Monday, June 17, 2013

Some RPG Definitions I'll Be Using on This Blog

There is an on going debate as to what falls under the OSR and what doesn't. So, I'm setting some definitions for use here at The Tavern. It should make some things easier, at least from my perspective. I'm open to new definitions, but not the whole argument of what does or doesn't fall under the OSR.

So, what is the OSR or Old School Renaissance here at The Tavern? Any AD&D 2e or earlier game system, clone or derivative.  Pretty simple. If it can trace it's roots directly to early D&D or AD&D, it's OSR. (note - this is the definition i'm using HERE starting now. Use your own definition over THERE ;)

Next is OSG or Old School Games. Tunnels & Trolls, RuneQuest, Traveller, Rolemaster, GURPS, the old Pacesetter line and the like are Old School Games. The OSR is a subset of the OSG.

New Wave - Fate, Apocalypse World, Dungeon World and the like are new wave to my eyes. I don't seem to grok the new wave stuff so well but I try.

Indie - Savage Worlds, Umbiquity System and similar systems are under my general Indie Label.

The OSR and the OSG are where most of my interest lies, as long time readers of this blog should know.

Eh, I needed some accurate tags for all of these blogposts, and the above is a start. Feel free to add your suggestions below, such as "Shite" for the WoD line or Insane for the crunch laden Hero line (which is also OSG I guess ;)


  1. OSG: Is there an upper time line to this group. How close to this time would you put it.

    What about those efforts influenced by OSG or OSR?

    1. good question with the cut off - for now, i'll arbitrarily declare 1997 as the cut off - the ned of my first phase of gaming ;)

      OSR - New Wave is my current tag for Monsters & Magic

      Hybrid tags for hybrid games

    2. Heh...I guess the cut off can be pretty arbitrary. Technically 1997 would include things like Vampire and the other 1st edition WoD books, as well as more exotic fare like Over the Edge, and other stuff I consider third wave like Rifts, Amazinng Engine, Dangerous Journeys, etc. Even Fudge (1992). I'd personally set the date around 1990....a lot of the style and feel of RPGs started changing after that date.

    3. Rifts was built of Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying, which is certainly OSG.

      That being said, the timeline isn't as clear cut as the one used for the OSR, and I'm not sure it can be

  2. I was interested to know your thoughts, Erik. I think "OSR - New Wave" or "New Wave OSR" is a great tag for Monsters & Magic - thanks for the designation!

  3. I agree with these definitions except for "New Wave" which I think are better known with the existing term, "Storygames". I'd also note that OSG should include its own retro-clones and derivatives ala GORE, OpenQuest, etc. Just like the OSR.
    Outside of the OSR, OSG, and Storygames you have standard modern RPGs (some of which are small and indie) and any hybrids.
    I do know more definition is needed because I'm sick to the teeth of folks trying to appropriate the term OSR, especially to sell things that clearly aren't OSR.

    1. Wasn't the engine that was behind the old WoD games the Storyteller System?

      In any case, New Wave to me is much like the music - you know it's roots are in Rock, but you'll be damned if you can figure out how you got to here from there with some of the bands ;)

    2. The "Storyteller" system is nothing like storygames. The latter use a priority technique called "story now", which basically means that anything that happens in the game must serve the needs of the story, rather than the story developing from events in the game. The core of WW's "Storyteller" system was a fairly old-school (if you include GURPS, you'd probably include Storyteller) system that used dice pools and rough-grained stats and skills. The only thing that made it different in any way was the Referee advice, which was an early attempt to prioritize story, but those ideas were not built into the actual system and were frequently ignored at the table.

  4. Replies
    1. BFRPG and even C&C

      The first Hackmaster too, really.

  5. What are you calling games like the various flavors of D20?

    1. I rarely delve into Pathfinder, and when I do it's the Beginner Box.

      So 3e, 3.5 and Pathfinder are probably just going to be 3OGL if I bother to tag them

      Next is simply 5e

      4e is basically dead and besides owning the core books I know little of it except for what I've listened to on the Drunks and Dragons podcast ;)


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition