Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Would you rally behind a "Rosetta Clone"?
Its no revelation that RPGs are a niche market. Somewhere within that niche, is a smaller, somewhat more insular group, the OSR. But that group is a creative lot, and what they do is getting noticed, more and more. The bigger publishers are starting to get an idea that there is a buck to be made on "going old-school", and supplemental products are trickling out. The bigger, more mainstream RPG forums have begun to argue the old "nostalgia vs. solid game design" discussion the OSR put to bed years ago, as well as stuff like "what retroclone is best for me?".
One stumbling block to Old School gaming really re-emerging back into the mainstream is the lack of a single system to stand behind. One Clone to Rule Them All? Not here, at least not yet. Currently, groups decide whether to stick to the originals: OD&D, B/X, 1E, Holmes, etc; or whether to go with an RC: Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, M74, etc. I just don't see one of these games clawing its way to the top of the old-school food chain, leaving all others smoking ruins in its wake, to emerge as the true flagship game of the OSR.
But a new game might.
Hypothetical situation: someone at WotC, or Paizo, or even Joe over at Goodman games recognizes this possibility. 2010 or 2012, etc, sees the publication of say, "Dungeons & Dragons Classic" from WotC, an amalgam of say, B/X and "lighter" elements of d20, or say, "Pathfinder '79" from Paizo, a 1E-inspired d20 variant.
Would you rally behind this (perhaps last and only) attempt to bring old-school gaming back into the mainstream? Or would you scoff and go about your business? Or would you give the game a couple of test sessions and judge from there?
Well, think about that and, please, let me know, its been on my mind a bit lately. As hypothetical as the above scenarios are, don't think for a moment that something isn't actually in the works, the signs are there if you care to look for them. And while I would prefer to see something develope organically from within the OSR, part of me shudders at the thought of such a fantastic well of creativity attempting to become a business machine, and would rather see someone else take on the grunt work 0f publication, printing, distribution, etc. Its a tough call, in my opinion.
What do you think?