Thursday, January 31, 2019

What is the best OSR system for RPG novices?

One forum I frequent is the RPGPub. Recently a question was asked,

What is the best OSR system for RPG novices?

I gave some system recommendations and then I realize I been looking at the answer to this question wrong.

Given that nearly all of the various editions of  classic DnD and OSR retro clones are of comparable complexity. Especially in what you have to do get a campaign going. The answer is all of them and none of them.


Because system doesn't matter, it all depends on the referee being a good teacher and a good coach. So use whatever system that works with the way you think and operate and focus on learning to teach and coach.

I throw in coaching because in sports the athlete is expected to execute strategies and procedures that are mostly in real time. A good coach not only explains those strategies and procedures i.e. teach, but guide the athlete through them the first few time until the athlete is able to do them. Afterward the coach will help the athlete practice to improve their skills in regards to whose strategies and procedures. Much of this occurring in real time with the athlete doing whatever their particular sport requires them to do.

While not as physical, the interplay of the players describing what their characters and the referee making a ruling often by using a printed system of rules means there some overlap what you do to teach a beginning athlete and a novice to RPGs.

So hence, focus on being a good teacher and coach. As for the rules use whatever works for you as a teacher and coach.

The OSR logo is by Dyson Logos


Sinclair said...

For complete novices, who've never played or seen an RPG before in their life, I have:

1) A megadungeon (or close enough)
2) A one-page ultralight (I use a modified version of Searchers of the Unknown)
3) Dice.

With those things I can run a game of D&D with no more prep than a boardgame. The rules fit on one well-spaced two-column page; I put the chargen stuff on the left and the stuff they need to worry about in play (i.e. not at all, because I'll be coaching them) on the right. I've often felt that a big barrier to new people coming into the hobby is the intimidating rulesets and character generation system, certainly for games like 5E.

Wizard Lizard said...

The Original Dungeons & Dragons ran by an experienced Referee.
Delving Deeper as your own ruleset after playing in that Referee's game, until you want to check out the original yourself.

If no experienced Referee is available, I would recommend Maze Rats since it has the best explanation for what an RPG is and how to run AND play them, with a very low page count.

Or Into the Odd.