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

Sacrosanct

Legend
This is a non statement. There are jerks in every community. It isn't an OSR issue that jerks exist; it's a human issue.
I made this comment the other day. While your statement is technically true, 5e doesn't have any publishers who claim to speak for 5e who also espouse some really toxic bigoted ideals and beliefs. 5e doesn't have a dedicated gaming forum just for 5e that welcomes and embraces blatant bigotry and sexism.

The OSR does. And that's something that we fans of the OSR need to address and speak against, and not just sit aside and ignore it.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Based on what input? This isn't how it was in '82 when I first played it, and it still isn't true 40 years later.

Indiana Jones was careful when navigating the temple, stealing the idol, and getting the heck out. But I wouldn't call the character a coward. :rolleyes:

Almost every single OSR forums, review, blogger, YouTuber, article, blog, and discussion I'd seen or read pushes early that you have to be a paranoid chicken who NEVER starts an encounter without at least x number of advantages or you will die. And that only Lawful and Good classes actively do anything heroic because they lose their class if they don't.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Almost every single OSR forums, review, blogger, YouTuber, article, blog, and discussion I'd seen or read pushes early that you have to be a paranoid chicken who NEVER starts an encounter without at least x number of advantages or you will die.
I am very active in the OSR community and have never, not once, seen or heard this. Perhaps you can provide some links?

Everyone, regardless of edition, should look for advantages in combat. That's common sense, right? But I haven't ever seen it espoused that in OSR, you have to be a paranoid chicken who never starts any encounter.
 

One area where the OSR could really appeal to new players is in the sheer amount of diy creativity. Books I've purchased over the past year include Mörk Borg, Hot Springs Island, The Stygian Library, and A Thousand Thousand Islands. The art, layout, book quality, and ideas of these books are amazing and would be impressive to even to people who do not play RPGs. I think what's exciting is seeing people, especially younger people, make stuff and put it up on itch or see it get picked up by Exalted Funeral. Even if they are making stuff for 5e, I just think it's great that there are so many people making stuff.

I would try to sell new players on that diy-ness more than any specific playstyle, actually. Whatever wotc sells, whether rules or lore, does not have to constrain anyone's home game. b/x is cool because it's so easy to come up with new rules and adapt to player creativity (as is black hack or knave or whatever).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I am very active in the OSR community and have never, not once, seen or heard this. Perhaps you can provide some links?

Everyone, regardless of edition, should look for advantages in combat. That's common sense, right? But I haven't ever seen it espoused that in OSR, you have to be a paranoid chicken who never starts any encounter.

Type in "What is OSR" and click on a feed videos, reddit posts, and blogs.

You will likely hear or see Death or Die before Hero.

Death and avoidance of it is promoted a lot more prominently than heroics and doing good.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I truly am sorry if you all feel that's what the OSR is about. I've been playing 1e from 1981 to 2012 before finally moving to 5e playtest, and even then I still play 1e now and then.

OSR is not about running away all the time. Not even really close. It's about being cautious and finding creative ways around monsters that don't always result in a fight. You don't just run from room to room ala arena style combat and one combat encounter to the next. You don't assume every encounter should be winnable. That style of play is a feature, not a bug, for many. Like me. Just one combat after another? Boring. Always assumed you should be able to beat every encounter? Boring and no sense of excitement. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Either way, you all are mistaken about how OSR games are actually designed. And played by most fans of the OSR. There was plenty of combat in TSR era D&D where players survived and advanced. This idea that you either ran away or died shows either a strong disdain for OSR by using inaccurate hyperbole, or is just flat out ignorant about how the games were played. If your assumptions were true, there wouldn't ever be any PC in TSR era D&D that rose above 1st level. And we know that's not true.
Yeeeeah...

I started with 2e in the late 80s early 90s. I moved -back- to Blue Box, Red Box, and other systems and stuff based on what the (Older) DMs I knew wanted to run and/or had available. (I went to a gaming shop practically daily after school and played with a bunch of different DMs depending on the day of the week).

I know how squishy characters were, back then, which is often exaggerated in the modern day, sure. But I also look around at the current culture of OSR. The same bigoted stuff you mention in your next post is often right next to comments about how dangerous everything SHOULD be but isn't because blah blah blah back in MY day...

'Cause another aspect of OSR is Killer DMs. People who would -love- some Hackmaster. And don't get me wrong! I -enjoy- Hackmaster when I decide to whip that game out to play against a group of players! But. They try to hammer that stuff into D&D and pretend that's the only way to play.

And as much as you might love it if D&D games were often about sneaking past encounters or charming them, a lotta DMs get -suuuuuper- bored of the Friendship Squad befriending or slipping past enemies. Especially with Bards....
 

Retreater

Legend
Either way, you all are mistaken about how OSR games are actually designed. And played by most fans of the OSR. There was plenty of combat in TSR era D&D where players survived and advanced. This idea that you either ran away or died shows either a strong disdain for OSR by using inaccurate hyperbole, or is just flat out ignorant about how the games were played. If your assumptions were true, there wouldn't ever be any PC in TSR era D&D that rose above 1st level. And we know that's not true.
I'm not exaggerating. I've played several different systems. The only game we didn't have tip-toe past all of the excitement was in a high level one shot game. When OSR rulesets are followed "by the letter" they are boring to many contemporary players.
I know this isn't how it was in practice back in the day, which is what I said in my previous quote. It may not even be the intent of OSR currently, but they need to communicate that in their rules if they want to expand their audience.
Not all gamers are going to have a GM who "just knows" how the game is supposed to feel. I have an OSE GM currently who is missing the point running it exactly RAW, and it's tedious, boring, and hopeless.
If you have a new GM with only the books, I have a feeling that is going to be the default experience for everyone.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Type in "What is OSR" and click on a feed videos, reddit posts, and blogs.

You will likely hear or see Death or Die before Hero.

Death and avoidance of it is promoted a lot more prominently than heroics and doing good.
None that I found say what you claim they say, including probably the most well known take on the OSR: Matt Finch's Primer. Neither does Ben from the Questing Beast say the OSR is like what you're saying

So do you have any links where people are claiming the OSR does what you're claiming it does? you said "nearly every one", so I imagine it should be easy. Cuz the most well known sources don't say any of that.
 

Retreater

Legend
None that I found say what you claim they say, including probably the most well known take on the OSR: Matt Finch's Primer. Neither does Ben from the Questing Beast say the OSR is like what you're saying

So do you have any links where people are claiming the OSR does what you're claiming it does? you said "nearly every one", so I imagine it should be easy. Cuz the most well known sources don't say any of that.
I have a lot of respect for both those guys. I watch all of Ben's videos, Finch's Swords & Wizardry is my go-to OSR game.
But a new gamer doesn't need someone to tell them how the game should be played. Looking at a character sheet where a fighter has on average 4-5 hp, +1 to hit, etc., you just know that you're not going to last long against a kobold or goblin that has basically the same stats as you do. Put in a group of them that is roughly the same number as the party, and that front line is going to drop. One hit, more than likely, is going to permanently end the adventure for a character.
And what happens when you end the adventure for a character or two, especially your frontline? That ends the adventure, at least until you return to town, make up new characters, then return to the dungeon. Just like that - you've wasted probably an hour of game time. And that's not fun for most players.
What else isn't fun? Trying to avoid that fight with the kobolds by sneaking past (if it's even possible - but it's statistically unlikely RAW). And then you get into a room with giant rats that you have to sneak past or distract with some cheese. And then you get into a room with skeletons that you can make run away with a turn undead (if you're lucky). And then you get into another room with kobolds that you have to sneak past. Repeat, ad nauseum.
Don't misunderstand me. I do love TSR-era D&D and OSR games. I just think they are presented in the worst possible light. The rules are bad. The fans of the games (and I'm on Discord channels for these companies) all know that the rules aren't great - they rely almost totally on the judgement of the GM or referee. Any OSR fan will tell you that it's down to the judgement.
So what OSR needs is a book that cuts through the crap, presents the game as a GM should run it, not just "please ignore these rules and run a game that's fun" (which is the mantra of most of the systems).
 

ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
Not at all, there’s no need to apologise. To further expand, I love the diversity and inclusion in Golarian by Paizo. It’s great to see strong, black women fully armoured up, an array of sexualities and a diverse set of ethnicities. Anyone can see themselves represented on that. But that’s because it’s a very gamist kitchen sink world by design. The system supporting that power fantasy approach.

I wouldn’t expect to see anything like that in say, pendragon or a system that lets you Role-play the wars of the roses or something to that effect. My concern for mainstream d&d is with the generic approach of the core rules, it leads to potential conflict and a reticence from wotc to produce anything slightly niche or restrictive, lest the cries of “where am I?” in that fill the air followed by accusations despite it making no sense in that world.

I guess I’m becoming increasingly out of touch with what is in as I just don’t understand the seeming desire to play ones self in an rpg, but there you go, what works for you.

Which is exactly why I wont play games like Pendragon or historic simulation RPGS (any westerns or games that take place prior to the 1970's). CALL OF CTHULHU was a no go for me for decades until HARLEM UNBOUND. YOU don't see the desire of playing ones self (some variation thereof) in an RPG but I DO. Especially when "oneself" is definitely NOT the default for a heroic character in the culture. Popular or otherwise.

When the default in popular media and TTRPG's for DECADES have been white males as the prominent heroes? If I want to play someone who looks like me in a fantasy TTRPG? That's what I want to do. I play this game for fun and THAT'S part of my fun. And any game that doesn't facilitate that? isn't a game that I'm going to support with my dollars much less play. People that complain about me wanting to play in a game or world that has people who look like me in it? I have no use for them either. The fact that Seela (the aforementioned black Paladin) exists and is so prominent in a mainstream game like PATHFINDER is STILL the exception and not the rule and to mark the reason for her existence as gamist or appealing to a "power fantasy approach" minimizes/ignores the idea that maybe...just maybe, the developers of said game said to themselves that "Hey maybe we want to show that this game isn't JUST for white or white-facing people? That ANYONE can be heroic?" Not just people who "existed" in arthurian "legend". I'm just sayin'...
 

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