22 August 2020

What is the OSR? Who is OSR?

This is a broad response to the replies that crop up every time someone wants to get into the OSR scene that I've seen over 7 years. And that is to point to specific bloggers and their opinions or the OSR Principia doc and the like.

A few months ago I saw a response along the lines of: this is totally different from how we did it 30 years. And this is the scraped twitter thread I did with no edits.

OSR: This is the way that is the proper way to play the game from back in the day New people to the OSR who played back in the day: We've been playing for 30 years and this totally different from how we played.

OSR isn't old school. It's a movement based in nostalgia by certain people with loud voices with different aesthetics of play. If it were about old school rpgs, or even just old school d&d it wouldn't be so heavy on the moldvay/cook/marsh clones, or even the OD&D and Holmes.

Which is the appearance that comes out because of loudest most reactionary people who claim they are the OSR.

Don't get me wrong. I LIKE B/X d&d and grew up on Holmes, and both 1e & 2e AD&D and I've written a fair bit of stuff FOR ostensbily OSR style (mostly "diy style" vomit), but my experiences growing up with those is not full what is still espoused as the OSR experience.

Conversely, my style of GMing for "new school" d&d has been derisively described as "old school." I don't think the OSR is useful anymore for me personally beyond as toolkits of possibility.

TLDR The OSR intentionally or otherwise sets itself up as a definer of what old school d&d did & should look like. This makes it partially useful only as far as it is how SOME proponents played it.

There is a great deal of value of reading older editions of games. I don't think I'll ever play OD&D but I have it for historical reference.

The strengths of OSR games and their parent editions are that they have lots of gaps in the rules that the players can fill as they wish. The strengths of "new school" d&d are the massive number of things that are codified, which is the biggest weakness as well.      

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