OSR Are There Any OSR (or OSR-adjacent) Games With Modern Sensibilities?

Edgar Ironpelt

Adventurer
You've articulated my problem with the eschewed social contract far better than I could! This was mostly the reason I put "assuming that the PCs are competent" in my wishlist in the OP. I like games that admit that the PCs are the main characters in one way or another. This does not mean that the PCs will have plot armour or that they will always succeed, but their failure should also be narratively meaningful (dying "like Boromir", as you say).

Are there any specific retroclones or house rules that you think really help reinforcing this social contract? :)
One house rule I apply to replace any "bleeding out from negative hit points" rules in whatever system I may run is to to have dying be a pure players option (or GM option for NPCs) when a character is reduced to negative hit points in the still-alive-but-bleeding-out range. The player may choose whether his character (a) dies at once, (b) lingers for a lesser or greater length of time before dying, or (c) clings to life long enough to be healed. All without reference to any "staunch the bleeding" actions or die rolls being required to keep the character alive - my house rule drops those.

(b) allows the classic bits of a final dying speech, or of a mysterious NPC stumbling into the tavern, whispering a few mysterious words and/or handing the PCs a trinket, and then dropping dead of injuries. (c) means letting a character live for an absurdly long period at negative hit points - not just the time needed to get healing spells cast, but (if necessary) the days or weeks needed for natural healing to bring the character back up to positive and full hit points.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
Also, I don't agree that a PC has 'earned' his heroism just because his player got lucky (or failed to get unlucky) with the dice, nor that a PC who dies from bad unlucky die rolls has 'earned' his ignoble death.
I am saying true heroes face danger not knowing they'll survive.

In too many modern games such as D&D, player characters face danger with very little risk. That means the hero's welcome feels less deserved. If you wean the player off of the notion he's one with his character, you greatly enrichen the story. You move the focus away from the character sheet and onto the character's personality and onto the story.

IMHO, the place to accept and embrace character death in the service of culturing an emergent Story is as a GM, accepting and embracing that one's NPCs and monsters will lose and lose and die and die.
Don't imply I'm an adversarial DM that thinks in terms of "my side" losing or winning. Just don't.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I am saying true heroes face danger not knowing they'll survive.

In too many modern games such as D&D, player characters face danger with very little risk. That means the hero's welcome feels less deserved. If you wean the player off of the notion he's one with his character, you greatly enrichen the story. You move the focus away from the character sheet and onto the character's personality and onto the story.
As an OSR fan, I'm very much sympathetic to this view, but I acknowledge that whether it "greatly enriches the story" is a matter of taste and personal preference.

Some gamers find death can come too frequently, and that when it does, the interruption and discontinuity it presents outweighs the greater excitement of knowing that death really is on the line. Exactly how deadly is too deadly or just deadly enough is something different groups have to figure out. I'll admit that even as an OSR fan I still prefer some death mitigation mechanic over pure death at 0, personally.

Don't imply I'm an adversarial DM that thinks in terms of "my side" losing or winning. Just don't.
I don't think they did.
 
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edosan

Adventurer
Yeah, this is a matter of taste. The good news is that the OSR has a vast array of tones and danger levels. Not everything is Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is good news for all parties.
Nor should it be. I am glad that there are different games for different play styles.

So last night I sat and leafed through my copy of Worlds Without Number and have to say, it's just about everything I'd want in a OSR-ish game - it's really well presented, there is a skill system but it's not obnoxious, there are feats, and the player facing side is like ninety pages long. (...and the DM tools, man I could go on forever! It's worth getting the full version for the tools no matter what you're playing)
 

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