Reminder: Just because we have funded doesn't mean that we've got the cash for the top level of website-functionality we're hoping for! Please help bring us up to at least $7,500, because what we've got funded at this level is what we consider the minimum level of website operation!
The Old School Renaissance is a hard thing to pin down, but at heart it’s about a particular gaming community with a lot of gaming philosophies in common, mainly based on the early editions of D&D. Since at least 2006, the OSR movement has been a hotbed of role playing game creativity, one whose contributions have been felt at the highest echelons of tabletop gaming.
...but in our opinion, the community has developed one structural weak point over time, meaning that we have the opportunity to bring things up to a level we haven't ever seen before...
"I thought YOU were drawing the map."
After our community’s genesis in online forums, the nature and structure of the Internet has changed. First came blogs, and later the archipelago of ever-evolving social media. Now we get together to discuss our favorite Old School games on facebook, Google+, twitter, and more. Now we listen and respond to podcasts, watch YouTube channels, and even check Snapchat. We get our games at brick-and-mortar stores, print-on-demand services, and digitally via PDF downloads. It’s an embarrassment of riches, but it’s also a lot to process and navigate. So, the problem we want to solve isn't about the community itself, it's about the way the community's structure has been altered, bit by bit, over time. What was once a fairly centralized online social structure of gamer interaction has become increasingly fragmented with each new means of online communication. A frog will voluntarily sit in a pan of water while the temperature steadily increases, eventually boiling to death. A steadily increasing fragmentation of online communication has been precipitating an increasing fragmentation of social media interaction in the OSR. We’re going to take some intelligent steps to try and fix that. The quality and variety we've got right now is incredible, compared to that original forum world of ours, but the community's sheer size has led to a situation where there are no longer any centralized, go-to locations for browsing around it. Moreover, it's becoming ever-more difficult to find what's new in the OSR, or for those just joining us to get their bearings and find all the good stuff. Social media algorithms emphasize people who already have followings, and it's very hard for a new blog or DIY publisher to find visibility on search engines, social media, and so forth. What we need is an easier way to find and keep track of the OSR’s manifold but widespread resources.
Old School Gamer Radio
We're launching a website designed to help alleviate this problem. This website will function both as a portal to outside content, a blog, and a source of new and original content created specifically for the site. Our websites many resources and links will be searchable, and its contents tagged and categorized to make searching it an intuitive and easy experience. We’re calling it Old School Gamer Radio, and here’s what it’s going to look like:
Searchable Resources and Links
In our community, it's getting difficult to track the vast array of projects and sub-communities coming from our bloggers, cartographers, YouTubers, artists, authors, facebook groups, and content creators. So OSGR’s first objective is to create and provide a robust search function for links to great OSR content. Looking for the best Greyhawk-centric blogs? Trying to find maps and monsters written specifically for your favorite flavor of D&D or retro-clone? Wanting to try out some podcasts or video blogs that focus on your gaming area of interest? Just looking for free downloadable Old School content? Old School Gamer Gamer Radio will help you find all of that and more quickly and efficiently.
More than a mere web portal site, Old School Gamer radio will also feature its own original content. You’ll have a reason to visit this website regularly, even if its not to search for the latest and greatest OSR content, because we’ll be making some of our own. Uncle Matt’s D&D Studio on YouTube is an example of this content, but we’ll be making much more. Together with each video, we’ll also highlight old-school places that are doing something relevant to the video’s topic, or where you can read contrary opinions to the ones expressed in the video. We’ll keep producing these for the site, in a variety of formats, as time goes on. Here are a couple of videos we have made already -- production value is acceptable, but improving it is one of the Kickstarter goals.
Featured Outside Content
Since there won’t be a new video from us every day, we’re going to supplement the OSGR-produced content with “Featured Content” from people who want us to highlight their blog, youtube channel, or free gaming content. This will be a good place to draw peoples’ attention to new sites and content when they are added to the index.
Video: The core reward is a series of videos that will form the initial original content on the website. The topics for the initial set of videos are going to be:
1) What is the OSR? (this is a matter of curiosity for people who come across the term).
2) Adventure Design: the "backstory" or "first cause"
3) Adventure Design: Elements of a good map
These topics will stretch across more than one video per topic, because I'm eyeballing this at a couple of hours.
Website: Creating the website! There are a few "tiers" of functionality that can be achieved with the website. The functionality level we get at our minimum funding is not very high, but will do the trick. The $7500 stretch goal is our desired, ideal type of website.
Standard Baseball Cap ($50 or more). A tan-colored, cloth, Old School Gamer Radio baseball cap. Not as fancy as the premium one, but this cap still shows that you're old school to the core.
Premium Baseball Cap: $75 (or more). A premium-quality, embroidered Old School Gamer Radio baseball cap to wear at conventions and anywhere else. USA delivery only.
Video Sponsor: $250 (or more). At this pledge level, you're sponsoring a video, and your name will show in the video as the sponsor. We will match up the videos and the sponsors: it's too complicated to try and let people select particular videos. You also, of course, get the Old School Radio baseball cap (if you're in the USA) and the certificate.
Stretch Goals$750: Website. UNLOCKED. The first stretch goal is the important one: creating the website itself. At $750, there's enough money to build the website with searchable content, pay for the web hosting server, and meet other technical expenses.
About the Creators
One of the owners of Frog God Games, Matt is the co-author of the first retro-clone (OSRIC, for 1e AD&D). He won an ENnie Award in 2009 for authoring Swords & Wizardry, and has authored the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming, the Tome of Adventure Design, Cyclopean Deeps, Lost Lands: Borderland Provinces, Rappan Athuk (5 levels of it), and modules including Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom, Tomb of the Iron God, Demonspore, Spire of Iron and Crystal, and the Oasis-Temple of Thoth. Matt was the editor of all issues of Knockspell Magazine, and is a frequent special guest at North Texas RPG Con and Gamehole Con.
Zach Glazar is an owner at Frog God Games. In 2013 he released his first OSR adventure, Whisper & Venom (with John Hammerle). Much to his surprise, it was nominated for 2 ENnie Awards (he was narrowly defeated by Paizo and WizKids). His second Box set release, Death & Taxes (with Co-Author Edwin Nagy) was also nominated for the same two ENnies – but this time Paizo and Fantasy Flight Games bested him. He is also the author of Bird of a Feather, an adventure module from Lesser Gnome Games.
Risks and challenges
The lowest-level goal of this Kickstarter is simply to produce a line of videos that will be used as the starting content for a website, so that aspect of the project is virtually free in terms of money. It's only my time, so the only real risk is that I somehow become unable to make the videos.
Once the Kickstarter grows to a higher level - funding the website itself - the risk is still quite small, although the success of the website obviously depends on its quality and the imponderables of popularity.
- (14 days)