Archive for January, 2023

I don’t care who knows this. I’m an author. A well-established Culture and Arts critic. An Instructor of Creative Writing. And I love Rose Estes’ Endless Quest/Dungeons & Dragons, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books for kids. I fucking ADORE them. It’s not like I grew up on them, because they first came out when I was already an adult. As of today, I’m the proud owner of all the entries in the series Estes wrote. A small triumph. But one that gives me a bit of joy.

For those who don’t know, Hasbro now owns Dungeons & Dragons. Recently, a document was leaked from Hasbro, the “OGL 1.1”, which will revoke and retroactively limit the rights of third-party vendors to create D&D content, superseding the first OGL (Open Games License) which has been around for decades, and has allowed third-party vendors to create amazing D&D adventures and products.

I’m old enough that when I first played D&D, my very first adventure was the very first commercially available module, Palace of the Vampire Queen by Pete and Judy Kerestan, published by their imprint Wee Warriors. It was a transformative experience, one I’ll never forget. In the early days, the D&D powers that be did not believe in the viability of pre-made modules. Wee Warriors were also the first to create commercially available character sheets. That’s right, you latte-slurping, corporate jerks at Hasbro… the very CONCEPT of pre-made adventures and accessories came from third-party creators. Everything that D&D became, beyond the basic rule books, had its origins from third parties. The OLG 1.1, if it does come to pass, is a slap in the face to the history of the game itself. If it comes to pass, Hasbro won’t get a dime from me, ever again.

I adored Major Matt Mason as a kid… the toys were based on actual NASA blueprints and prototypes. This was back when we were still going to the moon, still using funds from an equitable taxation system to fund space exploration, and vaccination programs were a matter of national pride. That’s the world I was born to. Now, I live in an America in which 216 million of its citizens are scientifically illiterate, in which millions believe in a flat earth, in which 40% of the population don’t believe in evolution, and 20% believe the sun revolves around the Earth. Economically, a line of toys that celebrated American knowledge and engineering and competence would not be feasible today.