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

Retreater

Legend
This isn't true either. Those older books are full of passages about rulings over rules, not letting a rule hinder fun, etc. Are you arguing that the only PC who could be stealthy is a thief because they are the only ones with a Move Silently/hide in shadows skill? Nonsense. Every PC can attempt to hide. I don't have the 1e DMG in front of me, but I do the 2e one, and it repeats much of what was in the 1e DMG as well
Now you can't be quoting old, out-of-print books. We're talking about the OSR here, not the 1e DMG. (Which players wouldn't have had access to in any case.)
So try finding that in OSE or S&W. Called out in a chart. Listed under what a character can do. Or in the examples of play. There's not even a suggestion of how to handle it other than the thief ability, which is like a 10% chance. And if a trained thief has a 10%, what can we infer a non-trained magic-user would be able to do?
Again, I'm not saying you can't do it. It's the book that's saying you can't do it. Or it just has a half-assed disclaimer to "make it up."
How to play the game isn't in the books. How to be a good GM isn't in the books. The optional rules that allowed our characters to carve out nations and reach 10th level back in the 1970s and 80s aren't there.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Who says it sells poorly? It’s never going to compare to 5e, nothing will. The current edition of d&d is (usually ) always going to absolutely dominate the market. Thus, if something is dominant enough to essentially be the lingua franca, it makes sense to compare to that to highlight what is different and interesting no?
I don't mean selling OSR books.

I mean selling the idea to play OSR.

Not for nothing, most D&D fans can't market their way out of a paper bag. I think most attract of new folk to the hobby comes from raw curiosity and official marketing than fans bringing other sin with their words.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
And that's my whole point of selling OSR poorly.

The main things said in OSR introductions is comparisons. And some of the most said comparisons are that PCs have few or no abilities, PCs can die if they make mistakes, and there is a deemphasis of roleplaying as another character.

Not "the game is so easy to hack that a DM can quickly make up new surprising challenges and monsters". One of the biggest and repeated strength of 4e by the way.
Here's an excerpt from the intro to Worlds Without Number (you can download the free version from DriveThruRPG).

"...The players take up the role of adventurers in this fading age, raising sword and sorcery against the foes of humanity and the obstacles that hinder their own ambitious aims. Many will perish on the spears of bitter rivals, be rent by the talons of monstrous beasts, or fall prey to their own reckless daring. Others, however, may yet live to obtain a name more glorious than kings.

The characters in Worlds Without Number are assumed to be budding adventurers, men and women who have particular talents suitable to a life of dating exploration, bloody battles, or ruthless intrigue. They are skilled and capable practitioners of their particular specialties, but all of them are acutely mortal, and a too-ready recourse to their blades is likely to get them killed early in their career.

More experienced and skilled heroes have less to fear from an unlucky spear-thrust, but even the most hardened hero must be wary of a quick death when facing numerous foes. A gritty life of swords and sorcery awaits them..."

What it describes sounds fairly exciting, but warns that you're no superhero. All in all, I think it's a pretty great OSR game intro.
 

Now you can't be quoting old, out-of-print books. We're talking about the OSR here, not the 1e DMG. (Which players wouldn't have had access to in any case.)
So try finding that in OSE or S&W. Called out in a chart. Listed under what a character can do. Or in the examples of play. There's not even a suggestion of how to handle it other than the thief ability, which is like a 10% chance. And if a trained thief has a 10%, what can we infer a non-trained magic-user would be able to do?
Again, I'm not saying you can't do it. It's the book that's saying you can't do it. Or it just has a half-assed disclaimer to "make it up."
How to play the game isn't in the books. How to be a good GM isn't in the books. The optional rules that allowed our characters to carve out nations and reach 10th level back in the 1970s and 80s aren't there.
Being stealthy certainly is in the books. It’s called the surprise check. You are always assumed to be moving cautiously and quietly in a dungeon as a competent adventurer would be. Its an inverse of later editions active stealth roll. The NPC rolls surprise to be surprised by your presence... because you got the drop on them. Of course, certain actions may hinder or remove the surprise check.

Edit: but indeed, that is another roll procedure. But, I think what you’re missing with the complaints about the just rolls is what it gives you. The emergent narrative. By following the roll procedure, the GM is just as excited by what’s going to happen as the players. its not supposed to be a staid, prescriptive roll, go. It’s what do the dice tell you happens? Build off that.

Id say you are right about the lack of, explititness around that? Id agree that is a weak point around OSR, there seems to be an assumption that you’ve played d&d before in any of its forms in order to access much of the material.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Here's an excerpt from the intro to Worlds Without Number (you can download the free version from DriveThruRPG).

"...The players take up the role of adventurers in this fading age, raising sword and sorcery against the foes of humanity and the obstacles that hinder their own ambitious aims. Many will perish on the spears of bitter rivals, be rent by the talons of monstrous beasts, or fall prey to their own reckless daring. Others, however, may yet live to obtain a name more glorious than kings.

The characters in Worlds Without Number are assumed to be budding adventurers, men and women who have particular talents suitable to a life of dating exploration, bloody battles, or ruthless intrigue. They are skilled and capable practitioners of their particular specialties, but all of them are acutely mortal, and a too-ready recourse to their blades is likely to get them killed early in their career.

More experienced and skilled heroes have less to fear from an unlucky spear-thrust, but even the most hardened hero must be wary of a quick death when facing numerous foes. A gritty life of swords and sorcery awaits them..."

What it describes sounds fairly exciting, but warns that you're no superhero. All in all, I think it's a pretty great OSR game intro.

I agree. Worlds Without Number is one of the few OSR titles I think that sells itself well to newcomers.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Now you can't be quoting old, out-of-print books. We're talking about the OSR here, not the 1e DMG. (Which players wouldn't have had access to in any case.)
So try finding that in OSE or S&W. Called out in a chart. Listed under what a character can do. Or in the examples of play. There's not even a suggestion of how to handle it other than the thief ability, which is like a 10% chance. And if a trained thief has a 10%, what can we infer a non-trained magic-user would be able to do?
Again, I'm not saying you can't do it. It's the book that's saying you can't do it. Or it just has a half-assed disclaimer to "make it up."
How to play the game isn't in the books. How to be a good GM isn't in the books. The optional rules that allowed our characters to carve out nations and reach 10th level back in the 1970s and 80s aren't there.
I think we're shifting goalposts. We weren't just talking about OSR books, we were talking about OSR books and the the books they are all drawn from (TSR era) because the claim was that back then, you didn't have those options when in fact, you did. Also, those books aren't out of print. You can very much get a brand new copy of the 1e DMG.

Secondly some screen shots of an OSR rulebook:

1621462577362.png


From OSRIC, the one that started all of the OSR (note the lack of ability rolls):
1621462861731.png


Page 138 and 139 also describe how PCs narrate what they are doing outside of a die roll to accomplish certain tasks (like finding secret doors or disarming traps or opening locks)

What you're saying isn't in the books absolutely is there.
 

First I will state that I do not accept being grouped in the OSR mindset. I will clarify this statement below. I have stated this as far back to its foundation when vociferous voices within the community were attempting to lump designers and adherents of certain historical RPG lineages (thus on the OSR side or NOT on OSR side) into an undefined and, IMO, undefinable and disjointed group (sussed mostly by historical publications bearing their names, etc. or by merely raising one's hand and assenting).

Now for my clarifications. I am a game designer. Period. Full stop. Designers design games. They adhere to philosophies in order to do so and they often challenge said philosophies, amend them and sometimes throw them out. If they do not, they are not true designers.

Thus, the philosophy that the OSR espouses is very narrow and self-limiting for one paramount reason alone: That there is no one single pin-pointed or lasting game philosophy other than as noted in OD&D as making the game your own, change the rules, throw them out, invent new ones, etc. etc. This philosophy has been perverted from its original expression by Gygax, Arneson and myself, into a concrete SCHOOL which is of itself a contradiction to the game's original elasticity in design and that was handed over to each individual DM for them to do as they wished with it. Like many other human "movements" of this type it finally devolved from individual desires and unique expressions thereof to a collective calcification based upon statistical returns and tacit agreement of what it was as a singular group ideal (quite the opposite, by 180 degrees, of what it had born as).

As there is no one true way to engage the original philosophy there can be no codification of what it is as a politicized movement, which I am afraid is what the current OSR suffers under.

Note that this same philosophy is paramount and is reflected in every RPG to this very moment as a route from its past to present. If it had not existed in the form as I claim it to be, as Gygax and Arneson claimed that it was, there would have been no further editions of D&D to present. The crux is: Fantasy is unlimited and so should be the systems that are created to express its infinite access points and scope.

D&D has continued to evolve, but in the vast majority of cases I do not feel that the OSR has evolved. There are vast panoramas of fantasy to be discovered but yet the object apparently remains to repeat what is known rather than evolving the system to continue to pull back the curtain to reveal the unknown. This should be a cautionary tale for all designers and for all companies, small or large, pushing calcified positions as schools of thought normally do.

This is not heresy, by the way. It is a designer's view upon what he's been tasked with designing: engaging the design for the resulting expression of Fantasy.
 

bloodtide

Legend
Yes, any edition of D&D can bring players to the game. It's not the game "rules" so much, as it is the whole role playing experience. The D&D game rules are just like any other game, like MONOPOLY. No one really cares, talks about or remembers how their character "moved forward" per the movement rules on page 22.

It's the role playing. When a non-gamer gets that first thrill of role playing.....it can hook them forever.
 

Retreater

Legend
Id say you are right about the lack of, explititness around that? Id agree that is a weak point around OSR, there seems to be an assumption that you’ve played d&d before in any of its forms in order to access much of the material.
Except, I don't think it's just "in any of its forms." I think that experience has to be specifically in OSR/TSR based D&D. Otherwise, you're going to come in with the sensibilities that a roll is a pass/fail, that stats and abilities matter, etc. It's a completely different experience that isn't adequately expressed for groups that don't have that knowledge (or in the case of my group, have been removed from it for 20+ years.
What you're saying isn't in the books absolutely is there.
So are we disagreeing that if you run the game RAW that it's an unmitigated blood-bath? Because that's a hill I'm willing to die on. Or actually run away from, because like all old school characters I can only survive because I'm a "scaredy-cat chicken."
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Except, I don't think it's just "in any of its forms." I think that experience has to be specifically in OSR/TSR based D&D. Otherwise, you're going to come in with the sensibilities that a roll is a pass/fail, that stats and abilities matter, etc. It's a completely different experience that isn't adequately expressed for groups that don't have that knowledge (or in the case of my group, have been removed from it for 20+ years.
Couldn’t that be said of any game that’s different from the dominant form? For example, trying to play Dungeon World like D&D will go badly. I can’t speak to other retroclones, but OSE at least points you to the Principia Apocrypha if you’re new to old-school games.

So are we disagreeing that if you run the game RAW that it's an unmitigated blood-bath? Because that's a hill I'm willing to die on. Or actually run away from, because like all old school characters I can only survive because I'm a "scaredy-cat chicken."
Shouldn’t you push as far as you can, and then engage the retreat procedure should things go badly? To help ensure your escape, you can even create a distraction such as by asking people what’s in their notes, questioning whether chess is an RPG, positing that everyone’s favorite system has too much or not enough crunch, or asking if non-TSR games can be OSR. 🙃
 

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