Monday, May 6, 2013

OSR on Boing Boing

Boing Boing, if you aren't familiar with it, is very popular web magazine that deals mostly with pop culture.  There is a essay on the front page today about the OSR.  I'll let you go read it.

So, if you read it the same way I do, it seems to be the exact narrative I was afraid was taking hold when I wrote My OSR.  The story is that the OSR was made up of nostalgic grognards that held the AD&D rules in OSRIC form until WotC noticed the error of their ways.

If the narrative shows up on the radar of a site like that I think it won.  Welcome to the history of your hobby.


  1. I don't quite get that impression. If anything, he's somewhat critical of WotC cashing in on product they had no hand in, and mentions by name several games that have distinctly branched off from the core D&D rules "tree" to be something new. "While many felt the original D&D had a kind of biblical authority, others realized that since the rules were not protected by copyright, they could be modified. "

  2. I was foolish and read the comments.

  3. As a "nostalgic grognard" who never felt the need to migrate to OSRIC in the first place, I welcome you to the ranks of the revised.

  4. God. Damnit.
    I've only just joined the OSR and it turns out it's full of grouchy old men who can't handle progress?

    But in all seriousness, I've seen this article being attacked by both OSR people AND new school people.

    The article's certainly going to get a lot of traffic at least.

  5. Thanks for the comments, all.

    @WQRobb: Yeah, it's a little more complicated (and muddled) then my first read had me believe. I think the main thing I'm reacting against is defining the OSR as closely bound to AD&D, and a reaction against 4e. The latter would fit Pathfinder better. As for the former, well, maybe I'm a small minority but my OSR was more a reaction against AD&D. Its confusions, it's attempt at standardization, its addition of complexity for little gain.

    @burnedfx: When I read comments like those, or almost any G+ thread, I really feel like an outsider. It's like the expectation to be in the hobby is that you've played every game printed: Fudge, Fate, Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard. I don't know how people have time to play all these games. Also, it seems to indicate they are playing solely with other grognards. I'm more interested in playing a more casual game with friends.

    @bombasticus: Don't get me wrong, I feel as much nostalgia for AD&D as a person can feel and as much as I whinge about things I'm surely a grognard in that aspect. I guess I get upset because if the OSR was just about revitalizing interest in AD&D, that would be pretty easy to achieve. And it could be argued it was accomplished way back when OSRIC was put out. But the OSR is exciting for me because of all the conversations and attempts at new approaches. I'm hoping even folks who never stopped playing could find some interesting houserule material within its many blogs.

    @James: Welcome! "it's full of grouchy old men" Haha, that's the definition of a grognard, I think. I'd be careful about putting OSR in opposition to New School as a binary. I know that's what the name makes it sound like the relationship should be. But I see the OSR as more of a willingness to look openly and critically at a set of rules and then realize you have the power to change the rules yourself to make the game better for you and your players. If someone approached 4e with that mindset I'd totally consider that the OSR spirit.

    But then I'm just one voice and I've never even experienced 3e so maybe I'm seeing this all through and old school bias.