Here, hop into this handbasket with me. We’re goin’ for a ride!
It’s part of “Finding D&D,” focusing this time on fundamentalist belief and practice, including but not limited to the OSR. I thought about waiting until part 4 was done, as these two parts only make full sense relative to one another. But whatever; it’s a draft, and I might as well start collecting “what about” and “you forgot [some damn thing]” now.
I’m working on a pretty good graphic to include as a file. My hand-drawn one served as my notes.
About that draft part – obviously, precise phrasing and the proper sequence of points are desired, and I can already see what I should-have-said in a couple places. I really should have named the Second Great Awakening in U.S. religious history. I defy anyone to describe the interplay between the multiple releases of OSRIC and the Quick Primer without stumbling on the first try. I think I could have drawn a little better portrait of Munchkin, Hackmaster, and Elfs coming out about simultaneously; a more culturally-savvy writer would know how to tie that into the larger picture of Knights of the Dinner Table, the Gamers movies, and the gathering storm of geek-as-hip. During what I called Phase 3, I fumbled the point that Fourth Edition had multiple reasons to be rejected even apart from intrinsic problems, thus negating a debate about what the latter are supposed to be. In part 5, I’ll get back to whether or how anything called D&D published by TSR can’t be called “real D&D.”
I struggled to avoid detail, even interesting things. The idea was to stay on track for the primary argument and not vary the depth from thing to thing, and that meant reluctantly not deepening spots I could have, especially about Gygaxiana, Lamentations, and Fourth Edition. I was even more reluctant to go into how an allegedly strict retroclone like White Hack is composed of a good 75% retro-fitting.
I also wanted to avoid special pleading about me specifically, which is why I didn’t footnote the parade of titles and names with all the Forge veterans. Conversely, as if anyone’s going to believe me, the only reason I didn’t mention the RPGsite during the willful-stupidity part was because I forgot about it. Later, while editing, I figured, “well, if the shoe fits, they can wear it, and if it doesn’t, then I didn’t say it did.”
An interesting detail: prior to about 2015, James Raggi didn’t brand Lamentations of the Flame Princess as OSR. There was a brief note at the game’s site saying, “Some people call it OSR, and they can if they want, whatever,” or something similar. Since then he’s done so, which is a perfectly good promotional decision, but it’s a good indication of how the better authors of that second period really weren’t grinding any axe besides each person’sown.
There were a couple of minutes describing the co-option of U.S. fundamentalism by wealthy right-wing people, more or less ziplining from Republican Gomorrah, Wrapped in the Flag, and God’s Own Party, but I realized this would cause confusion about political wings or groupings in gaming, some of which purports to be an OSR vs. indie/story-games split. My point about the subversion of fundamentalism applies no matter what the exact political aims might be, and it was too detailed anyway.