OSR publishers converting their own content

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
In the interim, @Bill Zebub, I think the best bet is to ask for specific conversions of OSR content, where needed, on the Shadowdark Facebook group or Discord. Offering a conversion document might be legally tricky without the express permission or participation of the publisher of the content you want converted, but I suspect fans doing the work piecemeal is fine for all involved, so long as you're OK with storing all the conversions in a Google Doc for yourself, or something.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Would it make economic sense for publishers of OSR games to convert their content (adventures, settings) to other OSR systems? A lot of them already do this to support 5e, but I'm specifically thinking about supporting other...yes, competing...OSR games for three reasons:
  1. The conversion is probably/usually quicker and simpler, both mechanically and conceptually
  2. The "flavor" of the adventures might appeal more to OSR fans
  3. Players of other OSR games might both be more aware of the offerings
I assume one of the reasons this doesn't happen very often is that the publishers, understandably, want to make their own core product more desirable, not enable their competitors. But I wonder to what extent this actually achieves that. I, for one, am not going to switch from my preferred system (Shadowdark) to another OSR system just because I want to run their adventures. I might buy their product and convert it myself, but I would much more likely to buy it if it were already converted. Not just to save me the work, but to save me the trouble of cross-referencing two sources. (Dolmenwood is the specific example I'm thinking of here. I'm very interested in it, but am still sitting on the fence. But I would pounce on a Shadowdark port in a heartbeat.)

So not porting the content isn't going to get me to buy the core system, but porting it would increase the likelihood of me at least buying their supplements.

Thoughts?
A lot of OSR content is largely compatible with other OSR content as it is, so honestly I'm sure it's necessary.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I will agree that when the only conversion needed is HP/AC/Attacks is trivial to do so. (Although I do see a sort of contradiction between simultaneous claims that "it's ridiculously trivial to convert" and "it's not worth the effort to do so".)
I don't think it's contradictory when you factor in that it's a matter of scale. Is it easy to do one monster? Sure. 200? That's pretty time consuming. And it's not the conversion that's a problem, it the layout. Good gawd is that tedious.
 

Waller

Legend
There's really no need IMO why I would convert everything from Chromatic Dungeons to OSE. All four of these are pretty much compatible with each other with little or no effort.
As somebody not in the 'OSR' community I've always wondered... so, genuine question-- what's the point? Why are hundreds of people producing the same near-identical system? What's the point?

I get 'sci-fi version' of the system, or a licensed IP version, but what's the motivation behind a hundred fantasy clones of the same game, all competing with each other, but all compatible?

I look at 5E and there are thousands of 5E-powered or 5E-compatible stuff, and 5E settings, and 5E supplements, but clones? There's only 2 off the top of my head. Level Up and Kobold Press. Maybe there's a couple more, but that's not the point. What's the point of so many similar OSR games*?

And I'm saying they're similar because *they say that, or at least that's the message their marketing has communicated to me. I've not really looked at them, mainly because they seem to represent themselves as all the same, and I have some old D&D stuff already.
 

A lot of OSR systems use HD as a measure of conversion so that you if you know the HD of a creature you can derive or look up all other relevant stats. Games like Knave and Whitehack are explicit about this. Other games like Cairn are harder to convert, but the authors include conversions of common monsters.
 


As somebody not in the 'OSR' community I've always wondered... so, genuine question-- what's the point? Why are hundreds of people producing the same near-identical system? What's the point?

I get 'sci-fi version' of the system, or a licensed IP version, but what's the motivation behind a hundred fantasy clones of the same game, all competing with each other, but all compatible?

I look at 5E and there are thousands of 5E-powered or 5E-compatible stuff, and 5E settings, and 5E supplements, but clones? There's only 2 off the top of my head. Level Up and Kobold Press. Maybe there's a couple more, but that's not the point. What's the point of so many similar OSR games*?

And I'm saying they're similar because *they say that, or at least that's the message their marketing has communicated to me. I've not really looked at them, mainly because they seem to represent themselves as all the same, and I have some old D&D stuff already.
I think DIY homebrew is very important to people in the OSR. Everyone has their own house rules that turn into a house system, and eventually some of those get published.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
As somebody not in the 'OSR' community I've always wondered... so, genuine question-- what's the point? Why are hundreds of people producing the same near-identical system? What's the point?
@Malmuria mentions it, and it is a factor. A lot of us old schoolers are homebrewers. Kinda had to in the early days, as there wasn't the internet and there wasn't a ton of material, so we created our own.

Most people put out clones for one of two reasons:
1. To clone their favorite edition faithfully, and make it accessible to others. (OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords&Wizardy)
2. To create their own fantasy heartbreaker. Their favorite edition with their own changes. Most people are this one.

When I did Chromatic Dungeons, I didn't set out to do either. Not really. I mean, sure, I took my favorite parts of 1e, 2e, and b/x. And sure, I used some modern mechanics like ascending AC. But the main reason was because those older editions were presented pretty exclusionary. As much as I love them, pretty much every PC was depicted as a white male. Most women were in chain mail bikinis. Everyone was heteronormalized. They just didn't seem all that welcoming to minority gamers. So I hired a bunch of underrepresented artists and editors, and put out an old school game that was presented as being inclusive. I did so because a) I love those old games and wanted to share them with newer gamers or gamers who otherwise wouldn't feel drawn to them, and b) to be a countervoice to all the toxic voices in the OSR. As a fan of the OSR, I need to be a good steward, and stand up against the other loud voices who are exclusionary. Of which there are many. The OSR has gotten a reputation and I'm pretty disappointed about that.
 

Waller

Legend
Most people put out clones for one of two reasons:
1. To clone their favorite edition faithfully, and make it accessible to others. (OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords&Wizardy)
2. To create their own fantasy heartbreaker. Their favorite edition with their own changes. Most people are this one.
Yes, yes. I know what they do. They’re very vociferous about it. Hard to miss… over and over again with near identical games.

My question was why?
 

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