Has it all been said before?
The RPG internet community has roots that extend back more than two decades. Yes, it's true - people were discussing roleplaying games on the internet before it was even the internet. Shocking. I know. Go here to boggle your brain. OK... back? Now that you have read advice on gaming that is some 25+ years old... you might now be wondering the same thing: Is it possible that everything there is to say about gaming has been said? Is tabletop gaming a finite creative space? If you take the collective meta-mind of the tubes (read:teh intehnetz or teh blogezfear) - is there anything really new for the community to discover? Has the community as a whole really made any DING! groundbreaking revelations in the last few years?
I might argue NO. I might even say that everything the RPG blogging community rants about has been ranted about by thousands of people for close to 30 years. I should really post some screenshots from some early Dragon magazine "Letters to the Editor" columns... but I think you get my point.
I'm not talking about new creatures, adventures, villains, worlds, creative settings, dice, types of miniatures, or even rule systems. That's all in the field of content - which is arguably inexhuastible. That would be like asking if every story that could be written has been written. Of course... that may very be true too. But that's another issue.
I'm talking about advice. Comments, shared with others, about HOW to play. HOW to be a better game referee, GM, DM, storyteller, marshall, or whatever you call it. What works - what doesn't. How to build tight social groups that faciliate immersive play. etc. What's new? If you were to read everything that has been written before, in chronological order: at what point in time would you say "OK... nothing new here". Would it be the early 80's? Gaming has changed alot since then. Perhaps the mid-1990's? Maybe never?
Is it possible that I'm completely out-of-the-park off base here?
I'm still going to say no - so if I'm not off base, and I am on to something... then has anyone tried to make a definative guide to roleplaying games? I'm not talking about D&D For Dummies. I'm talking about something akin to Black's Law , but for tabletop roleplaying games. A reference that everyone hails as being the de facto jumping off point for further discussion. A manual on RPGs in general, in all its crazy variations on a theme that is not tied to any one game.
A manual on HOW TO GAME.
If such a book exists, please let me know. Perhaps Gygax's Master of the Game counts - but I have yet to read it yet. Have you? Is it any good?