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The opposite of OSR

Jack Daniel

Engines & Empires
As ever, I won't speak to the OSR per se, but the old-school play-style to me is the Lake Geneva/Twin Cities style: the persistent, living, open-world campaign. The "story" of the game is the story of the game world, not any fixed band of protagonists. The only fixture is the DM and their setting: players and characters come and go from what is effectively a "massively multiplayer offline RPG."

The opposite of that is any game, be it trad or indie, that plays out a linear "JRPG on the tabletop," with plot points, character arcs, a BBEG, and an ending. The cast of player characters is the fixture here; the game-world is incidental, sometimes interchangeable, possibly even disposable.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
The prior assertions were that Fate was a narrative game with a strong a implication that it was also rules lite based on the subject of the thread. I offered Dresden Files as a counterpoint. I'm not sure what's surprising about that.

In addition, it was explicitly stated that what divided traditional from narrative games was the capacity for the player to state a fact and the GM not having any ability to mitigate that. By its own rules, Fate explicitly does not work that way, which I pointed out. I'm not sure what's surprising about that.

That players get to narrate some stuff that happens in the game can't be the definition of a "narrative game" because literally every RPG ever explicitly allows players to narrate stuff. So it has to be something else. Fate has systemetized the process but it still isn't anything different than what has happened in every D&D game ever since 1974.

Player: I fire a flaming arrow at the hay piles the bandits are hiding behind in the stables so they catch fire.
DM: Roll to hit. [Success] Okay, the hay catches fire and now there's smoke and flame everywhere.
Player: Great. [To other players] Let's use the smoke for cover to get out of here!

That is literally no different than Fate's "create advantage." There just weren't words for it in 1974.
The players have no ability to narrate stuff happening -- that's not what your example shows. Your example shows the player's asking if it's okay to set the hay on fire and the GM permitting it with a test. That's not narrating, it's asking the GM. The second part, where the players try to use the smoke to escape? Again, this is asking the GM for permission to do this, and to adjudicate in the players' favor. There's nothing at all binding on the GM in your example here.

However, in FATE, the move to create an aspect in the scene of "on fire" is a move the GM cannot refuse, only challenge. And, on a success, the move works as the player intends and this distinction is set -- the GM cannot gainsay this. This is because final word on the rules is not authority to ignore them, but instead final say in case of a conflict about what the rules mean -- it's for breaking stalemates when the table has no consensus on how the rule works in this situation, or for breaking stalemate when a move may violate genre conventions. The GM is not free to negate a legitimate move in FATE. Further, once the aspect is established, the GM cannot gainsay a successful leveraging of the aspect -- he's bound to honor the escape if it successfully leverages the "on fire" scene tag.

What you're doing here is imagining a series of events, which can happen in both games, and saying that they are therefore the same. This isn't true, though, because the way you get through those events is different. If we accept that same series means same game, then pretty much any game falls to this comparison -- I can create a similar set of events in just about any RPG out there, including Dread, Kids on Bikes, Blades in the Dark, Monsterhearts, Fiasco, My Life with Master, etc, etc. It's a very thin argument -- wafer thin, even. So thin that the diner could safely eat it, even while stuffed.
 

pemerton

Legend
Fate has systemetized the process but it still isn't anything different than what has happened in every D&D game ever since 1974.

Player: I fire a flaming arrow at the hay piles the bandits are hiding behind in the stables so they catch fire.
DM: Roll to hit. [Success] Okay, the hay catches fire and now there's smoke and flame everywhere.
Player: Great. [To other players] Let's use the smoke for cover to get out of here!

That is literally no different than Fate's "create advantage." There just weren't words for it in 1974.
I was going to give a full reply to this but @Ovinomancer did that: in your example the catching fire and the use of smoke as cover are both dependent upon GM decision-making; in Fate they're not.

I don't know Fate very well, and so now will turn to MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic. It's nearest analogue to "create an advantage" is the action to create an Asset. A recurring burden, in D&D play, on the creation of advantages in action scenes (especially combat) is that they suck up the action economy and yet don't directly contribute to success conditions (especially hp attrition). In MHRP, though, victory does not occur by attrition - harm and debuffs are measured in dice size, and if a new harm or debuff is inflicted of the same or smaller size the existing condition steps up one size, while if the new harm or debuff is larger in size then it replaces the existing one. This means that one-shot victories are possible, if the dice pool and resulting roll is generous enough; and adding Assets into the dice pool is a way to achieve this.

So not only does the game have a process besides GM decides to allows advantages to be created, but its broader resolution framework encourages this as a valid approach rather than having a high risk of action economy inefficiency. This did not exist in 1974, and I'm not even persuaded anyone had thought about it as an issue in RPG design.
 

Aldarc

Legend
The prior assertions were that Fate was a narrative game with a strong a implication that it was also rules lite based on the subject of the thread. I offered Dresden Files as a counterpoint. I'm not sure what's surprising about that.
You should have offered Dresden Files RPG as a counterpoint to the person who made the argument rather than to me. If you are responding to me, then you should be engaging my post and not to someone else's. I am not that other person. Don't respond to me as if I were another person making that other argument. I'm not sure what is surprising about expecting that people showcase basic netiquette, Reynard.

Dresden Files RPG and Spirit of the Century represent the 3rd edition of Fate. Fate Core/Accelerated/Condensed are all the 4th edition versions of the game. Fate Condensed can even be thought of as (quintessentially) the polished version of Fate Core going forward. Fundamentally all contemporaneous versions and iterations of the game all use 4th Edition as the basis for their games, and the latter are generally what most people are talking about when discussing Fate.

This is not to say that they are not rules heavy Fate games (e.g., upcoming Chronicles of the Future Earth by Sarah Newton), but, rather, that the core game mostly isn't particularly mechanically heavy in common practice. Fate Accelerated is approximately 50 pages, and Fate Condensed is less than 70 pages. Dresden Files Accelerated is much lighter than Dresden Files RPG, though still crunchier than standard Fate Accelerated due to the addition of ritual magic and playbook-like Mantles. But the core gameplay is pretty narrative focused, and I think that attempting to circumvent that through arguing "Aspects notwithstanding" dismisses a fairly significant part of how that narrative and fiction first play transpires through the creation of and interaction with fictional tags.

In addition, it was explicitly stated that what divided traditional from narrative games was the capacity for the player to state a fact and the GM not having any ability to mitigate that. By its own rules, Fate explicitly does not work that way, which I pointed out. I'm not sure what's surprising about that.
First, I'm not particularly interested in what someone else explicitly stated other than what you have explicitly stated.

By its own rules, Fate explicitly applies "fiction first" principles. If someone is stating a fact or something about the fiction that causes the GM to say "no," it's generally the result of incongruent fiction or indication that the fiction needs to be negotiated at the table among the participants. Similarly, PbtA games generally work by "say yes or roll the dice," but a GM would likely still say "ummm....no..." if a player in the middle of an open prairie said, "I swing from the chandelier" because there is likely some misaligned fiction at play here. I don't think it's a reasonable conclusion, therefore, to assert that PbtA is a Traditional game.

If you are declaring a story fact or detail as a player, then this requires invoking an Aspect. Generally when I see this rule criticized or misused, the person ignores the fact that it has to be tied to one of the PC's Aspect. So a GM saying "no" in this regard usually means that either (1) the rule isn't being followed or (2) it lies outside of the plausible scope of the fiction. If it's the latter, then Fate also says that the GM may ask the player to revise their story detail. But the latter is also different than a flat out "no."

Again, the fact that the GM is the final arbiter of the rules does not somehow determine whether a game is a narrative game or not. The GM is the final arbiter of the rules in Cortex Prime, Powered by the Apocalypse, and Forged in the Dark games as well, but these games also lean more towards what people often regard as more narrative-focused games than traditional games. I think that one of the key points for what people often regard as narrative focused games is ability for players to negotiate the fiction with the GM, whether as a result of game mechanics or stated game principles, with the acknowledgment that the distinction between rules and principles can be be quite blurry for games (and sports).

That players get to narrate some stuff that happens in the game can't be the definition of a "narrative game" because literally every RPG ever explicitly allows players to narrate stuff. So it has to be something else. Fate has systemetized the process but it still isn't anything different than what has happened in every D&D game ever since 1974.
If Fate was as Traditional of a game as you say, I doubt that we would see so many people who prefer Traditional games like D&D constantly complain about Fate being different from their preferred play style (e.g., Old School, Traditional, Neo-Traditional, etc.) as much as they do, particularly on this forum. The difference between the games amounts to more than players getting to narrate stuff. A big part of those differences is how, why, and where as well as the respective power balance of GM and players in this regard. So I don't think that your superificial comparisons are particularly helpful or insightful.

Player: I fire a flaming arrow at the hay piles the bandits are hiding behind in the stables so they catch fire.
DM: Roll to hit. [Success] Okay, the hay catches fire and now there's smoke and flame everywhere.
Player: Great. [To other players] Let's use the smoke for cover to get out of here!

That is literally no different than Fate's "create advantage." There just weren't words for it in 1974.
@Ovinomancer did a good job of addressing this rectionistic comparison already.
 

pemerton

Legend
PbtA games generally work by "say yes or roll the dice,"
I agree with the general tenor of your post, but did want to pick up on this. I don't know anything like the full corpus of PbtA games. But at least in Apocalypse World, the basic principles for adjudication are if you do it, you do it and to do it, do it. That is to say, if you declare actions that invoke a move then the move is resolved; otherwise the conversation continues and when it's not clear who says what happens next the GM does, typically making a soft move but making a hard move if a player presents a golden opportunity to do so.

On these boards I think @Campbell has given the strongest analysis of how this gives AW a "feel" in play that is different from (say) Burning Wheel, or 4e D&D, the first of which expressly and the second at least implicitly advocates "say 'yes' or roll the dice". For instance, it makes player intention slightly less central to action resolution or at least gives it a different function: in BW, if the action and its intent don't bear upon anything that matters (as determined by PC Beliefs, Instincts and Traits) then that is the time to say 'yes'; whereas in AW, if my PC is trying to act in a dangerous situation or under pressure then I have to roll to act under fire regardless of what is at stake.

I think in this way PbtA games are slightly less different from OSR play than is (say) Burning Wheel or Prince Valiant.
 

Yora

Hero
I think rolls in AW are not primarily to see if an attempted action happens or not. They are really there to determine what happens next in response to an action.
In AW, you don't have to roll to hit and injure an enemy. What the roll does is determine how bad your enemy and you get hurt in the process, an how it changes the circumstances of the fight.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think rolls in AW are not primarily to see if an attempted action happens or not. They are really there to determine what happens next in response to an action.
In AW, you don't have to roll to hit and injure an enemy. What the roll does is determine how bad your enemy and you get hurt in the process, an how it changes the circumstances of the fight.
That would depend on the fictional situation, wouldn't it? A result of a 6 or down on a Seize by Force check might be that a weapon breaks, or is out of ammunition. Or it might be taking harm without inflicting any. Different circumstances would invite different moves from the MC.

EDIT: I have trouble with the implied contrast between (i) seeing if an attempted action happens or not and (ii) determining what happens next and changing the circumstances in the shared fiction.

If succeeding on an attempted action doesn't change the circumstances of the shared fiction and determine what happens next, then what was the check for? Even in an OSR context, successful actions change the circumstances: now the door is open; now the players know where they are in the dungeon; now the trap is disarmed; etc. The focus of OSR play is often pretty narrow - an obsessive concern with a rather artificial sort of geography and architecture - but within the confines of that focus action declarations change things.
 
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Yora

Hero
Not in Apocalypse World. If you make something that counts as Seize by Force (you generally fight to win something, not to kill someone) both you and the enemy take damage according to your weapon, and additional nice things happen which you can choose from:
  • Reduce the damage you take.
  • Increase the damage the enemy takes.
  • Secure your hold on the object or location you tried to control.
  • Scare the enemy.
The roll you make only determines if you can get 3, 2, or 1 of these.

The only way to negate harm for either you or your enemy is through sufficient armor. You could lose your weapon after that when you roll to see how the harm you take messes you up, but this is after you hit your enemy.
 

pemerton

Legend
Not in Apocalypse World. If you make something that counts as Seize by Force (you generally fight to win something, not to kill someone) both you and the enemy take damage according to your weapon, and additional nice things happen which you can choose from:
  • Reduce the damage you take.
  • Increase the damage the enemy takes.
  • Secure your hold on the object or location you tried to control.
  • Scare the enemy.
The roll you make only determines if you can get 3, 2, or 1 of these.

The only way to negate harm for either you or your enemy is through sufficient armor. You could lose your weapon after that when you roll to see how the harm you take messes you up, but this is after you hit your enemy.
You seem to be neglecting the possibility of a 6 or lower result. Here's the example of a missed roll on Seize by Force, on pp 195-96 of the rulebook:

Marie wants her violation glove back from Birdie, so she punches her in the face. She misses the roll, so I make as hard a move as I like. Birdie’s a threat, a mind*er; she craves mastery. I choose one of the grotesques’ threat moves: she seizes and holds someone, which snowballs immediately into turning one of Marie’s moves back on her. “Dude, Marie, she catches your arm and twists it behind you and remember that she’s wearing the violation glove,” I say. “You can feel her in your brain, she’s like tearing through your personal things in there. Did she already know about you and Roark?” “Oh *. She knew I liked him, but she didn’t know I was trying to get pregnant by him.” “Really! I didn’t know that either. That’s GREAT.”​

There are possible hard moves other than turning a move back on a player. I gave examples of taking away their stuff. Inflicting harm would be another, but isn't the only option.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
Given how hard it is to define OSR, defining an opposite to OSR seems quite ambitious. Although if you take the most basic attitude, one supported by what nearly all of the 11st wave of OSR products being clones of old versions of D&D, then the opposites of OSR are 3rd and 4th edition D&D as shown in the Edition Wars.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What's the opposite of OSR? In general tone, I can think of:

--- unkillable or plot-protected PCs (e.g. player permission is required to kill a PC)
--- same players play the same party of PCs for the whole campaign i.e. little or no in-campaign turnover of either PCs or players
--- one character per player; no henches, backups, etc.
--- players expect mechanical benefits/support for quirks, characterizations and traits of a PC
--- short, fast campaigns where level-ups or power-ups fly at you faster than you can catch them
--- greatly diminished (or even zero) chance of outright PC failure, both on the micro (cf. fail-forward) and macro scale
--- players able to use metagame mechanics (e.g. Plot Points, fate points, etc.) or straight narration to influence* in-game fiction
--- PC resource management (e.g. ammo, rations, encumbrance, even finances) is nonexistent, or nearly so
--- expendable PC resources e.g. hit points, spell slots, etc. are quickly and very easily recovered, and there's more of them to start with
--- design-side discouragement against tweaking the rules or kitbashing the system to make the game your own
--- combat as sport

* - always to their advantage, of course.

Howzat for a start? :)
 


Aldarc

Legend
I can't believe we spilt so much digital ink over this question. It's really quite simple. If we take it that A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on, then O-S-R is 15-19-18. If we reverse the alpha-numeric correspondence of this cipher, then 18-19-15 becomes L-H-I. So the opposite of OSR is clearly LHI. We just have to determine what LHI stands for.
 




Quoted from Disgruntled Hobbit.

So, what do YOU think is the opposite of OSR?

I don't know much about 2nd edition pathfinder, but I do think that one of the things the OSR defined itself against was mainstream D&D in the 2000s (there are other things as well but that is one of the big ones) and pathfinder seems like a continuation of the trajectory of 3E. I think it really depends, but two areas leap to mind as being very different from a lot of OSR inspired stuff: the complexity and comprehensiveness of the rules of pathfinder and the tendency towards more linear adventure paths (which again, I am not very familiar so I am not sure how accurate this characterization of pathfinder is at this point). Also the aesthetic is very much at the opposite end of the pole in terms of art.
 

The opposite of OSR is "what man
y of us actually did with the rules in the first decade of publication" - what the OSR describes is nothing like anything I've heard from people I know...

Key concepts like
  • "Rules as rules, not advice"
  • When in doubt, set a difficulty and roll the dice
  • "All your speechifying is in vain if the modified reaction roll is a failure."
  • D&D as a press-your-luck game
  • Rules Lawyering
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
A GM-less narrative story-telling environment, and sandbox where the players have total agency in using their meta-currency to create or change the setting.
 

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