What makes a game OSR?

Copy/paste the same game over and over again, adding a handful of underbaked things that could have just been a smaller supplement to the original.

Its a fine game to play for sure, but it is rather stale.
 

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Generally, but not always:

  • Lower HP all around.
  • Less access to healing.
  • More basic fantasy races as PCs (elves, dwarfs, etc). Less "modern" ones (dragonborn, tiefling).
  • More dungeons.
  • No "at will" spell casting.
  • Lack of a universal skill system.
  • More poison, less disease.
  • THACO, or some variant where lower AC is better.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
There’s a lot to the OSR scene. For starters it’s not limited to D&D clones. It’s also not limited to fantasy, either. There are Traveller clones, like the Cepheus Engine games.

For D&D-likes, The Principia Apocrypha is one main playstyle resource. A Quick Primer for Old-School Gaming is another.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Copy/paste the same game over and over again, adding a handful of underbaked things that could have just been a smaller supplement to the original.

Its a fine game to play for sure, but it is rather stale.
I don't know if that is your experience or your assumption. But I can assure you is not the case. Most of what you're saying is a person thing, not a game thing. No one I've played with plays like that since we were preteens.
 

I don't know if that is your experience or your assumption. But I can assure you is not the case. Most of what you're saying is a person thing, not a game thing. No one I've played with plays like that since we were preteens.

I believe you misunderstood me. I was not talking about playstyle
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I believe you misunderstood me. I was not talking about playstyle
What you described is playstyle. It's describing a personal preference and is subjective. I've played 1e as my preferred edition from 1981 to 2012, and since the mid 80s, we didn't cut and past the same over and over again. That's based on how you (general you) play your games, and we didn't play that way. In fact, the 80s was all about mix-mashing weird stuff together and never doing the same thing twice lol. The rest? Underbaked and stale? That's like, just your opinion man.
 

Oligopsony

Explorer
OSR-Style Roleplay involves common agreement over intent (with everyone agreeing that imagined events will unfold according to in-world logic) authority (with players controlling their characters’ actions, and the GM controlling the rest, and also making judgment calls about the unfolding of events) and interfacing (focusing on particular physical places, objects, and actions). This leads to a distinct style of play that is good for creative problem-solving and immersion, while eschewing some otherwise popular tools to ensure that challenges will be balanced, dramatic questions resolved in a satisfying way, or characters are a vehicle for self-expression.
 

What you described is playstyle. It's describing a personal preference and is subjective. I've played 1e as my preferred edition from 1981 to 2012, and since the mid 80s, we didn't cut and past the same over and over again. That's based on how you (general you) play your games, and we didn't play that way. In fact, the 80s was all about mix-mashing weird stuff together and never doing the same thing twice lol. The rest? Underbaked and stale? That's like, just your opinion man.

I was talking about the game rules themselves and the vast bulk of OSR games being heavily derivitive of if not outright copies of at most 3 or 4 systems, which arguably are all already copies of each other to begin with.

Literally nothing you are talking about is what I was talking about.
 

You have to remember that you probably aren’t the first dm someone has has. Maybe not even the tenth. And it’s a two way street. Many dms refuse to trust the players as well.

And there are levels of trust. I struggle with a lot of new players trying to be cagey about their goals when declaring actions because they’ve obviously been bitten in the past by various dms.

So they’ll declare an action that I’m not really sure the reason of so they can then declare the next step and so on until they reach their goal.

Breaking players of that habit is difficult. I constantly have to ask players what they’re trying to do so I can just skip all the overly detailed minutiae that they are only doing because of their previous gaming experiences.

And I really don’t blame them for it.
 

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