Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What the OSR ought be doing.

Tenkar has a post about definitions which go me thinking about my feeling on the matter.

In general I like to focus on describing what going on and develop terms to describe what I see. For example when I look at folks who say they are part of the OSR the only common element I see is that they play an older edition of D&D and don't think it broken or outdated. Everything depends on where you are looking. Which is why I say the OSR is comprised of fans of older editions of D&D.

But some folks launch into a debate with me and say "Well, what about Traveller, Tunnels and Trolls, etc, etc. They are old school too." To which I say yes they are old school, but the OSR is foremost about playing older editions of D&D . However depending on who you talk too. You will find interest in all those games and more. The fact that the group of gamers who like playing and publishing for older edition D&D got labeled as the Old School Renaissance is one of those accidents of history.

This is not to say I don't have an opinion on what ought to be going on. I say that in the upper right corner of this blog. What ought be going on with the OSR, especially on the publishing end,  is that people should try to look at their favorite older game and say to themselves 
 What can I do different with the game that was not tried back in the day because of circumstances or the interest of folks back then.
  If are you not doing this don't sweat it. Because first and foremost the ultimate goal of what we are doing is taking these dusty old games off of the shelves and start playing them again to the enjoyment of a new generation.


Dan said...

Arguing about whether Traveller is OSR or not is a HUGE waste of time.

John Harper Brinegar said...

As regards Tunnels and Trolls, my impression is that there's a relatively stable population of players that hasn't changed much since the fifth edition of the game was published. With the release of 7/7.5, interest has probably picked up some, but this is in no way comparable to the large-scale move from D&D 3.5 back to 1e or OD&D that arguably began the OSR.

Black Vulmea said...

The problem I've seen is conflating 'old school' with D&D.

The 'Old School Renaissance' may be about playing and experimenting with older editions of D&D, but there's much more to old-school roleplaying games generally, which is why you get pushback from gamers who play Traveller, The Fantasy Trip, &c.

Too many of the definitions of 'old school,' exclusive of the 'renaissance,' are narrow and parochial as a result of forcing them into the D&D mold.

Unknown said...

Not being a member of the OSR community, I imagine it has much more to do with the feel of the game rather than the exact rules or system played.

What's great about most role playing games is that you can take content from one game and with a little tweaking, apply it to any rule set.

To argue what is and isn't "old school" is ridiculous. It's akin to a teenager using the phrase back in the day to talk about the year 2006 with a senior citizen.

Hedgehobbit said...

This is probably why I don't feel I belong in the OSR. Your idea of what they should be doing is the exact opposite of what I think they should be doing. Which is to find out how games were actually played back in the day (up to 1973) and try to replicate that open playstyle regardless of the actual ruleset.

Robert Conley said...

I appreciate the comments everybody.

Please note I am not arguing whether games like Traveller are Old School or not. I agree that all of the older games mention so far are indeed old school games.

Which is why the trend has been to use OSR and not the full name to refer to folks playing and publishing for older edition D&D.

Robert Conley said...

@Hedgehobbit - there is a strong preservationist streak throughout much of the OSR. For example OSRIC is specifically designed to preserve AD&D 1st edition and allow people to publish new material for the game.

Part the reason it was developed was because of the controversy that arose during the development of Castles & Crusades. C&C can use AD&D modules with no conversion but the game itself is not AD&D and has a different feel. The folks at Knights and Knave then developed OSRIC first as a publisher reference and then in it second version a standalone rulebook.