94 thoughts on “

  1. < ![CDATA[Counterpoint: that may not be for you to say. I mean, if you feel gate-kept, is that enough?
    Mostly I’ve been experiencing fierce deja-vu all weekend and I’m chewing on what to do with that.]]>

  2. If feels are enough, then the vast majority of gamers are gatekeepers for someone.  A number which absolutely would include every fierce proponent of indiehood/small press/DIY; the moment someone advocates such, they will engender such feels in some listener whose model of what they want to do differs radically from that of the speaker.

  3. < ![CDATA[If feels are enough, then the vast majority of gamers are gatekeepers for someone.  A number which absolutely would include every fierce proponent of indiehood/small press/DIY; the moment someone advocates such, they will engender such feels in some listener whose model of what they want to do differs radically from that of the speaker.]]>

  4. Mark Delsing​ I don’t know that you would as a consumer. “Gatekeeper” is a phenomenon on the creator/publisher/seller side.

    We’re super besties so in no way am I picking a fight! But it’s an interesting subject.

    I think you can point to a time where obstacles for creators were more prominent. If you couldn’t get into the distribution system then you needed to afford little ads in Dragon, or luck into a copy at the game shop (whose owner was probably pals with the creator, or bought a box at a con). I mean, online distribution was a radical game changer.

    I’m far less persuaded by arguments that a tiny cabal of taste makers has served as any kind of gatekeeper. Like, ever. That smells like insecurity and a sense of entitlement (i.e.why doesn’t Ken Hite cover my shitty D&D-alike? He’s keeping the world from knowing that you don’t need hit points etc etc).

  5. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing​ I don't know that you would as a consumer. "Gatekeeper" is a phenomenon on the creator/publisher/seller side. We're super besties so in no way am I picking a fight! But it's an interesting subject. I think you can point to a time where obstacles for creators were more prominent. If you couldn't get into the distribution system then you needed to afford little ads in Dragon, or luck into a copy at the game shop (whose owner was probably pals with the creator, or bought a box at a con). I mean, online distribution was a radical game changer. I'm far less persuaded by arguments that a tiny cabal of taste makers has served as any kind of gatekeeper. Like, ever. That smells like insecurity and a sense of entitlement (i.e.why doesn't Ken Hite cover my shitty D&D-alike? He's keeping the world from knowing that you don't need hit points etc etc).]]>

  6. Paul Beakley Okay, but even those obstacles are long overcome. And, hey, they obviously didn’t stop Element Masters, Ysgarth, or Jorune from getting made. Didn’t stop Gary from mimeographing his little game, either.

    I guess what I want to know is, “What gatekeepers?” Even looking at the mainstream, the OGL is what, 15 years old now?

    Claiming victory over “the gatekeepers” in 2015 is like having a parade next week to celebrate the moon landing.

  7. < ![CDATA[Paul Beakley Okay, but even those obstacles are long overcome. And, hey, they obviously didn't stop Element Masters, Ysgarth, or Jorune from getting made. Didn’t stop Gary from mimeographing his little game, either.
    I guess what I want to know is, “What gatekeepers?” Even looking at the mainstream, the OGL is what, 15 years old now?
    Claiming victory over “the gatekeepers” in 2015 is like having a parade next week to celebrate the moon landing.]]>

  8. And that’s where my deja-vu hits hardest! Specifically, I have plenty of memories of Forge-era creators (edit: and their fans, which I think is an important part of this conversation) claiming various moral and commercial victories as the games started getting awards and making meaningful sales numbers. Which, you know, not starting any fights here but the irony is rich.

  9. < ![CDATA[And that's where my deja-vu hits hardest! Specifically, I have plenty of memories of Forge-era creators (edit: and their fans, which I think is an important part of this conversation) claiming various moral and commercial victories as the games started getting awards and making meaningful sales numbers. Which, you know, not starting any fights here but the irony is rich.]]>

  10. The wheel turns and turns. What will the next movement look like? What moral and commercial victories will they claim (while the OSR generation and the Forge generation before them sigh and grouse that this has all happened before, quit gloating, etc)?

  11. < ![CDATA[The wheel turns and turns. What will the next movement look like? What moral and commercial victories will they claim (while the OSR generation and the Forge generation before them sigh and grouse that this has all happened before, quit gloating, etc)?]]>

  12. Ooh!  Oooh!  Can I go next, as a movement?   It’ll only take a minute.  What we’ll do is smash games into components, write them out all pretty, share the components freely, and build an enormous copyright-free commons.

    Then we can claim victory over the capitalist running dogs of the last and next generations.

  13. < ![CDATA[Ooh!  Oooh!  Can I go next, as a movement?   It'll only take a minute.  What we'll do is smash games into components, write them out all pretty, share the components freely, and build an enormous copyright-free commons. Then we can claim victory over the capitalist running dogs of the last and next generations.]]>

  14. Paul Beakley But at least back then “indie” paradigm was kind of new, and a reaction to the entrenched ’90s model. But I think even the Forge was giving nods to the pioneers of the 70s (or would now).

    I may be biased.

  15. < ![CDATA[Paul Beakley But at least back then "indie" paradigm was kind of new, and a reaction to the entrenched '90s model. But I think even the Forge was giving nods to the pioneers of the 70s (or would now). I may be biased.]]>

  16. And the ouroboros find its tail.

    And this is the point of my first comment: the “indie” people felt legitimate feels even while the previous generation looked at their copies of Deadlands and Immortal and Waste World and either shrugged or got exasperated.

  17. < ![CDATA[And the ouroboros find its tail. And this is the point of my first comment: the "indie" people felt legitimate feels even while the previous generation looked at their copies of Deadlands and Immortal and Waste World and either shrugged or got exasperated.]]>

  18. < ![CDATA[Uhhhhhhhhmmmm. You mean "Small Press", the unsexy basic deal, which had been going on the entire time, never stopped, and continues through to today?  Those roots, which weren't lost at all?]]>

  19. < ![CDATA[I feel the need to mention Steve Peterson and George MacDonald hawking a little mimeographed game called Champions around local cons in 1980. I wonder whatever happened to that game…]]>

  20. But that attitude is what I’m talking about, and I think it’s useful and maybe informative to remember what those victories felt like back then (and how they were perceived by the old guys). It’s a continuum! And that knowledge is ours to bear.

  21. < ![CDATA[But that attitude is what I'm talking about, and I think it's useful and maybe informative to remember what those victories felt like back then (and how they were perceived by the old guys). It's a continuum! And that knowledge is ours to bear.]]>

  22. I feel that we should now make the transition to being sage old men who say pithy things like:

    “The gatekeepers are in your mind; every generation must discover this for themselves.  I have made my journey; go, young ones, and do likewise.”

    Then, when this happens the next time, we can all just stroke our beards and nod to each other.

  23. < ![CDATA[I feel that we should now make the transition to being sage old men who say pithy things like: "The gatekeepers are in your mind; every generation must discover this for themselves.  I have made my journey; go, young ones, and do likewise." Then, when this happens the next time, we can all just stroke our beards and nod to each other.]]>

  24. I think there’s a pretty big difference between having major publishers who control narrow channels of publishing telling you “PDFs will never sell, here’s the things you need to do to work for us, for less pay, maybe none” as gatekeepers vs. a group of people saying they don’t like you or your product as a gatekeepers  MEANWHILE at the same time you are getting work FROM major publishers who control narrow channels of publishing.

    While I know a bunch of Forge folks were really happy about awards, I find more of the moral victory in the fact that we have tons of people successfully selling PDFs and small print games and not going bankrupt to do so, and less people getting hustled into working for larger publishers for little or no pay.  Also the moral victory that mechanics do matter and playtesting produces better games.   Because all of that leads to a better RPG environment.

  25. < ![CDATA[I think there's a pretty big difference between having major publishers who control narrow channels of publishing telling you "PDFs will never sell, here's the things you need to do to work for us, for less pay, maybe none" as gatekeepers vs. a group of people saying they don't like you or your product as a gatekeepers  MEANWHILE at the same time you are getting work FROM major publishers who control narrow channels of publishing. While I know a bunch of Forge folks were really happy about awards, I find more of the moral victory in the fact that we have tons of people successfully selling PDFs and small print games and not going bankrupt to do so, and less people getting hustled into working for larger publishers for little or no pay.  Also the moral victory that mechanics do matter and playtesting produces better games.   Because all of that leads to a better RPG environment.]]>

  26. Much like the GM-less vs. GM-full distinction, I find the exact opposite to be the case.  Its not that there never were Gatekeepers, IMO.  Its that everyone/thing/structure/system is a Gatekeeper.  

    Meaning there are a ton of gates and a ton of gatekeepers each with their own “key and password” (so to speak).

    So the “no gatekeepers” things really just means you stopped, turned left, and went through a different gate instead.

    I find this distinction much more useful to me…because I like Gatekeepers.  I like people who narrow down the infinite choices into a manageable subset that I can actually have meaningful interaction with.

    Like Paul Beakley for instance.  Paul is a fantastic game gatekeeper.  He has a gate labeled “Games Paul Plays” that saves me a ton of time and effort and wondering.

    Gatekeeping is a good thing.  Gatekeeping has always been a good thing.  Better than good, gatekeeping is an essential activity without which there is only chaos and anarchy.

    Monopolized, or oligopolized gates are the problem.  

    The modern situation is not one where gates have been torn down.  Its one where gates have proliferated to the extent that the walls are so permeable that there are too many ways through for anyone to stop the flow.

  27. < ![CDATA[Much like the GM-less vs. GM-full distinction, I find the exact opposite to be the case.  Its not that there never were Gatekeepers, IMO.  Its that everyone/thing/structure/system is a Gatekeeper.   Meaning there are a ton of gates and a ton of gatekeepers each with their own "key and password" (so to speak). So the "no gatekeepers" things really just means you stopped, turned left, and went through a different gate instead. I find this distinction much more useful to me...because I like Gatekeepers.  I like people who narrow down the infinite choices into a manageable subset that I can actually have meaningful interaction with. Like Paul Beakley for instance.  Paul is a fantastic game gatekeeper.  He has a gate labeled "Games Paul Plays" that saves me a ton of time and effort and wondering. Gatekeeping is a good thing.  Gatekeeping has always been a good thing.  Better than good, gatekeeping is an essential activity without which there is only chaos and anarchy. Monopolized, or oligopolized gates are the problem.   The modern situation is not one where gates have been torn down.  Its one where gates have proliferated to the extent that the walls are so permeable that there are too many ways through for anyone to stop the flow.]]>

  28. Levi Kornelsen Ooh!  Oooh!  Can I go next, as a movement?   It’ll only take a minute.  What we’ll do is smash games into components, write them out all pretty, share the components freely, and build an enormous copyright-free commons.

    I’ve been doing that with OGL stuff for a while. Just not promoting it very much because I don’t self-promote very well.

  29. < ![CDATA[Levi Kornelsen Ooh!  Oooh!  Can I go next, as a movement?   It’ll only take a minute.  What we’ll do is smash games into components, write them out all pretty, share the components freely, and build an enormous copyright-free commons.
    I’ve been doing that with OGL stuff for a while. Just not promoting it very much because I don’t self-promote very well.]]>

  30. Sorry Nathan Paoletta!

    It seems like we’re casting a really wide net.

    I just want to know, who are the gatekeepers who died on Friday night? Who was keeping a white guy from working with some other white guy to publish a D&D module? Who is stopping people from self-publishing these days?

  31. < ![CDATA[Sorry Nathan Paoletta! It seems like we're casting a really wide net. I just want to know, who are the gatekeepers who died on Friday night? Who was keeping a white guy from working with some other white guy to publish a D&D module? Who is stopping people from self-publishing these days?]]>

  32. That’s a great question to direct to that crowd. What attention or respect did they feel they were owed, and from whom? And how does winning an open popularity poll actually change that?

    I suspect, and I’m only speculating, that the answer is the same as it was the previous generation: mainstream gaming coverage, mean people who said shit about them and their members and fans, and mom/dad.

  33. < ![CDATA[That's a great question to direct to that crowd. What attention or respect did they feel they were owed, and from whom? And how does winning an open popularity poll actually change that? I suspect, and I'm only speculating, that the answer is the same as it was the previous generation: mainstream gaming coverage, mean people who said shit about them and their members and fans, and mom/dad.]]>

  34. < ![CDATA[“I just want to know, who are the gatekeepers who died on Friday night?”
    Are they really saying they died on Friday night, or are they just saying they’re dead in general?]]>

  35. Mark Delsing I’m assuming we’re talking about the same post, and if so the way I read it was in the vein of “here’s even more evidence they’re dead” not “they were alive and kicking until just now”.

  36. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing I'm assuming we're talking about the same post, and if so the way I read it was in the vein of "here's even more evidence they're dead" not "they were alive and kicking until just now".]]>

  37. Dan Maruschak​​ that is totally what that thread says. At no point does Stacy grant any credit to the trends that came before, or express any understanding or appreciation of history. And she wouldn’t be the first!

    I read it charitably because 1) it costs nothing at all to be happy for someone, 2) she’s writing as a spokesbeing (read it, it’s a speech, not a personal note) and 3) everyone who’s ever won an Ennie against major publishers has said and felt the same thing.

    It’s naive but it’s also harmless. Small press publishers weren’t harmed when new small press publishers crowed a decade ago. Current small press publishers aren’t harmed by the newest kids to the game crowing about their successes either.

  38. < ![CDATA[Dan Maruschak​​ that is totally what that thread says. At no point does Stacy grant any credit to the trends that came before, or express any understanding or appreciation of history. And she wouldn't be the first! I read it charitably because 1) it costs nothing at all to be happy for someone, 2) she's writing as a spokesbeing (read it, it's a speech, not a personal note) and 3) everyone who's ever won an Ennie against major publishers has said and felt the same thing. It's naive but it's also harmless. Small press publishers weren't harmed when new small press publishers crowed a decade ago. Current small press publishers aren’t harmed by the newest kids to the game crowing about their successes either.]]>

  39. Joseph Le May I’m assuming it’s this one: https://plus.google.com/+StacyDellorfano/posts/BLxRSL4QJqW

    Paul Beakley I’m tempted to try to comb through the post point-by-point, but I don’t think there’s much point arguing. I understand how someone could read that implication onto it, but I’m not sure it’s there in the text.

    When you say “At no point did she grant any credit to the trends that came before, or express any understanding or appreciation of history” I tend to look at it from the POV that transmitting ideas through history is a two-way street: if the people who come later end up rediscovering things on their own maybe it’s because the people who figured it out first didn’t do a great job of getting their ideas transmitted clearly.

  40. Popular asshole wins award given for popularity. Popular asshole’s minion inexplicably declares it a victory for a specific niche of self-publishing. Mark shakes head and stews over it for a weekend.

    That’s basically it.

  41. < ![CDATA[Popular asshole wins award given for popularity. Popular asshole's minion inexplicably declares it a victory for a specific niche of self-publishing. Mark shakes head and stews over it for a weekend. That's basically it.]]>

  42. < ![CDATA[Dan Maruschak I am not having that conversation. I know that she is a big fan; big enough that she was accepting the award for him. I've seen previous posts of hers. That's it. Move on.]]>