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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What Does the OSR Mean to You?

No, I'm not talking about what the letters that compose the OSR stand for, but what the actual OSR means to you.

To me, it means an amazingly creative community, generous with their time, happy to share their completed works with others and quick to open their wallets & purses when a member of the community is in need.

Members of the OSR are quick to help other members on their projects, offer advice, share knowledge and all that good stuff. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a strong community to produce high quality gaming material (without being a large company or part of a larger corporation).

The OSR is compossed of members that are passionate about their hobby and are enthusiastic about sharing their love for Old School Gaming with others. Some are grumpier than others, but that comes with age ;)

It is a community I am proud to be a part of.

That is what the OSR means to me. What does it mean to you?

35 comments:

  1. Been saying this since 2008.

    To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time.

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  2. As to why that feasible is because of open content, the ease of communications over the internet and the low barriers for mass distribution enabled by digital technology.

    There were always people passionate about classic edition but until the above intersected in the mid 2000s, it was hard to do anything about it and find others that shared one's interest. But afterwards we entered a second golden age of not only classic D&D but roleplaying in general.

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  3. It means being so spoiled for choice that I don't know what to play!

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  4. I'm new to the OSR community, so I cannot wait to be more involved and get to know more folks.

    Because of my late arrival, the OSR largely is about the games then, so far. And to me, they are games that play incredibly fast, require a bare minimum of prep, and both lead to and focus on emergent stories in a way that modern games and modern rulesets often don't. It's a lot of improv, and it's an incredibly fun and simple way of making that improv both structured and wildly unpredictable in all the right ways.

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  5. When 3.0 arrived on the scene and with it the OGL and the initial flood of OGL products, I was pretty skeptical of it all. But the OSR mentality has shown the strength of this openness thing while finding again that lost sense of wonder and fun and community, cheers!

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  6. OSR means a community of independent creators that take advantage of a rich and strong bases built by the past games to create wonderful new things, share it around, and trade experiences.

    It's community with open doors and plenty of space for everyone to create their own thing. It's really inspiring actually! Makes me feel like we don't need any big company to have fun, we can do it all by our selves! Everyone can contribute!

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  7. I think that you now need to end every blog post with "...and that's what the OSR means to me."

    Regardless of context.

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  8. Having access to the old game and modern versions of those games; hearing how they played it in the old days; making my own stuff in the same spirit.

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  9. Mostly what Rob said. My more cynical take is older white guys playing RPGs the way they wish they had played them 35-40 years ago.

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    1. I'm the only white, straight male in my group and we play S&W and DCC hexcrawl-style. So there's at least my group standing for diversity!

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    2. Neuronphaser, the same goes for me (I'm the DM) When I did a post about it to point out the tabletop RPG industry is more varied than the cynics believe, I was accused of 'virtue signaling'. I guess it's the way I worded it, I said I suddenly realized I was the only straight white guy in my group when I read some of those cynical comments elsewhere and it made me think of my own group. I guess they saw it as me saying "I'm so woke I didn't even realize it!" but my point was more that it's just the normal way of things these days. The irony of it is that my post wasn't about forcing people to include diversity in their material, it was simply to point out how weird it is when people complain about diversity being there.

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    3. Yeah, just mentioning diversity is a problem for some people. Their loss. Certain aspects of my gaming have vastly improved as a direct result of the different points of reference our gaming group has. At the same time, killing goblins is still killing goblins, and we enjoy that all the same!

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    4. My group has very different types of roleplayers, it does make me into a better DM overall. (And unlike what a lot of the cynics worry about, none of them have ever asked me to make my games politically correct or have an inclusiveness quota in my NPCs or whatever.)

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    5. You're not being cynical. However, you are being inaccurate when you say its "older white guys playing RPGs". No, mostly they do not play RPGs. Nobody wants to play with them because they're a grog.

      That's why these guys get together a couple times a year at GaryCon and NTRPGCon, to play. Because nobody is willing to tolerate playing with them without paying first.

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  10. Being able to put money in the hands of creators, not corporations.

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    1. Hadn't even thought of that one. Nice.

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  11. To me the OSR is more an attitude than a ruleset. It means people can do what they want with the original rPG, it now belongs to the fans. It also means unlimited cross-compatibility, which the collector in me loves. Creativity and variety seen to a degree that we'd never see with a single company controlling THE game.

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  12. I recently decided to try my hand at publishing OSR material, and I appreciate the people here. I've reached out to a few friends, and they've been nothing but positive and encouraging. I'm not quite ready to launch yet, but soon.

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  13. It's a fist raised against The Man. But if your group has fun not raising its fist against The Man, that's perfectly okay, too.

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  14. To me, it means a DIY attitude, taking a critical look at a variety of game mechanics and deciding which ones work best for various purposes, a willingness to look to the past for inspiration as well as more modern material, and a community of people who want to get together and have fun playing, discussing, creating, and sharing games over the internet.

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  16. The OSR is fundamentally a playstyle to me. The more of the following a campaign has, the more OSR it is: high lethality, an open world, a lack of pre-written plot, an emphasis on creative problem solving, an exploration-centered reward system (usually XP for treasure), a disregard for "encounter balance", and the use of random tables to generate world elements that surprise both players and referees.

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    1. Also, a strong do-it-yourself attitude and a willingness to share your work and use the creativity of others in your game.

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  17. I'm inspired by the creativity and variety of things that individuals make that a company wouldn't publish. Right now I'm really impressed by all the cool cartography that is being done.

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  18. Although I'm relatively new to the joys of OSR, for me it's been all about having simple sets of rules published by people who are passionate about bringing their own vision to the hobby and engaging with their audience. It's also about showing that great games don't have to be ridiculously expensive, lavish affairs to speak to people, and about having a wide range of source material to create agame unique to you and your group.

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  19. My view might be a little idiosyncratic, but I see the "new school" really emerging post-Magic:the Gathering. Magic was an extremely complex game, but everyone needed to be playing it the same way, so the rules got to be really tight and as free as possible from ambiguities. People complained that D&D 4E aped MMOs, but when I looked at those stat blocks, I saw CCGs -- based on the combination of deep complexity and high abstraction. I thought this also seemed like a continuation of what WOTC had already started with 3E. If you were raised on TSR D&D and other games of that era, D&D's development under the WOTC sensibility could seem rather sterile and joyless.

    To me, "old school" means an embrace of a certain kind of wooliness -- rules as catalysts rather than constraints. I'm struck by this even when I go back and look at an old Avalon Hill strategy games like Dragon Pass, which can feel a little irrational with all its crazy subsystems that evoke themes with exciting vividness but interact in uncertain and frustrating ways. This isn't to say we haven't always had people trying to iron out the ambiguities in our hobby games (I believe this was Gygax's main design principle behind AD&D), but I really think M:TG (and perhaps to a lesser extent, Euro-style board games) changed the standards in a way that we hadn't seen before, just because it penetrated the culture to such a degree and absolutely *depended* on a clear basis for consistent adjudication.

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  20. There's more to love about "old school" than just the games. A lot of cool stuff was happening in the 70's and 80's... culturally, aesthetically, and socially. That's all enmeshed with early RPGs, cranking the nostalgic factor up to 11.

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  21. I suppose I have only one foot in the OSR - a buy a lot of supplements, but not necessarily the game systems. The basic appeal is nostalgia - that sense of openness, that anything is possible, that participating in the hobby pushes back boundaries you didn't know existed. . .

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  22. To me, for the most part, it means a bunch of older, educated guys that don't get to play D&D anymore sit around on the internet and discuss a game that I play on a regular basis. I get their pointers, tips, and opinions. So I have a plethora of former DMs helping me with my game.

    But the long and short of it is that most of the OSR doesn't play anymore. Which is both good (for me and my game) and bad (for them).

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    2. I'm not so sure, most of the OSR blogs I follow (lots of them written by older dudes) have lots of play recaps, which are a joy to browse through. Now don't ask me to tell you which ones, I don't want anyone to feel insulted because I called them old. ;p (Plus I'm about to be 36, I'm getting there myself I suppose.)

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  23. The OSR is freedom from the twin tyrannies of excessive crunch and excessive plot. It reminded the world that RPGs are games — fantastical miniatures wargames campaigns playable with paper and pencil and miniature figures. They don't need to be more or less than that.

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