Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nebulous Definitions of the OSR

For a hobby nearly 40 years old, there are certain definitions that seem to be hard to tack down to a single accepted meaning. Some examples are as follows:

Megadungeon - I think "regeneration" of dungeon denizens census count between expeditions is the most common feature of the definitions I've seen

Railroad (apparently it is a verb and a noun) - "Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the train set!"

OSR - not only is it up for grabs what the acronym stands for, it's also open to interpretation as to what rules / games / genres fall under it

Crunch & Fluff - I love listening to the Happy Jack RPG Podcast, but when I listen to Tappy's rants on Crunch & Fluff, and what games are Crunchy or Fluffy, my head starts to hurt. Actually, most of the time Tappy starts talking my head starts to hurt...

Multiclassing - the rules have changed so much in the later editions I no longer look past it's usage in the OSR - if we could only define the OSR

Clones, Simulacrums and Beyond - I'm never quite sure the difference between Clone and Simulacrums, but the beyond is much easier (ACKS, LotFP Weird Fantasy, AS&SH, etc)

Module / Adventure - back in the day, they were modules. Today they are adventures. WotC is talking about modules for D&D Next, but they aren't adventures

Hit Dice - I always knew what they were, and then D&D Next decided they weren't. Another reason for me not to step into the light. D&D Next is the TV Ghost from Poltergeist.

Sandbox - how free wheeling does it have to be to be a sandbox? (edit: can't believe I left this out initially)

What other RPG words and phrases have hard to tack down definitions, or more than one meaning?


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  2. The Happy Jacks RPG Podcast in general gives me a headache. I can only listen to a little bit before I start feeling like banging my head on a convenient wall. Wet belches into a microphone aren't that funny, people.

    I have to say, I've always hated multiclassing. Probably because everyone I played with who was into multiclassing was also an annoying, min-maxing munchkin. So I guess you could say I had a bad experience with it...

    I thought clones are closer to their source text, while simulacra were more divergent from the original rules. Then you have people calling ACKS, LotFP, and DCC (etc) "second generation clones." Sheesh.

    All of this uncertainty, to me, indicates a healthy, living RPG organism! So gimme more chaos, man, 'cause it means we're alive!

  3. I find if I just focus on describing what going on rather than what I though ought be going on, it keeps my head from exploding.

    For example when I look at those who call themselves members of the OSR, like I do, the only common element I see is that they enjoy or play older edition D&D. With the addition that they don't think D&D is a broken or outdated game system.

    Everything else depends on where you are looking.

    My opinion of what ought be going on with the OSR is that people should look at the favorite older game and going "What can I do different with it that wasn't tried back in day because of circumstances or the interest of folks back then."

  4. Colour (or "Color" for Americans) - which may be used to describe the background elements found within a game, the narrative context for certain types of actions, or may describe the genre of activity found among the players outside the immediate game context.

    Freeform - Which means very different things in Australian Gaming to that found in the rest of the world.

  5. You forgot the dreaded nine letter word: Alignment


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