There have been some truly stupid discussions / disagreements in the OSR over this weekend, with much of it having to do with what constitutes the OSR, when the OSR began, when did the OSR self identify as well as a request to dig up gaming dirt on James Mal because the person in question is too lazy to do so for himself.
Drama. Lot's of it.
It did get me thinking about the definition of the OSR. Well, not the actual definition, as it's a nebulous and personal thing formed by one's own gaming experiences. I'm referring to how I define the OSR, based on my experiences, and I find myself with a ying / yang situation, as it has two faces to me. Two definitions that overlap. Or, more precisely, one definition encompasses the other.
The first definition sees the OSR in terms of older editions of D&D and it's clones and derivatives. If the rules can be traced back to AD&D 2e or an earlier definition, it's OSR.
The second definition sees the OSR as encapsulating all old school gaming and it's clones. There is no defined cut off date for this, but I'd probably use 1997 as my personal marker (unless one finds a better one) as this is the year I stepped away from gaming for 10 years or so. It's an easy mark for me to remember. This definition includes examples like Traveller, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Tunnels & Trolls, Rolemaster, RuneQuest, Bushido, The Fantasy Trip, WFRP and dozens if not hundreds of others. The games of my youth and early adult hood. The golden and silver years of my gaming.
So, for ease of reference not just for myself, but my readers, I am going to be using the following definitions here at The Tavern.
OSR - D&D and it's clones and derivatives. If the rules can be traced back to AD&D 2e or an earlier definition, it's OSR.
OSR-E (OSR-Expanded) - an RPG released in 1997 or earlier or one of it's clones. Short and simple.
Again, these are my definitions for use here at The Tavern. Just trying to keep things organized both on the blog and in my head ;)