It is only a matter of time. And I am not innocent.
There is a game. The game is fun. People adjust it for their tastes and settings. People put a lot of hard work in their versions, and in reviewing other versions. Differences lead to more differences, people like to analyze and talk about their preferences, preferences are codified into how the game is played. This, my friends, is the routine process of role playing games.
People who rediscover the fun of rules-light games echoing the flavors of the origin of tabletop role playing are pleased at the fun they are having. This is as it should be. People are drawn into the lovely art and slick presentation and alternative concepts for role playing in the newest versions. Why not. And people try to recapture the flavor of the original without taking on its hang-ups or elements that detract from the fun–why not indeed?
People do what they do, and there’s a human element that pulls at all of us, even those who would like to think they are immune to killing what they love through dissection or relocation to an incompatible climate.
Let me be clear. I would be dismayed if someday I found out people were comparing and contrasting my work (in support of the game Kirin Robinson made, with Old School Hack) with the original and making disparaging comments one way or another.
I want the freedom to take his rule set and have my way with it. In exchange, I really don’t want to start an edition war. I’ll do my thing. You do your thing. If we can collaborate, that’s cool. If people want to pick and choose, I’m spreading the buffet table. Just… just don’t start a food fight.
It was a chilling moment when I realized that there could come a point when people would point to different versions of Old School Hack and get into the sort of seriously unpleasant discussions they get into about editions of D&D. In reading some of the OSR comments, I’m beginning to realize I need to be a lot more careful if I want to keep this sort of murk out of our crystal waters.
Why has Old School Hack not had to deal with this very human condition? Division, rancor, redrawing categorical lines, insulting other play styles, and so on? Because it is young, it is relatively small. And that’s it.