Thursday, 17 December 2020
The State of OSR Adjacency
I am very positive and hopeful about the future of the OSR and those, like me, who are "adjacent" to it. (I hate the word "adjacent", by the way. Partly because of the daft way it's used, but mostly because of how it looks on the page. It's aesthetically nasty. "Eels" is another one, when the initial E is capitalised. It just looks wrong. But anyway.) It is true that blogs are not what they were and there is much less dialogue taking place between the big ones. And G+ has gone. But this is all to the good. For me, the disappearance of "community" and all the crap that went with it is a mercy. (Possibly it exists on Discord, but I never go there and am not really sure what it is.) We can now concentrate on playing and making things for games, and abandon gossip, drama, and social signalling.
The OSR has won its war. D&D is now free from the clutches of any one company, 'gatekeeper' or owner and is, instead, a freely available and universal pastime like chess, knitting or squash. (Melan has already pointed this out.) This is no mean achievement. No, it doesn't matter a jot in the grand scheme of things. But it is a significant psychic victory in humanity's endless war against the forces of overbearing technocratic order and control. D&D is for anyone who wants it. It has become part of our common heritage.
The beauty of this is that, ironically (because undoubtedly the OSR is partly a market phenomenon and indeed in a sense created a market where there was none before), it means that D&D has become a space unmediated by the market. You don't need to buy anything to do it now. You never did, of course, not really, but now one can say it with a bit more conviction. It is something we can simply share in as human beings. On the level. Together. Me and you and whoever wants to join in. This is a good thing. Just as good is that if one wants to try to make a living at it one can do that too: that it allows one to take advantage of the very humane and beautiful impulse that underpins markets and ultimately capitalism - to trade a thing of value for something one values in return, and thus to make both parties better off from the exchange. That the OSR is both not about money but also about money at the same time is part of what will make it last.
Posted by noisms at 04:37