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Old 02-20-2021, 03:08 PM   #1
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Default Old School Renaissance?

Of late I've been hearing about something called Old School Revival or Renaissance. Does anyone here know about this stuff?
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

That wiki page isn't a bad introduction. It's a movement of mostly older gamers which uses older--like, pre-AD&D--editions of D&D and similar very early RPGs as inspiration. There are a number of OSR products on the market produced in deliberate emulation of those old games in structure, content, and appearance. Relatively rules light ("Rulings rather than rules" is a common motto), mostly about killing things and taking their stuff rather than more complex plots, but on purpose this time rather than operating in the framework of pioneering an entirely new genre of gaming in the 70s when none of us really knew what we were doing. It strikes me as being somewhere between nostalgia and an attempt to create what us older gamers now like to think we could have experienced back then.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

Try Matt Finch's Quick Primer for Old School Gaming for a better summary of the intent.

Note that this "movement" is more than a decade old, and has had plenty of time to turn on itself, schism into factions, and re-define itself. There are as many versions as there are writers, many of them contradictory.

Note, also, that as a gamer who lived through the era (started playing in 1976), I sometimes find my recollections at odds with the features that OSR advocates ascribe to it.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

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Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Note, also, that as a gamer who lived through the era (started playing in 1976), I sometimes find my recollections at odds with the features that OSR advocates ascribe to it.
As a gamer of similar vintage (I started no later than '78, no earlier than '77), I concur.
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
As a gamer of similar vintage (I started no later than '78, no earlier than '77), I concur.
I didn't start til "79 but I don't remember the games of that era with fondness. I have a friend who's only 3 months younger than I am and he does claim to be nostalgic about D&D1e. I suspect my memory is more accurate than his.

I believe Castles & Crusades counts as OSR. It was certainly very like 1e in rules terms. I made the mistake of playing a Fighter in a short C&C camapign and it was incredibly boring (just like 1e). I've had fun playing fighters in 2e games even in recent years.

If you end up in some OSR game I recommend that everyone play Magic-users. Casting spells and comically trying to avoid losing your single digit's worth of HP are the only fun to be had.

I miss lots of things from 40 years ago but game rule sets aren't one of them.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
It's a movement of mostly older gamers which uses older--like, pre-AD&D--editions of D&D
It includes the first edition of AD&D. Those who eventually called themselves OSR really started with AD&D and pushed further and further back. Two of the earliest efforts using the OGL were OSRIC and Castles & Crusades, both based on AD&D.

Quote:
mostly about killing things and taking their stuff rather than more complex plots, but on purpose this time rather than operating in the framework of pioneering an entirely new genre of gaming in the 70s when none of us really knew what we were doing.
Despite its internal battles, the OSR's overall philosophy is that the designers and those who gamed with them in the '70s did know what they were doing and did it intentionally. Most adherents to the OSR would say that "killing things and taking their stuff" is at best a poor way to describe what their sort of gameplay is all about.

Quote:
It strikes me as being somewhere between nostalgia and an attempt to create what us older gamers now like to think we could have experienced back then.
A lot of it is nostalgia, but a lot of it is a reaction against heavily-ruled games. The early forms of D&D relied heavily on the principles of Free Kriegsspiel, in which the job of the judge is not to process rules but to decide what happens when players do things, and a lot of people honestly do like this sort of game better.

Unfortunately, the OSR is also full of fundamentalism, historical revisionism, sock puppets, and internal political bickering. Blood-feuds erupt over whether Arneson or Gygax (or someone else) gets the credit for inventing D&D or RPGs. Propaganda gets published and criticism gets suppressed. If you engage in the OSR, do it purely as a consumer of their gaming products, not as a designer or forum participant!
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

Essentially, the kids who play Dark Souls have discovered tabletop games. They like it brutal and don't want to ride on the DM railroad.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

I consider myself an OSR fan but didn't actually start playing RPGs until '88. By then we pretty much only played long story driven campaigns.... or at least aspired to. Our characters never died or even really came close.
These days I've been really enjoying going back and "playing old-school proper" using the good old D&D Rules Cycplodedia. I also use the amazing (free) Basic Fantasy RPG book which is a new system which pretty closely copies B/X D&D without the ascending AC.
For us, OSR style play is just a more light hearted way of playing which can be quite enjoyable and has honestly re-kindled my love for fantasy RPGs. The things we like about OSR styleplay is the simplicity of character creation, the deadliness of play and the ability to rely on random tables to generate most of the hexcrawl/dungoen crawl on the fly.
But I must agree that D&D is (and has always been) an inferior game compared to GURPS. I've always said GURPS does every other game better than they do. And it's been proven once again for us, as of late we've been playing old-school style dungeon crawl campaigns using GURPS and it's been a blast. We do not bother with Dungeon Fantasy. That';s WAY to overpowered for "level 1 characters". Instead we roll up our PCs using 3d6 in a couple mins. Everyone runs 1-4 characters at any one time because characters die. A lot. And it's hilarious the situations these poor peasants find themselves in. And the best part is thanks to GURPS, as the PCs progress they actually become interesting fleshed out people with amazing variety. Not just another lame 9th level human fighter as in the true old days of OSR. I do not miss the lack of customization in the old systems.
Here's some video demonstration of our play style:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...1C1qiJTXTp4KL1
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Clyde View Post
For us, OSR style play is just a more light hearted way of playing which can be quite enjoyable and has honestly re-kindled my love for fantasy RPGs. The things we like about OSR styleplay is the simplicity of character creation, the deadliness of play and the ability to rely on random tables to generate most of the hexcrawl/dungoen crawl on the fly.
Ive been having the same experience with OSR style games lately. I'd also agree that the overall approach to roleplaying that has emerged over time from the movement (rulings over rules, quick character creation, more weight toward player creativity than character sheet abilities) is even better when used with rules other than D&D. I am of course a fan of GURPS, but Ive also been having a lot of fun with the OSR-adjacent games that have been gaming out recently like Troika!, Mothership, and Mork Borg. I'd also add that anyone here who enjoys dungeon crawls should check out some of the work that SJG's own Phil Reed has been putting out for Mork Borg. He's really been cranking out supplements and they're great stuff.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Old School Renaissance?

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Originally Posted by crazycaleb View Post
I'd also add that anyone here who enjoys dungeon crawls should check out some of the work that SJG's own Phil Reed has been putting out for Mork Borg. He's really been cranking out supplements and they're great stuff.

Thanks! I've also got something planned for Mothership that I've been working on in my spare time. Some info here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects.../posts/3109849

Mörk Borg is insanely fun. I love how the system just gets out of the way.
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