Sunday, August 31, 2014

Leaving Off the "R" in OSR

Sometimes I think we as a hobby are too big on labels, especially the labels we put on ourselves and the corner of the hobby we love.

I thought we were going to have a Donnybrook yesterday on a G+ thread related to the first episode of the Tenkar & The Badger podcast, simply because a listener went off on a tirade that none of the definitions of the OSR put forward in the episode was right - we were all wrong and only he had the proper definition of the High Orthodox Church of the OSR. Which just went and proved a point - it is a fucking nebulous thing to define as we all bring our own gaming baggage into the pew with us.


Old School... Revolution... Revival... Resurrection... Regurgitation... Retread...

Maybe the "R" should be for Resolution. The resolution to keep Old School gaming alive, whether it be D&D, T&T, RQ, RM, MERPS, WFRP, Traveller, Bunnies & Burrows, Empire of the Petal Throne, Champions, GURPS, FASRIP or whatever your old school game of choice is.

In the grand scheme of things, our hobby is a small one. We should be embracing our commonalities, not excluding those that may have cut their gaming teeth on a system that came out a year or two after a white box (or more accurately, wood grained box) that very few of us actually had a chance to play with back in the day.

That my resolution.

Well, that and keeping the extra crotchety grognards off my lawn ;)


  1. Didn't see the imbroglio in the group. What was the actual point or points at issue?

    1. damned if I know ;)

      here's the relevant thread over at the WOSR 74.0 G+ Community:


    2. It's tough to know exactly, since Jason was initially referring to something I haven't yet listened to. Obviously, the aggressive hostility takes away from the point. But I suspect I would agree with some of it (if I had more understanding of precisely what it was). It's one thing to say that no two people would agree on a definition of the OSR, but quite another to imply that it's anything you want it to be or one definition is just as good as another.

    3. Just to clear things up, I have a very definite definition of what *I* think the OSR is, coming at it from an academic and game research POV, but I'm still writing that up into a coherent form so I can share it with others (damn my academic training and nature). My definition actually does try and create boundaries around it based on a number of dimensions, and some people may agree with that or not. Some definitions are going to be more "correct" than others because they fall into line with the common thought about it.

      As for the whole thread, it was someone who chose to devolve the conversation away from it being about an topic and the entire THEME of the show (which as Erik says is our Bully Pulpit, although I prefer to use the term "platform") and being about making personal attacks on someone because they had different ideas.

      In other words, The Internet Today.

      At the end of the day, people are still going to disagree what the OSR is and isn't for years to come, but while I understand Erik's approach to dropping the "R" from the end, I really like Stu Rat's idea of just use "R" to represent roleplaying.

      In saying that, I'm STILL going to go forward in the future finding alternative ways to say what OSR means because Only Stinky Raccoons would give up doing something fun like that.

  2. Over time all new schools become old school, and all rebels must become establishment. I dropped the osr logo from my blog a while ago, because I felt that I had no part in the os re-definition debate.
    I like your resolution.
    And I learned a new word: donnybrook. ;)

  3. Eh no worries. It was just some douche who came by to fart in your wind. OSR has. Different meaning to everyone, for me and my shows, it's about keeping the games we love alive and the style of playing from that era alive. You know free thought and you can only be limited by your imagination not limited by the cover of a core book.

  4. I feel offended that I was never offered a bishopric in the High Church of OSR, I mean I even have my small cult of Dragonquestors poised to take over the OSR gaming community and discussion boards. Good handling of OSR zealotry, I agree the hobby is too small to spit in the face of other gamers. I don't mind a good argument, but I don't want to waste too much time on them. I'm on the downhill side of time left on the "enjoy life" clock and don't want to argue about matters of taste anymore.

  5. Wow,

    Reading that makes me feel like I failed my save vs Feeblemind.

  6. I hope "Renaissance" was mentioned at some point...


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