OSR Is there room in modern gaming for the OSR to bring in new gamers?


Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I suppose that's what one gets when it moves from a niche societal phenomena into a broad cultural one, the latter where it's been aimed and is heading.

Gary was always of the opinion that there was no wrong fun, so even if he didn't side with something (preferring like others his brand of gaming) he was not against games and having fun. Politics in games. Nope. Morality encompassed being decent, even-handed, civil and not a cheat.

I am not sure if the camps are divided, old and new. They seem to have a greater number of BIG common points than they'd readily admit to. I really believe that both sides are being fiddly and often times pedantic. Very HUMAN. My bat's bigger! Gamers don't need to conquer the bad points of being "gamers" but those pesky and oft-occurring not so good points of being human. :)
Man. It’s gross. Playing for decades and if someone wanted to play nice together they would be welcomed.

this is the zeitgeist now, us against them.

now if you want to play a conqueror—a barbarian warlord or whatever you are some sort of colonialist racist.

at an actual gaming table with people who want to game it’s just a game—a fantasy.

unless the new players are bent on conflict heck yeah they could get sucked into simpler rules with more freedom. What? Are they a monolithic group that can’t handle character death like some old neckbeard can’t handle diversity? See what I did there?

fun games draw people in. A novice watching a good rpg will be inspired. Full stop.

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Relaxed Intensity
I've not actually played it, but based on what I've read it looks very easy for anyone already used to D&D tropes. If six stats, 25 skills, 3 saves, a BAB, Armour Class, and a few other D&Disms are assumed knowledge it looks pretty easy.

For someone not used to a D&Dish game I'd say that that's non-trivial, as is the D&D approach to play. For people who aren't boardgamers and who aren't crpg players my introduction of choice is, of all things, Apocalypse World due to the limited numbers, strong evocative mechanics, and rhythm of freeform.

I have had a fairly easy time bringing brand new players in. I don't really know too many people who haven't played CRPGs or board games though.


I'm going to weigh in with this take....

Games change over the years...and I think they change overall in ways that make them more accessible...

My favorite RPG of all time is Torg. I have all the books from its original inception in the early 90s. I can admit to myself however, that by supplement #30 there were so many moving parts and subsystems that were fundamentally different from each other the system was feeling really clunky as compared to DnD 3e, with it's D20 universal resolution design.

When Torg was revamped and rereleased it was simply a better system overall. Sure I don't have some odd specific system that only one character type out of 400 uses (like Egyptian Mathematical Mages aligning planets to cast spells requiring me to get an actual calendar and keep track of the exact day in the campaign) but that's a good thing.

Similarly, boardgames have evolved since the 80s and have become much more accessible. How much fun was it playing Trivial Pursuit rolling that die over and over and over until you got that 5 and you could try to get that Orange pie piece even though you don't know anything about sports? Modern game design has mostly.oved away from roll-and-move because it's not good design. Similarly there are still trivia games, but they are designed in ways that knowing exact answers isn't the be all end all, so that everyone can have a chance at winning.

And now this is where I roll back into OSR as a teaching tool for new players. Yes, you certainly can teach new players using OSR. I just think that OSR that doesn't incorporate rules improvements we have gained over time (like avoiding switching back and forth from wanting to roll high versus low) may lose some new people that otherwise might have stuck around.


Relaxed Intensity
I generally agree that games tend to become more accessible with revision. I just disagree that accessibility always makes for a better game. See how restrictions on spellcasting over time being lifted is harmful to both balance as well as gameplay decision making. I think it is good that we have a more accessible modern version of the game, but just as Darksouls can be an iconoclast in video games there's room for the classic game especially when it comes in such a great text (Old School Essentials).

I also think the expectation of consistency between game mechanics with different purposes mostly comes from exposure to other RPGs. Uniform resolution is not really an expectation most board gamers have for insistence.


I generally agree that games tend to become more accessible with revision. I just disagree that accessibility always makes for a better game. See how restrictions on spellcasting over time being lifted is harmful to both balance as well as gameplay decision making.
I'd argue it's more about the fact that non-spellcasters are being held hostage by the guy at the gym.


OD&D and 5e cater to different desires, and it's not a matter of challenge vs. power fantasy, not really. From what I've seen, it's the difference between exploring a mysterious and dangerous environment while having few tools other than your wits to contend with what you find (think Myst plus monsters & death-traps) and creating a highly customizable OC that you get to take through a compelling story. These are two related but fundamentally separate hobbies, and understanding them that way carries, I think, a great deal of explanatory power concerning their appeal.

As someone who started brand new to ttrpgs 6 months ago, as DM for players also brand new to the concept, I’ll say that the vast majority of new players expect to create a unique character and explore a mysterious and dangerous environment during their compelling story. They want and expect both. Why not?

I find OSR advocates weirdly obsessed with rules, systems, and the like and fractured into dozens of games all attempting to do the same thing only better or different. Which is a strange obsession for people favoring a rules-lite game. I’m new enough to ttrpgs that I’m not heavily invested in any particular game, and very attracted to rules light ideas but super put off by the OSR fixation on being difficult, random encounters, encumbrance, limited character options, and other “boring“ minutia.

Just a noobs take. I certainly have way less knowledge of the various systems out there than anyone posting here and am eager to be lured in but am mostly not.


I think it is less about "room" and more about cultural relevance. I think many of the things that made the "old school" games attractive back in the 80s are not particularly attractive to potential new gamers of today. Some aspects are out of fashion (like mullet haircuts) and other aspects are probably done more easily/cheaply, or just better, by other technologies.
Yeah, I think that "skilled play," for example, is easier to demonstrate with video games, particularly as they require less subjective human arbitration about whether something would be successful or not.

Now, think of game design in the same way. We have a game that we say was popular... but it was really only hugely popular with a limited demographic. You cannot reasonably assume the same game play aspects are actually going to be popular with other demographics. Those other people have different life experiences, and so are likely to want some different things in their entertainment.
To a certain extent, and a bit of an aside to your discussion on outcasts:


The "outcasts" that stayed at the table were the ones that weren't "shot down" by our own community.
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