Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I have No Hands, and I Must Type

Props if you get the reference; if you don't, let's just say I identify completely with literary characters who are essentially helpless to affect their doomed existence. In this case, I'm talking about the "blogosphere", specifically the collection of rpg blogs out there. I'm not popular, have few readers, and frequently produce nothing but poorly edited rants expressing my displeasure with guys actually writing stuff. Sure, some of it is crap, but they're doing SOMETHING. I feel akin to a movie critic: it's easy to rip on Transformers 3 and call Michael Bay a hack, but he's banging supermodels on top of a ruby mattress with a diamond comforter. I don't think anyone is getting supermodels by writing OSR stuff, but at least they're getting someone to read their stuff just like millions of people are watching Transformers. So why should I even bother? No one is reading this, and they probably wouldn't care anyway.

The last post I wrote essentially called most of the OSR product available today worthless tripe. That was a bit of an exaggeration although I certainly do feel that way. To be perfectly honest, I think a lot of people feel that way, yet are worried about offending someone. Most blogs either ignore possible conflict or peripherally reference it in such a way as to seemingly create discussion, all while avoiding disparaging remarks. Some people have to be diplomatic, I get it, but that's doing nothing for the hobby. At all. Attacking the product isn't attacking the author, and honestly there isn't enough critical analysis done on most of these products.

I bought Swords & Wizardry Complete and was completely dissatisfied with it. Matt Finch seems like a nice enough guy, but I think this book sucks. I liked the Core Rules, so it was even more disappointing that Complete failed to impress me. Yet, reading various blogs and webpages and message boards, it would appear I'm alone in my assessment of the game. Am I actually an outlier (possible), or are most people unwilling to bad-mouth a product simply because they don't want to offend the author?

I could care less if people hate me or my opinions. Further, I'm not one to pay money for something and not complain if I feel like I got ripped off. If I don't like something, I'll say it. This has nothing to do with how I feel about someone personally, in any way. Here's the real problem, as I see it: if authors are never challenged, how can they produce better work? When I played sports, the coach would say yes, you are doing it correctly or, no, you suck, do it better. When playing music, if the audience is entertained it means I'm doing a good job and if they hate it, well, time to practice more. Ignoring negative remarks about your work is asinine; assuming those remarks are validated with evidence of course. If I say something sucks but give no reasons, that's worthless. If I provide a critical analysis, but you still ignore me, you're an idiot. By no means am I elevating myself to some sort of King of Critics, but I've read a lot of fucking books, especially rpgs, and know what constitutes good writing and rules.

Again, this will probably be lost in the shuffle of countless blogs, but at least I'm trying to give an honest assessment of problems I see. Professional life and personal life shouldn't mix, so nothing I say here is a personal attack. I do realize that most of this stuff is hobbyist, and rarely comment on the freebies, but if you're charging for products then you have entered the realm of professional publishing so be prepared to be ripped upon by yours truly, the blogger who has no readers.


  1. A ruby mattress would be really hard on the knees, no?

  2. well, yes, but you won't notice until the supermodel has left the room... ;)

  3. Most of it is not that great, hen e my reviews.

    What did you not like about S&W?

    I do find the spirit behind the OSR stuff pretty refreshing, and the good stuff tends to be VERY god.

  4. Bryce (see above) is doing some wonderful, critical reviews. But we can always use another guy doing so, especially when said guy looks like Bearded Spock. :)

  5. Now I understand these last two posts here...

    This isn't Brad...