In Praise of Penny Arcade’s Gabriel

9 04 2010

So, it seems that many of our fellow soldiers in the Old School Revolution have their coifs in a kerfuffle over a post by Mike “Gabriel” Krahulik of Penny Arcade. Particular schpilkis results from his concluding line:

Maybe seeing for just a night what it was like back then, will give them a greater appreciation of the game they’re playing now.

There’s no need for me to recap the many offended opinions bouncing around the net like Han Solo blasting away in a trash compactor. However, as a fan of PA and an OSR designer, I must carve my own tiny digital initials in the wall of opinion.

Gabe rocks. Seriously. I don’t play 4e and don’t plan to, but before you comment about his influence: have you read all his gaming posts? This guy started DMing just a few months ago and his sessions and ideas have quickly climbed great heights of creativity and fun. It’s almost as if he’s been thinking creatively about games, challenges, and player perspective for years on a professional level.

Yes, his concluding sentence calls the old rules painful, but out of innocent ignorance, not calculated malice. He represents many thousands of people who never played any old D&D, largely because they weren’t even born.

To newbies like Gabe and his players, the OSR does not even exist. Or it didn’t before his post. Without this entry, these folks would no more try a game of Labyrinth Lord than mine their own iron. An affectionate glance backward, and I think it is affectionate, from an internet pinnacle like PA draws many eyeballs along. Some will stick. Even Gabe might find out that he likes some of the detail and flavor offered by an artifact from the primitive era before World of Warcraft.

If not, what’s the harm?

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