Although I haven't had any blog-type posts to make in quite a while, I'm finding myself back in that mode, where there are updates of interest, considerations about the integration of Swords & Wizardry with the rest of the Old School Renaissance (as I define it), and other such topics that are better suited to a blog-type of post. So, here goes with the first:
1) The continuing manifesto of Swords & Wizardry. We've always had two goals we've been working with, and they aren't always necessarily linked. Those goals are (a) spread old-style rules into the mainstream of the hobby using S&W as the vehicle/wedge, and (b) reinvigorate the hobbyist feel of the game by creating a platform (the "official" stuff) as the center of gravity for "unofficial" materials.
(2) The split of "official" and "fan/indie" material. Given goal (a), it is likely that the "official" materials will lack some of the raw power of the fan materials -- one of my absolute rules for the rulebook, for example, is that Dad can play it with his 10yr old daughter, and that the visual imagery and language will not carry a message that girls can't play this game or identify with the concept of a female hero(ine). Don't worry - I'm not blanching the balls-out swords & sorcery out of the rules, just folding away a particular corner of the genre into the resources only, so that a parent doesn't have to contend with it in the hardwired entry-level book. The official resources for the game DO NOT have this restriction -- but the rules themselves are the gateway, and lots of parents want to introduce their kids to the game with these rules.
3) My challenge. If you are an indie or a fan publisher, or a prospective one, I offer you this challenge. For the resources, at least the ones I will be writing, I'm going to kick some ass. It's going to be all-out swords & sorcery, with whatever the genre and the fantasy requires -- might be some gory scenes, might have shirtless women, there might be lotus-eaters or hybrid creatures whose origin raises eyebrows. Whatever. My target is Clark Ashton Smith in mid tequila-just-hit-me mode, with an electric guitar and a backup band of Type I demons wearing headbands and Led Zeppelin t-shirts. Thunder and a full-sized Stonehenge in the back, orc-hordes pouring into the valley down front. The challenge is this: I'm going to rock this genre to some new heights for this second millenium of the game. I want you guys to outdo me.
4) Next blog: how exactly, and what exactly we should do, to support (a) the fan and indie publishers, and (b) people running OD&D and/or S&W games at conventions.