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Retro-clones: The Real Issue

Exorcising my OSR demons

Not terribly long ago, I contemplated using the OGL to create Chimera RPG as a Basic/Expert (B/X) add-on via the Labyrinth Lord (LL) retro-clone. Having publicly chastised the OSR movement in general, and retro-clones in particular, I came rather full-circle and honestly tried to assess (1) the source of my disdain for retro-clones, and (2) whether I was stubbornly overlooking real value, all for the sake of principle. To inform my decision, I went as far as to purchase a copy of LL.

Yet the notion of recasting Chimera as an OSR title remained just that—a notion. Labyrinth Lord left me rolling my eyes, loyal readers reminded me of what I had set out to achieve, and Chimera Basic ended up standing on its own. Q.E.D.

I thought I was content to leave it at that. Actually, I tried very hard not to speak of it again. The matter was settled and it's really not that important anyway. Plus, my stance is known, and I figured it wouldn't take much more ranting for people to designate me as the OSR equivalent of the cranky old man yelling at the kids to get their damn retro-clones off his lawn.

But—funny story—when I read that the flood of orders for S&W Complete broke the Frog God Games servers, I found myself getting head-shakingly annoyed all over again. And when—innocently enough—the retro-clone discussion peeked out from behind the barricade on the ODDGuild Yahoo! Group, the dumb fish that I am couldn't resist a nibble on the same, damn baited hook.

Where My Head's At

Let me first clarify: I have no problem with the OSR, as a playing style, a "movement," or a nostalgic approach to RPGs. Instead, I reserve my disdain for the retro-clones.

It's an important distinction. Whereas the OSR is a popular push by a segment of RPG fans to get back to what attracted them to RPGs in the first place, retro-clones are simply RPG systems that mimic—with few alterations—the rules, mechanics, and player options of an earlier, now out-of-print game. The latter is a product of the former, in that the pursuit of "old-school" style and methods of play have prompted the replication of the original games that are no longer available.

In my view, you can have the OSR without the retro-clones, but you can't have the retro-clones without the OSR. In fact, I submit the following: A player who keeps his original out-of-print games on his bookshelf is a de facto "member" of the OSR. Corollary: Being fortunate enough to retain their original games, such players have little to no need for retro-clones.

Weeping Indian

Crying over LL

From the perspective of gamer, this is an exciting time for old-schoolers like myself. The OSR, through its associated retro-clones, has given rise to a number of new supplements, fanzines, blogs, classes, monsters, spells, settings, and campaign starters. And because these are largely built on the same foundation, they're highly portable—what works for B/X will work for LL, S&W, 0e, etc. But while the OSR has always been around, albeit in variously isolated cadres of gamers who've been enjoying the hobby since before the early '80s, the retro-clones are, paradoxically, new. It's only the accessibility of the retro-clones (and the Internets) that have galvanised OSR practitioners into a larger, more collective body.

I'm theorising here, but let's assume (for the remainder of this post, at least), that it's an accurate assessment. On the plus side, this means the retro-clones are responsible for inspiring a massive shot in the RPG industry's arm. What's even better is that the arm in question belongs to the players as a whole—not TSR, nor WotC, nor Hasbro. In other words, Big Dice is largely out of the driver's seat. On the downside, well, let's just say that I'm weeping for the hobby like an American Indian over a littered highway.

The Problem Part

From the perspective of game author, retro-clones are a burr in my ass, and I shared that sentiment at the ODDGuild Yahoo Group:

...as a game author and independent RPG publisher, I'm disappointed and annoyed. I admitted as much during the last retro-clone debate on this list. After working hard to create and promote an innovative rules-lite RPG of my own, it's hard to get behind slavish reproductions of what's already been done. There's an "Emperor's New Clothes" aspect of the retro-clones that makes it very hard for me to support...I'm looking at retro-clones much more critically because they represent competition, and—to be completely frank—I'd be embarrassed to publish and sell what amounts to a re-write of someone else's work, despite the fact that the OGL says it's OK.

I bring up these points in the interest of full disclosure—this is all about my role as Chimera author, nothing else. If my exposure to the retro-clones were as a player only, and I was bereft of my original B/X kit, and all the available copies of B/X had been somehow raptured off the planet so as to make them mortally unobtainable, I believe that, yes, I would probably embrace either S&W or LL as a suitable substitute.

But because I've spent a goodly amount of time devising an original rules-lite RPG, and because I spend even more time trying to promote it, retro-clones stick in my craw the way Marconi stuck in Tesla's.

Often as a result, someone will respond to this with an appeal to capitalism, stating essentially that there's nothing wrong with making a buck, that competition is the name of the game, and (though they're invariably too polite to say it) why don't I get with the free-market program? To whit:

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 3:08 PM, Silvester wrote:
I to have to question, what is wrong with making a buck? Capitalism and the free market have brought us the best stuff on the face of the through supply & demand evolution. [sic]

Good question. Here's my answer:

There's nothing wrong with making a buck, per se. With respect, I don't think that's the right question, and I'd be a hypocrite if that was my beef. Instead, my issue has always been, "What's wrong with selling someone else's work as your own?" [emphasis mine]

And, please, let's not get bogged down in the "Game rules can't be copyrighted" and "The OGL lets anyone do it" arguments. I'm aware of these things, and they're true. But by definition, a retro-clone is a copy of something that came before it (Dan Proctor emphatically states that LL is not an original work). The permissive nature of the OGL is based on a loophole that's being exploited for purposes the document was never intended address. No one's breaking the letter of the law, but I think the spirit is taking a miserable beating...

Silvester agreed:

On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:27 AM, Silvester wrote:
I like your redefinition of the situation and I agree entirely!!

> The permissive nature of the OGL is based on a loophole that's being exploited
> for purposes the document was never intended address. No one's breaking the
> letter of the law, but I think the spirit is taking a miserable beating...

That whole childish concept that "it ain't illegal if you don't get caught..."
It's like only telling part of the truth and leaving out huge sections of factual details so you didn't "technically" lie - I HATE that!

Yes. Exactly that. And now that it's written out, I have achieved clarity as to why I'm so bothered by the retro-clones.

What If...

With that in mind, I felt eager to respond to Silvester's next post, in which (among other things) he wrote:

On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 10:50 AM, Silvester wrote:
I would prefer for WotC to have continued to publish all of the older versions of the game, even on a limited/commemorative/holiday basis - I would totally drop cash on a 25/50th anniversary boxed set of B/X and or 1e!

So how about this:

WotC did release the 25th Anniversary Collector's box right as (or just after) TSR was purchased. It contained mostly AD&D stuff, but there was also a reprint of B2 "Keep on the Borderlands" and the Holmes Basic books. I'm curious as to how this product fared—were all copies snapped up? What kind of feedback did WotC get? If they could have done it all over, would they have included reprints of the LBBs, or maybe other out-of-print material from the pre-AD&D era? If they had, would that have made it more popular?

What I'm driving at is this: WotC could very easily (and cheaply, I think) produce a limited run of, say, B/X. Straight up reprints of Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert. Maybe combine them both into a single volume. See how fast they sell. I suspect they'd go quickly.

Distribute these as OGL-friendly. This provides backward compatibility for existing retro-clones and OSR publishers. It continues to promote the creation and distribution of new material—be they modules, settings, rule expansions, monsters, spellbooks, whatever. But it also opens up the originals to players and DMs who prefer them (whether as purists, gift-giving parents, or as snobs like me) over the retro-clones.

Given Hasbro's diversity in product lines, I can't imagine supporting a version of Classic D&D would impose much overhead. They get a piece of the pie, OGL users retain their piece of the pie. Players—from newcomers to grognard fans—get to eat pie.

Final Words

So what have I missed? Will this never work? Am I over-reacting? Set me straight...

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  1. deimos3428
    December 15th, 2010 at 15:04 | #1

    As a collector of such things, I can confirm that the vast majority of the 25th anniversary sets have long since been “snapped up” for collecting/investment purposes. It seems few were ever used to actually play the game. Occasionally one pops up on eBay in shrink, only to be purchased by someone keen on collecting/investing yet again. Such is the nature of a limited print run, of course, but it didn’t benefit players terribly much.

    If WotC simply made the old books available via an indefinite run with something like Lulu, it might benefit players. You’d see an initial minor surge of interest followed by rather anemic sales.

    Still, even if WotC could be convinced to publish or release the material for free download via PDF, I don’t know that this solves any real problem. Retro-clones, as enabled by the OSR, exist for those that want to play the original RPG game. Mission Accomplished. The OSR itself needs to move on.

  2. December 15th, 2010 at 18:21 | #2

    The simple fact is that WotC is too focused on 4th Edition and the newer generation to really care about OSR or anything. In effect, such games have effectively become abandonware. They COULD invest in OSR and get old products out, but they won’t because the same resources can be used, and in their minds better spent, to help improve 4th Edition which isn’t subject to all this OSR stuff. More importantly, all the time and resources that WotC would spend enforcing the specific written nature and and the unspecific spiritual nature of the OGL is also allocated this way.

    The thing is, if any of the people associated with Labyrinth Lord used the arguement “what is wrong with making a buck” in a court of law, they would get disembowed by WotCs lawyers if they were to bother. The OGL does not allow anyone to crack open their old TSR/Wizards products and start selling the material inside – this is blatant copyright theft, no different from piracy.

    Of course, the only reason LL and such exist is because Wizards of the coast are not selling the products, or even giving them away. Which is a shame, because these are everygreen products which, once restored, would need minimal maintainance, and basically put an end to retro-clones. Current products under copyright are illegal to resell without permission, and this is not granted via the OGL.

    If LL was simply a free archival service – with adSense or a similar alternative revenue model, then it would be fine, but right now they are selling other people’s work as their own. The only real people who can stop them know are WotC, and they probably don’t even know, let alone care, about Labyrinth Lord until it starts becoming a big fish, then they will simply take the company for everything they have…

  3. December 15th, 2010 at 19:20 | #3

    I think it would be great if WotC released the old games in just about any format… but they aren’t. Right now they’re locked up tight, and we can’t have them. What we can have is the OGL. Are some people making money off of that with retroclones? Sure, some. But then they’re all available for free too. I’m using Dark Dungeons, the Rules Cyclopedia retroclone for my online game, because I wanted to run a Rules Cyclopedia game, but I didn’t want to limit it to those who had the RC only, especially as it goes for silly prices online. So, that’s where Dark Dungeons comes in.

    It isn’t an idea solution or situation. Everyone knows that. But it’s the best those in the OSR have at the moment.

  4. sycarion
    December 16th, 2010 at 00:23 | #4

    Tone is hard to communicate online, so let’s just say, I’m not attempting to provoke anyone. Personally, I enjoy your B/X work, especially the Ranger Redux and the Class Generator.

    The basic thing that seems to bother you is that someone is successful for retreading something than you are for creating something new. I understand that quite a bit, really. I don’t want to be derivative of anyone. Personally, a lot of my OSR stuff feels like retreading material, so I quit posting a lot of it.

    Yet, the whole value of any game is not found in the games itself, but in the network of people that know how to play it. D&D’s value comes from more people knowing how to play it than any other game. Paizo makes a fortune tapping into the network of people that already know how to play 3.0/3.5. LL and most the retro-clones do well by tapping into the network of people that already know how to play the older versions of the game. Will Myth & Magic do well with their 2e clone? I don’t think so – the number of folks that know how to play 2e (or at least admit to it) is smaller than those that know how to play the earlier rules which were mostly compatible with each other.

    In other words, making a better game is not as important as making sure lots of people know how to play it. Look at Chris Teregenza (sp?) with his 6d6 system – he works on the rules, true, but most of his time is spent teaching the game to new players.

    Aside from folks that are already familiar with the rules, many retro-clones offer a free version of their game. For many games, the difference between the $$ version and the free version is layout, art, and printing. People are paying for the feel of a book, the easier to read layout (at least compared to files in Notepad), and/or the appealing art. The two previous versions of S&W are available for free, but I would like the Complete Version more for the art and feel of a book in my hands rather than the rules.

    If WOTC released older stuff, it would be better on Lulu and not in anniversary editions. Yet, it is only in WOTC’s interest to focus on 4e. Releasing copies of earlier editions can only potentially grow the number of players in a system that is not the focus of the company. Supporting multiple versions of the same game that are not entirely compatible would be quite difficult, I imagine.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get a lot of the old modules that I was never able to purchase. I love my 1st printing B/X books and Lost Caves of Tsocanjth, but I have no legal way to get the others in the C series. From my standpoint, releasing the old stuff on Lulu or even RPGNow would be great. I just don’t think it makes business sense for WOTC to do so.

    Anywho, hopes that helps in some way.

  5. December 16th, 2010 at 06:36 | #5

    @sycarion : You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head. I’d be less irked if the OSR stuff was new, or if the retreads weren’t as popular. Small-minded, sure, but as I said, looking at this from the perspective of game author makes it hard for me to be objective.

    I agree with you about familiarity being part of a game’s value–this was part of my rationale back for considering LL as a basis for Chimera back in October. While I think Chimera is a worthy innovation that has a lot going for it, you’re absolutely right–as a newcomer with new mechanics, it’s hard to convince players to try it when they’re comfortable and pleased with their existing titles.

    That’s one of the reasons Chimera Basic is free–better to remove as many barriers to entry as possible and create community first. If Chimera gains traction, I’ll concentrate more on “pay-for” supplements later. Even if it’s just to fund better artwork and a hardcover edition…

    I’d love to see WotC release the old material on Lulu or even their own site–cutting off all the PDF sales was a terrible blow to old-schoolers, and honestly, I don’t know how much support they’d really have to provide if they released the stuff as-is. Actually, it would only come up if the material became so popular that customers would want more, and if it competes well, does WotC really care if their revenue comes from 4E or old stuff?

    (Well, actually, I think I know the answer to that one, but really–would it kill them to try it out?)

    Thanks for the insight–appreciate it.

  6. December 16th, 2010 at 06:46 | #6

    @Da’ Vane : I think ‘abandonware’ is just the right term. From a software / video game standpoint, it’s easier for me to understand: you develop a better version, make better use of technology, add new features, etc. Naturally, you would not support older versions.

    But it’d be easier for me to understand WRT Classic D&D if everyone had already ‘upgraded’ to 4E. Microsoft no longer supports MS-DOS, but it’s not a problem because everyone uses Windows. Yet there are plenty of Classic D&D players out there, and what baffles me is that WotC seem to deliberately ignore that fact. I mean, if they’re not going to re-release the materials in print, at least let us buy PDFs online.

    I agree with you about the circling sharks of WotC. Well, they may not actually be circling, but like you, I seriously doubt that LL or S&W could really stand up to thorough scrutiny against the letter of the OGL. Could be wrong–maybe WotC already checked and found nothing–but my feeling is that they’ve not felt sufficiently threatened to really bother. My prediction last August was along the lines of waiting for the WotC hammer to fall, and the retro-clones would be the nail.

    Most disagreed, but I maintain that it could happen. Like you say, if LL or S&W get too big, I don’t think’s it’s out of the question for WotC to take a keener interest…

  7. Greg MacKenzie
    December 16th, 2010 at 12:01 | #7

    As far as the retro-clones go, well, as we say on Earth C’est la vie. That doesn’t make the current situation any less dis-heartening. I discovered from my own reading of the OGL that it was never intended to be put to the purpose of making other games, the practice of which is currently to cite the OGL, use content from the SRD, and fill in the blanks to make your own game after the fashion of previous TSR releases. What is clearly cited in the OGL as a big no-no is to imitate the trade dress, layout, and so on of those Original IP works. On that basis alone, if not portions of their content, many of the retro-clones violate the OGL. Also, you are supposed to clearly indicate in your content what is OGL material, and what is your IP. Which is something they do not all do.

    As I have expressed on more than one occasion, the clones do not hold a candle to the original games. They are nothing more really than house rules. The real lesson here is that you cannot go back to 1984, or earlier in my case which would be the late 70s. The reason you have 4e is that the reality is that few actually want to go back to the old game, so why live in the past. My children are more sophisticated in their tastes, and grew up in a different culture, than myself, consequently 4e and other entertainments reflect that.

    Certainly a segment of the population, with ties to the originals, are interested in the retro-clones, and the magic word “free” draws in many who would otherwise not bother with it. Initially I was prepared to argue in favour of them myself. However, upon closer inspection, rule for rule, I soon discovered significant errors, omissions, and a philosophy behind them which is in many respects flawed if not self serving. Far from the release of the OGL being a great democratizer, and liberator (its only intent being to allow people to legally publish content for 3e), I see the perversion of the OGL as intellectually stunted, and an example of thinking inside the box. Harsh words, which in my opinion are well deserved. No doubt this stand will anger and infuriate many. I’m here to kick you in your complacency. Maybe I should give you a Gibbs’ Smack too, wake up. I don’t think we should mistake nostalgia for anything other than what it is.

    I’ve been around the RPG hobby from the late 70s and I’ve seen it wax and wane. If I were to take part in the OSR it would only be as a Pirate on the high seas of commerce. My heart is not in it. I’d rather look forward to new games and new adventures.


  8. Greg MacKenzie
    December 16th, 2010 at 13:31 | #8

    I had another thought or two. One’s outlook is depending on whether this is more of a “business” or a “hobby” to you. You can continue to go your own way and hope Chimera finds an audience, or make of it what you will, but there is a simple way of taking advantage of the OSR’s popularity, without compromising one’s principles. Simply release “system-less” gaming materials in the fantasy/dungeon genre. You are a prolific and creative person. If you do not use the OGL, your IP is protected under your own copyright. Your bound to be able to attract some interest. You can supply materials, complete adventures, maps, illustrations, etc., which can be used in any gaming system in the fantasy genre.


  9. December 16th, 2010 at 14:04 | #9

    @Greg MacKenzie : First off, you already are the OSR equivalent of the cranky old man shouting at kids to get their damn retro-clones off your lawn. Please accept my apologies for presuming I might earn that title, when it’s clear you already own it.

    Second, I hear you about “system-less.” There are some ideas I’ve been toying with, and I can see the appeal. More on that stuff later, but suffice to say I’ve seen some other indie publishers make the model work. If only I didn’t require sleep…I’d be so much more productive.

  10. Greg MacKenzie
    December 16th, 2010 at 14:24 | #10

    @Erin D. Smale Ha! :) Yes I surely am the ol’ curmudgeon. Still, I can see that after a few years of this your getting worn down by the arguement, not so much with others, but an internal one. I’ve had much the same. My initial thought was that perhaps titles such as LL did offer a legal safe harbour, and that I could change my content on my ol’ website to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more dismayed I became, and I soon realized that they were games in their own right and quite unlike the original 1974 D&D I loved so much. I understand completely the difficulty you are in. I am entirely sympathetic. Whatever you decide to do, it is entirely your own to make. If you did want to jump in feet first to one of the OSR clones I can respect that because you can do whatever you like! I’ll just stick to running the clones off my lawn, that’s the only jurisdiction this sherrif has. :)

  11. December 16th, 2010 at 14:58 | #11

    @Greg MacKenzie Oit! Get off my Systemless lawn! I want to actually have a job, you know! How am I supposed to do that if actual talented people start doing it!? :P

    @sycarion I have to disagree with your assessment of Paizo. While they tapped into people who knew how to play d20/D&D 3.x, they did not just copy and release it, they updated it and continue to do so, with new material that never existed previously. They aren’t just reprinting all the 3.x material that WotC had on sale but no longer do.

    If the likes of Labyrinth Lord did this, then it would be fine. But I was turned off by the fact that I recognised the content and the format as being virtually identical as a product I already owned – that I already paid for, some ten years ago. There were no improvements. It is bad enough when companies resell their own products without improvements, although for anniversary editions this is generally a given, but for another company to exist solely for this purpose is even worse.

    The only good point in their favour is that because this material cannot be found anywhere else, it has some merit from an archival point of view. But would these stop should WotC simply say “Time is up, fellows.” I doubt it. They’d go underground, like the pirates they truly are, and carry on.

    If I was to get involved – IF – it would purely be for a historical perspective. I have rules books that are older than I am, because I did not have the luxury of being born in the ’70’s, let alone able to play. As reference to see the evolution of rules, they have merit, but do we really want to undo everything we’ve learnt over the past thirty years? For a start – having retro-clones on PDF is extremely ironic…

    “Let’s kick it old-school – I got a copy of original D&D on my laptop…” Yeah, that was so 70’s…

  12. December 16th, 2010 at 15:49 | #12

    @Da’ Vane Ironic, too that the retro-clone authors, relying so heavily on the OGL, did not avail themselves of the opportunity to innovate. I don’t know a single D&D player–from any edition–who doesn’t use some amount of house rules, but they seem oddly absent (in quantity) from the retro-clones.

    One could use the stuff on Breeyark.org to recreate a B/X- or RC-based RPG. And that helps assure the accessibility bonus sycarion refers to. Another example is James Raggi’s LotFPRPG–I wouldn’t characterise it as a retro-clone because it is a significant departure from Classic D&D, yet familiar enough to Classic D&D players to be accessible.

  13. deimos3428
    December 16th, 2010 at 16:02 | #13

    Anyone who suggests the D&D rules aren’t widely available for purchase in the secondary market just hasn’t looked very hard at all. The argument is utter nonsense.

    You may have difficulty obtaining a first printing woodgrain for a reasonable price, or an obscure supplement, etc. But beyond specificity reserved for a printing wingnut (like myself), no version of the rules is in short supply. A 6th printing “OCE” white box can be had any given Sunday for about $100-120, about what you’d pay for the three cores rules in 4E. Later versions of the game are much less expensive and much easier to obtain, of course.

  14. December 16th, 2010 at 16:46 | #14

    @deimos3428 : Without gloating, I recently picked up a copy of the Moldvay Basic rulebook in “good” condition on eBay for $5 USD, including shipping. By no means pristine, but perfect for reference (which lets me keep my collector’s copy of the boxed set untouched).

    So, yeah, they’re out there.

  15. deimos3428
    December 16th, 2010 at 22:20 | #15

    If people do need assistance in finding vintage D&D, by all means let me know. I have a considerable collection I’m in the process of weeding and a few other resources to tap in that regard.

  16. December 17th, 2010 at 08:41 | #16

    @deimos3428 You know there’s the whole Child’s Play drive? I’m a child compared to you old ‘uns – why not donate those excess RPGs to a loving home? As the saying goes, ‘Charity begins with me.’ :D

  17. deimos3428
    December 17th, 2010 at 13:19 | #17

    My plan is actually to donate some of it to a local “RPG museum”, to avoid shipping costs and the hassle of eBay sales. It’s located within the municipal library and available for checkout.

  18. Greg MacKenzie
    December 17th, 2010 at 16:52 | #18

    Da’ Vane :
    @Greg MacKenzie Oit! Get off my Systemless lawn! I want to actually have a job, you know! How am I supposed to do that if actual talented people start doing it!?

    That’s a good chuckle! I suspect your far more talented than this ms would let on. Truth is this idea was also popular “back in the day”. I remember seeing a few system-less add-ons for D&D way back when. It never seemed to take off then. I wonder why? Erin and I had a discussion once regarding how a GM might go about filling in a system-less module, and if that was a detraction to motivation to “purchase” of one.

  19. December 19th, 2010 at 20:39 | #19


    I think you’ve done the best yet in explaining your retro-clone dislike and better than you have on the list. I want to add two points.

    1. As a GM who wants to run B/X or RC with people who started in the 3.x era I can send people to eBay, lend out all my books, send them to an illegal download, or the retros. I did buy all the BECMI and Gazetteers when they were legally available, but B/X never came out that way. In the long run the retros are, for me, the best choice from a set of bad choices.

    2. At least one retro, and my favorite, was created originally simply to help the owner get his any pre-3.x modules and supplements in stores, LotFP. While Jim has become more interested in the game in and of itself since then it was created to help sell other products in the retail chain. Given that the need for an in-print, in stores games maybe greater than we realized. This does speak to your complaint being a commercial one.

    Okay, I do have a third point, what about grey products. The new B/X Companion and the Holmes Companion round out existing rules (and assume their use) to more complete versions. You can argue they’re merely retroclones of CMI (and X/E in the case of the Holmes one) or supplements instead of clones a la the old Arduin. Or what about LotFP with some changes: only fighters go up in fighting ability and the substitution of specialists for thieves.

    Okay, a fourth point. I tend to house rule classic D&D anyway and the retroclones aren’t any closer or further for me so the baseline books seem to matter less. Thanks to you I don’t even use the original XP charts.

    I do wish WotC still had the classic PDFs and had done the minor work to get them to a higher quality (clean-up the OCR and bookmarks) especially with DTRPG offering POD. I would almost definitely go to pure TSR D&D with everything else as supplements.

  20. December 19th, 2010 at 20:46 | #20

    Opps, I see you did address the issue of LotFP specifically in a comment I missed in terms of being a retro-clone. My bad.

    I’d still like to hear you thoughts on the business reason James had for initially writing it.

  21. December 19th, 2010 at 22:06 | #21

    @Herb : You cite a very real issue: availability of the rulebooks for your players. While *I* have my own copies of B/X, do you think I’m gonna let one of my players get his grubbies on them? Right. So, yes: It’s one of those needling details that I tend to ignore in my Ivory Tower…

    Retro-clones may be at the core of solving this problem, and I gotta be honest: It didn’t really occur to me until after I posted this article. If I thought hard enough, I’d have realised that this was one of my own drivers for writing Chimera–making a ruleset that others could access–which originated as a bevy of house rules for B/X.

    But of course I’m not satisfied with just playing my own variants–I have to share the goddamn things and strive to make a few bucks in the process. So there’s Chimera: Rules-lite and very much OSR, but not at all retro-clonish.

    So stuff like the B/X Companion picks up where the canon left off. I can’t speak to JB’s Companion, nor the Holmes Companion, but those somehow seem more “pure” in my mind–they’re basing off the original material, stretching out in their own directions with new material that the originals never achieved. Sort of a “what might have been,” instead of a “re-invention of the same thing” that the retro-clones themselves represent.

    As for LotFP, I could not say what James’ business reasons were–I have no contact with him, so I could only speculate (which is bound to be wrong–best to ask him). That said, I have read the free downloads, and there are lots of changes to the original D&D material. Perhaps too many house rules to graft onto an existing retro-clone. Hence, his own game.

    But that’s the spirit I would expect from OSR–authors taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity afforded by the OGL and coming up with their own versions of the original material. To be sure, these are based off of a common point of reference–like LotFP–but sufficiently varied so as to be different games in their own right.

    And this goes back to my point (which you astutely revealed): it takes no effort or integrity to repurpose what’s already been done. But it does take some innovation and thinking to build off of the common foundation. I don’t expect OSR to radically transform the landscape–that would be somewhat oxymoronic–but I do expect it to get the ball a few more yards down the field.

    Thanks for posting–given your background, your commentary is very well received. Cheers!

  22. sycarion
    December 20th, 2010 at 00:06 | #22

    @Da’ Vane
    What I like about LL is that there is are OED and AEC add-ons that allow the race as class folks to be alongside the race and class are separate crowd. I think that’s pretty nifty to be able to do that.

    Sure my group did that back in 83-89, but good grief, we bolted on THAC0 , Spelljammer and OA on top of it. There is no way in heck that I could ever publish our rules – I wouldn’t even begin to know what to call that unholy mess. I have B/X like rules for Mechs if anyone would like them. I didn’t base it off BattleTech – instead I started with Centurion Legion.

    Seriously, though, if it’s innovation, I think Basic Fantasy did a lot that was different. Chris also works hard to add new material. Although I’m no a horror-n-dread kind of person, LOTFP seems to offer different stuff as well. Stars without Number looks promising and it’s not even fantasy.

    As far as what can be created that is ‘new’, I used to think that settings could be ‘different’ enough, but no one really buys settings. I say this like I can prove it, but it doesn’t seem like OSR folks buy settings, because they tend to make their own.

    I also wanted to use Instant Game to generate odd genres and attempt to add something to the community that way. I don’t know if it will be successful, but it does make for interesting games. Supers? In Boston 1775? The American Revolution will never be the same.

    I dunno. Maybe we should take Advanced Dungeons and Savages from Dragonsfoot and base an RPG from it.

    @Erin – I appreciate Chimera Basic Free. At this point, with the way the market is, having a free product is the best you can do. There’s ways to compete with free and I think folks do it all the time. The primary way so far appears to be art. The other way is providing an actual book. I miss the feel of a good book myself, but I can only afford PDFs anymore. I’m not sure what the next step is. I know that it will involve a lot of interaction with fans of the games systems. I believe it will be more than forums. I’m just not smart enough to know what that is.

    Not to be a kiss-up, but I think it is a very well built system. It kind of reminds me of EABA in the sense that it feels easy to build just about anything. If anyone has Stuff! or Guns!Guns!Guns!, you know what I mean. I appreciate the ability to genre-mix and even be really weird. If anyone ever does a space fantasy (like magic in space, not so much like Barsoom), your system would be a good one to use.

    @all – Sorry for the rambling. Bad cold.

  23. January 16th, 2011 at 05:42 | #23

    Calling all you Old School Curmudgeons – OSR has truly annoyed me now, and it’s time that WE did something about it.

    Defenders of the OSR community are now calling out for Wizards to sue them and protect their own IPs, otherwise they will continue to steal them based on their twisted perversions of the OGL and the SRD. Quite frankly, this is an insult, and I hereby propose a solution by beating them at their own game.

    Since Old School is technically abandonware, we should treat it as such to the full extent of copyright and Fair Use law. To this end, I propose that WE start an archival service for all the abandoned Old-School material, to be given away for free, until such point as the original IP holders request it’s removal and pick it up themselves.

    I can provide the infrastructure, and some early material, but I will need you old-timers to help out by providing material, preferably scanned from their original sources in PDF format. I’ll endeavour to contact the current IP holders of companies to ask if they consent to this free archival service, or to allow them to request removal while letting them know what is going on with OSR. If we provide the foundations for free, the OSR will have no basis for reprinting existing material, and be forced to focus on creating new material.

    Right now, this is just an idea on a Facebook page, but if you care about the legacy of RPGs and those who deserve their rightful dues, then hopefully this is something you will care to support. Check it out here at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-School-Rebellion/186447014716267

  24. January 16th, 2011 at 10:46 | #24

    @Da’ Vane I applaud your zeal, but I can’t get behind this as presented. You’re essentially proposing that we pirate the IP in question until the legal owners issue a Cease & Desist.

    This is grossly illegal. The designation of “abandonware” does not justify illegal file sharing. Note also that any online file sharing is considered a commercial use under US law, so sharing the IP for “free” won’t apply in court. If I were the current IP holder and had deep legal pockets, a Cease & Desist is the least I would do.

    The only way the original IP could be shared legally is if the current owners (i.e., WotC or Hasbro) consent to it. My suggestion in the post above is for them to re-release the material–whether for free or for profit–to an audience that I believe would support it. The questionable success of 4E suggests that they’re going to need a revamp of D&D before too long. A re-release of B/X, for example, would be a smart way to test the market winds…

  25. January 17th, 2011 at 10:07 | #25

    @Erin D. Smale Once again, you miss the point, Erin. There will be no need for a Cease and Desist – a simple request will do. In fact, part of the objective is to be able to take the scanned copies of material, use them to locate the current IP holders, and approach them to make them aware of the issue.

    The Fair Use laws exist to provide legal defence in four main areas of copyright – criticism, parody, education, and creativity. We will fall squarely under the third category, as the point is to highlight exactly what OSR products are the same as existing material, and which are not, and basically provide key evidence for the IP holders. In addition, it will also provide significant defence as an pure archival service, and hopefully with enough viewer statistics, will be able to show the IP holders their their IPs are still valuable and desirable.

    Basically, this is a choice – either we do something, or we wait until Wizards do something. If we wait, the OSR pirates are still pirating this material. It is still being file shared. Personally, I have nothing against piracy, because I am an advocate for fan support – If somebody likes something, they WILL go out and buy legitimate copies of material they have acquired for free as a means of support. To this end, if people like B/X they will pay for a legitimate copy to show their support, even if they already have a free or pirated copy.

    This is important, because there is the rise of an interesting new business model in the video games industry that is countering the issue of abandonware – check out Good Old Games at http://www.gog.com/en/frontpage – and if this can be adopted for the use of abandonware RPG IPs, then this too is a good thing. But first, that means getting the material, locating the IP holders, and demonstrating an interested market base.

    At the moment, Wizards are not doing this – and with the dubious success of 4th Edition causing them to flatline, chances are they may NEVER be able to do this. Paizo, on the other hand, has thrown it’s lot in with the OSR – and the biggest issue is that some aspects of the OSR movement ARE valid. Some OSR retro-clones are extensive enough in their innovation that they are not merely copies or rehashed material, but are actually original works in their own right. Unfortunately, without a reliable archive of the original material, it is virtually impossible to tell which is which, and thus those selling the clones are able to hide in plain sight.

    This is why scans are preferred, including full copyright information, to show that they ARE the original material. An integral part is to try and get consent from the IPs so that if they do not wish to release the material, it is still available, although chances are it would become more of an affiliate service than anything else in the longer term.

    I’m fed up of OSR issuing challenges to Wizards and others in places where they are not likely to be seen by them. People worked hard, and it is a gross affront to every fan to see material used and abused in this way. I can understand the idea of information not wanting to be lost, and remaining available for those who wish to find it, but to see others make money from such exploitation turns my stomach, as a designer, a publisher, and a fan.

  26. January 17th, 2011 at 12:19 | #26

    @Da’ Vane : Once again, you miss the point, Erin. There will be no need for a Cease and Desist – a simple request will do.

    No, I’m pretty sure I got the point: you want to host scans of someone else’s work without their permission.

    A Cease & Desist is a simple request, given essentially as an ultimatum against further legal action. Fair use provides for limited use of copyrighted material. You’re advocating the free posting and distribution of entire written works, without the permission of the copyright holder. Your proposal will not fall under the “Education” clause of Fair Use. There is no sane court on the planet that would agree that this is a Fair Use application.

    I don’t advocate piracy and I don’t tolerate it. If the “OSR pirates” you refer to are authors who’ve basically regurgitated original titles under the OGL, then you’re mistaken. While I agree that they’ve flaunted the “spirit” of the law, they have not (OSRIC and S&W notwithstanding) broken the letter.

    Does WotC read my blog? Probably not–they’re completely unlikely to get my message. But you’re right–people did work hard. Which is precisely why pirating the original material is not the way to proceed, either legally or ethically.

  27. January 17th, 2011 at 18:56 | #27

    @Erin D. Smale No – I want to get their permission, Erin. In fact, I’ve been sounding out the idea of Old School Rebellion with several people at Wizards of the Coast for this EXACT purpose. I also asked several higher ups what Wizards stance on the OSR movement and their IP actually is.

    That said, archival for reference purposes IS educational use. As an academic myself, I know exactly how to cite sources and reference material, and providing copies of referenced material for those that are not able to get for the purposes of discussion IS education. In this case, it would be to compare the original material with the current OSR products.

    The thing is, and this is a discussion that has been taking place in several places now, is that there is genuinely innovative content mixed in with what is a rebranding of someone else’s product without permission. The difficulty is determining which is which. There are arguments such as it being fairly easy to reverse AC to get THAC0, as long as you don’t call it THAC0. This “reverse engineering” is enough to qualify it as a new system, but the designers would have to prove they reversed engineered it based on their own ideas, rather than just copied someone else’s work, and this requires access to the originals for referencing purposes.

    Not all OSR products are simple regurgitations, but a lot are, and having read the OGL, they break the letter of the law in many places, including the fact that the OGL relates solely to the d20 System. It was not, and never was, carte blanche to provide material for any other system, and the d20 System is more than just using a single core mechanic. They do not comply with the OGL, because the old school systems do not comply with the d20 System. Everything prior to the d20 system still remains under full copyright, regardless of the OGL.

    Retro-clones would have a tough time arguing in court that they are old school remakes of the d20 system – that they are d20 with b/x D&D flavour, simply because a lot of that flavour IS copyrighted.

    I will re-iterate the first point in this reply though, before you forget – I have ALREADY contacted Wizards of the Coast about this idea to find their stance and seek their permission. The fact is, this material is already being pirated – as is a lot of other material. However, a true fan, upon finding something they like, even if they did obtain it through piracy, will seek legitimate means to support the developer/publisher. Often, services like this can show that there IS still a demand for such material, and if there is enough demand and support, developers/publishers will often rethink about releasing desired material.

    You want Wizards to rerelease B/X, then supporting this idea is just one way to go about it. Or you can wait to see what happens. Your choice, really. WotC might not read your blog, but they DO read mine – I’ll keep you informed as to developments, because if I can get Old School Rebellion working properly, and legally, it will be worth the effort, and hopefully all you cranky curmudgeons will be able to actually get back into gaming again. After all, I still recall the joy of picking up the Dragonlance module reprints for 2nd Edition despite that fact 3e was released, because it’s a classic piece of RPG and D&D history – and I’d still pay to get them on PDF again!

  28. Greg MacKenzie
    January 18th, 2011 at 09:39 | #28

    @Da’ Vane
    As far as the OGL/SRD are concerned there’s no way your going to put that genie back in the bottle. If WOC were going to do something about the clones, they would have done it by now. The clones are not D&D but new games. There is no way I’d pirate the old publications and put them on the net. That is a copyright violation.

  29. Greg Mackenzie
    January 18th, 2011 at 12:03 | #29

    @Da’ Vane
    This is meant for Da’vane:

    I take that title of curmudgeon with pride by the way. I see the clones as new works, and they are not the original D&D game. I like the old game, but even I recognize it’s time to move on to new rules, and I’m an old fart. The SRD contains OGL content which is freely re-distributable. Trying to prod WOC into some action… debatable result. The OSR is alive and will circle the net until the end of time in PDF. I don’t particularly see the OGL based clones as a safe harbour for my creative work but that is as far as it goes. I hope you see my point. Personal decision, end of story.

    I would submit that what you are proposing will neither affect the OSR nor work effectively as a declaration of war on the OGL/SRD based offerings. There are lots of printed materials from the 80s still available if you care to look. All of that material is still in circulation, and cheap.

  30. January 19th, 2011 at 06:59 | #30

    @Greg Mackenzie It’s a declaration of war on those OSR offerings that have simply used the OGL to republish existing material and then sell it under the guise of a new system. There are good products in the OSR, but amongst them are the bad ones – and this is to help highlight, expose, and eradicate the bad ones.

    In the issue of abandonware, which this does some under, is an extensive grey area, but it come down to two camps. Those who exploit the abandonware for their own ends, selling it as their own material, and basically being an arse. Then there are those that host it out of fan service, keeping it alive, and work with the publishers to get the content to the fans, and will willingly remove such material as soon as a single legitimate source starts selling it again.

    Now, you can help me not not, that is your choice, but please don’t assume I am being an arse without doing your homework. As I said, I am currently talking to Wizards of the Coast about this idea – and in order to make it work, we need numbers. Sitting on your laurels waiting for something to happen will not help. WotC already considered their previous PDF sales experiment a failure – but then, they have to pay actual people and dedicate actual resources to such initiatives to justify such actions, so minimal sales, even though they are sales, would be a failure. Yet, a fan-based service, done properly, does not have the same issues, and thus they would more likely be interested in such a situation if the risks are placed in the hands of someone else, where all they need to do is collect royalties. It is a win-win situation for all, if it works – and that is where getting all the support that I can comes in.

    That said – I will put out another request: If you can link me such material, I would be grateful. Plus, if people are still getting rid of their old gaming materials, can you think about sending them this way please? The idea behind file sharing is so that I can gather information – and a scanned PDF shows the original product format, including copyright and publishing details, meaning that I can track down and approach the current IP holders and request permission to present the material in a desired format.

    By the way, I know you take the title of curmudgeon with pride – that’s the point. Unfortunately, I have not had the same chances as a gamer as you – whether through location, age, or poverty – much of the material you care about I don’t even know about, and have only got a passing acquaintance with. I cannot tell the good OSR from the bad, apart from the few that I know have basically been wholesale rip-offs because I recognised the text and the format, almost enough to do a word-by-word comparison. These are the people that the bad OSR products are targeting, pretending they are validated by the OGL, and they are paying homage to the early D&D games, when instead they are merely exploiting them, and hiding amongst the good products.

    Did you know that Swords & Wizardry have now thrown their lot in with Paizo by becoming dual format? They strengthened their claim that they are backed by the OGL, by providing rules that are both compatible with Pathfinder RPG/d20 AND their own “retro-clone” system of D&D. This strikes me as odd, if such a product was truly protected by the OGL, there would be no need for this dual-system nature for their products. Is Swords & Wizardry any good? I don’t know – it has been commented on to be a reprint to B/X D&D, but without a copy of B/X D&D, how can this be validated?

    This is the dilemma. Information on the existing products IS needed, and this means it comes under educational use as per the Fair Use laws. Yes, this is a copyright violation bypass – that is the nature of the Fair Use law. While you sit on your backsides hogging your original copies of B/X D&D, you don’t need to obtain the information – you already have it, but can’t be bothered to use it or challenge the OSR movement to clean up it’s act, while those that need the information are forced to do whatever it takes to get it in order to challenge the OSR movement to do the right thing. They won’t do it while they can get away with it – and they ARE getting away with it.

    Piracy and crime exists because people want things and will do whatever it takes to get it, for whatever reason. However, people will generally take the easiest option to obtain anything they want – if working is easier than crime, then people work. If piracy is easier than hunting the internet for rare copies on ebay, then piracy will happen. The key to resolving these issues is to make the right approach the easiest approach – those selling rehashed OSR products are doing this by putting everything in one place, where it is easy to find.

    Old School Rebellion aims to do the same, but provide said material for free or reduced cost, thus making it even easier than going to these companies. If OSR publishers provide material that IS different, they will stand out and continue to be able to sell, and be further encouraged to innovate in new ways. Those that do not will go out of business. By working with publishers, we will also make it easier to get other out-of-print old school products back into service legally. Plus, we will also provide another easy need – a means for fans to pass on their money and support to the actual IP owners, rather than pirates.

    Piracy does not result in lost sales – somebody who pirates somebodies work and doesn’t like it has saved their money, and therefore less likely to think ill of the person who’s work they pirated – however, if they DO like the work, they are actually inclined to pay for the work they have pirated as a show of support, so that the developer can keep on producing material they like. As such, piracy is a form of fan-based advertising that will lead to support and exposure. To presume people will pirate material for the sake of piracy is naive – there is always an ulterior motivation, and this motivation is what determines whether or not piracy is appropriate.

    After all, piracy would not be an issue if society was more giving – for example, it is impossible to pirate Chimera RPG Basic because it is already free. Yet people, myself included, already want to pay what Chimera RPG Basic is worth to see it develop further, even though it is free, because this is simply a form of self-induced piracy on the part of Erin. Thus the real issue about piracy is not about sales or wealth, but about control.

  31. January 19th, 2011 at 09:53 | #31

    @Da’ Vane : it is impossible to pirate Chimera RPG Basic because it is already free.

    I hasten to point out that this statement is false. With respect, this is part of the problem that the OGL has fostered: sloppy and ill-informed thinking about IP, copyright, and piracy.

    As stated clearly in Chimera’s copyright statement:

    No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or computerisation, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, The Welsh Piper.

    Failure to observe that provision is piracy. Chimera’s price tag is irrelevant. In point of fact, I have found copies of Chimera available for download on other sites, without my permission given, and have issued Cease & Desist missives as a result. In all cases, such requests have been honoured.

    Piracy doesn’t merely siphon revenue from the IP owner. It also distributes the IP in a manner inconsistent with the owner’s wishes. And, while some pirates may eventually pay for material they obtain illegally, I would not assume that 100% of the pirates who like my material have a conscience (else they wouldn’t be pirates).

    Again, I applaud your effort to engage WotC, though I’m not sure this is the right approach. If anything, I’d be inclined to share material only after receiving a clear statement of intent from WotC. Otherwise, it seems like we’re simply engaging in illegal file sharing.

    To progress further with this scheme, without express permission from respective IP owners, is piracy. And while you can argue Fair Use, nothing I’ve seen above seems–to me, as a non-lawyer–to fall within that category.

  32. Greg Mackenzie
    January 19th, 2011 at 12:00 | #32

    @Da’ Vane
    I choose my battles wisely. I do not care enough about the clones to consider them worth recommending them for civil suit as you suggest. I’ve read the main contenders and while it is my opinion that they may well break the OGL rules in spots, by and large they rely on the SRD for much of their content. HASBRO/WOC have lawyers retained for the purpose of protecting their IP, etc., as they did so with Scrabble vs Scrabulous. Scrabulous lost that one. So, with regard to any copyright violations which may be present in the clones it is not my job to compile shortlists and do WOC’s work for them. Why are you doing it? What is in it for you personally? Are you sore because DVoid doesn’t get any interest/sales? Need a scapegoat? I don’t know what you believe, but “curmudgeon” falls well short of “fanatic”. My advice to you would be to let WOC solve IP issues themselves.

  33. January 19th, 2011 at 13:58 | #33

    @Erin D. Smale Which is why, when you read through the rest of my post, you’ll find that the discussion of copyright is in fact about control, not money. Advocates of copyright law want control of their properties, and understandably so.

    The fact is that people who pirate material, it is not so much about control – the ones who do this are juvenile script kiddies that hack sites and cause trouble just because people told them not to. For everyone else, it is actually more about access to information and money – they don’t want to own it or control it – they want to experience it and see if it is any good. Then, if it IS any good, they will back it and support it with their hard earned money, which is becoming harder and harder to come by.

    PC games are often used as an analogy for sales, particularly with advancement in electronic media as a publishing means, because there is a compounding issue – the issue of refunds. With digital duplication becoming increasing popular, regardless of copyright law, particularly for personal use the safety net of returning products that people were not satisfied with is slowly being eroded. Currently, PC games cannot be returned for a refund, just in case they’ve been copied, even if the customer is unsatisfied with them. How long before this becomes the case with PDF files as e-publishing becomes more and more mainstream? Sometime there is the luxury of a demo, but this is not always the case, and as such customers are going in blind, only to be left unsatisfied. In quite a few cases, it is hard to say whether this process is intentional – are companies making poor products, fuelling hype that is not being met, taking as much money as possible, before running? Some are, and this simply damages the industry as a whole, as it makes customers hesitant to try anything without a safety net.

    By giving out Chimera RPG Basic for free, you’ve effectively eliminated the need for piracy – well, almost. The provision “or transmitted in any form” actually makes Chimera RPG less freely available, and thus people who cannot be bothered to come to this site and download it might be inclined to acquire it from somewhere else if it was easier to obtain, like from a local contact. I know I’ve been asked a few times to share, but I just give them a link to download from this site instead – if they can’t be bothered to do even that, they probably aren’t going to be interested enough to care in the first place.

    What it comes down to is that copyright advocates focus on one set of priorities, yet the priorities of the average piracy advocate are completely different, and these simply do not match up. This is why all forms of copyright protection generally fail – they are focusing on the wrong things, and alienating the wrong people, because the people they should be targeting remain unaffected. It’s like arguing alignment when one side is focused only on the law vs. chaos axis, and the other is focused squarely on the good vs. evil axis – they are basically having two different arguments that are only tangentially related to each other.

    @Greg: To be honest – HASBRO probably doesn’t has a clue what it’s got. Quite a lot of issues with Wizards comes down to the fact that HASBRO has no idea of the hobby, and where as Wizards are big an deal in units of thousands, HASBRO deal in toy sales that deal in units of millions. Wizards aren’t that much bigger than anyone else, and are seriously hamstrung by HASBRO who will cut anything that isn’t successful enough by their standards, much to the chagrin of Wizards themselves. Try talking to an employee sometime – it’s fairly interesting stuff.

    it is the responsibility of any fan to support their hobbies however they can, and make them better. But then, this does come down to personality – some people turn around and say “Why should I?” when others will turn around and say “Why shouldn’t I?” I can do this, it’s something I want to do if I can make it work, and I’ve no reason NOT to do it. The only complication is trying to make sure I do it right, and getting the backing and support that this idea needs – that’s why I’ve turned to people who are officially more old school than I am, and all I am getting is “Why should I?”

    It is easy to naysay an idea, and criticise when someone is doing something wrong, but it is a lot harder to actually talk about and come up with strategies for doing it right. I tried to come up with ideas for helping Chimera do things right as necessary, and all I got for my troubles was insults and assumptions of trolling, but at least I did more than just say it was wrong, it sucked, and it shouldn’t be done.

    Actually, my motivations are two-fold, and have little to do with DVOID Systems: Learning and Boredom. I have always has a soft-spot for learning things, new and old, particularly in my hobbies and passions. I get bored very easily, and consume information rapidly. All part of my savant traits – and I love history and nostalgia. I wasn’t even born when D&D, RPGs, and gaming first started, but if I had been, I would be even better at this than I am now. As much as I enjoy being told about the past, and basing my learning off of other people, I like to be able to see for myself – the completist, hoardist, and archivist in me wants the ultimate gaming collection, because I simply live games. If I am any sort of apologist at all, I am an RPG or gaming apologist. You can call me a fanatic – because that IS what I am. It’s a title I wear with pride.

    I could be offended that you think this might be motivated by the performance of DVOID Systems, but I am not. For your information, Both DVOID Systems and the Legend of Zelda Roleplaying Game have had interest and sales/downloads, and are relatively successful based on the standards that they are something that I would be doing anyway, and aren’t exactly a chore. They might be modest interest and sales, but it’s enough for me, and I enjoy it. I embrace the Gamer Lifestyle, because games ARE my life… unbelievably so. As such, I do care about them.

  34. Greg MacKenzie
    January 20th, 2011 at 11:39 | #34

    @Da’ Vane

    …it is the responsibility of any fan to support their hobbies however they can, and make them better.

    You’re assuming we all share the same goals. I’m not obligated to do any such thing, nor am I obligated to support this idea of yours with regard to violating IP in order to protect it. It’s ridiculous. I reached my cut-off point some time ago with regard to the merits of the OSR discussion as Erin can well attest. As I indicated to you, it is up to WOC/Hasbro to protect their IP, not you, nor I.

    You’re way over the top in your response to the OSR. Really, do you work for WOC? Are you entitled to be their spokesperson? I wouldn’t be so eager to lead the charge you are proposing. You have no idea where you will end up because you are dealing with what is essentially a small part of a very large corporation.

  1. December 18th, 2010 at 05:12 | #1