Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The OSR - It Ain't Quite Dead Yet

There has been talk about the idea that the OSR is dying off. Heck, I think there's been talk of that since the OSR became a "thing".

Has has the OSR changed? Perhaps.

Is it open to different interpretations depending on the source that is doing the defining? Definitely, especially as there is no central authority in the OSR to supply such a definition.

Actually, the lack of a central authority is one of the strengths of the OSR - the loss of a leader or influential member has little effect on the whole - it just goes on without as we have seen time and time again.

Is it a viable market?

WotC thinks so. They are aiming their high end reprints at those that play and remember the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons. And we do tend to be older players, with more discretionary spending (impulse buying) at our beck and call.

Heck, the 116 blogs signed up for the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Blogfest (April 17) show that the OSR is a very active community. A rising tide lifts all ships, and it's my hope that April 17th brings more interest to the OSR as a whole, not just a single part of it.

Time will be the judge of that.

In any case, I see the OSR is very much alive.


  1. The number of blogs jumping in on Swords & Wizardry is as surprising at the amount of support that the Ogre Kickstarter received last year.

    These are strange times-- surprisingly surprising.

  2. I don't have my finger on the pulse of the OSR, but it doesn't seem like it's weakening at all. I continue to see more and more people talking about it and diving in.

  3. You cannot kill that which has already risen once.

  4. Where is this so-called talk? Places like ENWorld have always loathed the OSR because we don't embrace the new hotness. I wouldn't pay any attention to the prognostications of a group of people that are already negatively predisposed towards us.

  5. Being someone who jumps around on both sides of the fence, I think this idea of a weakening OSR is a byproduct of the fact that it's not as "visible" in your average gaming circles, but the truth is the OSR is very active, but in a different way than is typical of, say, the Pathfinder or 4E communities. And from a publisher's perspective I have always done better on my OSR sales than I have on the stuff aimed at more current gen systems. OSR is here to stay, at least until we're all too geriatric to remember why we're rolling the dice...

  6. Looking at my Meetup, the OSR seems pretty healthy - people play Labyrinth Lord and now Dungeon Crawl Classics regularly - but not as healthy as 3.5 D&D! >:p
    If you add 3.5 to Pathfinder they're collectively beating out 4e D&D, with other games fairly minor.

    1. Although we play Pathfinder Beginner Box as an old-school game anyway - it runs a lot like low level Rules Cyclopedia D&D.

  7. I think the OSR is starting to become less of a distinct sub-culture in the gaming community. I don't mean this in a denigrating way, merely that what started as a look to the past has very much been integrated in to the community of independent game designers as people look to make their games more than just re-skinned versions of older editions of D&D.


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