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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why some publishers don't want to be part of the OSR

The reason some people don't want to be labeled as part of the OSR is because the OSR is a reactionary mindset. Many of it's members get pissed off if you change something from 1975, or say ascending AC is an improvement over the old way. This is not true for many people, but enough bloggers and message board members push this view that I suspect it colors everyone outside the inner circles perception.

I know I'd be frustrated if I was making a game where I started with an OSR product, and then consciously added in the good stuff from 3e and had people saying that I was "betraying" the OSR. Heck, even suggesting that 3e added in good things to D&D is not even allowed on Dragonsfoot. 3e itself is referred to as "the edition that shall not be named". Talk about pompous bullshit. I'm glad that some publishers are moving away from straight clones of old games, and I hope more continue to do so. Hopefully, they will gain enough followers that the old grognards get shouted down when they start whining.


NetherWerks said...

Thank you for saying this. It needs to be said. The so-called OSR has been defined by narrow-minded interests for too long. The systems that they claim to respect and emulate were not locked-down nor were they restricted to the bullshit arbitrainess that some would try to hobble us with. The real Old School approach isn't chained to 1975, nor is it mired in a reaction to anything--it's about going back to the roots and building Fresh, New stuff from the ground-up just like how the original games were developed--and not in a false-vacuum either.

The conservative and dogmatic idolatry of the root-system of record is foolish and has nothing healthy to do with the real Renaissance aspect of the OSR...and frankly it pretty much betrays the whole 'old school' part of the premise as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey, not all grognards whine.
Is that whining?

I consider myself old school, only because I am old and began playing back when I was in school. Some people just get too caught up in some things.

The most important rule that seems to get forgotten is: How can the game be enjoyable? For different players, its different ways. This doesn't, and shouldn't, invalidate anyone's way of playing. To each their own. Find me a game refereee that doesn't have some type of House Rules.

Even Gygax did it! And he wrote the original D&D booklets. And he still played and used them in his final years.

The new grumblers sometimes become the very thing they grumble about. I guess it's the circle of life.


ChicagoWiz said...

@grendelwulf - no, it's called a circle-jerk. Like anything else, it starts off cool and is then co-opted to become restricting, limiting and the source of never-ending discussions and bad energy. It becomes a meaningless masturbation.

Publish your stuff. Have fun with it. In the end, labeling yourself benefits you if you're a publisher targeting a specific audience or you want to be a pundit or blogger getting hits. Otherwise, being "OSR" or "non-OSR" doesn't mean shit.

Look at TARGA. Meant to put asses in chairs, it became a favorite "OSR police" whipping boy for a whole lot of other people. The circle-jerk continued.

@Dan - it's the "old grognards" who got tired of being ass-fucked by TSR/WotC that they did something about it. Now you blog about "Swords & Wizardry Whitebox" which was those "old grognards" doing something. Everyone has a pride in what they do - painting a broad brush like that is about as shitty as someone calling you a 3tard or 4ron. Sucks, huh? Why not just put your energy into making what you want and fuck the rest?

JoetheLawyer said...

EDIT: Just to clarify, what Jim is doing is above and beyond what most are doing to bring others into the hobby. My post was directed against him at the beginning only, in terms of defining membership. The rest of it was more towards the potential of the OSR to grow the hobby, yet not seeing much happen on that front. How about running games at cons for example? Probably the best way to do it. Not seeing too much happen. To run an OSR con is great, but does it expose others who wouldn't go to it in the first place to older games and gamestyles? I see a lot of energy wasted on fights and history, but not much in sharing the game and growing the hobby. On that front, Jim is doing more than most, with his exposing the game to others at Ropecon as well as other games and publishers. He gets that a rising tide raises all ships.

Anonymous said...

Have an armband, Citizen!

Just kidding, of course. To each their own.

For myself, I used to do alot of innovative (at the time) stuff in my early RPgames. I never used much of published works (players had too much access to them). As I've gotten older, and realized some of my newer players never were exposed to older stuff, I took an interest. Some of it was inspiring as well as nostalgic. Heck, I'm playing around with nostalgia on my own blog, trying to see what I might come up with for future games. Or, at the least, trying to keep my brain active.

I am reminded of the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian when Brian is addressing the multitude of people and says:

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me, you don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!

The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We're all individuals!

Brian: You're all different!

The Crowd (in unison): Yes, we are all different!

Man in Crowd: I'm not.

Another Man: Shhh!

It is simple: play. play. play.

Roll Steady.


Will Mistretta said...

"OSR is a reactionary mindset."

Sorry, but I don't see it. I play classic Gygax-era (A)D&D because it's collectively a masterpiece and forms the best fantasy roleplaying game ever devised.

And, as a matter of fact, I don't think either post-Gygax TSR or WotC have made any worthwhile modifications to it.

If someone doesn't like that, too bad, but calling it a mere reaction instead of a positive, affirmative statement of a strong preference is unfair.

If anything, your "How DARE those guys find no merit in games I like and say so!" rant here is what's reactionary.

Dan said...

I'm glad some of you have not had people tell you that 3e is horrible, and nothing from it should be back-ported into games I like. One of the reasons I prefer S&W and BFRPG is that they include Ascending AC. I also really like the single saving throw. A good combination of the best of 0e and B/X with 3e is what I prefer, but at least a few OSR regulars dismiss these things out of hand.

And my main post was in reaction to the other OSR blogs. But I don't really take this stuff that seriously, at least compared to some, who take this stuff way too seriously.