On the Summer of the OSR
Posts, traffic, discussion, campaigns, all drop off during the summer months, when people are on vacation, outside, riding rivers, seeking pleasure from the world.
Then as temperatures cool, the leaves change, and students return to school, talk of exploring new realms, solving crimes or causing them, or fighting dragons returns. One campaign is run over the winter, or perhaps two short ones.
Gaming is a pretty big part of our culture at this point. Currently gaming on the whole is on an upswing, due to a variety of factors. The OSR has been sending out a concise message that has been heard, if the stated approach to 5th edition is any indication. B/X is in print (Welll, .pdf anyway).
We are in the summer of the OSR. Megadungeons are being published. You can go purchase more than one playable megadungeon in a useable format! You can purchase basic, expert, the original boxed set, 1st edition, and content is being produced across the board for all editions (Yay!). Themed random dungeon generators have been published.
What was once lost, possibly forever, has been found.
But summer doesn't last forever.
The time is now to think about what remains to be done. The idea that a society, technology, or experience grows infinitely is a flaw of human thinking. Ask any railroad owner in 1860, or ancient roman citizen. Things are done, knowledge is lost, and we are left to subsist on what remains.
What tasks remain for us, who follow giants?*
Collation and Organization. Find an article you like? Link to it on Links to Wisdom. Someone have a table you like? Put it on Abulafia. Have you written a blog, but it's winding down? Consider creating a "best of" .pdf or printed book for distribution. At the very least, back it up or contact someone who's willing to host, rewrite, or continue to present the content.
Innovation. The best of a thing can often happen near the end of a thing. The greatest minds act, the thing diminishes, and what is left pales. We already have a usability study in Vornheim, and a new format for dungeon presentation in One Page Dungeons, used to great effect in Stonehell by Michael Curtis. We can do more, better. I've personally talked to people solving the problem of interesting and quick random generation for solo play, campaign design, new strides in dungeon usability overcoming the limitations of the one page dungeon. Look for new dynamic ways to present, store, and use content while the resources are available, so that those that come after will have examples of greatness themselves. Zak mentions visual indexes, character sheet as character generation guide, and weapon tables.
Research. More than one person has a series detailing their thoughts on the 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide. I can link to several places that review each issue of Dragon. But how many people even played Oriental Adventures 1e/3.5, much less picked the book apart for useable information? There remains tremendous analysis left, and a joy in discovering lost secrets and sharing that knowledge with the world.
Play. Glorious, glorious, play. G+ is 90% of a face to face game, and in some ways is better. I've found that the difference between my experience on the forums and my experience on blogs/G+, isn't that blogs are ego oriented, but that bloggers are playing games, while forum browsers are mostly just reading about them [Tweet This]. Test what you play. Want to play Spelljammer? Al-Qadim? Shadowrun 2e? Harnquest? Odds are low of finding a group in real life excited to do so. Having people enthused about being in a specific setting changes the entire tenor of play. Or pick a class you love and have them visit the FLAILverse.
*Any group of people (Gygax, Jackson, Arenson, et. al.) who generated this huge amount of comment, commentary, and play; impacting the lives of millions of people for the better qualifies them as giants. Come to me with your critique of calling them that after you have to run through 10 printings of your game and I'll listen.