Saturday, November 28, 2009

Some Thoughts On The OSR...

Good Afternoon, All:

On the OD&D Guild yahoogroup mailing list, the last week or so has focused a discussion/debate between a number of grognards, some of which appear to be degrading the OSR (Old School Renaissance) and the retro-clones, while others cheering the retro-clones and their creators on. Since I never played OD&D back in the day, and the only reason I've been playing around with OD&D-inspired systems in the first place is because of the retro-clones, I can honestly say that following the exclusionary stance of the more negative grognards would not have been good for me. I might not have ever considered a D&D-like system again until D&D 5th Edition is released, and I certainly wouldn't be contributing to the future of retro-clones with MyD20 Lite (which is admittedly a rules-light hybrid of OD&D and later D20 innovations) if it were not for Swords & Wizardry. Sadly, many people feel the very human need to tear things down that they don't like or don't approve of, and seem unaware that their actions have unintended side effects with the messages that they send to others through their actions.

Putting that aside, however, there were some great comments on the possible future gaming innovations that retro-clones may open up. People are currently producing and releasing new adventures and new variant rules systems, new classes and new monsters, new campaign settings and new ways of doing things. I honestly feel that the sandbox gaming style espoused by the OSR is very much in line with my personal GMing style, and the spirit of that style has allowed things like the One Page Manifesto to emerge, which I think has revolutionized how some people, myself included, have come to think about gaming material. I feel that the more I dig into the OSR, the more I learn about how I can improve myself as a GM and as a gamer in general. While any gaming movement could do that, the OSR currently embodies the direction that I and obviously many others are going. Otherwise, it wouldn't be as popular as it has become. For those of us that never knew much about this gaming style, the OSR has been a godsend with the opportunities it presents us for improving our gaming experiences on both sides of the screen.

Of course, there are those that say the retro-clone work is simply more of the same old thing, repackaged under the OGL, and that there has been very little true innovation to arise out of the retro-clones, just an effort to capture the past. However, I am sure that MyD20 Lite is not such, but perhaps what one might consider to be a part of the second generation of retro-inspired systems. The synthesis of some D20 elements into an OD&D framework probably takes it outside of some people's comfort zones, though. This stands to reason, as I have noticed that the addition of the Thief class from Supplement I: Greyhawk takes OD&D outside of some people's comfort zones. Until I've played my "Frankenstein" system a bit and tweaked it somewhat, it may even fall outside my own comfort zone, but it's definitely the direction I want to take my gaming when it comes to D&D. Of course, Savage Worlds has won my heart, but it is admittedly easier to find D&D players than it is to find Savage Worlds players. Given my "Gamer ADD" these last few years, I often bounce back and forth between gaming systems, and I'd like to have an alternative to both Traveller and Savage Worlds, since gamers are hard to find in my area for both systems.

At any rate, as I said in the beginning of this post, the discussions on the mailing list sparked this collection of random thoughts, and so I figured I would capture them here. It's as good a place to do so as any other, and if it resonates with someone, then at least they'll know they aren't alone in their thoughts.

With Regards,

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