Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Five RPG-Related Internet Things Every Gamer Should Read

The other day I linked to Philotomy's Musings and made the, perhaps somewhat rash, comment that it is the best thing that has come out of "the OSR". It got me thinking about what else I would put on my Desert Island Discs of Things Gamers Should Read.

So first up is the Musings. What else?

I think this post by Zak S is incredibly perceptive and interesting, and is the type of thing which you read and think, "That's so obviously true that it's amazing nobody seems to have actually written it before." It was 2010 and the notion is by now well understood in the particular echo-box that I am in, but still.

Patrick, my friend, ran a D&D game for a group of teenaged boys who he only very tangentially knew (one of them is the nephew-in-law, or cousin-in-law, or second-nephew-once-removed-in-law, or something, of Nathan, who was also in our now sadly dismantled Liverpool game group). The posts he wrote about it are brilliant, but they are also a sort of microcosm of D&D, for me. We are grown-ups, and D&D was initially written by and for grown-ups, but for almost its entire history it has been the preserve largely of teenage boys. It's easy to forget that.

Jeff Rients' threefold model is funny, and feels like it's throwaway, but it is actually exceedingly perceptive. It also contains two single sentences which sum up D&D better than any I can possibly think of: "I suppose one could argue that Dungeons & Dragons fits the requirements to be Retro Stupidly Pretentious. But every RPG theory fails the moment D&D is taken into consideration, so I probably ought to quit while I'm ahead."

Benoist's epic megadungeon construction series. If it doesn't inspire you, you are sick in the mind and wrong in the head.

I think if you read those five things you are almost certainly good to go.


  1. Thanks for pointing these out. Somehow I missed that Zak S post when it was originally posted. Good read!

  2. I've read Zak's post (which I had strangely missed at the time). It does function with the prerequisite that the world is run by the good guys and is hence boring. Thus rogues and villains bring in the necessary havoc. But what if the world is run by the bad guys? Then it is the good guys who have a plethoric choice of good things to do to thwart the bad guys' schemes — BTW this is how most Chinese wuxia fiction works.

    1. Yeah I think that came up in the discussions following. Wuxia is basically how I think of most of the D&Dish games I run.

    2. Actually I address exactly that in the post--and later in the one about Nightmares of Futures Past
      I guess you missed that part.

  3. I'd say this there if I could be bothered to authenticate my identity, but Patrick's posts are amazing!