Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Possum Laws of Gaming

I love D&D. Like, I really love specifically D&D. Dragons and dungeons and the wargaming-experience-treasure loop and everything. I own lots of D&D and run lots of D&D because I really, really enjoy the game, in and of itself, in most of its editions, with lots of its warts.

And I love talking about D&D, and I love sharing D&D, and I love running it and playing it with people. Most of the D&Ds. Hence, the title of this post.

First, a preamble:

1) There's a school of thought about the OSR I've run into a couple times that rings very true to me. The idea is that there's a division in purpose between old-school revolutionaries and old-school revivalists. The revivalists came first, and their main output was retroclones: they loved old editions of D&D, and wanted to bring those back, and make new content for them. The revolutionaries love the DIY spirit of old-school gaming, and want to create their own new rules and content and ideas using what came before as a base.

2) Arnold K's GLOG (Goblin Rules of Gaming) is a great expression of the old-school revolutionaries. It's an incredibly impressive, incredibly creative community generating tons of cool ideas. The GLOG has built its own language, its own adventures, and lots of cool content. Here's a GLOG class for a corpse someone did yesterday!!!

The thing is, the GLOG is not very D&D any more. It has become its own thing, in its own ways, and that is awesome. As someone who loves D&D, who is currently running Old-School Essentials to get an old-school Forgotten Realms experience, I want to bring the revivalist side of things into the light as well.

The OSR has had an identity crisis, now and forever will. I'm claiming a space for the positive, inclusive, accessible, constructive process of collecting, collating, creating, and celebrating everything cool about D&D, across all of it.

And I'm not standing alone. This came out of a bunch of conversations with Zach Harper where we found out we really feel the same way about D&D: that we love it, and want to celebrate it, and mash it all together to create new fun games and stuff!

So, the Possum Laws of Gaming (or PLOG).

Slogan: here is my trash, share it with your trash
We called it the Possum Laws of Gaming after a bunch of influences. Obviously it's a counterpart to the GLOG, but the GLOG's goblins are making their own improvised, DIY material on their own terms. On the other hand, the possums are scavengers, grabbing everything they find that's cool or fun or pretty and putting it together to make something new. Also, possums are cute. And both Zach and I are big fans of the Red Green Show, so referencing that was also a lot of fun!

THE POSSUM LAWS OF GAMING

Slogan “here is my trash, share it with your trash”
The Possum Laws of Gaming are a broad-minded, anti-dogmatic lens for collecting, collating, and creating new and old things about the game of D&D in all its editions from 1974 until today.

THE NINE POSSUM LAWS OF GAMING

  1. find your trash. your trash is D&D stuff you like, from whenever, however. just find cool D&D shit!!!
  2. put your trash together! the goal of the PLOG is to combine the parts of D&D you like into a cool D&D
  3. your trash can be anything! it doesn't have to be D&D itself, but the PLOG is geared towards making your own D&D. pull in cool stuff from other games, other media, things you're excited about
  4. love your trash. the things that you enjoy are great, and talk about why you like them!
  5. ...but toss it when it gets stinky. Some of D&D is bad and hateful. don't keep bad stereotypes or ideas about marginalized people. we want to share our trash with everyone!
  6. share your trash!!! show people the cool things you've found, the things you're excited about, the hidden gem you're going to use in your games.
  7. play nice when you share your trash. Part of PLOG is explaining why we like the parts of D&D that we do, and we don't all like the same parts. Have good conversations, don't hate each other for liking different things.
  8. let the trash grow!!! finding new trash and adding new trash and reexamining your old trash makes for more fun and even more cool ideas!
  9. just because it's someone else's trash doesn't mean it has to be yours. it's okay to say you don't want something someone else suggests, just be polite about it!
Most of this should be pretty clear, but I want to make one thing very explicit: the possum laws of gaming have no room for hatred, bigotry, oppression, or harassment. The PLOG is inclusive and accessible as an essential requirement, and exists to be a safe space for all kinds of people to explore D&D and how cool it can be. Otherwise, FIND YOUR TRASH!!!!

Zach also has a complementary post announcing the Possum Laws of Gaming on his own blog, you should read it here!

From https://tenaciousbee.tumblr.com/post/148484643069/fake-it-till-you-make-it-now-available-over-on-my

2 comments:

  1. I love the idea of everyone having their own bespoke junkyard D&D bolted together from scavenged parts.

    I've been tinkering with my own franken-hack and it's been a ton of fun. Seem's like it's natively PLOG compatible.

    Beyond the Possum Laws themselves, is there a plan for centralized sharing? It'd be fun to see (and maybe harvest, haha) everyone else's custom D&Ds.

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    1. Hi! Most of our discussion has been on Chris McDowall's OSR Discord server (invite: https://discord.gg/6vqF25E), and I've been setting up a list of PLOG blogs (the PLOG Pile). I want the PLOG to grow naturally and in a decentralized matter, so I'm adding new structure as it comes up, not forcing it from above.

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