Friday, January 10, 2020

There's "OSR Community Content" at DriveThruRPG - What?

When I think OSR, I think D&D retro-clones, or at the very least, systems that are open license - OGL. The OGL is pretty much the reason OSR retro-clones even exist.

So, if OSR rule systems are OGL, why would one need to produce content under a more restrictive Community Content License over on DriveThruRPG?

When that OSR ruleset is is Zweihander, a clone of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG.

By virtue of the fact that Zweihander is a "closed rule system", one can not simply publish compatible material for it. Thus the Zweihander Community Content.

All of the Hottest Community OSR shown in the screenshot above is for Zweihander.

Is Zweihander gaming the system? Is it OSR merely to own the hottest list?

I truly don't know but look forward to your thoughts...

Above is an affiliate link. Affiliate links keep the beers cold and the taps flowing.


  1. Well, OSR is gaming in the Olde School style, whatever that is. Any Olde School game ought to be part of that genre, no? So Warhammer Fantasy, T&T, Traveller (pre-Mega), Runequest (pre-Avalon Hill), Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha, etc. Now I've read some folks insist that OSR can only be applied to D&D, but that's not part of the term, so I would tend to push back against that. OTOH, I can't speak to whatever this category of product on Drivethru, Community Content, is, since this is the first I've heard of it.

  2. "Is Zweihander gaming the system? Is it OSR merely to own the hottest list?"

    it's daniel fox, so yes, and yes.

  3. I suppose the problem I've always had with the OSR as a "thing" is the need for people to curate what is or isn't OSR. Does OSR equal old style gaming or just a specific kind of old style gaming?

  4. Hi Erik,

    Thanks for the post. A few points of factual clarification:

    * Zweihander Grim & Perilous RPG was released under Creative Commons License non-commercial. This means anyone can take, remix, reduce and create their own free content, unbound by a license.

    * Commercial efforts for community content can be monetized through the Grim & Perilous Library, our Dungeon Master Guild at DriveThruRPG. They are released in PDF, and print-on-demand starting in February. Commercial efforts can only be released via DriveThruRPG.

    * RPGs Powered By Zweihander (our commercial IP license) are released by Andrews McMeel Publishing. Examples include the upcoming Colonial Gothic Grim & Perilous RPG.

    My design intention: the argument whether Zweihander RPG is OSR isn’t ours to make, but our fans believe it’s an OSR game. The OSR was one of the design principles when it was written, influenced by Maelstrom and other older games that hadn’t been revived at the time.Thus, why we categorize it as OSR.

    OSR isn’t just D&D. It may have started there, but there are numerous examples of games classified as OSR that aren’t D20-based.

  5. The problem not whether Zweihander is OSR or not. The problem is that many of us who adopted the OSR also support open gaming free of any particular restriction other than that the content you use and derive also must remain open. CC Non-commercial and the OBS Community Content License do not represent that spirit.

    Furthermore the Community Content License you adopted for Zweihander limit the use of derivative content to within the program. In perpetuity. That means an author who publishes the Cave of the Night Warlock adventure for the Zweihander cannot release a D&D 5th edition version that doesn't have Zweihander IP.

    So no this has nothing to do with whether Zweihander is "approved" OSR, a D&D clone or any arbitrary system standards. This has to do with the promotion of open gaming without any restriction other than content must remain open for other to use as they see fit for commercial or noncommercial purposes.

    1. Rob has further thoughts here: https://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2020/01/zweihander-open-content-and-rely-to.html


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