Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 Great Things To Come Out Of The OSR / IEP3GCwC / Or Whatever You Want To Call It

Yeah, I use the label OSR, The Old-School Renaissance, and that's Renaissance as in 'a rebirth or revival'. Regardless of what you label it or refuse to label it, things have happened and are happening on a larger scale (some may argue that) in an independent way in recent years that has not happened since the birth of this hobby.

So lets take a look at some of the things that have come out of this 'Renaissance' shall we:

1. The Retro-clones, Simulacra and All Their Bastard Children.
Sure, people have always been playing the earlier versions of many of these games and there ain't a thing wrong with that. But what we have here is accessibility. I still have my Holmes, Moldvay, 1st ed AD&D books but not everyone else does. Free, pay, either way, anyone can pick up/download these rules. And who can't argue that some of these rules really needed to be rewritten and revised and not tossed out leaving room for a new more complicated set of rules. All these new rules and variations that have come out refined and enhanced the original game, not to discredit what has come before but to honor it. Sure some call it just house-rules but so what? After all isn't everything a house rule? Holmes seemed to have put quite a bit of his house-rules into his blue book. So without having to mention the incredibly long list of creative efforts (Swords & Wizardry, Labryinth Lord, Basic Fantasy RPG, OSRIC, Microlite, LOTFP and countless others rule, modules, supplements, etc.) just take a gander over here for just a brief glance at just the tip of the iceberg.

2. Blog Explosion.
It probably started with the Dragonsfoot forums or perhaps the passing of one of the great wizards himself, but wherever started it, the explosion of blogs related to classic style RPGs have created a fantastic resource of shared ideas. Good blogs, bad blogs, they're all out there. I know I've been inspired and 'borrowed' a'plenty from all of these interweb authors. I would have loved to have all this available when I was 10 and just starting out with the game.

3. One Page Dungeons.
Admit it, flipping through modules can, at times, be a pain. Yeah, I'm sure many of us have compressed dungeon making into a single page before but here we have a nice format put together by some thoughtful and inspired PnP gamers. You can cram a whole lot of adventure in that single page format and it has become my go-to process to whip out a new adventure for my players. One Page Dungeon Templates. Lets not forget the One Page Wilderness template either.

4. The Return of the Megadungeon.
Pure dungeon crawl joy. Nothing says Dungeons & Dragons more than an endless labyrinth of dark tunnels, cave, chambers, pits, traps and wonder leading a party deeper beneath the surface of the earth. From Stonehell to the Castle of the Mad Arch-mage to many others the wild and wacky worlds of wonder of the Megadungeon has resurfaced again to entice many'a adventurer to their fortune or doom.

5. Magazines and Fanzine.
Knockspell, Fight On!, Encounter, OD&Dities and Nod just to name a few. Nuff Said!

Regardless of what is happening and whether people see it differently or not, something has indeed created an excitement about the 'classic' game, something to bring in old players and new alike. Something to get us all delving once again.

Let's admit that TSR as we once knew and loved it is dead. For many of us it died at many different periods of it's history but it has indeed passed. Like all of you, I have fond memories of that brand, logo, creators etc. but lets face it, Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro has really done a shitty job carrying the torch.

Well, they did give us the OGL.

p.s. I'm not saying this is a movement or club or anything. Just play any game you want and have fun!


  1. Thanks for the mention in the fanzine category. I'm always amazed at how much excellent content is out there these days, especially the free stuff. I think it's a great time to be alive if you're into older role-playing games.

  2. That's a solid list of goodness.

  3. Yep, all good points and great links.

  4. Great post man! Much like we talked about a few days ago. Viva la Gaming!

  5. May I humbly request that Errant be added to your lists of OSR games, kind sir? If I am found worthy, of course.

  6. I agree a lot of great stuff has come out of the OSR. Thanks for the great summary!