So, based on the various realizations I talked about in the last post, what are the things I'm trying to do in 2018 that will boost the signal of the OSR and provide more material for us to use? As I mentioned in the last post, these two goals are highly linked, because a rising tide lifts all boats. More signal tends to create more material.
My plan basically has three parts to it, addressing a mix of the issues with each point. (Those points being a missing generation, different communication patterns in that missing generation, the community-building power of face-to-face contact whether by video, hangout, tabletops, or conventions, and then lastly that rising tide lifting all boats.)
Part 1 of the plan was to create a website that pulls together and links the various media sources of the OSR: blogs, youtube, facebook, G+, podcasts, and others. Those aren't currently shown in the same place anywhere as an OSR smorgasbord because social media doesn't link them in any useful way. That website is now up and running as Old School Gamer Radio (OldSchoolGamerRadio.com). As of today, we are still adding content and fine-tuning the functionality, but it's looking good for becoming the type of resource that will do what it's supposed to do.
Part 2 of the plan was to create an OSR youtube channel that does a few different things. First is simply to create that face-to-face feeling of community. I have been "interviewing" lots of people from the OSR, ranging from DIY stars like Matt Jackson up to publishers like Jim Raggi and bloggers like Tenkar. I'm including artists, cartographers, and a wide range of people. I have gotten LOTS of comments that these videos offer a much greater sense of connection to the community than a blog format (that's not a criticism of blogs, which are better at content, just the fact that video offers something more powerful at a different primary goal). The youtube channel is Uncle Matt's D&D Studio, and since it's been established longer than the actual Old School Gamer Radio site, it has pretty good depth of content already.
Part 3 of the plan was to get an actual example of old-school play into the mainstream of that "lost generation," since old school gaming tends to require "show," not "tell." So I am running an online Swords & Wizardry game called Swords of Jordoba, pointing out that it's the original version of D&D, and airing the episodes on the channel. The first episode is mission and marching order, so it might not be as engaging as the second episode, which is where the actual dungeoneering begins. Watching online games is a much more common pastime in the youtube generation than it is for us older farts. The game itself is still in an evolving technological phase, and I'm calling both of those episodes "pilots," but it should be up to full quality very shortly.
Funding is an issue for these projects, although this post is a summary, not a plea for cash. For those interested, the patreon for the website (still a very disorganized patreon presentation with no rewards or other whistles and bells) is at patreon/mattfinch, and the better-looking one for the Swords of Jordoba game is at patreon/Jordoba. Contributions are welcome, of course, but both these projects are still in formative stages.
Next post on this topic will be about what those who enjoy the project of growing the OSR can do to move that goal forward.