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

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Is James Brown best heard with the crackle of vinyl? Maybe, but the crucial point is that more people will enjoy and listen to James Brown if his music is available for download or on Youtube.

Everyone knows that James Brown is best listened to ... in a HOT TUB!

Should I get in the hot tub? YEAH!
Will it make me sweat? YEAH!
Should I get in the hot tub? YEAH!
Will it make me wet? YEAH!
 

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dragoner

KosmicRPG.com
And my mother would call a hardcore punk "metal".
I'm older than your mother, we called it all Kino or Depeche Mode, simply "rock" even though many of us listened to and were punk styled. Metal would have been very advanced term. Literature too, then was all just Fantasy, from Bulgakov to Strugatsky bros. Games, I have difficulty describing to friends back home because it is all just DnD; so the sci-fi maps I make, sometimes not even mention they are for a game.

Per OP:
Moving to US, Texas was fairly strange and terrible, I never fit in, so these games were a good retreat. At that time they were the original games which OSR grew out of, would we as teens been as interested in games played by "old people"? It would not have been seen as a good thing. OSR now appears to be an older cohort, so trying to appeal to younger folks with the OSR tag is probably not going to work. My humble opinion.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
We all have our different tastes, and that's cool, but I find many OSR products to be more imaginative than anything produced by WotC. Sure, you have a lot of traditional dungeon crawls, but there's a lot of great stuff going on in zines like Planar Compass (and their take of extraplanar psionics). Then you have some really gonzo material, fantastic hexcrawls, amorphous hellish dungeons like the Stygian Library.
I'm not saying OSR isn't imaginative. I am saying OSR mostly comes from the same sources and emphasizes the same tropes. This because when Old School was new, that's all there was. So the game didn't explain things everyone already assumed.

So now new players are coming from other sources, a OSR DM actually has to explain the fun of OSR.

For example, in OSR Halfling are weak little humans who are mostly worse in 95% of the ways than a human. OSR found the charm in that and need no elaboration to make them interesting. However new fantasy fans would see it as pointless unless you sell Halflings as something fun. Or sell 2d6 types of elves without an intricate political history and factions in the them. Or whatever OSR sells.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I haven't read the thread so may be repeating things others have said, but I think you have to differentiate between OSR games (including older versions of D&D) and "old school themes." I have no issue with people playing the former, but I just don't think there's a lot of reason for new people to play anything other than the most recent edition of D&D.

I think of a few reasons. First being what I mentioned upthread about how B/X is much easier to bring in new younger players than 5e basic because it's simply easier to learn and less rules. Secondly, it's simply a different flavor of the same game. I'm sure there are people out there who would enjoy a quick and easy fantasy rpg where race is class, as opposed to classes and races separate with more options, etc.
Let's use the analogy of music. OSR games are like vinyl or cassettes. Now I personally love vinyl, but for someone who grew up with mp3s they are rather cumbersome. The occasional young person might discover and fall in love with vinyl, but they're the exception. Older forms of music are like old school themes and elements. You can listen to 70s funk or 40s big band on any medium - you don't need vinyl or cassette. Is James Brown best heard with the crackle of vinyl? Maybe, but the crucial point is that more people will enjoy and listen to James Brown if his music is available for download or on Youtube.
I think this is a flawed analogy because you're comparing the tools and technology between music 50 years ago and today, and that hasn't changed for RPGs. I mean, yes, we have digital tools now, but the actual rules and tools of 5e haven't changed from 1e. You still have a book, you have dice, you have paper, and you have people. A better analogy is to compare the era of the music, rather than the medium. And I think there are people today who might prefer classical music, or 60s, or rock, or 80s pop, or 90s alternative, etc over what's currently on the Billboard top 10.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
For example, in OSR Halfling are weak little humans who are mostly worse in 95% of the ways than a human. OSR found the charm in that and need no elaboration to make them interesting. However new fantasy fans would see it as pointless unless you sell Halflings as something fun. Or sell 2d6 types of elves without an intricate political history and factions in the them. Or whatever OSR sells.
This isn't true. AD&D had many variations and flavors of halfilngs, with unique abilties, traits, and features. That wasn't something modern D&D invented to make them fun or exciting. I don't see any significant differences, additions, or changes from modern D&D that didn't exist in the 80s at some point.
 

I'm sorry to say I am not surprised.

I have seen no indication that there's anything inherent in RPGs as a broad category that selects against such attitudes. So, I would expect gaming culture, broadly, to be at least as bad as the world at large.
I'm going to say it varies a lot. With most hobbies there is no reason at all I'd know about certain aspects of someone's character, but tabletop roleplaying gives a whole lot of opportunities to display who you are and what you would like to do if society didn't have all the awkward rules. I'd therefore expect certain things to see more obvious.

Also tabletop roleplaying (especially at the indie games end but to an extent at D&D) is a safe place to play with identity. I know a lot of trans people (normally trans women) who took some of their early steps to transition by RPing as female characters. And groups that are accepting of trans women tend to be less transphobic and less homophobic than most.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
This isn't true. AD&D had many variations and flavors of halfilngs, with unique abilties, traits, and features. That wasn't something modern D&D invented to make them fun or exciting. I don't see any significant differences, additions, or changes from modern D&D that didn't exist in the 80s at some point.
That's the 5%. For the most part the racial features of Halflings were minor. ESPECIALLY in OSR games where most of the subraces and more out there traits didn't exist.

This is my point. OSR tends to stay close to the basic form of a shared fantasy. Then it's the GMs job to make it interesting. However OS fans were already interested.

Newer school RPGs focus more on the hooks and try to blatantly throw the interesting aspects of races, classes, items, worlds, etc at the player. In the NS, the DM is more of a curator and has to explain their changes as the elements are embedded in the players minds fast and early (if they play attention).
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
See, on this I don't agree ... necessarily.

So, this is why I keep talking about "expecting". I am not saying it cannot be, just that we shouldn't expect it to be.

Here's the thing- if you have an inclusive old school ruleset (say, the project Sacrosanct is working on), then that is the type of thing that could be enjoyed in a number of ways; for example, it is common for families, today, to play across generations.

So, when we talk about a ruleset being "inclusive", as far as I have seen that's largely been about representation. But I have a strong suspicion that there's far more than that here.

Let us take just one example. We can look back at the basic implied story of OD&D and 1e, the original "old school game" story - a person starts with little power, and by hook, crook, and/or violence and use of squad-level wargaming, acquires treasure from others, growing powerful until they gather an army or group of followers and become rulers of a populated area of land as a right of their accrued wealth and might.

I'm saying that fundamental story may not be all that appealing or relatable, to, say, a queer 17 year old woman in the US today.

And it is not enough to say the game "can be played" in many ways. As an entry point, the appealing way ought to be basically the bleedingly obvious, default way the system encourages you to go by its construction. New players should not have to work out how to make the system do what they want - they should have a system that just does it naturally, right out of the box.
 


Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Yeah, but... we have a long history of doing so.



Oh, they should be able to sure. I agree 100%. That's not my point.

I'm saying that folks who are asking if OSR is a good entry point to RPGs shouldn't expect them to be so any more. Old school games were an entry point for some people, decades ago. Don't expect them to be a good entry point, for different people, in a different time, just because of that history.

Different people, in a different time, are likely to be better served by a different entry point. If they do find them a good entry point, that is awesome. But I wouldn't put my money on it being the preferred one.



My experience back in the day was seeing lots of gamers throwing around homophobic slurs. My understanding from queer friends is that back in the day the overall culture of gamers was not welcoming.
Oh jesus. You start with the canard that OSR means actual older editions, instead of some of the very cool newer games out today that are extremely modern in approach and style, and end with comparing the expectations of older editions being welcoming to actual cases of homophobic slurs. How ridiculous a thing to say!
 

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