21 June, 2018

Turning the Tables

I still have my love hate relationship with the OSR, so today's "controversy" doesn't surprise me.

My Facebook feed today has been scattered with people proudly proclaiming to have joined the club of gamers who've been blocked by Zak S. My G+ feed has been scattered with people saying "not all OSR", and providing rationales about how it's only a few bad eggs. 

Honestly, I don't know if his whole incident is related to the new podcast involving RPGPundit, and Venger Satanis... who are curiously a pair gamers who court controversy purely because it gets people talking about their nom-de-plumes... 



No, actually they look unrelated, there's just a whole heap of OSR related victimhood, and anti-progressive shit going down. It's curious that the OSR has a stance against progress in gaming (tending toward conservative, if not regressive, models of play), and these prominent figures in it have a stance against progress in society (tending toward conservative, if not regressive, attitudes toward women, LGBTQI+ communities, and other minorities). It's probably not surprising that conservative attitudes in one part of a person's life would be reflected in other parts of their life. 

Similarly, I note that those who are more open in their attitudes, and progressive in their values, tend to be more willing to play with experimental rule sets of games designed to push the envelope in some way. Like all sociological theories and proposals, the truth is far more complicated than that, and these ideas barely scratch the surface... but it generally fits the observations I've noted.

The recent outcries have basically said "I don't want politics in my gaming!", but what if we said "screw that! I want politics in my gaming. I want an escapist fantasy based on the real world with the politics of the real world, but I want the minorities to actually have a chance to break the system, empowered by their desire for change...and I want a game system that specifically facilitates those types of stories."

It's basically been one of those notions sitting in the back of my mind since I started updating Mage: the Ascension a few years ago. Certainly something that has been a part of the modern magic in the Familiar game. 

Earlier this week, I deliberately reached out to a number of gamers and game designers who have shown an interest in progressive political issues to see if they'd be interested in being out, or even just acting as a sounding board to make sure their ideas were represented. I sent messages to gamers of colour, feminist gamers, queer gamers, transgender gamers... trying to get a variety of perspectives represented...

...one person responded. She responded enthusiastically. I'm wondering if put out the same messages now if there might be a better response.

If you are interested in a project like that, let me know. 

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