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

Necrozius

Explorer
The games back then felt heroic, awesome, exciting. OSR doesn't capture that to me. I love the idea of it, but it's just not there.
Agreed. I only like OSR game systems if “hacked” a bit. Small things like maximizing HP per level or applying ideas like “Fail Forward”, Fate points or 5e’s advantage/disadvantage. Or making zero HP “unconscious” rather than dead.

You know, rules that typically offend the OSR crowd in general. Oh well.
 

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Necrozius

Explorer
Ignore the rules if they don't serve the game as we actually play it. It doesn't matter what happens as long as everyone has fun and what you do makes sense.
I actually do this in any game system, honestly. 5e included.

I’m running a 1e WEG Star Wars d6 campaign and frequently handwave or make rulings. However, it IS easier to do so in this rules-light iteration of the game.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
To me PF1 initially seemed a streamlined version of 3.5, which was why I bought in. For my group, it completely replaced 3.5. We never looked back.
There's been some wanting to go back to B/X recently in that group, until the OSE campaign fell apart. I don't think the nostalgia will be able to bring them back for a second attempt.
This is why I've been saying I'd love to see a streamlined, nostalgia-inspired ruleset that doesn't have the low power levels of OSR. Because when we were gaming back in the olden days, it never felt that deadly. Maybe it was a different mindset, maybe we used house rules, maybe we weren't playing it "right" - but it didn't feel like tripping over your own feet would kill you; it didn't feel like a single kobold with a sling would kill you.
The games back then felt heroic, awesome, exciting. OSR doesn't capture that to me. I love the idea of it, but it's just not there.
Have you given DCC a try? You have the level 0 funnel as a meat grinder (meant to be more more hilarious and tongue in cheek) but then after that you have some more of the power and adventure (with lots of craziness going on) with a stripped down 3.x inspired ruleset
 

Retreater

Legend
Have you given DCC a try? You have the level 0 funnel as a meat grinder (meant to be more more hilarious and tongue in cheek) but then after that you have some more of the power and adventure (with lots of craziness going on) with a stripped down 3.x inspired ruleset
Honestly no. I got a pretty big PDF library of that system on a Humble Bundle, but haven't delved too deeply. For me, the character funnel and specialty dice were initial turnoffs. I could ignore the funnel, but the special dice I'm not sure how to get around, considering we're exclusively on a VTT.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Honestly no. I got a pretty big PDF library of that system on a Humble Bundle, but haven't delved too deeply. For me, the character funnel and specialty dice were initial turnoffs. I could ignore the funnel, but the special dice I'm not sure how to get around, considering we're exclusively on a VTT.
I would say give it a go. On reading, a lot of people dislike the idea of the funnel, but in practice, end up enjoying it. You still might not, but I’d honestly try it with a one shot. Most vtts should allow you to roll those funk dice :).
 

Malmuria

Explorer
Agreed. I only like OSR game systems if “hacked” a bit. Small things like maximizing HP per level or applying ideas like “Fail Forward”, Fate points or 5e’s advantage/disadvantage. Or making zero HP “unconscious” rather than dead.

You know, rules that typically offend the OSR crowd in general. Oh well.
I've never played a game using the Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland rules, but they seem feasible for this purpose? Basically, from my reading, hp is more about how much energy your character has and is not real harm. It is replenished after basically a short rest. After you run out of hp, damage is subtracted from your strength score and that represents actual wounds. There are no attack roles, and armor just provides damage reduction.
 

Interestingly, I'm not doing OSR systems at all, I'm doing Pathfinder 2e, but what I'm really interested in is what I can learn from this style of game in order to combine it with the things we like about the 'modern' systems. So I'm very into the OSR ideas about sandboxes, dungeon delves, and exploration, while attempting to retain heavy player empowerment elements in the form of high character customization/optimization/combat-as-sport-tactical-considerations.

I think that Pathfinder 2e's exploration and downtime procedures, in tandem with its much more 'real' encounter difficulty creates an environment where I should be able to take a lot of OSR elements in the structure of my game and make it all work. I even think I can utilize the 'durability' of the characters in player empowered games to include elements of neo-trad in that structure, albeit while being judicious.

Still, lately OSR threads and game design have lately been my favorite posts, and I've gotten a lot out of them. My big experiment in mixing these elements together properly won't be for a while yet, since the player currently running a campaign as a 'break' seems to be having some problems pacing this so it ends in the 6-8 month window we initially discussed, so while I'd like to begin in my hex crawling west marches in the autumn... we'll see.
 

Retreater

Legend
My big experiment in mixing these elements together properly won't be for a while yet, since the player currently running a campaign as a 'break' seems to be having some problems pacing this so it ends in the 6-8 month window we initially discussed, so while I'd like to begin in my hex crawling west marches in the autumn... we'll see.
Take back the reigns, by force if you must. Haha
 

Take back the reigns, by force if you must. Haha
We'll see, I might basically say I'm gonna start it shortly after Guns and Gears comes out and then just kinda hold to that and see what happens, I've got our extended playgroup regularly asking when its gonna happen since they're not gaming much right now.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
This is why I've been saying I'd love to see a streamlined, nostalgia-inspired ruleset that doesn't have the low power levels of OSR. Because when we were gaming back in the olden days, it never felt that deadly. Maybe it was a different mindset, maybe we used house rules, maybe we weren't playing it "right" - but it didn't feel like tripping over your own feet would kill you; it didn't feel like a single kobold with a sling would kill you.
Makes more Worlds Without Number noises. 😉

Yes, I know. The book is overly verbose. I think it reads fine, but it obscures the rules (especially compared to Old-School Essentials). However, if you want a system where characters start out pretty awesome, and have a chance of surviving being Morally Wounded, WWN does that.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Interestingly, I'm not doing OSR systems at all, I'm doing Pathfinder 2e, but what I'm really interested in is what I can learn from this style of game in order to combine it with the things we like about the 'modern' systems. So I'm very into the OSR ideas about sandboxes, dungeon delves, and exploration, while attempting to retain heavy player empowerment elements in the form of high character customization/optimization/combat-as-sport-tactical-considerations.

I think that Pathfinder 2e's exploration and downtime procedures, in tandem with its much more 'real' encounter difficulty creates an environment where I should be able to take a lot of OSR elements in the structure of my game and make it all work. I even think I can utilize the 'durability' of the characters in player empowered games to include elements of neo-trad in that structure, albeit while being judicious.

Still, lately OSR threads and game design have lately been my favorite posts, and I've gotten a lot out of them. My big experiment in mixing these elements together properly won't be for a while yet, since the player currently running a campaign as a 'break' seems to be having some problems pacing this so it ends in the 6-8 month window we initially discussed, so while I'd like to begin in my hex crawling west marches in the autumn... we'll see.
If you haven’t, I’d suggest taking a look at Principia Apocrypha. There are a few primers on OSR-style play, but this one does it in a PbtA-style list of principles.
 

Malmuria

Explorer
I think that Pathfinder 2e's exploration and downtime procedures, in tandem with its much more 'real' encounter difficulty creates an environment where I should be able to take a lot of OSR elements in the structure of my game and make it all work. I even think I can utilize the 'durability' of the characters in player empowered games to include elements of neo-trad in that structure, albeit while being judicious.
Something like an osr with a slot inventory system can give you something akin to the modularity of pathfinder 2e but still in a stripped down rules-lite package. So lets say you are playing knave and you have 11 inventory slots and you start with the usual lantern, crowbar, etc, but as you go out and adventure you find magical items that do feat-like things. For each adventure you could decide which of these items to 'equip.'
 

Much respect, I might check them out from a game design perspective, but we're actually super happy with PF2e. I might try some proper OSR games separately to develop some experience with them though-- I got ahold of DCC from a humble bundle for that purpose. Though if you have any recommendations for nicely Jaquayed dungeons and such, I would love to hear about those.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Makes more Worlds Without Number noises. 😉

Yes, I know. The book is overly verbose. I think it reads fine, but it obscures the rules (especially compared to Old-School Essentials). However, if you want a system where characters start out pretty awesome, and have a chance of surviving being Morally Wounded, WWN does that.
I suspect one reason for that verbosity, IMHO, is that SWN/WWN is very much trying to also teach and elucidate on how to run a sandbox.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I suspect one reason for that verbosity, IMHO, is that SWN/WWN is very much trying to also teach and elucidate on how to run a sandbox.
The sandbox creation sections are generally much better than the player-facing rules ones. The part on building the backdrop for your setting makes extensive use of bolded text to call out the important steps. It’s very easy to know what you need to do, and you can then read more on what that entails if you’re not sure. The rules sections mostly aren’t like that. For example, if you want to know what’s involved with preparing and casting spells, you need to parse a page or so of text to get everything. It doesn’t have to be like OSE, but WWN could be a lot better.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Much respect, I might check them out from a game design perspective, but we're actually super happy with PF2e. I might try some proper OSR games separately to develop some experience with them though-- I got ahold of DCC from a humble bundle for that purpose. Though if you have any recommendations for nicely Jaquayed dungeons and such, I would love to hear about those.
Check out Necrotic Gnome’s adventures for Old-School Essentials. Excellent keys (including adversary rosters on the maps for many of them), Jaquayed dungeons, and some pretty weird and interesting stuff. I converted Winter’s Daughter to PF2 for my group, and they loved it.
 

Retreater

Legend
Check out Necrotic Gnome’s adventures for Old-School Essentials. Excellent keys (including adversary rosters on the maps for many of them), Jaquayed dungeons, and some pretty weird and interesting stuff. I converted Winter’s Daughter to PF2 for my group, and they loved it.
I also really like the formatting in their adventures. I would almost call it game-changing. I don't think Paizo or Wizards could do it in their products because so much more information is needed.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I also really like the formatting in their adventures. I would almost call it game-changing. I don't think Paizo or Wizards could do it in their products because so much more information is needed.
I don’t think I can agree. The only differences between the key format Necrotic Gnome uses and what Paizo and WotC do is Necrotic Gnome uses bulleted lists to organize information (quite effectively, typically) and replaces the boxed text with a descriptive block. Some Necrotic Gnome adventures also use adversary rosters (monsters are depicted on the map, so you can see who is nearby), but that’s not a key thing.

Admittedly, the descriptive block doesn’t work with idiosyncratic uses of boxed text (such as dialog), but that stuff can be moved into a bullet (e.g., for the opening of Shards of Sin, list as your first bullet “First time the PCs meet Sheila: read aloud Sheila’s dialog on page 9”). If anything, scripted scenes would be easier to run because their elements would be called out explicitly (instead of buried in paragraphs).

I don’t read adventures just to read them, but I know people do. I don’t know whether they would like an adventure less if it were in the format used by Necrotic Gnome. If so, that would provide an economic reason not to change the format. However, that would have nothing to do with the format’s ability or inability to present information.
 

Lately, I've been wondering if a wiki format for adventures, sandboxes and especially dungeon delves, in particular, would be a viable strategy as we move forward with more gamers becoming comfortable with digital. It would provide a means of presenting all the information in a non linear fashion, and allow easy access to the geography of the dungeon separated from the other mechanics, especially if a map was built in that allowed dungeon masters to click on areas of the dungeon to pull up its full write up. The goal would be to make location based adventures easier on the GM to run, and make it easier to pull out sections of the material to slot into games or other dungeons, and move away from the limitations of page count.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Lately, I've been wondering if a wiki format for adventures, sandboxes and especially dungeon delves, in particular, would be a viable strategy as we move forward with more gamers becoming comfortable with digital. It would provide a means of presenting all the information in a non linear fashion, and allow easy access to the geography of the dungeon separated from the other mechanics, especially if a map was built in that allowed dungeon masters to click on areas of the dungeon to pull up its full write up. The goal would be to make location based adventures easier on the GM to run, and make it easier to pull out sections of the material to slot into games or other dungeons, and move away from the limitations of page count.
The problem with keys that present information inefficiently is that they’re hard to use at the table. It shouldn’t be necessary to prep the key to run an adventure. One should be able to use it as-is, which is unfortunately not true of many pre-written adventures. Technology won’t fix that.
 

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