Chicgowiz has some interesting ideas for TARGA a currently moribund association of retro D&D publishers. One of them is a living campaign for OD&D (or whatever edition gets the most response)
I volunteered to do the maps if the project gets off the ground. In addition I will be willing to share the loose background I created for Points of Light under a creative commons license for the Living campaign to use. I own the right to the material and maps (not the art or the brand Points of Light). Mind you this is NOT my campaign of 30 years but something I created to loosely bind the PoL Maps. It amounts to all of one page and doesn't even have a world map.
However one implication of having a Living campaign that it will require people to be charge of it and actively managing it. This will bother some people as it smacks of an "official" hierarchy for Old School gaming. While it doesn't have to be a strict as the RPGA. A living campaign does need some organization to make it work.
An organization is also needed as the public face for convention organizers to deal with and for people to goto for information.
There will be two primary benefits. The first one is a stream of modules designed to work together in a world shared by many. The second is the ability to grow your character and take it to any Living event.
So you will have to decide whether these benefits outweighs the hassle of dealing with whatever organization is setup to manage this.
Now with the gloomy stuff over with there are a couple of things that can be done to make this a very positive thing.
License the core material under a creative commons license/ the OGL. This explicitly gives the green light for people to create their own material
Be supportive of commercial publishers (that means any of you with a hankering to write) who release compatible products.
The umbrella organization is an voluntary association. The main standards are the core campaign documents, and standard forms. Final control is invested in the local organizers. The Association acts as a suppler or distributor of modules and forms.
The character sheet form and item form are the heart of the administration. The basic idea that you go through a Living sessions get some items and then at the end some XP. The referee of that session will fill out and sign the XP line on your character sheet and hand you one or more item cards signed by him.
Anybody can be a referee by downloading the forms, organizing a events, and signing character sheets afterwards.
The referee is king. The forms get your character's foot in the door but if the referee give a thumbs down on something his word is law at the table. This is our main check against abuse. If a player doesn't get this then the referee is allowed to whip out his complementary stamp "THE REFEREE IS KING" and stamp it on the offender's forehead. Conversely if the Referee is a jerk then word will get around and nobody will attend his sessions.
I think with enough of us behind this it will really help promote old school gaming at conventions and various regions. For some gamers the various Living Campaign are their main and often only source for playing a regular tabletop game. I think a reasonable time frame to make this happen would be by the summer of 2010.
Dungeon Magazine #43
46 minutes ago