Today is the feast day of St. Timothy the Apostle. A companion of St. Paul on many of his journeys around the Mediterranean, he is the recipient of the letters 1 & 2 Timothy, he became the bishop of Ephesus and he was eventually martyred for proclaiming the Gospel.
Personally, I very much identify with Timothy. Whereas Peter et. al. walked with Christ when He was on earth and Paul was visited by the Risen Lord, Timothy is part of the second generation of Christians (having received the faith from his grandmother Eunice and his mother Lois, cf. 2 Tim 1:5). In other words, he represents all of us who first encountered Christ through the faith of others. This faith was powerful enough that he left his home, his family and his country for the sake of Christ and His Gospel (cf. Matthew 19:29). He received this faith, he protected this faith and he passed it on to the next generation which through almost two thousand years has been passed on to us.
Not to place RPGs on the same level as the Gospel (not even close), but in a sense, I am also of Timothy's generation in terms of this hobby we love so much — I was taught via the Holmes edition of D&D. Just as when the first generation of Christians began to disappear and the four Evangelists wrote down the Gospels, when Gary Gygax died, many of us pulled out our old gaming materials trying to hold on to and rediscover what it was that brought us into the hobby in the first place. One of the fruits of this process has been the OSR, for which I am truly grateful.
In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul exhorts him to "continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it" (3:14). If there is anything I have learned about our hobby is that it is all about doing. The OSR has reminded me of this beautiful reality. Though there are as many rulesets out there as there are tables, we all have a shared experience. Though many of us homebrew our settings (or DIY places like Greyhawk or the Wilderlands to the point they barely resemble the originals) it does little to damage that shared experience.
As I've repeatedly stated in this blog, one of the tenets of Christianity that I value and promote is that of human freedom. The OSR is an example of the wonderful, beautiful mess that freedom brings. As far as I am concerned, the more the merrier. Thus, when BHP announced its own in-house rule set, I was really pleased. It is another opportunity for me as a player to frankenstein my own game. Even though I use LL as the main ruleset at my own table, there are house rules we use that have been shamelessly stolen from virtually every iteration of the game.
From what has been passed down to me, this is exactly how it should be — because it's fun. I plan on having this fun, and sharing it with others for as long as I can. Hopefully, this thing will continue to have legs long after I am gone.
8 hours ago