August 25, 2010

Frog God Games, the OSR, and a big ol' "Huh?"

Ok, so first off, I'm a hardcore Necromancer Games fanboy.  Without a doubt, they have
made some of my favorite RPG products.  So when Bill Webb (a.k.a. Tsathogga), an NG co-founder, announced its resurrection as Frog God Games, I was stoked.  I still am.  Bill had been more of the silent partner at NG (Clark Peterson, a.k.a. Orcus, being the more vocal spokesman), so it was interesting to see Bill grab the wheel.

Recently, FGG made some big news by announcing they'd be producing a new edition of OSR favorite, Swords & Wizardry. The OSR community rejoiced.

Then folks found some interesting text on FGG's About Us page and there has not been much rejoicing.  I have put the entire text so you, Gentle Reader, can see the whole context. I have underlined the shit-storm causing text, though:
 "Who We Are

We consist of old grognard gamers, including a brilliant layout guy, and a cartographer who was not even a gamer when we recruited him. We have more than a few writing credits to our name, and have decided after dealing with publishers, printers and middlemen to head off on our own and make some books. We have developed friendships with, and worked with the best and most famous writers in the industry. We are the real deal.

Who We Aren't

We are not the guys who are going to offer bargain basement junk for a quick buck. We won't sell you hand drawn maps and clip art laid out by amateurs and posted up on as a cheap book that you look at and discard.

We won't fill your players coffers with millions of gold pieces and powerful magic items either, at least not without great efforts. Our encounters won't be "balanced" to make sure no one dies, and a 3rd level monster may or may not have 50.2 gp (like its supposed to in certain rule books). Death will be frequent, but fair, and players who fail to use their heads will surely lose them.

After all, Tsathogga's special attack is "eats 1d6 adventurers per round". Adventurers taste like chicken....errrr, flies."

That text has been on the FGG site from day one. I know that because I read it then and thought it was odd. No one took notice in the OSR-o-sphere until the recent FGG/S&W announcement (understandably so, since FGG had only talked about Pathfinder products up to that point).

So what do I think of this? That text had me scratching my head when I first read it and does so now.  Bill Webb has stated on the NG forums that he plays 0e D&D via Swords & Wizardry (available, uhm, on Lulu: link). He has stated he has committed to articles for Knockspell, a well-known OSR magazine. 

I think the words were very poorly chosen, to say the least.  But Bill seems to have inadvertently lumped in the very game he plays.  That tells me this isn't simply "the OSR was crap until now!"  It will be interesting to hear his explanation. I get why fans are upset, but I want to hear his response.

If nothing else, I think James Raggi's response kicks ass: link
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