Here is a pic I tossed together in Photoshop of a “space whale” feeding among the star nurseries and nebula.
It reminded me of how we, as RPGers, sometimes meld many genres and the ideas of others together to create the unique flavor of our own games. I had whale-like creatures in space in my old Traveller game. They used to give birth to their young in the cover of gas giants and then they would head out into the wide open space of… well, space!
While we place the stamp of our own personality upon things, there is little sense in always re-inventing the wheel. Sometimes we come up with the same or similar ideas as others independently. Sometimes we use the resources others provide us and tweak them to make them fit better into our own campaigns. Sometimes we come up with a truly unique idea or have that idea first; but this is rare.
In the Old School Renaissance community and the greater Gaming at large, we should not be shy about using the OGL, free or otherwise offered resources that the kindness of others puts at our disposal. We should also not be shy at giving credit where credit is due and thanking others for their efforts.
In my own gaming career, I have enjoyed seeing the take others have on things that I did years ago. When I come across something truly new to me, I sometimes think: “WOW! Why didn’t I think of that? This is great!” or “I wish I could do that!” and I gleefully and thankfully use the ideas and resources provided through the kind and generous efforts of others.
I am willing to pay for many of these resources and I am also happy when they are gratis! We should value all kinds systems, supplements and plot seeds, etc. when we find them… just as we should value those that share them with others.
The gaming community should remember that the fun of gaming is in mutual sharing of the hobby and in the interpersonal interactions with others it brings. We should celebrate these things.