The opposite of OSR


Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
OSR is light mechanics, light rules, and heavy DM rulings.
NSR would be heavy mechanics, heavy rules, and and light DM rulings. So 3.X

Newer school rennesaince would be streamlined mechanics, standardized rules, and and heavy player ruling. So 4e, Fate, PBTA, and stuff like that.
That's an interesting point. NSR has already happened...?

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Hmm, I always thought that FATE's ad-hoc aspects are basically "rulings", just with a vague roll beforehand.

I don't think there's a real 180 degree opposite of an actual OSR game that's a real TTRPG. The OSR playstyle isn't that radically different from anything else, as much as some adherents interpret it. Even if you'd gather the polar opposites of most elements together in a exaggeratedly different game, you'd still have too much in common. But sadly, isn't that how it's with a lot of things that are considered opposites. Freud's narcissism of small differences comes to mind...

Having said that, let's construct some fictitious "foes":

Non-D&D-Renaissance: Pick an old game (80s?) that's considered to be a prior antipode of D&D and revitalize that. I guess that means that everyone's building their own GURPS-like point-buy systems now. Instead of arguing about unusable thieves, we'll be arguing about the validity of psychological Disadvantages.

Closed School Renaissance - The OSR happened because of the open licensing of D&D's whole heritage. So this would be the piracy version of this. Not that everyone making their own Palladium rip-off would be fundamentally different, apart from having a much higher acronym ratio.

Old School Dark Ages - The great empire of D&D has fallen, everyone's playing, I dunno, Tunnels & Trolls because it has a cute manga version? No D20s are manufactured anymore, a few monk-like individuals are gathering with almost spherical Zocchi dice and handwritten copies of faded TSR books.

Amazon School Renaissance - There's no DM but Alexa! There's neither rules nor rulings, there's only what the machine intelligence gathered from a billion Twitch streams. Your Prime attribute determines everything. Drones bring refreshments. Games will have winners and losers, so better make your saving rolls or you'll end up working in the Mazes of Bezos!

Oldest School Renaissance: Pick a D&D "predecessor" and get way too excited about this. Might involve dressing up like Prussian warmongers.


Staff member


It's not like there's only two kinds of RPGs that are completely different and contradictory, so talking about opposites doesn't make sense.

But what the term olschool was meant to contrast against when it was introduced was D&D 3rd and 4th edition specifically. Though it then expanded to not just cover mechanics, but also the general approach to campaigns and adventures, so it generally means pre-Dragonlance D&D, in contrast to post-Dragonlance D&D.


OSR and Story (Now)/Narrative Games or however you label the latter (e.g., Fate, Cortex, PbtA, etc.) have more in common than many think because they were both counter-responses to Traditional play and GM authorship of the “story.”


Mod Squad
Staff member
So, what do YOU think is the opposite of OSR?

A myth arising from how individuals polarize discussion by having a personal need to "win".

Overall, the real world of games is not made of simple axes with everything having a polar opposite. Pizza is not "opposite" salad, and salad is not "opposite" ice cream. "Different" does not mean "opposite".

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