Eero Tuovinen is crowd-funding a discussion about old school play: Muster: A Friendly Primer to Challengeful Dungeoneering. Why, you might ask, is another primer useful, given the existence of Finch’s Old School Primer, Principia Apocrypha, and various fragmentary discourses scattered across the blogosphere? Well, Eero comes at this project from a slightly different perspective, probably, from most readers of this blog. Most obviously, he prioritizes focused design over general toolboxes, though he has a long history thinking about the older style of tabletop fantasy roleplaying games (exhibit 1). While focused design is relevant to how he thinks about game design broadly, for this particular project, I would also draw your attention to the idea of wargaming around which he positions the project.
“Wargamey” is only one of five principles, the other four being challenge-focused, egalitarian, creative, and authentic. I, personally, am particularly interested to see what implications he works out from the last of these principles, given my somewhat ambivalent take on genre in tabletop roleplaying games:
authentic rather than ritualistic; the grand purpose of a D&D campaign is to game out the implications of the campaign set-up rather than replicate the GM’s expectations of what D&D adventuring is “supposed to be”. We discover the truth via play.
(As a side note, I briefly played in a few early sessions of the online Greyhawk campaign he mentions, though scheduling and other obligations got in the way of extended participation.)
One final point that I think makes this project worth supporting: part of the goal is open community access:
An essential vision for this project is that Muster will be a free, probably Creative Commons licensed booklet that anybody can pick up off the ‘net and do whatever with.
There is about a week left in the campaign, and he is only a few hundred dollars away from the funding goal at the time of posting, so this is a project where a few more backers might actually make a difference to viability. Check it out.