OSR Guide for the Perplexed Questionaire

Goblin

I still, for life of me, don’t understand why Zak Smith has taken a dislike to me, it seems to be purely for political purposes, but these questionnaire things and ‘article a day’ things help keep me motivated and productive. So what the criminey-heck.

‘OSR’ stands for ‘Old School Renaissance’, it’s a back-to-basics approach to roleplaying with a focus on homebrew and just-above-homebrew implementations of rules which, mostly, stem from ‘Red Box D&D’ and other early editions.

The capability to create all these ‘forks’ from the old D&D rules in part stems from the peculiarity that you can’t copyright rules, and in part from the Open Game Licence that came along with 3rd edition.

‘OSR’ is less a specific set of rules, though, and more an attitude. ‘Old school’ in that regard is more of a punk rock, heavy metal, unreconstructed, undeconstructed, in your face ‘pulp’ attitude to the way you game, rather than what dice you roll.

D&D has no nostalgia factor for me. I didn’t start with D&D, I started with MERP, Dragon Warriors, Fighting Fantasy and other games that were far more popular in my little corner of England. I’m also neither entirely a narrative, nor a crunchy system fan. I like different things for different reasons, the right tool for the right job. Still, the OSR shouldn’t really appeal to me, and I don’t really play much in the way of old school games (Dragon Warriors stream notwithstanding). Still, this ‘Here’s three dice, now make a game’ attitude is appealing, as is the ‘fuck you if you don’t like it’ approach found in things like Carcosa and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

This old article from back when The Escapist had some balls provided me with a basic grounding in what was going on, back in the day. Still with a shufti via the ol’ Wayback Machine.

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

“I find myself with insufficient time and desire to write about games but I also have the sense that the ‘OSR’ scene this blog is devoted to has become a rather disgusting place where crass commercialization is strangling a formerly creative amateur community, and where destructive ‘alt-right’ views are becoming increasingly prevalent, even among some of the more significant publishers in the community.”

This from this blog.

I mean, it’s just so absurd a thing to say, but why this is my favourite thing is that it got virtually no currency within that community. It was rebuffed for its absurdity and ridiculousness without getting the same kind of traction it has in other RPG communities.

That’s one of the biggest and best selling points such a community can have to me.

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

I’m not a ‘supplements’ sort of guy, which is why I hardly ever purchase them and why I try to write into any adventures that I create some kind of added value (GM advice, random tables, that sort of thing). So this is a tough one, however I’d go with Vornheim. Predictable, I know, but it did demonstrate there were other ways to lay out, write, organise and use supplements that has – modestly – informed some changes I’ve been making.

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

Using tokens to reward player attention and roleplay moments, and to penalise player distractions, inattention and mood-breaking.

5. How I found out about the OSR:

I have no idea. It seemed to just sort of… arrive by osmosis.

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

This medieval town/city generator.

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

TheRPGSite

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

Minds

Steemit

Facebook, and here

Youtube and here

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

Vomit it out, then clean it up.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

I hate these kinds of questions. Who can ever pick just one? Enjoying Iron Kingdoms, FATE, Eclipse Phase and the games I’m working on at the moment.

11. Why I like OSR stuff:

The punk aesthetic, the IDGAF community, the ‘try anything’ freedom that the narrative game community aspires to, but gets too hung up on politics and wokeness.

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

My Machinations of the Space Princess RPG.

My house-rule that you can try any combat move you like, but at a basic penalty of -5 (gives fighters something they REALLY excel at, swashbuckling).

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Tenkar’s Tavern.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

All of them.

15. I’m currently running/playing:

The Iron Kingdoms RPG (the non-d20 one). Our heroes are a band of morally questionable mercenaries, working for a secret society of wives/widows of the powerful tjqmG1539440448men of the city as their enforcers and investigators. It’s all ascending towards some sort of confrontation with the current, established powers that be.

16. I don’t care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

So long as everyone at the table agrees, why the cock should it matter?

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Is at the top of the page.