Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The OSR - Niche within a Nich

Sometimes we forget that the Old School Renaissance (OSR) is a small movement withing a relatively small hobby we call Roleplaying.  Its easy to lose sight when one forgets to look beyond their immediate surroundings.  My guess is that those interested in the OSR are involved, either actively or passively, in forums, blogs, and other online knowledge sources.  Most of out hobby isn't.  They know little beyond what they see in their game store or Amazon.

The OSR has many options for play (in no particular order):
Labyrinth Lord
Swords and Wizardry (and all of its different flavors)
Monsters and Mazes
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game
Raven Crowking's Fantasy Game
Mutant Future

I'm sure I missed more then a few (and them as a response and I'll edit to fix) , and this isnt counting the games that are currently in the works.

Yet for all this, WotC's forthcoming Gamma World with it's noxious collectible power cards aspect will not only outsell (and I'll count free downloads as sales) Mutant Future by many powers of 10, it will also outsell our little niche IN TOTAL by a huge factor.

There is one thing WotC doesn't have tho, which our niche has in abundance:  love of the game before the bottom line.  Most of the OSR is available in PDF for free, or damn close to it.  Most of the print books are damn near close to cost.  This hobby of ours could crash and burn around us, and yet the OSR will remain.

The OSR.  It's small, but resilient.


  1. This OSR warms my heart. I started roleplaying in 1980 and I sometimes miss the old days. D&D 4th Edition just doesn't do it for me. Or 3.5 for that matter. The flexibility of Savage Worlds reminds me of less rules-bound days; I like that system.

    I'm going to have to learn more about this.

  2. i really should have added hyperlinks to the post... might need to rectify that

  3. You forgot OD&D, D&D(BECMI), AD&D.

    The Industry could crash and burn and yet the hobby will remain. It would probably flourish.

    I think the rise of OSR and the like has more than a little to do with the Industry abandoning it's style of play.

  4. Well, didn't so much forget as stuck to the rules that are currently in print. With WotC pulling all their PDFs from the market you can't get the PDFs legally, and you need to hunt and peck to find hard copies for sale online or in used book shops.

    The OSR is keeping the old school feel in print NOW. It's definitely a "ground roots movement" in my opinion.


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