Monday, October 17, 2011

Out of Style Role-playing

I keep seeing this OSR logo on many sites across the internet. Being the curious bloke that I am, I filed it in the back of my mind of things to read more on. Well, I made some time to research what this is really about. Many of you may know that OSR stands for 'Old School Revival'; it is a quasi-movement to return the gaming style of the golden days of RPGs, which is apparently from 1977-1884. This is also a floating date value depending on who you ask.

It appears that this amorphous effort was created due to dissension among the grognards at the new rule set (at the time it was 3rd edition) coupled by the fact that D&D gave these grognards the means to re-create the rule set of older editions, the Open Gaming License (OGL) and the System Reference Document (SRD).


So now we have a plethora of OD&D knock-offs. Now mind you, the ones that I found are free, so it is great credit to their creators. Unfortunately, I do not think it is for me. I liked 3rd edition and did not look for these references for the old D&D style. I believe that gaming with these systems will fall short of the original games I had back in my younger days. Why? One of the main reasons is that I am older now. I have been desensitized by my time on this planet and do not hold the world in wonder as I once did. A mad grasp at my childhood gaming would probably be an exercise in futility. Not that I would not be willing to try to game a little game with thee, but I just think old school gaming is not any better than any other gaming. As I always say, the best GM can make any game fun, and I have found the most fun is with games where we discover the rules.

So what's my point? Why rehash a bunch of information that others have already explained more thoughtfully and thoroughly than I have? Well, I discovered one small tidbit of information that I had not realized in the past. Some of you may have read my post on immersion versus mechanization called I Search the Dungeon for Anything. In it, I lamented how players interacted more with the world than in newer editions of the game, which seemed more to be a generalized attempt and allowing the rules to dictate the outcome of the actions. Looking at the revival rules it hit me... They don't have skills. This had been one of the driving points of character immersion. Players did not have a mechanic to gauge their own success at a given task; they were required to interact with their surroundings to determine if they would be successful at something.

So the question is, should we take skills out of the game, go back to 'proficiencies', or use something else entirely, like Collectible Card Abilities (groan)? I think that is something best discussed at a later date. I am curious as to what other people think: skills, class abilities, or just OSR in general

Further Reading

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