The No-Artpunk Cometh!

Midnight on a sacred place. Watched benignly by weathered statues of TSR employees, the gathered multitudes huddle uneasily around a pile of vornheim, mork borg one-page dungeons, Troika backgrounds and Knave pamphlets. There is restless muttering and they tremble with the cold.
“Nothing. Just some bad art a fruity kid drew on a pamphlet. Didn’t even have no playtesting to it. You?”
“Five pages with 15 sentences total. Half was bullet points. Some retard had reprinted the map every page and thought it was innovative. Rave reviews. What about you?”
“Open source art, then a 20 page soliloquoy on socialism and not being hitler, another 20 page academic paper on things you can just read in the DMG 1e, then a picture of Gary Gygax with his eyes cut out, and then a one-page Troika dungeon.”
They shudder. It is almost winter solstice. The No-Artpunkman has not arrived. Perhaps he will not come this year, and Noartpunkmas will not continue. But then…a shooting star passes behind the moon, and from the utter darkness of the intergalactic void, the No-Artpunkman is summoned to initiate the ritual of No-Artpunkmas. His substance is drawn from the very essence of the TRVSR, and from his giant bag of satin, he rains down D20s of orichalchum and adamant on all the assembled multitudes. His voice is clarion call and thunder.
They answer in unison, the words well worn.
“We are normal men that seek to play D&D!”
“As a game first and foremost. Not as a form of personal self-expression. Not as a group therapy session. As a game and a craft and a social activity that brings us together and elevates us!”
“We get better by studying those that have come before us, by relentless experimentation, by practice, by reading the fantasy literature in the spirit of the Appendix N and foremost by the sacrement of Actual Play!”
“We abjure the revisionist, the twitter grifter, the false osr-enthusiast. We abjure the activist, the academic and the bitter non-gamer. And above all we abjure the Artpunkman!”
The No-Artpunkman nods.
The pire is lit, bathing the sanctum in sacred fire. They bare their blades, and swords and open hands, and give eachother knowing grins. Young and old, veteran and novice have gathered together. The sacred mystery of No-Artpunkmas allows but a single combatant to survive. Who will it be this time?
So begins No Artpunk 2.

17 thoughts on “The No-Artpunk Cometh!

    1. GygaxAAAAadventure
      Many people know Dungeons and Dragons as a game created by game designer Gary Gygax. However, few people know about the man behind the game. Gary Leonard Gygax was born on August 26, 1930 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He went to New York City to study architecture before joining the United States Air Force. After serving in the military, Gygax returned to his studies and received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of New Brunswick in 1952. He then returned to his native state to practice architecture and design buildings for the Rutgers School of Design for a year. It was during this time that he started playing with a neighbor’s children by creating his own game.
      The game first appeared in the public eye when two friends named Dave and Jeff created it. They called their game ‘ Dungeons and Dragons ‘; they used a piece of paper with a Dungeons and Dragons heading to fold into a Q-tip box lid. The box lid also featured an illustration of a dragon, which is where the game got its name. Gygax and his wife Mary then played D&D with some other friends and created characters for their own game. This is how D&D gained popularity through word of mouth among Gygax’s friends.
      The first edition of the game was published in June 1974 under the Dungeons & Dragons trademark by TSR, Inc.- a business founded by Malcolm McLean and Robert A. Harris. Since it was McLean’s business that obtained the trademark, Harris served as the company’s first president. The company initially sold its products through mail order but later began selling at hobby shops around the country. The company ran multiple sales to promote interest in their product and sent out free samples to retailers and media outlets like newspapers, magazines and television shows. In addition to traditional paper boxes, TSR also produced plastic storage containers like shoe boxes and jewelry boxes for its products.
      TSR released several print editions of D&D between 1974-79 before licensing them internationally- primarily to UK publisher Hogshead Publishing in 1979. Hogshead released several more editions of D&D under their own copyright before publishing an edition under license from TSR in 1984 named ‘Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’. This version received some changes based on feedback from fans after it became available at gaming conventions, which led to its release one year later in 1985. Since then, countless variations on D&D have appeared worldwide through years of dedicated development work by gamers and Dungeon Masters alike.
      Besides co-owning TSR, Gygax also co-starred as dungeon master for several episodes of The Largest Dungeon & Dragons Campaign Ever Recorded (known as ‘The Largest’). This video series featured 13 different players from around New York City enacting characters within the fictional city of Cairnhammer for five sessions over a period of one month. Players included famous comedians like Steve Sweeney, Al Fonzi and Clayton Taylor Jr., actors like Charles Hill Smith IV (aka Charles Smith), Rosie Rivera and Mark Von Neumann (aka Von), plus rap artists like Tre Balla and Tyrek Coby Prewitt (aka Tyrek). Over time, this series became one of the most popular interactive projects on YouTube with over 250 million views across all 13 episodes.
      Although fans have fond memories of playing D&V with Gygax they’ve never met, many have embraced his ideas behind many popular RPG games since he created D&D first. Many popular games have taken inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons since its inception in 1974- including Pokémon! Some fans even work on developing new versions or variants of D&D that are customized for their fans based on their areas of interest. The world will always remember Gary Gygax as the man who created Dungeons and Dragons but he’ll be forever immortalized as the father of modern roleplaying games thanks to fans like us!


  1. Looking forward to seeing the entries! How many did you get this year?

    I’m sad I want able to get something together in time. I started working on a dungeon but then I got a new job and I’ve been traveling a lot.


      1. Great to hear on the increased number of submissions!

        I, too, grew too busy with work and travel to complete my entry—but creating a solid concept and roster is further than I got last year, so I’m at least somewhat pleased 😉



  2. The old school renaissance, also referred to as the return to medieval traditions, was a rebirth of archaic education methods in the early twentieth century. Many believed this change would produce better students. However, the renaissance created controversy by rejecting some modern conveniences. Some students and teachers were dissatisfied with this change and began to push back against it. Some did this by embracing the new technologies, while others found creative ways to continue teaching traditional subjects. One group that rebelled against the old school renaissance was the artpunks.
    Artpunks were a counter-movement to the old school renaissance based on punk music and art genres. They rejected traditional Renaissance art in favor of an alternative style they dubbed ‘artpunk.’ Artpunk rejects the traditional notion of a ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ artistic style and embraces an ‘anything goes’ attitude towards art. Artpunk artists also reject any concept of morals or aesthetics in their work and will depict topics that are controversial or even taboo. By rejecting what they viewed as backward thinking in favour of creative rebellion, the artpunk movement showed dissatisfaction with the old school renaissance.
    A less well-known response to the old school renaissance was Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Like artpunk, D&D rejects conventional ideas about good and bad artistic styles. Players create characters through a series of questions about their backgrounds and then participate in a tabletop role-playing game. The game is based on creating characters in a fantasy land and guiding their adventures together as a group. Although D&D is often associated with teenagers, anyone can play it regardless of age. Instead of rebelling against the old school renaissance, players embraced its principles by engaging in fun activities with their friends.
    Some believe that D&D emerged as a rebellion against the old school renaissance by replacing it with a sense of community among players. Each player must choose a character to play but can have different personalities and backgrounds. This creates a diverse group that can discuss their characters’ experiences together during game sessions. This sense of community is further strengthened through weekly game sessions that last several hours each. Apart from promoting social interaction among players, this approach has solid educational foundations as well.
    The movement towards individualistic rebellion in artpunk and Dungeons & Dragons contrasts strongly with the older craft traditions of design, creation and performance that gave rise to them in the first place. However, there’s evidence that these two games may have been inspired by similar movements in popular culture at least ten years prior to their creation. Popular music during this period had begun adopting elements from traditional role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons into its music videos and performances as homage to its roots. This led pop stars such as Deborah Harry or David Bowie becoming ‘meta-rockstars’ who could alter reality through musical performance as part of an ongoing artistic tradition called ‘artpunk.’
    It’s difficult to determine when artpunk first started or Dungeons & Dragons first came to life because both movements developed concurrently with other similar rebellions against the old school renaissance among students and teachers alike. While clearly inspired by similar movements in popular culture, artpunk and D&D are independent artistic creations that promote creativity instead of dampening it down into conformity. Whether intended or not, these games have helped audiences see past superficiality towards outdated Renaissance practices and see them for what they are-tools for social interaction and education instead of entertainment alone.


  3. I just noticed a terrible flaw with my submission and I fear it may be too late to remedy. I forgot to give the description and mechanics of a certain magic item and only realized it just now. I just made an updated pdf that corrects the mistake. Should I go ahead and send it in? I don’t want to have the unfair advantage of extra hindsight after the contest deadline, but it also hurts that I made a stupid mistake like that. Either way, it’s been an honor competing and maybe I’ll do well still.


    1. Yeah. I, too, found several glaring issues with my submission the day after (typos and poor phrasing for sure)…that’s what happens when you’re working a thing into the 11th hour!

      Last year, though, Prince gave folks a chance to correct their entries before publication, so at least we won’t be publicly embarrassed!
      ; )


    2. Everyone gets the chance to do an update for the submission. The problem is if I allow people to resubmit now after the deadline has elapsed I am going to get 16 new submissions and that’s too much. You will be fine. I’ve seen submissions that were stronger after resubmission, but never in a way that was decisive.


  4. I can’t wait to see what other folks have come up with! I bit off more than I could chew and couldn’t bear to scale back after I started. I could learn a thing or two from the contestants who actually submitted entrees in time. The last NoArtpunk had some great stuff.


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