I suppose, one could say, that I'm a Grognardia apologist, by that I mean that I tend to not excuse what has happened with Grognardia's author James Maliszewski (hence called James from here on out) and his failure to produce Dwimmermount, his Old School Megadungeon for which he raised around $48,000 on Kickstarter. But instead, I try to understand what happened, as best I can from what scant detail is running around, and perhaps try to share what I think.
Part of this, I'll freely admit, is that there is a part of my personality that seems to resonate with what is known about James and the last six months or so. It's easy, all too easy, to get swept up in the emotional gratification of being appreciated for something you do or say online. I love the support I get from my AAR's over at Hard Boiled Zombies. I like being told I'm a clever storyteller and that my solo campaign is inspiring to others.
It's also easy to get a huge rush from what you think is a good idea. I am the king of rushing to the internet to post some crazy goal like I'm going to paint 150 miniatures a year or a unit a month. I actually started this blog, several years ago, trying to crank out a ton of NPC's for Traveller. Just this past year I tried to create an NPC for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying every day for 25 days. Why? Simple, to impress the audience. To show off my mad gaming skillz. To get positive reinforcement from people about how I spend my downtime. It's why we all blog, when we get down to it. Sure, we're "supporting the hobby," or trying to share our Brilliant Wisdom, but there's a lot of ego involved in this blogging thing.
So, what happens when what you do doesn't get the response you hoped for? Well, it can be devastating, even to an emotionally mature, healthy individual. I'll freely admit, in what might sound like a bit of whining, that I wasn't thrilled by the fact that I didn't get a single comment throughout the entire "25 Villains of Christmas" bit. Nothing but painful silence that got me wondering if anyone was even reading the blog at all. Now, take that bit of apathy and shift it over into full-blown scathing nerdrage to the point that it even spawned a meme ("giant rats and 2000 copper pieces"). James' early preview of Dwimmermount was mocked without mercy on the internet. Maybe the criticism was justified, but I think there was probably a little exuberance over taking down someone who had been ordained by most of a gaming movement as being their high priest and pope.
Now, if you're maybe not in a great place emotionally, if maybe you're a little too used to being lauded for what you bring to the internet table, that's a pretty hard fall. You could start thinking you're a fraud, a failure. There's a real chance for depression there. I think, if you read Grognardia near the end, that James' well was running a little dry at the time anyways since he had moved from anything resembling creativity to just reviewing out-of-print magazines and old advertisements.
Now I'm not saying that James is in the right, that's he's the victim of cyberbullying or somesuch thing. He needs to make good on his promise to his Kickstarter investors, and in some possible way to Autarch, who was left holding the proverbial bag when he bailed out. There's just a part of me that has probably half a dozen blog posts currently set in draft form that are various schemes, lofty goals, and ridiculous feats that I've wisely told myself to forego publishing for fear of even looking more like someone who can't finish what he started. So maybe I'm projecting, but I think I can understand what's happened.
I still haven't published a 25th Villain.
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