Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Would be Your Top 10 List of OSR Games?

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+The Padre asked me about a Top 10 List of OSR Games / Rulesets earlier this evening, and it got me thinking about how varied the answers would be if thrown out to the OSR Community.

I would consider OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry as the triumvirate of the OSR, but once you go beyond that I think the list would grow in some awesomely divergent manners.

So, I ask you. What is YOUR Top 10 List of OSR Games?


  1. 1. Adventurer Conqueror King System
    2. Swords & Wizardry
    3. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    4. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    5. OSRIC
    6. Adventures Dark and Deep
    7. Basic Fantasy Role Playing
    8. Labyrinth Lord
    9. Astonishing Swords of Hyperboria
    10. Old School Hack

  2. 1. OSRIC
    2. Swords & Wizardry
    3. Labyrinth Lord
    4. Lamentations of the FLame Princess
    5. Beyond the Wall
    6. Adventures Dark & Deep
    7. Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea
    8. Hill Cantons Compendium
    9. Savage World of Krul
    10. WARBAND!

  3. This top 10 is personal rather than influential.

    1. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    2. Stars Without Number
    3. Beyond the Wall
    4. Scarlet Heroes
    5. Five Ancient Kingdoms
    6. Mazes & Minotaurs
    7. Adventurer Conqueror King
    8. 13th Age
    9. 5th Edition D&D
    10. Lamentations of the Flame Princess

    And yes, I consider both 13th Age and 5th Edition D&D to be fairly decent OSR rulesets, especially since they were written after the OSR was established and do attempt to appeal to the OSR crowd. Although I suspect as more of the inevitable expansions are added to D&D you will no longer be able to consider it an OSR game.

    Disclaimer: I write OSR stuff assuming _Labyrinth Lord_ as the default, and D&D stuff assuming AD&D (1st ed) as default). My own D&D game is a complete mongrel homebrew which mainly pulls from OD&D and AD&D (1st ed). And I'm planning on running an OSR game using the actual Chainmail tabletop rules (eg: fighters roll 1d6/level to see how many hits they do).

  4. 1. Swords & Wizardry
    2. DCC RPG
    3. Crypts & Things
    4. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
    5. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    6. Labyrinth Lord
    7. ACKS
    8. OSRIC
    9. Basic Fantasy
    10. Open Quest.

  5. 1. Crypts & Things
    2. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    3. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    4. Labyrinth Lord
    5. Adventures Dark & Deep
    6. Stars Without Number
    7. Swords & Wizardry White Box
    8. Basic Fantasy
    9. & 10. ... yet to be found ;-)

    There are some interesting games I don't own yet: Blood & Treasure/ Bloody Basic, Warriors of the Red Planet, Beyond the Wall, Delving Deeper, Adventures in the Eastmark, Heroes and Other Worlds/Raedwald. Maybe one or another of those will make it to the list. Especially Blood & Treasure is a candidate.

    OSRIC however, is a game I don't care for. At least not much.

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  7. 1. DCC
    2. Lamentations
    3. Adventurer Conqueror King
    4. Astonishing Swordsmen
    5. Barbarians of Lemuria
    6. Torchbearer
    7. Basic Fantasy
    8. Dungeon World
    9. Swords & Wizardry
    10. Labyrinth Lord

    One could discuss if #5 & #8 is truly a part of the OSR movement, but I feel that they are a reaction to the rules heavy 3rd(in all its incarnations) 4th editions.
    I also agree with Reverance that 5th ed have a lot in common with OSR :-)
    The true top contender in my book is the DD Rules Cyclopedia but as that is an original rather than Revival it should probably be left out ;-)

  8. Does deluxe Tunnels & Trolls count as OSR? :)

    1. While T&T is definitely o"ld school," I don't think it's "OSR" because it has nothing to have a revolution against...T&T never stopped being what it is, whereas OSR D&D is, like, fighting against some pretty radical iterations of the game later on.

      Heck, if DT&T ends up being too much of a change, then fans of 5E and earlier could argue they now have a case for being OSR...heh...

  9. 1. DCC RPG
    2. Adventurer Conqueror King
    3. Basic Fantasy RPG
    4. Labyrinth Lord
    5. Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion
    6. Swords & Wizardry
    7. Beyond the Wall
    8. Spears of the Dawn
    9. Mazes & Minotaurs
    10. D6 Space

  10. Great to see everyone's lists. Of all the games that capture the feel of D & D for me and reawaken the magic of that first encounter, DCC probably tops the list in terms of the visual feel of the game. I had some ulterior motives in bouncing the question off of Tenkar since I am in a collecting state again and looking to add to my RPG library.

    1. DCC is great!
      It's got a true old school with modern knowledge twist to it ... and I just love killing of peasants in the funnel :-)
      I would truly recommend Torchbearer for the great setting and awesome production value
      .. I'm actually surprised it hasn't been mentioned more often in the replied ... :-)

  11. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    Runequest 6
    5th edition d&d
    Dungeon Crawl Classics

  12. Swords & Wizardry is great.

    OSRIC disappointed me.

    But mostly I play my actual copies of "old school" games rather than "OSR" games.

  13. In no particular order:
    Labyrinth Lord
    Swords & Wizardry
    Mutant Future
    Stars Without Number
    Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperboria

  14. In no particular order:
    Labyrinth Lord
    Swords & Wizardry
    Mutant Future
    Stars Without Number
    Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperboria

  15. 1. Labyrinth Lord
    2. Spears of the Dawn
    3. Scarlet Heroes
    4. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    5. Swords & Wizardry
    6. Beyond the Wall
    7. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
    8. Ambition & Avarice
    9. Mazes & Minotaurs

    Can't think of a 10th one at the moment...

  16. 1. Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox
    2. Swords & Wizardry Complete
    3. Labyrinth Lord
    4. Basic Fantasy
    5. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    6. Dark Dungeon
    7. Warriors of the Red Planet
    8. Mutant Future
    9. Beyond the Wall
    10. OSRIC

  17. Stars Without Number
    Dark Dungeons
    Swords & Wizardry Complete
    B/X Companion

  18. In no order:

    Beyond the Wall
    Warriors of the Red Planet
    Heroes and Other Worlds
    Basic Fantasy
    Barbarians of Lemuria

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  20. 1) S&W Whitebox
    2) Osiric
    3) LL
    4) Lamentations
    5) B/X Companion
    6) Blueholme: Prentice Rules

  21. 1. Castles & Crusades
    2. Swords & Wizardry Complete
    3. Labyrinth Lord
    4. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    5. OSRIC
    6. Basic Fantasy
    7. Delving Deeper
    8. Swords & Wizardry: White Box
    9. X-Plorers
    10. Sabers & Witchery

    C&C is pretty much all I play, due to time constraints. I'm sure I'm not alone in that challenge, but I enjoy reading and collecting the various Rule-Sets. Honorable mention to Adventures Dark & Deep, I have the beta version and am enjoying the Castle of the Mad-Arch Mage. The hard-backs on my wish list.

  22. I will exempt my own project, currently in open development here -- http://greatandsmallrpg.blogspot.com/, while still plugging it, and then offer my list of faves.

    In no order of preference, except for 1) & 2), which are tied for my current favorites.

    1) Beyond The Wall
    2) Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    3) Arrows Of Indra
    4) Flying Swordsmen
    5) Spellcraft & Swordplay
    6) Stars Without Number
    7) Spears Of The Dawn
    8) Adventurer Conqueror King System
    9) Labyrinth Lord + LL Advanced Edition Companion
    10) Mutant Future

  23. 1. Adventures in The Eastmark
    2. Basic Fantasy RPG
    3. Castles & Crusades
    4. Labyrinth Lord
    5. Swords & Wizardry Complete
    6. Adventures Dark & Deep
    7. Adventurer Conqueror King System
    8. Ambition & Avarice
    9. Blood & Treasure
    10. All tied for 10th because they're great games and in a gray area but not quite OSR in my mind
    -D&D 5E
    -Dungeon World
    -13th Age

    I'm sure I'm missing one or two I like but these are the ones I'm really enjoying right now.

  24. 1. Basic Fantasy Roleplaying, the first one I ran
    2. Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy, the first one I really embraced
    3. Swords & Wizardry White Box and Core for giving me my first way to let new people place like it was 1977.
    4. Stars without Number - what do you expect from someone who has maxed out the level on Kevin's last two KS .
    5. Seven Voyages of Zylarthen, one of the more interesting takes on WB + some supplements. It has one of the more distinctive voices.
    6. OSRIC which I first liked because it had the same name as my old SCA persona.
    7. Dragons at Dawn for making me rethink a lot of my assumptions.
    8. Arrows of Indra for an Indian based fantasy I always wanted but thought I didn't know enough to make.
    9. Delving Deeper which arguably should be higher as I'm more likely to use it as my base rulebook than S&W WB or SVoZ
    10. Torch and Sword (http://quicklyquietlycarefully.blogspot.com/2011/07/torch-sword-beta-1.html) which is the biggest competitor to DD as my base rulebook because it's even a closer WB retroclone and it's available as LaTeX source.

    1. Thanks for the reasons. I almost typed them for my list as well. I'd love to see this post again where everyone lists their reasons for their choices.

  25. 1. Labyrinth Lord
    2. LL Advanced Edition Companion
    3. Adventurer Conqueror King
    4. Blood & Treasure
    5. Lamentations of the Flame Princess
    6. Dungeon Crawl Classics
    7. Stars Without Number
    8. Swords and Wizardry Complete
    9. Basic Fantasy
    10. Hill Cantons Compendium

  26. In the spirit of Herb Nowell above, here's my list again, with the reasons for my choices.

    1) Beyond The Wall, because I love its fast-playability and its take on magic (the lack of correspondence between caster level and spell level has always been a big pet peeve of mine)
    2) Lamentations of the Flame Princess, because I appreciate its style and attitude, and some of its innovations; horror was my first RPG love, so this is right up my alley
    3) Arrows Of Indra, because it needed to be done a long time ago, and someone finally did it right
    4) Flying Swordsmen, because it's the best OSR-ifying of wuxia I've ever seen, and is what I always wanted Oriental Adventures to be
    5) Spellcraft & Swordplay, because I have a soft spot for 2d6 mechanics
    6) Stars Without Number, out of sheer awe at how well Kevin Crawford does his thing
    7) Spears Of The Dawn, ditto; also, because African-flavored D&D is under-served and lots of fun
    8) Adventurer Conqueror King System, because it shows off the flexibility of the Rules Cyclopedia, and focuses on the end game
    9) Labyrinth Lord + LL Advanced Edition Companion, because "B/X + the AD&D classes, spells, and monsters" is how I actually used the material in the old days, ignoring all the stuff like weapon vs. armor type
    10) Mutant Future, because while not everything I'd like it to be, it is broadly compatible with all of my old Gamma World material.

    1. #9 is so true. When I first started blogging I wrote about it calling it "Intermediate Dungeons & Dragons".

  27. I deleted my earlier list...thought about it too much and want to revise on it and also do the Herb Nowell thing:

    1. Dungeon Crawl Classics - this is pure OSR, but not because it's mechanically emulating OD&D, rather because it's aiming square at the feel and style of fantasy in the 70's, and I think it kind of hits the mark in a way that avoids being pure pastiche or retroclone.
    2. Castles & Crusades - not a strict OSR by mechanics but also, like DCC it captures the feel of older editions spectacularly.
    3. Mutant Epoch - This isn't a strict emulation of Gamma World or any other OSR apocalyptic system, but it manages to out OSR all the apocalyptic genre combined.
    4. Swords & Wizardry Complete - despite putting it at #4 I would put this as the most played on my list behind C&C though; classic retroclone but made to play the way we actually played AD&D as opposed to the way AD&D was written to be played.
    5. Stars Without Number - the best SF clone out there, not really a Traveller emulator because of the fact that it takes more queues from OD&D but still manages to out-Traveller the original.
    6. Labyrinth Lord - the best practical retroclone and the one I'll keep around in the bunker just in case.
    7. Mutant Future - utterly faithful to the spirit of Gamma World, my first RPG. Only misses the mark because GW content is not OGL alas.
    8. Cryptworld - the best horror retroclone out there, albeit for Pacesetter's engine
    9. OSRIC - really hard to go wrong with this, although S&W Complete sort of stole its thunder.
    10. Spears of the Dawn - demonstrably the first OD&D-inspired OSR engine to teach a very old dog some very new tricks, and shows that OSR isn't just about emulating D&D or Appendix N, it can do a lot more than that.

    1. I seriously considered putting "Spears of the Dawn" on mine as well as "Silent Legions" but I'd had Kevin in once already. Also, I wanted to mention "Arrows of Indra" as I've long wanted more India focused fantasy than Africa (there has at least been some of the later).

  28. I have to say I only have a few but here is my list;

    1. Castles & Crusades (1st OSR I ever played and still do)
    2. Swords & Wizardry Complete
    3. Labyrinth Lord
    4. DCC
    5. OSRIC
    6. Starships & Spacemen (2nd edition)
    7. and X-Plorers


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