Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why the OSR is Cool

A movement is happening in the shadows of the big fantasy RPGs. It calls itself the old-school renaissance, or OSR for short. You might have seen its logo popping up around the web.

Like most grassroots movements, there’s no specific date when this got started. It’s tough even to say whether what we’re seeing is a true renaissance or just greater visibility thanks to the web. Old-school blogs are easy to find. I run across a “new” one every couple of days. The best of them are outstanding. They offer some of the best RPG blogging out there.

Every edition has its adherents who never jumped to a newer version; they get everything they want from whichever generation of D&D they’re playing. What distinguishes the OSR from people who never stepped away from AD&D or OD&D is the appearance of retroclone games. Retroclones are newly written games that emulate the rules and frequently the writing style of D&D rules from the 1970s and early ’80s. These publications are made possible by the OGL and the SRD (and possibly by a lack of interest or time in the Wizards of the Coast legal department).

(Read the rest at Kobold Quarterly ...)


  1. While I love the OSR spirit and loathe very nearly every rpg product produced in the 21st century, as a 2E devotee, I find myself in a no-man's land.

    Not new or old, just middle school.

    That said, I've been passionately trying to convert my 3E friends to LotFP. 'cause I don't want to DM it, but I wouldn't mind playing it.

    1. One advantage that 2E has over other old-school material is that it doesn't need a retroclone. The original books are still easy to find in good condition at reasonable prices. Also, 2E doesn't cry out for home-ruling nearly as much as earlier editions, since the main point of the new edition was not to change the original game as much as to smooth out its inconsistencies and incorporate the most popular home rules into the game. As with any game, 4E and Pathfinder included, the biggest hurdle is getting everyone to agree on which rules to play.

      I'd like to play some LotFP, too. I've read it but have yet to actually roll any dice in its name.

  2. I think where you have microlite20, you're actually thinking of microlite74.

    1. Yep. I tend to conflate the two, but ML74 is the appropriate version for this discussion.