Monday, March 2, 2015

The OSR and a Bad Rap

So Stacy Dellorfano and the RPGPundit have been discussing "Why does the OSR have a bad reputation among women?" and I thought I'd weigh in.

Before we proceed, a few things about me, I'm not into the OSR much these days, DnD 5th Edition is my game of choice, but I still mine all eras of DnD for inspiration.  Also, I don't know many people who are into the OSR in the first place and in the second place, none of them are women.

I have been a gamer since Fall 1991, my first group was comprised of Barry, Kurt, Todd, Richard and I, all guys.  Eventually it would grow to include Mark M., Bob, Mike, Jonathan, and Aaron, more dudes.  Now back in those days, it was hard for us to find girls who were into gaming.  And we looked.  Sure, Richard was that guy who you were unsure you wanted around a girl because he could be a disrespectful ass, but we would have gladly welcomed ladies into the group.  And yeah, we joked and were rude, but none of us would have put up with harassment.

My second major gaming group which could be as large at 18 people, had 2 women, my future wife and a co-worker's wife.  Again, we didn't have an opportunity to recruit many women, and we tried with two wives of our married friends, but it wasn't right for either.  Again, harassment would have been unwelcome.

My third major gaming...experience (I run events as a store manager and I'm in charge of about 7 groups and run or play in 3 of them), thankfully has more women.  Out of 50 players, we now have about 7.  Now none of these groups are OSR, all our DnD 5th Edition.  Harassment of any kind is unwelcome and has not been an issue.

Now, my only experience with the OSR is really online and for months I quietly hung out at Dragonsfoot.  When I started this blog, I saw someone else promote their blog on that site and followed suit, doing so for a few weeks, even getting several positive comments.  Eventually, I decided to promote the blog on there again and was chided publicly for it after many months.  What put me off though were the hangers-on who chimed in to...kind of...swim around the big fish who was upset with me.  It was shocking and I felt like I was in elementary school again.  I didn't like it.  I walked away from Dragonsfoot and began moving away from the OSR.

Now, realistically, I was moving away from the OSR anyway.  I was looking for my perfect DnD, not capturing some nostalgic play style.  I don't know that there is a bad way to play, simply bad ways for me to play.

But my point is that I don't think the bad eggs in the OSR are merely targeting women.  Their bad eggs, who are grumpy or exclusive or just plain ass hats, just like any group has amongst their ranks.  The guys we all know, in one way or another, and we dread when they enter the conversation.  No good will come from them.

I'm not disputing anyone's experiences and am sympathetic to anyone who feels excluded for any reason, my experience just shows me that some in the OSR are more inclusive than others.
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