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

Sacrosanct

Legend
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.

And yet, that didn't really happen as we were all learning to play in the late 70s/early 80s. There were some PC deaths, sure, but not nearly as bad as you're making it out to be.

Seriously, how did you think we all played back then? With a stack of replacement PCs because half of them died after every combat encounter? Man, 40 years later, and I'd still like to see what that 3rd cave in KotBL was about, because 40 years of PCs always died before then...

Nah, we did alright. It wasn't nearly as bad as you (and others) are making it out to be.
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).

Ah....you're ignoring a huge part of the OSR: rulings over rules. Your comment reads like everything depends on failed checks. In the OSR, you don't roll a check for everything. That's a big selling point of the OSR. You described what you did, and if it was cool, or creative, or whatever, you succeeded. Pretty often. more often than if you had to make a check with an unforgiving dice roll.

Edit and it's not just sneaking past. It's luring them into traps you've set up. It's pitting one clan against another (ToEE was literally built and designed just for this, and it's as old school as it gets). And a million other possibilities. The key is that the player's had control to decide, and it wasn't based on needing to have a power or spell prepared to do it for you.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
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'...
When people ask why I'm focusing on inclusivity and diversity in the OSR project I'm working on, usually telling me some variation of "the rules should be the selling point, because we can all play whatever ethnicity we want in the game", your comment is a big reason why I'm doing what I'm doing, bringing representation into the OSR, and hiring a lot of people from many diverse backgrounds as contributors and artists.

Because it is in fact important to a lot of people who don't fit the traditionally catered to demographic.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
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.

Questing Beast describes the main attraction of OSR as wonder and exploration, immersion in the game (because your character has no or few special abilities), the danger of encounters, and DIY attitude in his "What is OSR" video. I just rewatched it.

Quite frankly I don't think any of these would attract a completely new RPGer to me. And I think they would only pull fans who are looking for it.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Questing Beast describes the main attraction of OSR as wonder and exploration, immersion in the game (because your character has no or few special abilities), the danger of encounters, and DIY attitude in his "What is OSR" video. I just rewatched it.

Quite frankly I don't think any of these would attract a completely new RPGer to me. And I think they would only pull fans who are looking for it.
Point being, he doesn't describe the OSR as you claimed nearly everyone was doing. I'm still waiting for some citations to that, by the way.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Point being, he doesn't describe the OSR as you claimed nearly everyone was doing. I'm still waiting for some citations to that, by the way.

My point is at no point is fighting evil, acting heroic, or having character motivation is stated or stressed.

Almost like going away from it is the point.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
My point that I'm trying to get at is twofold:

1. some of the claims about what the OSR is (and what TSR era D&D was) is along the lines of me saying 4e is a tactical boardgame where you didn't do roleplaying, but just did one giant slog of tactical combat after another where you could only do something if you had a power for it. Maybe because that matched my personal experience, or what I saw, or what I heard. But it's not true. Not of how it was designed, or how people actually played 4e. So I'd caution against making similar assumptions and claims about the OSR that aren't really backed up by any data.

2. It seems people are forgetting that AD&D lasted for 25 years-ish. Moldvay's B/X, and Mentzer's BECMI were huge sellers of the brand, and brought in hundreds of thousands of gamers. Those rules still had magic users with 1d4 hp and fighters with 1d8 hp. And yet, that didn't turn away new players. It didn't result in a pile of dead PCs before the night was out. It did the opposite. It brought a meteoric rise of new players to the game. So there doesn't seem to be any actual correlation between more fragile PCs and keeping away new players. The numbers don't back that up at all.

Maybe we should stop denigrating playstyles that don't align with our own preferences, especially when the facts don't really back up those criticisms. It's not fair to fans of 4e, and it's not fair to fans of the OSR.
 

Retreater

Legend
If the game is all about ignoring the rules and running by DM judgement, why not just play 5E? That's pratically its main mantra!
It absolutely is not. There are many rules. Specific things like, I can do this as a bonus action, but I can't take 2 bonus actions a round (even at the expense of my actual action). And I can't cast a spell as a bonus action unless the other spell I cast is a cantrip. And I can't do this in a turn or that will happen. Or if I have concentration on a spell, I can't cast something else. Or this monster I'm running has an entire slate of spells that I need to know about as GM, each with a paragraph of text written in the least efficient manner possible.
So yeah, it's not exactly rules lite. (Though it's heaps better than 3.x)
 

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. And that only Lawful and Good classes actively do anything heroic because they lose their class if they don't.
This is what you said and claimed ^
My point is at no point is fighting evil, acting heroic, or having character motivation is stated or stressed.

Almost like going away from it is the point.
And this is totally different (it's also wrong, but that's a different discussion). If the former was not the point, then why did you claim it? You still haven't been able to show anyone from the OSR actually doing what you said "almost every single one" did.
 

Retreater

Legend
Ah....you're ignoring a huge part of the OSR: rulings over rules. Your comment reads like everything depends on failed checks. In the OSR, you don't roll a check for everything. That's a big selling point of the OSR. You described what you did, and if it was cool, or creative, or whatever, you succeeded. Pretty often. more often than if you had to make a check with an unforgiving dice roll.

Edit and it's not just sneaking past. It's luring them into traps you've set up. It's pitting one clan against another (ToEE was literally built and designed just for this, and it's as old school as it gets). And a million other possibilities. The key is that the player's had control to decide, and it wasn't based on needing to have a power or spell prepared to do it for you.
And yet none of the games mention any of this in any of their books. But they do mention the percentage chance to move silently or the ranger's ability to set traps. So RAW, it's actually wrong to not require an unforgiving die roll.
I know it's not wrong. You know it's not wrong. But Gavin Norman doesn't say it's wrong in OSE. Matt Finch doesn't say it's wrong in S&W. Nowhere in the rulebook does it say "do what's cool" or give any guidance on what that should mean to new GMs. But there are plenty of rules contrary to that. (You die at 0 hp; you roll for hp at 1st level - and if you get 1 hp, well it sucks to be you - har har har.)
And we're talking about how to sell the OSR to new gamers in this thread. What we need is not a faithful recreation of the classic rules sets. What we need is the game as it was in play, what captures the spirit of OSR, not "Scaredy-Cat Coward: The RPG."
 

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