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Author Topic: A working definition of the OSR  (Read 7266 times)

RPGPundit

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A working definition of the OSR
« on: October 11, 2014, 03:17:33 PM »
OSR: a design philosophy of creating systems, settings and adventures that fit within the boundaries of old-school mechanics and concepts; that is, either directly utilizing features that were in existence in the period before the advent of 2nd edition AD&D; or features that, in spite of not having historically existed at that time, could have existed in that period without the addition of material or design concepts that are clearly the product of subsequent ideas or later theories.
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 04:44:04 PM »
OSR: Derivative clones of early D&D. Any other result is just some lame ass trying to hijack the name for sales.
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 04:47:20 PM »
Quote from: danbuter;791324
OSR: Derivative clones of early D&D. Any other result is just some lame ass trying to hijack the name for sales.


Ditto.

OSR is old D&D and it's imitators.
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 04:54:22 PM »
I thought one designers take on it was bemusing.

"OOP Stolen Repeatedly" Due to the plethora of bootlegs out there now under the guise of OSR.

Another one was "3rd ed...Again, and again and again and again..." Due to the plethora of OSR using the 3rd ed tentpole excuse.

Which ignores the much more valid works of people producing actual original material like modules and setting books.

I dont think there will ever be a viable definition now because as usual in the gaming biz. People are using it for things that arent.

jeff37923

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2014, 05:18:38 PM »
Quote from: danbuter;791324
OSR: Derivative clones of early D&D. Any other result is just some lame ass trying to hijack the name for sales.


Quote from: Piestrio;791326
Ditto.

OSR is old D&D and it's imitators.


Yeah.

It may not be what we want from OSR, but that is what it has turned in to.

TristramEvans

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2014, 05:56:17 PM »
O.S.R. - "A brief renaissance of interest in early D&D playstyles, game mechanics, and aesthetics that grew out of an already existing renaissance of older game systems being "cloned" and made available online in the late 90s and early aughts. Cloning early editions of D&D gained a measure of legitimacy following the release of the OGL with the publication of D&D "3rd edition" by WoTC, with Castles & Crusades the forerunner of the online movement originating with OSRIC. The renaissance ended shortly after people started referring to it as a renaissance, as this, like any other sort of positive declaration online, led to a morass of whinging, bitching, and pedanticism that killed any goodwill or interest from the public at large."
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2014, 06:58:35 PM »
Definition's too wordy, tries to be too precise, and contains errors. All the OSR is is a bunch of people rebelling against modern D&D and often, by extension, other new games. What they in general reject is system-first game design.

Or, since you love to hate Ron Edwards, how about I explain it in terms that would enfuriate Ron Edwards? Ron hates D&D, Ron hates "simulationism". The OSR rejects the trend towards "gamist and narrativist priorities" in D&D and tries to restore simulationism. That's why Ronn made his recent dismissive comments about the OSR being just a marketing term. It galls him that people would want to fill blog posts with random tables of door types or monster motivations, or rant about the uselessness of game balance, or embrace "rulings, not rules" play styles.

TristramEvans

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2014, 09:20:48 PM »
Quote from: talysman;791342
Definition's too wordy, tries to be too precise, and contains errors. All the OSR is is a bunch of people rebelling against modern D&D and often, by extension, other new games. What they in general reject is system-first game design.

Or, since you love to hate Ron Edwards, how about I explain it in terms that would enfuriate Ron Edwards? Ron hates D&D, Ron hates "simulationism". The OSR rejects the trend towards "gamist and narrativist priorities" in D&D and tries to restore simulationism. That's why Ronn made his recent dismissive comments about the OSR being just a marketing term. It galls him that people would want to fill blog posts with random tables of door types or monster motivations, or rant about the uselessness of game balance, or embrace "rulings, not rules" play styles.


Ron hates Simulationism  or Simulationism doesn't really exist? Ron should make up his mind.
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Gunslinger

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2014, 09:51:43 PM »
Original Simulated Repeated
Old Souls Rejoicing
Oops Shoddy Remembrance
Oh Shit Raped
 

JeremyR

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 09:53:29 PM »
Material based around TSR era D&D/AD&D.

I don't see why 2e should be excluded. I don't like everything done in it, but it's largely a clean up of 1e and is probably 95% compatible. Indeed, early 2e products had a thing on the cover saying they still work with 1e.

I don't think there is anything in 2e that wasn't in 1e, except I guess how specialist mages work, casting a subset of spells rather than being a whole separate class. NWPs were in Gygax's own OA (he didn't write it, but claimed copyright ownership of it)
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2014, 10:09:13 PM »
Quote from: JeremyR;791365
Material based around TSR era D&D/AD&D.

I don't see why 2e should be excluded. I don't like everything done in it, but it's largely a clean up of 1e and is probably 95% compatible. Indeed, early 2e products had a thing on the cover saying they still work with 1e.

I don't think there is anything in 2e that wasn't in 1e, except I guess how specialist mages work, casting a subset of spells rather than being a whole separate class. NWPs were in Gygax's own OA (he didn't write it, but claimed copyright ownership of it)


In Pundit's defense, I don't think he's excluding 2e. He says an OSR game must be designed with mechanics that existed prior to 2e, or that could have existed prior to 2e. Unless there's something in 2e that's clearly not possible pre-2e, 2e must qualify.

TristramEvans

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2014, 10:11:59 PM »
What defines a mechanic that "couldn't exist"?
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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2014, 11:08:06 PM »
Quote from: TristramEvans;791376
What defines a mechanic that "couldn't exist"?

Yeah, I find that phrasing weird, especially with the timing of 2e in 1989. There were definitely mechanics that didn't exist yet in 1989, but couldn't exist?

By 1989, Dragonlance was already well under way, and there were plenty of games that put story at the forefront. Ars Magica has a rotating GM structure and player control of plot via Whimsy Cards. Prince Valiant also had such a structure. There were also plenty of dissociated mechanics-heavy systems that parallel the complaints about D&D4 - parts of Champions were probably the most well-known of these, but there were plenty of others.

Exploderwizard

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 11:54:51 PM »
I wouldn't limit OSR to D&D only. SWN and Mutant Future seem to fit in the OSR niche. There are probably others too.
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jeff37923

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A working definition of the OSR
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2014, 12:13:02 AM »
Quote from: Exploderwizard;791390
I wouldn't limit OSR to D&D only. SWN and Mutant Future seem to fit in the OSR niche. There are probably others too.


This is one of the things that galls me about the OSR moniker. Classic Traveller is obviously Old School, but is not embraced by the OSR. Stars Without Number is just Classic Traveller with D&D style characters & combat, but is lauded as one of the best OSR games in existence. WTF?