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D&D General On Grognardism...

I'm in one remaining OSR group, that has a Pride flag as part of its logo. I figure that keeps away the worst of them. But so many others, I tried to stick it out so as to not cede the space, but that just wore me down and I ended up leaving eventually anyway.

I'm in a secret OSR Facebook group with zero toxicity. Tres cool. :D
Edit: But the D&D UK Facebook group is very low toxicity too. Most of the posters are laid back; you get a few snide comments but the mods don't take sides or let things get out of hand.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I'm in one remaining OSR group, that has a Pride flag as part of its logo. I figure that keeps away the worst of them. But so many others, I tried to stick it out so as to not cede the space, but that just wore me down and I ended up leaving eventually anyway.
I feel ya. Same here. On both parts. Time is too short to keep subjecting yourself to some of those people.

For the record, I very much do NOT think the OSR is bigoted or overall toxic, and I do not think fans of the OSR or TSR era D&D are bigoted or sexist. However, what I've seen, and I totally admit this is anecdotal, is that the more "woke" WotC has become (the word they use), with the changes to be more inclusive and diverse, gamers who are apparently offended by inclusivity seem to have moved to the OSR groups because AD&D was a product of its time and the art reflected the current target demographic of that time (young straight white males, mostly). So these OSR groups have had an increasingly amount of gamers who feel a move to diversity and inclusivity is bad for the game, join the group and bring their toxicity to it.

And as you said, it just wore me down and I ended up leaving most of them anyway. Phrases like "woke", "SJW", and "virtual signaling" are big red flags to me when someone uses them. And when you start seeing them used more often by more people, it's just wearing.

I also have a big problem with people who were there from the beginning, like Pauli Kidd, and Janelle Jacquays, feeling like they aren't welcome in the OSR because of these toxic people. And others like Tim Kask being criticized by "fans" of the OSR because of his outspoken beliefs on pro-diversity. I can't see how anyone can say with a straight face that they are fans of the OSR and old D&D while driving away the people who helped create it in the first place. Then again, cognitive dissonance is a pretty powerful thing. But I digress.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I also have a big problem with people who were there from the beginning, like Pauli Kidd, and Janelle Jacquays, feeling like they aren't welcome in the OSR because of these toxic people. And others like Tim Kask being criticized by "fans" of the OSR because of his outspoken beliefs on pro-diversity. I can't see how anyone can say with a straight face that they are fans of the OSR and old D&D while driving away the people who helped create it in the first place. Then again, cognitive dissonance is a pretty powerful thing. But I digress.
I'm particularly disappointed by those who are intentionally mis-gendering Janelle Jacquays...
 

On a basic level, this is a product of it being a compromise game intended to be played in such dramatically different ways
This harkens back to EGG's open stance in 1974, "If you don't like the rules then bloody change them." (paraphrase). It also exposes that "compromise" actually proceeds/is a reaction to the "median design meant for median use." But people are individuals and do not, in whole, gravitate to median stances , so... back to the Open stance extolled at the advent of the game. The more things change the more they remain the same. ;)
 

This harkens back to EGG's open stance in 1974, "If you don't like the rules then bloody change them." (paraphrase). It also exposes that "compromise" actually proceeds/is a reaction to the "median design meant for median use." But people are individuals and do not, in whole, gravitate to median stances , so... back to the Open stance extolled at the advent of the game. The more things change the more they remain the same. ;)
Yeah, although to my understanding, this kind of open stance engenders a lot of conflict, because the table becomes a discursive space in which game design has to be litigated and negotiated between the players and GM. Maybe different gaming space have different cultures, but my players tend to view restriction from the GM as transgression, and my own stance is somewhat in the vein, albeit from a GM's point of view-- that restriction should be something of a last resort, and somewhat softer from reading a greater diversity of opinions on the subject. This makes the 'openness' of the ruleset, a tacit invitation to a social pressure which can be burdensome.
 

Yeah, although to my understanding, this kind of open stance engenders a lot of conflict, because the table becomes a discursive space in which game design has to be litigated and negotiated between the players and GM. Maybe different gaming space have different cultures, but my players tend to view restriction from the GM as transgression, and my own stance is somewhat in the vein, albeit from a GM's point of view-- that restriction should be something of a last resort, and somewhat softer from reading a greater diversity of opinions on the subject. This makes the 'openness' of the ruleset, a tacit invitation to a social pressure which can be burdensome.
It was a different environment back in past editions & that was because of system differences rather than just player/culture/whatever. If you start looking at 5e it's almost impossible to change anything that makes the players more awesome & nearly any meaningful change needs to start with nerf the stew out of these things then hamstrng these others just to make room for the changes you want to make. Houserules that modified the game back then were very commonly things that allowed players to be awesome & be more awesome because the system was tuned towards higher lethality & less certainty of success at something resulting in houserules that were often a matter of which dials the gm cranks up down and/or ignores and how far they crank them.
 

I agree, the OSR can be quite inclusive - there are lots of diverse creators within it. You can still be progressive socially and old-school mechanically. But there are some that try to use the OSR as a refuge from the modern inclusion efforts that scare them.

I feel ya. Same here. On both parts. Time is too short to keep subjecting yourself to some of those people.

For the record, I very much do NOT think the OSR is bigoted or overall toxic, and I do not think fans of the OSR or TSR era D&D are bigoted or sexist. However, what I've seen, and I totally admit this is anecdotal, is that the more "woke" WotC has become (the word they use), with the changes to be more inclusive and diverse, gamers who are apparently offended by inclusivity seem to have moved to the OSR groups because AD&D was a product of its time and the art reflected the current target demographic of that time (young straight white males, mostly). So these OSR groups have had an increasingly amount of gamers who feel a move to diversity and inclusivity is bad for the game, join the group and bring their toxicity to it.

And as you said, it just wore me down and I ended up leaving most of them anyway. Phrases like "woke", "SJW", and "virtual signaling" are big red flags to me when someone uses them. And when you start seeing them used more often by more people, it's just wearing.

I also have a big problem with people who were there from the beginning, like Pauli Kidd, and Janelle Jacquays, feeling like they aren't welcome in the OSR because of these toxic people. And others like Tim Kask being criticized by "fans" of the OSR because of his outspoken beliefs on pro-diversity. I can't see how anyone can say with a straight face that they are fans of the OSR and old D&D while driving away the people who helped create it in the first place. Then again, cognitive dissonance is a pretty powerful thing. But I digress.
 

Democratus

Adventurer
Yeah, although to my understanding, this kind of open stance engenders a lot of conflict, because the table becomes a discursive space in which game design has to be litigated and negotiated between the players and GM.
This is a feature and not a bug.

Conflict is not a negative thing in and of itself. It is very helpful when handled responsibly.

Hashing out the kind of game everyone wants to play is exactly what you should do before committing to a campaign. If the table has reasonable adults then you can find a game that is acceptable to everyone.

If the table doesn't have reasonable adults, then it probably was headed for trouble anyway.
 

Compromise is more readily (in games) brought about by differences rather than conflict, though in some cases they could be viewed as the same. The Classic style, which I myself refer to it as, results from informed need, and the latter will differ greatly depending on DM or player inquiry. That the system is open to change does not predispose it to a chaotic wish fest. It assumes reasoned design principals in its inquiry and execution phases.
 

This is a feature and not a bug.

Conflict is not a negative thing in and of itself. It is very helpful when handled responsibly.

Hashing out the kind of game everyone wants to play is exactly what you should do before committing to a campaign. If the table has reasonable adults then you can find a game that is acceptable to everyone.

If the table doesn't have reasonable adults, then it probably was headed for trouble anyway.
In practice, this means going back to that 'default' in every game because 'reasonable adults' usually adjust for the four to twenty other people who might be a part of their game, or regularly leaving playgroups/players to try and find one that doesn't take issue with the game you want to run, except that takes even longer because its emotional labor to figure out exactly where the differences lay and what will and won't be ok, and who is responsible for giving or leaving when you reach an impasse can be draining in and of itself.

Well, that or engaging in some exhausting gamesmanship to leverage the paucity of GMs into tolerance of a compromise in which you get some of what you want out of the negotiation, which seems to be the popular method.

This is all IN ADDITION, to the very important work of setting boundaries to make sure everyone is emotionally and psychological secure in the game thematically, scheduling, prepping actual game content, curating a homebrew collection, managing spotlight and personalities during the session, and so forth.
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Pretty much all of this, just kind of went away when we switched to Pathfinder 2e, because it provided a common framework that requires way less negotiation and litigation for everyone to be satisfied with. Its not the presence of conflict that bothers me, its the amount-- we still quibble over what things should be what rarity, whether anathema is going to mean anything, and whether to use the baked in alignment system, what character personalities can mesh with the group. But, its pulling so much more of the weight for me by making these decisions in a curated way, giving my players the toys they want to use, giving me systems that I don't have to negotiate to add because they're already there, and not asking me to balance it all.
 
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Compromise is more readily (in games) brought about by differences rather than conflict, though in some cases they could be viewed as the same. The Classic style, which I myself refer to it as, results from informed need, and the latter will differ greatly depending on DM or player inquiry. That the system is open to change does not predispose it to a chaotic wish fest. It assumes reasoned design principals in its inquiry and execution phases.
Which might be part of my issue with it

"It assumes reasoned design principals in its inquiry and execution phases" is hardly an effortless standard for a GM to live up to when modifying their game to suit their needs.

I enjoy the tinkering and game design of it (it fulfills a longtime desire of mine to engage with game design) but I suspect it does less to support me in that goal than other frameworks-- even those originally designed with the open stance Gary espoused, I have an abiding admiration for the old systems he espoused it in, because they give the GM so much support for their tinkering, even while encouraging them to change it as they please.

I can pop open ADND, and much of his other works and get a nicely comprehensive ruleset ready to help me adjudicate, 5e doesn't provide that framework.
 

In practice, this means going back to that 'default' in every game because 'reasonable adults' usually adjust for the four to twenty other people who might be a part of their game, or regularly leaving playgroups/players to try and find one that doesn't take issue with the game you want to run, except that takes even longer because its emotional labor to figure out exactly where the differences lay and what will and won't be ok, and who is responsible for giving or leaving when you reach an impasse can be draining in and of itself.

Well, that or engaging in some exhausting gamesmanship to leverage the paucity of GMs into tolerance of a compromise in which you get some of what you want out of the negotiation, which seems to be the popular method.

This is all IN ADDITION, to the very important work of setting boundaries to make sure everyone is emotionally and psychological secure in the game thematically, scheduling, prepping actual game content, curating a homebrew collection, managing spotlight and personalities during the session, and so forth.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pretty much all of this, just kind of went away when we switched to Pathfinder 2e, because it provided a common framework that requires way less negotiation and litigation for everyone to be satisfied with. Its not the presence of conflict that bothers me, its the amount-- we still quibble over what things should be what rarity, whether anathema is going to mean anything, and whether to use the baked in alignment system, what character personalities can mesh with the group. But, its pulling so much more of the weight for me by making these decisions in a curated way, giving my players the toys they want to use, giving me systems that I don't have to negotiate to add because they're already there, and not asking me to balance it.
You don't need a set of rules to have DM Agency. This is where latter editions of the rules fail to note, in deference to a minority view that all DMs "might not be fair," that a DM has final agency; and where they misstep in that the players can exit the game, en masse, to show their disapproval. Negating DM agency creates a slew of problems just as you've noted. And do note that during the playtests of D&D and all of our play with 30+ players we never had a problem with DM agency because it is baked into the rules that the DM is an impartial and fair game master, just like judges in sporting events, chess tournaments, in directed play of children, etc.
 

"It assumes reasoned design principals in its inquiry and execution phases" is hardly an effortless standard for a GM to live up to when modifying their game to help it live up to their own minimum standards.
The feature of design is also baked into the OD&D set and AD&D to a certain extent, so to steal @Democratus ' quote,"This is a feature and not a bug."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah, although to my understanding, this kind of open stance engenders a lot of conflict, because the table becomes a discursive space in which game design has to be litigated and negotiated between the players and GM. Maybe different gaming space have different cultures, but my players tend to view restriction from the GM as transgression, and my own stance is somewhat in the vein, albeit from a GM's point of view-- that restriction should be something of a last resort, and somewhat softer from reading a greater diversity of opinions on the subject. This makes the 'openness' of the ruleset, a tacit invitation to a social pressure which can be burdensome.
Back in the day I remember sitting around with the DM and other players during the week over tea or beer hashing out rules ideas, because such discussions were largely banned during the actual play sessions.
 

You don't need a set of rules to have DM Agency. This is where latter editions of the rules fail to note, in deference to a minority view that all DMs "might not be fair," that a DM has final agency; and where they misstep in that the players can exit the game, en masse, to show their disapproval. Negating DM agency creates a slew of problems just as you've noted. And do note that during the playtests of D&D and all of our play with 30+ players we never had a problem with DM agency because it is baked into the rules that the DM is an impartial and fair game master, just like judges in sporting events, chess tournaments, in directed play of children, etc.
Yeah, and I try to cultivate that final agency at my table (while still being more than happy to discuss and compromise and such) but its hard to maintain, since many players see it as a cop out and would rather apply social pressure than enforce their boundary by leaving, which is often messier.

There's entire debates in GM advice communities about whether the GM is entitled to see themselves as anything more than another player with 1/6th of a 'vote.'

I myself have players that see quitting to express disapproval as an unreasonable expectation because GMs are hard to find, which leads to awkward moments when I ask them if they believe themselves entitled to me running for them, which tends to lead to ideals about the democratization of the table and how using my DM agency to go against their wishes is an intrinsic abuse of it.

This isnt a matter of RAW either, these are the people I hack and test elaborate rule systems with. They're open to it when my hacks give them more to play with, but closed to it when they might remove or restrict, or even replace material.

Maybe its me being more sensitive to their disapproval than i should be...
 

Yeah, and I try to cultivate that final agency at my table (while still being more than happy to discuss and compromise and such) but its hard to maintain, since many players see it as a cop out and would rather apply social pressure than enforce their boundary by leaving, which is often messier.

There's entire debates in GM advice communities about whether the GM is entitled to see themselves as anything more than another player with 1/6th of a 'vote.'

I myself have players that see quitting to express disapproval as an unreasonable expectation because GMs are hard to find, which leads to awkward moments when I ask them if they believe themselves entitled to me running for them, which tends to lead to ideals about the democratization of the table and how using my DM agency to go against their wishes is an intrinsic abuse of it.

This isnt a matter of RAW either, these are the people I hack and test elaborate rule systems with. They're open to it when my hacks give them more to play with, but closed to it when they might remove or restrict, or even replace material.

Maybe its me being more sensitive to their disapproval than i should be...
Well, if you're in an abusive relationship what does one normally do? Get out (unless one is co-dependent). As for the DM as administrator, or worse, as only a cog in WotC's machine of fun production, that has been the prob since 3E. I suppose the solution will be found at each singular table. "The system mode (input) always establishes the expression (output)"--RJK, 2012. "If you cannot change a rule then it is not a rule but an incontrovertible law."--RJK, 2012.
 

Well, if you're in an abusive relationship what does one normally do? Get out (unless one is co-dependent). As for the DM as administrator, or worse, as only a cog in WotC's machine of fun production, that has been the prob since 3E. I suppose the solution will be found at each singular table. "The system mode (input) always establishes the expression (output)"--RJK, 2012. "If you cannot change a rule then it is not a rule but an incontrovertible law."--RJK, 2012.
Heh, I wouldn't go quite that far, I can usually make it work if push comes to shove, past traumas have just made me more vulnerable to dissaproval. If someone is upset with me, it just destroys my peace of mind, so im tempted to cave-- but they dont even have to actually do anything to trigger that, which makes it a little different.

Thanks for the advice though, I need to try being a player in a properly old school table, I feel like it might help me figure out some elements of my style I'm missing.
 

Heh, I wouldn't go quite that far, I can usually make it work if push comes to shove, past traumas have just made me more vulnerable to dissaproval. If someone is upset with me, it just destroys my peace of mind, so im tempted to cave-- but they dont even have to actually do anything to trigger that, which makes it a little different.

Thanks for the advice though, I need to try being a player in a properly old school table, I feel like it might help me figure out some elements of my style I'm missing.
For the last I cannot say. Only you know you and your players. I'm just working from a general knowledge pool with others and from my own specific experiences. Maybe BitD people were less selfish? I dunno. All I know is that it's way too complicated for something that should be as easy as saying, "Hey. Let's play a game!" Shrug. Good luck and as an old player of mine would have said, "Keep on going!"
 

S'mon

Legend
I myself have players that see quitting to express disapproval as an unreasonable expectation because GMs are hard to find, which leads to awkward moments when I ask them if they believe themselves entitled to me running for them, which tends to lead to ideals about the democratization of the table and how using my DM agency to go against their wishes is an intrinsic abuse of it.
I have to say, that's a new one on me. Not in a good way. These don't sound like fun people to be around.
 

I agree, the OSR can be quite inclusive - there are lots of diverse creators within it. You can still be progressive socially and old-school mechanically. But there are some that try to use the OSR as a refuge from the modern inclusion efforts that scare them.

While I see your point about some of the reactionary responses to more progressive views embodied in modern games, including those in the D&D sphere, I think some of that was always there. I'm not talking here about people that think some value was lost with the tendency to move on stylistically and mechanically, but the people who clearly outright resent it, and think the people doing so are stupid and/or malign. Its probably not a surprise that people with those kinds of retrograde attitudes may well have others that are similarly retrograde, and are similarly resentful of modernity in other areas.
 

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