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D&D General Why is "OSR style" D&D Fun For You?

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
--- the world is out to kill me dead, my job is to survive. Odds are I won't; but if I do it's glorious. :)
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I hadn't heard. That's a shame. Thanks for the update.
It's a really sad situation. It seems that, as they began working together just as friends, they never really formalized ownership over the IP. As they became successful, co-ownership came to be in dispute. Mun Kao, the artist who has official ownership, is just shutting the whole thing down. It has definite Gygax/Arneson vibes to me; I'm sure there are countless other examples. I've seen other examples where kickstarter money doesn't get distributed fairly in a team, but this is different because they were friends, and were doing something pretty special in the hobby imo.
 

I very much love the style of the Players Role Playing the game for REAL. They have to think of things, solve problems and interact with the world. All for REAL. Very little "i roll and my character does something" while the player just check out.

Where a players is focused on being a player controlling a character in the game world. And nothing, or very little more.

I love the Zero to Hero path. Where a character starts out as a normal person and must build themselves into something more.

Dangerous situations feel dangerous. The game is all about Character life and death.

Resource management. It matters.

Exploration with worldbuilding.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Compared to modern D&D and crunchier games, during OSR games I see more player faces up and interacting, rather than looking down at their sheets. The “answers” are in their own creativity to a greater degree, rather than a solution decided during chargen. And the unfolding story is as important or more important than the elaborate backstory or character “build.”

Tl;dr Faces up & emergent play.
 

DammitVictor

Trust the Fungus
Supporter
I am a bit of a weird outlier in the whole OSR movement, because while I cut my teeth on "early Eighties D&D" (in the early Nineties) I didn't learn anything like the grim-and-gritty dungeoncrawling style of the modern OSR. Our adventures were full of barbarians and monks with psionic wild talents, shapeshifting martial arts gunslingers, and crossovers with Buck Rogers and Gamma World. My first copy of Deities & Demigods (first printing, with Cthulhu and Melnibone) was worthless on the secondhand market because more than half of the deities & demigods in it had their names, pictures, and statblocks crossed out with permanent marker.

For me, what I love about the OSR is the combination of agency and power. People like to complain about the proliferation of kewl powerz in WotC/Paizo D&D (and not without merit) but the power to crawl into a hole and kills monsters for the gold and XP to crawl into a bigger hole to kill bigger monsters for the platinum and XP to crawl into even bigger holes and kill even bigger monsters for astral diamonds is still... just the power to crawl into a hole in the ground and kill monsters. Only the numbers change.

In old school D&D and the OSR, it's assumed that you crawl into those holes in the ground for personal reasons and that the money and power you drag back up to the surface is going to be used for those reasons. It's assumed that the magical and martial prowess you take into those holes in the ground translates into-- or can be parleyed into-- political and spiritual authority on the surface.

I learned to play D&D from before the era of campaign settings and adventure paths, when players and umpires only had the continuity of their own campaigns to contend with and not the canon of published products. Players decided what their objectives were, and players were free to win or lose because "the adventure" didn't have a predetermined end state that led into the next adventure. The whole campaign setting could change this adventure, because it didn't have to be returned to its original shrink-wrapped condition to get ready for the next adventure.

That's what I miss about old school D&D, and that's what I want to recreate in the OSR. I'm also a late TSR guy, and if you look at the Player's Option series (incuding DM's Option: High Level Campaigns), those however many (however you count them) books are the best tools for designing your D&D game the way you want it to run. The underlying AD&D rules themselves are unfortunate cruft, but this era of D&D and AD&D setting supplements and setting design supplements is the pinnacle of Dungeons & Dragons as Midwestern Folk Art.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I guess one if the things I miss about those early games, is that the current standard is to go from one adventure to the next, no one has downtime which let's people research spells, or they don't work towards a domain, or anything similar. People complain about having nothing to spend money on, back in the day you'd create a castle and get hirelings and form your own barony, or you'd build a tower and get some apprentices, or maybe you build a new temple or establish a thieves guilds. I kind of miss these things.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I guess one if the things I miss about those early games, is that the current standard is to go from one adventure to the next, no one has downtime which let's people research spells, or they don't work towards a domain, or anything similar. People complain about having nothing to spend money on, back in the day you'd create a castle and get hirelings and form your own barony, or you'd build a tower and get some apprentices, or maybe you build a new temple or establish a thieves guilds. I kind of miss these things.
The OSR games I use are explicitly focused on exactly those elements, and when I run Level Up I do everything I can to bring them forward. I'm not interested in the chain of encounter after encounter after encounter, where nothing changes but the scale.
 

Voadam

Legend
Details that might also be interesting to know is your history with D&D and whether you played Old School when they were new, as well as what games you started with at whatever age in whatever era. I know we skew a little older here (I am a GenX Metzner Boxed said kid myself) but it isn't universally true with forum users I don't think.
I started with 1e and B/X as a kid in 1981. I loved the evocative nature, the clear explanations, and the general gaming philosophy of B/X.

From Moldvay Basic page B60:

"Everyone is here to have fun." The DM should make the adventure seem as "real" to the players as possible. All should avoid getting stuck in long discussions about rules or procedures. The game should move along with humor, as well as excitement.

I loved the byzantine and baroque options of AD&D (lots of races, classes, spells, monsters, magic items). 2e has four 256 page encyclopedia volumes of collected wizard spells.

In 3e, 4e, and 5e I generally play and DM with the same general style that was developed in reading B/X and DMing AD&D, a big focus on immersion and making the game feel "real" to the players with both humor and excitement.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I started with 1e and B/X as a kid in 1981. I loved the evocative nature, the clear explanations, and the general gaming philosophy of B/X.

From Moldvay Basic page B60:

"Everyone is here to have fun." The DM should make the adventure seem as "real" to the players as possible. All should avoid getting stuck in long discussions about rules or procedures. The game should move along with humor, as well as excitement.

I loved the byzantine and baroque options of AD&D (lots of races, classes, spells, monsters, magic items). 2e has four 256 page encyclopedia volumes of collected wizard spells.

In 3e, 4e, and 5e I generally play and DM with the same general style that was developed in reading B/X and DMing AD&D, a big focus on immersion and making the game feel "real" to the players with both humor and excitement.
Yeah. I played 3e and 5e as much like I played the TSR editions as possible, which is maybe why I rarely if ever experienced the issues others have. I could not do this with 4e, which is a big part of why I bounced off of it.
 

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