Second, in a discussion at BoLS on GW licensing its IP Vossl claimed "the OGL died a horrible fiery death 4 years ago". The OGL is the Open Game License. Part of my reply:
The OGL is alive and kicking. Pathfinder, which was built through the OGL, has at least for some time outperformed the official fourth edition and an Old School Renaissance is thriving because of it too, via what may well be hundreds of smaller publishers. The fact we know about fifth so early, not to mention the general direction it's headed in, may be in part down to the power the OGL has given the player base.
Vossl is clued up and a crisp thinker, so how many other people have never heard of the OGL, a licence that lets gamers create materials compatible with a much-loved system or IP and sell them. It's essentially D&D, but other companies, like GW, might catch on.
One of the beneficiaries and drivers of the development is this Old School Renaissance, or whatever we choose to call it, specifically the D&D OSR. But where are the pioneers vanishing to? How will we stumble across their worlds, or talk to and learn from them?
James at Grognardia has turned off commenting at the blog and now directs would-be commenters deeper into Gspace, into a realm that almost seems designed to form an echo chamber, to find us our own yes men and limit contact with the surprising or new.
Those disappearing into this space are some of the people best equipped to present the thing they love to the wider world, in a more in-depth and fully public format with some of the interaction on show, through a blog for example. So not only are many bloggers less active, some are now giving the impression of dead space, walls with only secret doors.
Since the new communities appeared we've had one, two, three spring up, and counting.
Where do outsiders come to be insiders, grow the hobby and pass it on? Does this all amount to conceding the field? Taking it easy, or curling up to die in a comfort blanket?
Maybe that's the point of certain consumer technologies, having us herd ourselves away.
Having the OSR slip away after the first act of such a dazzling performance is a little like leaving games as good as Itras By in a few tongues. No, some things can't be translated and a group may have the right to define its own boundaries, or try to at least. But then, of course, the world goes on and the thing the group loves - the game - fades with them.
So what happens next? Here's a clip from Baraka, a possible take on Itra's City and our world as it was, is, and could be. I recommend watching it right through, the full film too.