Tin Pan Alley and MMORPGs

I like old music. George Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, that kind of thing. I was thinking about how music was distributed in those days. It was called Tin Pan Alley, and music sales weren’t measured in records sold–records were expensive–but in copies of sheet music sold. Consumers bought the sheet music of songs they liked, took it home, and played it with their friends and family. When records dropped in price after WWII, sales of sheet music were overwhelmed by record sales. Playing a record required less talent than playing sheet music, therefore more people could participate, and the mass market expanded. A record is a more finished product than a packet of sheet music. Thus, it requires less from its end user and so can reach more end-users. Sheet music became a tiny side business.

Tabletop RPGs are like sheet music. You buy the game you like, take it home, and play it with your friends. But MMORPGs are like records. They are a finished product requiring less talent and input from their end-users. This allows them to reach more end-users. And, are tabletop RPGs thus destined to become an even tinier side market than they have already been?

What else does this parallel indicate? A wider gap between creator and consumer. I’m sure there’s more there, but my weariness has overcome me.

Why does Mu have no name list?

So I’m just starting up a Dictionary of Mu game over IRC, and in guiding my players through charcter creation, I want to give them examples of names to use. So I flip through the book, and there’s TONS of place-names, and approx. 3 people-names. IIRC, there’s the omnipresent Oghma son of Oghma, Nimrote, the Tsarina of the Nines, and a demon in the “A” section. Everyone else has titles: “The Primite Prince” “The Damsel Messiah” “The Kid with the Rock” “The Jarl of Spiders”

Should I just tell my players to make titles? Or just choose whatever names float their boat and go from there?

Dictionary of Mu via IRC

To get more specific, here is what I posted to the Indie-Netgaming mailing list:

I will be starting a new game over IRC. I’ll be running the Sorcerer
supplement, Dictionary of Mu. The author’s brief description: Dictionary of Mu: Edgar
Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom meets Robert Howard’s Kull meets the Holy
Bible on Mars.”

We’ll be playing on Sunday nights, 7:30pm to around 11:00pm Eastern
time. Assume that Oct. 7 will be entirely character creation and
that play itself will start on Oct. 14.

Familiarity with Sorcerer and the Dictionary is encouraged, but not
absolutely necessary. I bit more info is available about the
Dictionary at the Dictionary of Mu Wiki Many
Sorcerer rules clarifications can be found at the Sorcerer

I can only take 4 players. If more people are interested, I’ll have
to narrow it down somehow.

We’ll meet in the #indierpgs channel and then move to a #marr’d_ooc
channel. I haven’t done very much IRC gaming, so any suggestions are
most appreciated.

If you’re interested, please let me know either here or in e-mail.