soon. Maybe by then everyone will have put aside their political differences so we can all play pretend in peace.

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  27. Yoon-Suin is one of the two books I recommend to everyone who wants to do oldschool RPG things. Looking forward to anything else you do. Thanks for the goodbye.

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    1. Well, let me rephrase. If I could only recommend two books EVER, they'd be Yoon-Suin (first) and The Tome of Adventure Design (second.) That's the other book I was thinking of when I made my comment.

      If I was going to recommend two books for a new GM to learn from, I'd be very uncertain about what rulebook to recommend (Basic D&D Mentzer+B/X Essentials as a cheaty combo? Into the Odd? Beyond the Wall?), but I'd definitely recommend The Tomb of the Serpent Kings and Kill the Archpriest as first adventures.

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  29. Oh man! I literally just started a game using your book Yoon-Suin. I can easily say it is the most inspiring game-book I have seen. I just HAD to round up my mates and start a game because of it. Also got me interested in OSR and looking at older games in a new light.

    I sincerely hope that you feel the urge to come back and post more in the (not too distant) future. But take a well deserved break from the drama!

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  30. Yeah, I left for like two years maybe, though in my case it was because of assholes getting away with being assholes without all this kind of ruckus. Weirdly, I think this is going to suit me better, with the exception of all the good writers it is pushing out. But did me good, probably'll do you good too.

    What I recommend is just to read cool books, and write notes to yourself, resist the urge to blog, and just build up that energy for the time you do actually come back.

    Honestly, in the meantime, I expect pop-D&D is going to eat up all the good stuff from the OSR, people are going to post some really good stuff to go with it, and by the time all this blows over, it'll be like the beginning again, with people finding interesting blogs, having the same arguments (though slightly different) but most importantly, just posting their weird ideas to the wind and learning from each other, because whatever brand they can profit off has been driven into the ground, and all that is left is quality.

    And in that world? Drop some crocodilian musings into the void, and watch how 6 months later than you expected, people suddenly realise you're back and start making a fuss.

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  31. Yoon Suin is the 2nd (after DCO) OSR "thing" I ever bought, and much like DCO, it holds a special place of honor on my shelf with only about 6 other items (out of scores I've bought in the last 3-4 years). I was looking forward to Behind Gently Smiling Jaws. You're a good man who writes good stuff (that simple 2-part combination seems so impossible to find on the webz anymore), hope to see you around in the future.

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