One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fear & Loathing On Operation: Demogorgon

It's official, work on my OSR project, Operation: Demogorgon has stalled out at the same 4,000 words I last reported on. I've been struggling to figure out what my problem is, and why I cant move forward. Here are a few of the sad conclusions I came to.

First is a lack of discipline. I really need to just harden the fuck up and just write everyday. No more bloody excuses.

Secondly, and a this is a truth that's hard to admit, is fear. Fear of this thing sucking. Fear of what the critics, and particularly the very opinionated and passionate OSR community might say about it. After all this project is meant to be directed towards them, since I do plan on it being a Swords & Wizardry product. Fear of failure. Better to have never tried, than to have done it and joined the bloated ranks in the Legion of Suck and Fail.

Here's the deal. In the time that I have spent lurking in the OSR blogo-sphere, I've seen some pretty amazing stuff come out. I mean just look at the Swords & Wizardry core rules PDF itself. It's a solid, well put together piece of work with great art, and it's free. Then I look at all the other awesome modules that have been produced. I look at their low price point and high quality and it blows my socks off. When I see a guy like James over at Lamentations of the Flame Princess, I feel like there's just no way a guy like me can compete with his amazing work. What he's doing is more than a hobby, it's a second job, and that's not really what I'm doing this for. I want to share with the community. I want be apart of something greater. I'm not interested in making any money out of the deal. At least not in the RPG business anyway. I feel like those who do of the OSR, don't get the full credit they deserve. Seriously you guys do some damn good work, and my hat is off to you all! You make it look easy, and I'm discovering that is so not the case.

So yeah, I have this fear that Just cant live up to the standards of the OSR. But not only that, it's a fear that being from the d20 era, I just don't get the old school mentality. Because of this lack of understanding I feel that whatever I write will be blatantly rejected by the OSR, for failing to be old school. I'll admit that I do understand that there's more to it than just the rules, that it has to do with your mindset and how you approach the game itself. So perhaps this fear is unfounded bull-shit on my part.

So now that it's out there and I recognize that I have some issues, how am I going to deal with them?

As I already said I need to just do it. I need to power on and stop being such a self conscious whiny little bitch. I need to be someone who does, and not someone who just shoots his mouth off about doing something.

In addition I've decided that I'm going to start opening up a little during this week about what the project is, and a preview of what it's all about. Tomorrow, I will talk about the approach I want to use to convey the information in the module.


  1. I get what your saying, but I think fretting over people thinking it sucks will keep you from doing anything. I think the "OSR community" is pretty forgiving. Sure, with almost any project somebody is going to think it sucks, but there are going to be more people who give you proprs for it.

    My advice would be write it, then give it to somr gamer friends for a read over. Sure, friends won't be completely honest, but you can get a feel for the difference between "good" and "suck."

    Also, you could post bits of it on your blog as you work and solicit feedback that way.

  2. You speak the the truth Trey. I guess the point i was trying to get across is that Im defeating myself before ive even started.

    As the week goes on I do plan on revealing more and more of what the project it and is about.

    Thanks for the advice!

  3. Z: Just two things that might help:

    1. Putting a piece of writing away and then coming back to it later can give fresh perspective. If your project is in sections, consider working on things out of sequence and putting them out of sight for a week.

    2. You have a sensitivity to humor - sometimes treating a project like a huge Gonzo work of comedy can 'loosen things up'. Is Demogorgon addicted to Charlie Sheen?

    People might find 'work in progress' posts really interesting, so don't be afraid to put up some raw tidbits here and there.

  4. Thanks Scott you make some great points as well. I'm definatly going to post some work in progress reports soon.

  5. I came across this thing on failure - I hope you see that it's better to do and fail than to not do anything.

    Fear of Failure:
    I might fail. Thomas Edison, in his search for the perfect filament for the incandescent lamp, tried anything he could think of, including whiskers from a friend's beard. In all, he tried about 1800 things. After about 1000 attempts, someone asked him if he was frustrated at his lack of success. He said something like, "I've gained a lot of knowledge--I now know a thousand things that won't work."

    Fear of failure is one of the major obstacles to creativity and problem solving. The cure is to change your attitude about failure. Failures along the way should be expected and accepted; they are simply learning tools that help focus the way toward success. Not only is there nothing wrong with failing, but failing is a sign of action and struggle and attempt--much better than inaction. The go-with-the- flow types may never fail, but they are essentially useless to humanity, nor can they ever enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes after a long struggle.

    Suppose you let your fear of failure guide your risk taking and your attempts. You try only three things in a year because you are sure of succeeding. At the end of the year the score is: Successes 3, Failures 0. Now suppose the next year you don't worry about failing, so you try a hundred things. You fail at 70 of them. At the end of the year the score is Successes 30, Failures 70. Which would you rather have--three successes or 30--ten times as many? And imagine what 70 failures will have taught you. Proverb: Mistakes aren't fun, but they sure are educational.