Sunday, January 29, 2012

Well, I guess we have been told-(WARNING: LANGUAGE)-Continued

I have started a new post here continuing the discussion started at:

Well, I guess we have been told-(WARNING: LANGUAGE)

I begin with the latest comment and response:

KenwolfJan 29, 2012 04:56 PM

if you was to ask the question what osr means to you, i bet you would get a lot of different answers to that question. some people it means old school rules, some people say it means games made from the srd and ogl. some say it is all about the feel of the game. some say it is just retro clone games based on everything up to 1st edition.

you are the first person i have ever heard say that pathfinder i part of the osr. most people would say that pathfinder is just 3.75 of D&D im not bad mouthing it, if that's your thing good for you. but you are the first i have heard call pathfinder osr.

i guess i am not an osr gamer in your definition of it cause i play AD&D 2nd edition with a generous helping of 1st edition mixed in with it. i would consider me an older school gamer, but not so far as to od&d or basic.

i have been reading a lot of blogs talk about how excited they are about these developments. is that so bad really ? i have absolutely no love for wizards of the cost, but you can't blame them for destroying the osr or old school gaming. if just 2 announcements from wizards of the cost can have that bad of an effect on the community then it deserves to die.

it isn't the announcement from wizards that is driving the osr or old school gaming apart. it is people that say if you buy the new reprints then your not part of this community that are. or if you like 5E then you are a sell out. don't you think having someone tell you that would cause an argument just because you wanted to buy a gaming book ?

as for the posts that you mention. i think that's bull shit. i agree with you on that people that say we should buy them just because should kiss some ass. i have stated at a forum that i post on a bunch that i think they are over priced, and that i wouldn't buy them cause i already own a copy of them and if i wanted more i can get originals a lot cheaper on e-bay and if i wanted to put money to the charity fund for the statue i would just send them the money to begin with.

now i am gonna use your own words against you. "God forbid a company actually make a game the fans want and actually like." you just said that, so why are you so mad about it when people like wizards of the cost for doing something that they wanted them to do ??

maybe you need to read that statement that you just said and ask your self "why am i so mad about people liking a game that is produced by wizards of the cost."

i am here because i like reading blogs about the older editions of games and the stories that people have of playing those games when younger.

I replied with the following:

Ok, first, I concur with Justin Alexander when it comes to defining the stages of D&D. Yes, AD&D2e is old school. So is 3.x. His reasoning was all the editions had been different up through 3. But a fighter was still a fighter. You could recognize a fighter. When 4e hit it was a new ballgame. Justin play-tested both 3 and 4 and was excited about 4e to start with, but soon he saw where things were going, turned in his notes and has been hated by the Wizards fans ever since. But D&D is not OSR. Older D&D would be considered Retro Gaming. The OSR started in the 21st century.

Now, I'm not the first person to have a problem with Wizards. They have been sinking for 12 years. I agree with the majority of people who feel betrayed and ripped off by them.

Their track record is crap man, and they are promising a game that can't be made and certainly can't be played the way they describe. I'm a game designer. My first full RPG would have come out this year. Now I have to reconsider what I'm doing. I know they are blowin' smoke but every time they say they have a winner, well, if you think they have made a smart business move in 12 years I would like to see it. Man, they lost 22.5 million players...out of 24 million...that is awful.

Think about this for a second: You have a big box in a room sitting on a table, on the side a big bright D&D logo, a crank handle and a slot marked 'money comes out here' and you don't even know how to turn the crank.That's WotC.

Too little too late is my own view on these latest tactics. Go read what the 4e hardcore are posting. They hate us (people who aren't hardcore 4e fans) worse than ever. They blame US for the death of 4e. Is that rational?

I have my reasons for not liking Wizards and even TSR. When the 'industry' took off in the mid 80s I had opened a shop. My ads ran in Dragon magazine. I was on top of the world. 3 years of my life and every penny I could scrape together in the worst economy the country had seen since the Great Depression.

And TSR and the 'industry' sold us up the river. When the Satanic Panic started they backed down instead of telling those psychos to go to hell they screwed everything up trying to appease them. It was all about the money then. I lost everything, including my love for the game. It would be 7+ years before I would even look at a game again. I tried to get with AD&D2e, spent a small fortune on Dark Sun and all the bells & whistles just to have no one want to play. I quit gaming again.

It would be almost 10 years before I would try again. It just didn't work out. And the war was raging over 3.0.

Wizards being bought out by Hasbro was probably the final nail in the coffin.

And if you read that quote up their at the top of the page on the right by Rob Conley that is what the OSR means to me.

Before the industry TRPGs were a 'hobby business' made by gamers for gamers. Look at all the famous people involved in gaming from 1973-89. They were gamers. I respect Erik Mona for being forthright about his gaming background. He gave a great keynote speech in 2009 (I have the link if you would like to watch it out at YouTube-be is over an hour long. Excellent speech though). The GenCon 2011 video of Erik and Lisa is also excellent.

And here's something too when it comes to Wizards vs. Paizo. You may have heard how Wizards has been having gaming items taken off the market due to copyright infringement. Most of that has been BS. But the OSR can't front the lawyers like the big boys have so they have no choice but to pull their product, even if the charge was bogus (which it was).

Paizo's own Sean K. Reynolds announced that fans and professionals alike were free to develop new material for the new Beginners Box (which is excellent btw) and even sell it because they were not going to be developing for it. I just like the way they are straight forward about stuff like that.

And I didn't say Paizo was OSR. They use the same SRD we all do who develop games under the OGL (Open Game License) and Pathfinder fans and OSR fans tend to get along. They seem to have a mutual respect for each other.

If people want to take the chance that a company that has failed the fans every single time they have released a new edition of D&D then that's their business. But don't shout down those who don't believe them anymore.

The OSR hobby business can't wait around for people to figure out what is going on here. They are small companies. They won't last without sales. If people are saving money for whatever it is that they think Wizards is going to deliver on they won't be spending money on the 'hobby business', which will kill the last place that many of us feel at home. As a publisher and a game fan it truly saddens me. I haven't enjoyed gaming like this in years. Now it's ruined. All anyone wants to blog about is WotC. I don't care about them or any announcements they make now or in the future.

Now I have to decide what I am going to do.

(end reply)

A Poll For OSR Publishers

Having read as much as I can stomach each day of this 'shock and awe' tactic being used I was wondering what the creative members of the community have to say about this.

Now, it doesn't matter whether you are a fan publisher or a professional publisher (basically do you give your creations away for free or sell them).

If you don't want to speak I understand. But I haven't really seen much one way or the other about how publishers feel about reprint news and new edition news.

Be civil (unlike other blogs which have begun to look like fan boy forums) and state your piece.

So the question is: How do you see this affecting your own future publishing efforts?

No piddly poll thingy to the right...just post to the comments...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Well, I guess we have been told-(WARNING: LANGUAGE)

What a nice way to wake up Saturday morning:

"Seriously the grognards (lower case g) need to f****** get over themselves and stop b******* and seeing conspiracies where there are none."

-Timothy Brannan

So, what have we learned here.

First, the use of the term 'grognard' as a derogatory remark is pure 4e fan boy / Wizards-style BS. When I see the word it has always been a sign of respect, the oldest of the old school. Second, when someone tells you to 'get over' yourself, yet another typical statement from this group of gamers.

So what does this mean? Seems we have had some 4e fan boys hangin' out in the OSR back waters. Anyone else want to raise your hand while we are at it?

It would seem you have a right to play and say whatever you want, Tim. But it seems the rest of us are not entitled to free speech. Nice going...Hitler.

And Jason, this is not about 4e. This is not about a game system.

This is about years of an industry who finally find themselves backed into a corner that they constructed themselves and now need a way out.

This is about not giving another nickel to an organization who taught a whole new group of gamers to hate everything that came before 4e because it was, and I quote "A bunch of old neck beard grognards playing old broken games" and how they need to "get on board and support the latest edition to show their loyalty to the game"...does that sound a little familiar this morning?

That's 4e fan boy talk.

This is about an industry that has used bully boy tactics and strong armed retailers into doing whatever they are told to do upon threat of pulling their wares from the shop and then turning their backs on store owners when the chips were down. It was going on in the 80's and is still going on today.

Well folks, I could lay out the f-bombs and turn this into a real war, but that's what WotC was hoping for and as I also predicted this noise would eat up all the signal about gaming. 2 for 2 so far.

I have typed and deleted many lines this week but I think it is just time to wash our hands clean, devote our resources to gaming and forget these people existed. You know who they are. Just read their posts.

All I ask is that everyone take a moment and think about this today: The people who have provided us with materials to play the games we love while the industry turned their back on us.

Tim, I have to say...I am disappointed by your actions. Not that you want to play 1e with your kids. No, it's more about the attitude you have developed lately towards your fellow gamers. It's about the use of abusive language...and you're a teacher...with that what you are teaching them?

I hope everyone finds a seat today at a table of their choice and enjoys some gaming goodness.


Friday, January 27, 2012


Just a bit for those who might care.

It would seem this is going to go down as the most insane January in my memory. I look forward to that deepening of winter and slowing of the schedule that comes after the holidays. A time to reflect and to look forward to the year ahead.

Now if it would just drop below 70 degrees and the tornadoes would stop we might get back to winter.


The Eternal Keep has been gaining some meat again as I find time to squeeze in some updates. I decided that since the original problem may have been caused by the size of the widget I was using I decided to start with blogs that had been waiting to get on the list and then start working on the loyalty list.

For almost 3 years I have been maintaining the Keep and only ask for one thing in return-a link back to the Keep. I never noticed till today how many blogs never did that. So I'm checking blogs to see who had it linked and they are being reloaded now.

Also, email will be changing soon. This whole mess with Google and their desire to run off every user they have amazes me but humans will be humans. So I will be re-locating everything in time. I'm consolidating all my mail to one location and have already opened accounts with Tumblr and Wordpress. I have had blogs with Tumblr before and they would be a perfect fit if it wasn't for a few things lacking that I really want on a blog...namely an integrated commenting system. But I can cut code into other blogs to show a feed so I am working on that.

I purchased the domain

and am currently using it as the front end to that blog, but will re-direct it when the change over has been completed.

All in all a pain in the ass for the foreseeable future.

On the gaming front, yeah, thank GOD for Arkham Horror. Seems that is the only game related thing bringing a smile to my face right now. As predicted it seems that all anyone wants to post about is the one topic I'm not interested in. Sad. I really did completely misjudge this whole thing.Plus people want to crawl up my ass about what my problem is with the situation. I just hope they enjoy that 'game that is completely impossible to make' cause there may not be much to return to after they figure out what has transpired.

I will say only one other thing about that-all I have heard for years is the following:

"Oh no, I just spent all that money on 3.0 and now 3.5 is here-Oh no I just spent all that money on 3.5 now 4.0 is here-oh no..."

Same company guys...same company...nothing has want to believe it has, but if you crap in one hand and wish in the other...

As it stands I think I will throw my lot in fully with the majority, maybe for the first time in my life, and designate 3.x in all its many guises as my 'go to' for play and design. I have truly enjoyed getting to know fans of that ragged beast and have never ceased to be amazed at what all it is capable of. It may be the closest thing to a true Universal system that I have every enjoyed (sorry Steve, GURPS just doesn't do it).

Oh well, I'm grateful for all the good games, rpg and boardgame, that we least old Howard P. can still get me started. :)

For those who stick it out your company is greatly appreciated and I hope to post a bit more upbeat soon. Good things are all around. I just need to get about 20 things off my back right now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This might explain some of our Blogger problems

And I would look over those new Privacy Policies and TOS...not so certain I want them any further in my business...

Monday, January 23, 2012


The year isn't even a month old yet and already chaos seems to haven taken root. Screw the Mayans, we'll burn this puppy ourselves.

Something that a lot of people don't know about me is that my background is sales and marketing. My first business was a game store that not only went belly up but belly flopped so as to create a massive wave of debt that I paid off by way of a crappy job afterwards.

Now, I was young and inexperienced but not without council and guidance. This was the mid-'80s, just when the gaming industry took over. This was when my problem began.

Satanic panic had set in and the economy was crap. Instead of pulling for the retailers who were the backbone of the business at that time and standing up for the company TSR basically fed us to the lions.

So my problem began long before Wizards was even dreamed of.

But I know BS when I smell it.

I do not like the company. I do not trust the company. I can tell you the next 10 moves to make to break Paizo's back and destroy the OSR in one fell swoop. And it seems the OSR is already falling for it.

Somehow people have confused the OSR with D&D. Whatever those initials stand for D&D is not part of the OSR. For all practical purposes the OSR began with OSRIC. OSR is about NOW. Otherwise you are talking about 'classic' or 'retro' gaming. Big difference.

The division that WotC keeps causing with each new announcement will continue. Then everyone will go out and buy their crap again infusing enough money into the dept. to keep it running.

Anyone in their right mind can read what is being said about 5e and know that it is impossible. Come on, just look at one example-skills and feats - just this alone divides more fans than just about anything.

Without them you lose the new school player and with them you lose the old school player.

Old schoolers want to role-play. New schoolers want to build a tank and drive it through a dungeon.

This list could go on but I just wish people could see what is going on just as it has in the past and just say no this time. It might be different if we didn't have the vibrant scene that is gaming in some cases 24 hours a day, but we have what we need. And if we don't by tomorrow morning someone will have wrote it.

My own project sits at a crossroads. I am very frugal with resources but finding myself short of labor and behind schedule has placed me in the position of having to decide whether I proceed further. I know there must be others who are in the same corner and the folks who have made this a going concern have to have a case of nerves as well.

Top that with a rapidly changing tech situation (that I think has taken out Eternal Keep, but I'm still hoping) that is causing nightmares for everyone involved and I don't see there being an OSR at the end of the year.

Which is what they want. The re-print will give them the cash boost to get through (do you really think they aren't going to be holding back cases of DMGs to auction on eBay after the LTD ED runs out? $150 a pop most likely) and then the initial sales and reviews will drive the final nail in the coffin.

I notice how no one has mentioned how this game has already been in secret play tests and everyone I have read about in those play tests are 4e people. And they like it. Which means old schoolers will not.

The news on the Eternal Keep isn't good. Being unable to save the changes to the blog list means it slowly falls into decay as blogs fade away and no new ones get entered. Not to mention the amount of work involved in trying to save it just to possibly have the same tech problem again.

Yes, my position on this is extreme. I have a background in the business end of it and it didn't go well. Now, once again, I have put 3 years into development just to wake up to a lukewarm market that spent all of it's party money on that pretty dress in the window and then never got to go to the ball.

The future is unclear and I don't plan on spending this year working 20 hour days on something that there, in all likelihood, won't be a market for when it's ready.

But the real dilemma is in supporting the community. The Eternal Keep is not the only other blog I maintain. And I don't ask for money and I don't even run ads. I have done it to repay a community that has helped me as I found my way back into something I thought I would never see again. I was having a great time, tech problems and all, until I watched everyone start running after WotC like a dog after a fresh bone. That was disturbing.

If you want to get pissed at me I suppose you can. You have a right to your opinion.

But then so do I and I choose not to be a party to it.

When Alexis at Tao of D&D starts making more sense about this than anyone else I get a little freaked out.

I'm not saying everyone has went down that road. But over 75% of what I have read support WotC in these endeavors to one degree or another.

I just hope everyone thinks this through. If you really think this supports the OSR then I would ask that you spend $2 with OSR publishers for every $1 you spend on the reprints. THAT would be good for the OSR.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


So it would seem that Google/Blogger are up to their tricks again. As bad as I hate Wordpress I am about 3 seconds from pulling the plug on this whole show. My Gmail is screwed up, I can't edit any blog and the Eternal Keep is set to private while I try to figure out what is going on (it won't let me edit the blog feed list and save it so I can neither add nor subtract blogs-and yes, I have upgraded everything - including software I didn't want to upgrade - and it still hangs on the 'save' function.

So I guess everything goes on hiatus till I finish house projects up. I expected a slowdown, I didn't expect for it to go to hell all at once.

More when I know something...

Friday, January 20, 2012


So it would seem the world has went Wizards crazy over the last few weeks and I am personally tired of looking at their f****** name EVERY TIME I look at the Eternal Keep.

I became involved in the OSR because it seemed to be a home for people who were trying to carry on the spirit of gaming from it's origins.

But the last few weeks have really made me question what this is all about. I have promoted, freely and without charge, the work of those involved in the OSR in many ways and places. I have spent a great deal of personal time maintaining and adding those who have come along over the last year to my blogs and in my posts.

But now it just seems like I have been sitting in a lobby full of people just waiting for Wizards to hack up a fresh hairball.

What happened to the 'old school'? What happened to common sense?

This whole reprint issue is insane. Buy a damned DMG off Amazon for $10-15 and send a donation to the Gary fund.

As for myself this is where the Wizards train ends.

At this point I am a supporter of Pathfinder and will begin to adjust things to highlight a company that encourages me to develop and even sell material for the new Beginners Box.

Microlite is what brought me back and 3.x/OGL/OGC is really the only reason I'm in the RPG side at all.

It has been an interesting ride, but so many people have left the blog community this last year and now it seems that all I'm going to hear until GenCon 2013 is WotC WotC WotC then I think I need to rethink what I'm doing here.

Expect changes and as always may all your rolls be 20's...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today the internet speaks out against corporate and government censorship.

Do not be fooled by the rhetoric of these corporate and political groups. They are not trying to stop piracy. They are trying to stop people who speak out against oppression and upload video showing both international and domestic acts of violence against unarmed civilian populations who have no other voice than the internet.

They seek to stop the rise of freedom provided by the internet to produce our own music and films, books and games. They want to set the clock back to when an artist had to sell the fruits of their labors outright and seek copyright extensions to maintain control of this material long after the artist had left this world.

We all have family members who died to stop the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 20th century.

Now it's our turn to stop Fascism in the 21st century.

Let your voice be heard and be united this day and may those who go that extra yard to protect us from tyranny be free from harm and find shelter from retribution for their actions.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OK Guys...Enough With The 5e

No, is doing just exactly what the press release was designed to do...distract us...I'm sick of looking at post after post about f****** 5e on OSR blogs.

I understand mentioning it once...or every 6 months...maybe...but every damned DAY.

Come on...remember...real D&D...remember...old school...not more WotC BS...


Friday, January 13, 2012


So, let me see if I understand every thing clearly and please correct me if I miss something here.

Wasbro release D&D 3.0 and piss everybody off but people buy it anyhow.

Then they turn around in short order and release 3.5 and piss everybody off but people buy it anyhow.

Then they abandon everyone in mid-stride, produce a series of marketing strategies that start the biggest edition war in history, because as portrayed in the commercials (which can be viewed at YouTube)everything before 4e is 'broken, stupid and silly', creating a small but rabid fanbase that hate every thing that came before 4e and then hate 4e when they release 4.5 (sorry, not buying the name's 4.5). Released and bought...again.

Now it's 'can't we all just get along' time because they screwed up so bad (Hint-in business NEVER piss off your long term customer) and here we go again.

They pull the Monte/5e announcement at GenCon (it was already all over the floor that at 9:30 (Saturday?) morning they were going to announce) and the big announcement is pulled because somebody realizes they are about to shoot them self in the foot by having stacks of books they will never sell. So they wait till after Christmas, BS'ing the whole time about the 'bright 4e future' while they are play testing with a group of yes-people (haven't found an old schooler yet invited to the NDA fests) and, because they aren't moving jack squat in the way of product, decide to throw a monkey wrench into the whole affair by announcing a game nearly 2 years early that, if the general gaming public is lucky, will get to pick the color of the new logo for their 'involvement' in the design of the game.

Seriously...I'm reading reactions across the web...PLEASE tell me you not going to fall for this crap...again. PLEASE.

I'm going to ask a favor from the gaming community over the months ahead. Instead of going through this whole thing again buy a system from someone who cares. Buy mine, buy any other system. Hell, buy Pathfinder...the box set is an excellent piece of gaming gear and I haven't said that about a commercial system in a long time. Support the work of those out here who will lose business because they have tossed the pie in the sky again and now everyone is waiting...for whatever they come up with this time to hang the D&D logo on.

There is one thing that must be accepted. This is not a hippy love fest. They created a splinter market that they should have stuck with and worked with the gamers who were buying the game and paying for the online services. But they just weren't moving enough units...not driving enough people into stores to buy their game. There is no way they are going to get the 4e fans and the fans of the older editions to all come back...not even half...which just sounds like more of the same old spiel.

There are a lot of really talented people out here doing excellent work. From those who toil over their pet projects and give them away for free to those who have made it a going concern. Look at the releases over the past year and the quality of the product.Don't be fooled by yet another corporate ploy that is all smoke and mirrors.

Just think about it. That's all I'm saying.

Thanks for taking time to read this. I won't speak of it further here.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's tell them what we reeaaaly want...STOP!


This is something I commented on the other day but will be going into detail more now that the moment has arrived.


Many things have been discussed out here including the community buying the franchise out right. That may sound impossible, but we have to get off the roller coaster at some point.

I've already started the year by boycotting any further product they produce for the franchise and will soon start a campaign to also boycott FLGS that sell it. Paizo has said they would like a greater store presence but with WotC's draconian tactics (look at the riff from Dungeon's Mastering and their run in with WotC over when Encounters should be ran in-store...really...threaten the store owners with pulling their programs if they don't do what WotC tells them to do? Really? )you can understand why that might have been a problem up until now.

There will be a lot of discussion about this I'm certain but the last thing D&D needs now is another splintering and that is what they will get.

They said it...let your voice be NO to D&D5e.