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Author Topic: Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?  (Read 7210 times)

Christopher Brady

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2016, 05:03:36 PM »
Quote from: markfitz;872079
Yeah sorry Chainsaw, I got that. I'm interested in stirring up the hornet's nest on "who gets to be OSR", specifically because I really believe that S&S and D&D are actually a bad fit. Just bouncing off your comment to state that clearly.


I agree.
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S'mon

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2016, 07:41:57 PM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872052
I was trying to avoid 5e, S'mon.  Simply because I don't think it qualifies for the silly OSR label, it's got too much 'new' stuff, so I'm told.


I run my online 5e Wilderlands game as an OSR game, with grognard Dragonsfoot players. It certainly can be OSR with minimal tweaking, the biggest thing for me was getting rid of the very new-school death saves and 'heal from zero' rules. But 5e can also be run to feel like 3e or even 4e, it really depends on how you approach it. My new tabletop 5e game uses a Paizo adventure & feels a lot like a slicker version of Pathfinder, for instance.

Christopher Brady

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #32 on: January 06, 2016, 01:32:14 AM »
Quote from: S'mon;872155
I run my online 5e Wilderlands game as an OSR game, with grognard Dragonsfoot players. It certainly can be OSR with minimal tweaking, the biggest thing for me was getting rid of the very new-school death saves and 'heal from zero' rules. But 5e can also be run to feel like 3e or even 4e, it really depends on how you approach it. My new tabletop 5e game uses a Paizo adventure & feels a lot like a slicker version of Pathfinder, for instance.


More power to you, dood!  You can make it work for you and your mates, that's seriously awesome.  Personally, I've been told otherwise, and I also have some personal ideas and conceits on what makes an S&S game/system.

Personally, I prefer BoL for my S&S needs, but this was a hypothetical so I gave what I thought. :)
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S'mon

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2016, 01:06:49 PM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872204
More power to you, dood!  You can make it work for you and your mates, that's seriously awesome.  Personally, I've been told otherwise, and I also have some personal ideas and conceits on what makes an S&S game/system.

Personally, I prefer BoL for my S&S needs, but this was a hypothetical so I gave what I thought. :)


I think a lot of it is what sort of S&S you're after. Personally Runequest doesn't feel S&S to me at all, it's much too realistic! For my tastes 5e does a great "Thongor of Lemuria" feel, and is pretty good at "Savage Sword of Conan" (Marvel Comics Conan).

Spinachcat

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2016, 06:37:33 PM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872204
and I also have some personal ideas and conceits on what makes an S&S game/system.


THIS x 1000.

Swords & Sorcery is a great genre name, but it lacks an universal definition that's easy enough to agree upon. It requires caveats to explain because even the so-called source material is wildly diverse.

Akrasia

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2016, 02:29:30 PM »
For gritty, 'blow-by-breaking-bone-blow' style S&S (the sort one finds in REH's original stories), RuneQuest 6 is the way to go.  That is, if one wants detailed, gritty, vivid combat, and a variety of S&S appropriate magic systems (including 'Eastern' mysticism), then one should go with RQ6 IMO.

For fast-paced, 'mow-the-mooks-down' style S&S (the sort I associate with the Savage Sword of Conan comics, and perhaps Leiber's Lankhmar stories), I'd recommend Crypts and Things.  (Barbarians of Lemuria also would be good for this sort of S&S, but I prefer C&T as it is more familiar to me.)

Also: Call of Cthulhu with the Dreamlands supplement is a worthy option for 'weird fantasy' (e.g., CAS's Zothique and the like).
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Kaiu Keiichi

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2016, 05:12:59 PM »
Chaosium RQ2, except it's not revival - it's pure old school, purer than any retroclone, without narr garbage like inflating hit points, Alignment or character classes. So sim it hurts, and RQs Pavis setting is hard core as Lhankmar or Purple Towns. I say fie and bah on OOC constructs. If you're gonna do sim, do it hard.
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Arkansan

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2016, 08:55:51 PM »
Quote from: Spinachcat;872299
THIS x 1000.

Swords & Sorcery is a great genre name, but it lacks an universal definition that's easy enough to agree upon. It requires caveats to explain because even the so-called source material is wildly diverse.


Yeah S&S is really hard to nail down because any of the supposed conventions of the genre are regularly or ocassionally violated by stories accepted as part of the genre. I'm convinced that it's more a "feel" than anything.

Christopher Brady

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2016, 09:15:59 PM »
Quote from: Arkansan;872479
Yeah S&S is really hard to nail down because any of the supposed conventions of the genre are regularly or ocassionally violated by stories accepted as part of the genre. I'm convinced that it's more a "feel" than anything.


Not entirely, there are three major tenets that I've seen held to the genre (Unless you have to qualify that it has to be fantasy, then it's four.)

First:  The Hero(ine)s are broadly skilled and capable.

Second:  The adventures/stories are more 'personal'.  Often dealing with local threats at best, or looking for a place to get more loot to live.  Very rarely will they reach a national level of danger.

Third:  Magic is seen as alien, evil and corrupting.  Whether it is or isn't doesn't matter, it's not meant for the hands of mortals, and those who wield are either evil, shunned and/or feared.

If you got all these elements, there's a good chance you're writing/running in the S&S genre.

And for ME, 1&3 is what disqualifies any D&D system, because magic is both assumed, and players are forced into tiny niches making players form into a group to cover missing elements.
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Akrasia

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« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2016, 09:42:59 PM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872482

Third:  Magic is seen as alien, evil and corrupting.  Whether it is or isn't doesn't matter, it's not meant for the hands of mortals, and those who wield are either evil, shunned and/or feared.

I find this generalization, which is made quite often, a somewhat puzzling one given some of the fiction that traditionally is characterized as 'swords and sorcery' in nature.  

This would seem to disqualify, I think, Leiber's Lankhmar stories from qualifying as S&S, which seems strange.  The Gray Mouser is a former apprentice who casts magic from time to time.  Magic is dangerous and chaotic, sure, but it doesn't seem to make the Mouser 'evil' or 'corrupt.'

This generalization also disqualifies much of Moorcock's stuff (sure, the Lords of Chaos are bad, but there are other forms of magic that are used by some of Moorcock's 'goodish', or at least 'Lawful' or 'Balance-focused', characters as well).

Even in REH's stories, there are characters like Pelias, who are wizards and, while not exactly 'good guys' in the traditional sense (but who is in S&S?), certainly do not seem to be thoroughly 'evil' in nature.  (Pelias is just decadent.  He helps Conan a bit, albeit partially for selfish reasons.  But I could easily imagine him as a PC.)

Do Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" stories count of S&S?  Perhaps they're a borderline case.  Of course most of the main characters are magicians...
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Phillip

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2016, 09:52:22 PM »
Quote from: Spinachcat;872299
THIS x 1000.

Swords & Sorcery is a great genre name, but it lacks an universal definition that's easy enough to agree upon. It requires caveats to explain because even the so-called source material is wildly diverse.

Fritz Leiber used the term to distinguish his and RE Howard's tales -- which by analogy I would compare to "hard boiled detective" -- from the ilk of Tolkien's ("parlor mystery").  That's a matter of attitude, not particulars, and stories by other writers such as Dunsany, Eddison, Pratt and Vance might not seem so easily fit in one category or the other.

As Gygax used it, and as many others did back in the day, it meant simply what it says: got swords, got sorcery, mix violently.  "Heroic fantasy" was an interchangeable term.  "Epic fantasy"  (Tolkien, Brooks, Eddings, etc.) was widely seen as a subset.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 09:57:42 PM by Phillip »
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Christopher Brady

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2016, 09:59:29 PM »
Quote from: Akrasia;872495
I find this generalization, which is made quite often, a somewhat puzzling one given some of the fiction that traditionally is characterized as 'swords and sorcery' in nature.  

This would seem to disqualify, I think, Leiber's Lankhmar stories from qualifying as S&S, which seems strange.  The Gray Mouser is a former apprentice who casts magic from time to time.  Magic is dangerous and chaotic, sure, but it doesn't seem to make the Mouser 'evil' or 'corrupt.'

This generalization also disqualifies much of Moorcock's stuff (sure, the Lords of Chaos are bad, but there are other forms of magic that are used by some of Moorcock's 'goodish', or at least 'Lawful' or 'Balance-focused', characters as well).

Even in REH's stories, there are characters like Pelias, who are wizards and, while not exactly 'good guys' in the traditional sense (but who is in S&S?), certainly do not seem to be thoroughly 'evil' in nature.  (Pelias is just decadent.  He helps Conan a bit, albeit partially for selfish reasons.  But I could easily imagine him as a PC.)

Do Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" stories count of S&S?  Perhaps they're a borderline case.  Of course most of the main characters are magicians...


You missed a part of my point, every 'NPC' character treats magic as if it's a thing of suspicion.  Whether it is worthy of it or not.  Magic could be completely harmless to the user, but if the average person thinks it's 'evil', it counts as part of #3.  And in Lankhmar, Magic is viewed with suspicion, if I remember correctly.

And Pelias was still viewed with suspicion, was he not?

As for Moorcock, I'd debate that Elric is the closest to being an S&S hero, but fails one the minor technicality that everything he was doing was close to an epic fantasy tale from the reverse end. Everything else is too Epic Fantasy for S&S.

To me.  YMMV.
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Phillip

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Which OSR Rule-set does Sword & Sorcery the Best?
« Reply #42 on: January 07, 2016, 10:08:15 PM »
Quote from: markfitz;872079
Yeah sorry Chainsaw, I got that. I'm interested in stirring up the hornet's nest on "who gets to be OSR", specifically because I really believe that S&S and D&D are actually a bad fit. Just bouncing off your comment to state that clearly.


Well, RQ came from an actually old school -- meaning one defined in the 1970s rather than the 2000s -- but it was a school defined in opposition to D&D, whereas the 'OSR' term was defined by D&Ders in opposition to a new school (or schools) of D&D.
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Akrasia

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« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2016, 10:57:51 PM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872502
You missed a part of my point, every 'NPC' character treats magic as if it's a thing of suspicion.  Whether it is worthy of it or not.


Ah, fair enough!
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S'mon

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« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2016, 04:42:17 AM »
Quote from: Christopher Brady;872482

Second:  The adventures/stories are more 'personal'.  Often dealing with local threats at best, or looking for a place to get more loot to live.  Very rarely will they reach a national level of danger.


Elric? Hawkmoon? Corum?