Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Done With OSR Games

This will be concise and to the point: I am done with OSR games. Completely. I see absolutely no reason to play an OSR rpg (which is really just a thinly disguised term for D&D) over the real thing. Sure, there are a lot of things I dislike about AD&D and B/X, but that's what house rules are for. And honestly, nearly every fucking OSR game is nothing more than D&D with a few house rules typically pulled from other editions of the game or various resources on the internet. Which is exactly what we should be doing. The whole idea that these are new games, though, is getting on my nerves.

The original intent of Labyrinth Lord was to make available B/X for new gamers. B/X is out of print, and thus LL fills the void nicely. LL isn't an OSR game, though. It's a way to play B/X without having to find a copy somewhere. I dislike OSRIC, but it attempts to fill the absence of AD&D in the same way. It's also not an OSR game. Neither of these games attempts to pass itself off as something new. OSR games take what is essentially B/X or AD&D and add some stupid shit then call themselves a new game. It's absolutely asinine. The OSR is nothing more than a bunch of dudes who decided their house rules were so important they needed to be published, generally for money. And they can go fuck themselves. I don't care how original you think your OSR game is, if it has armor class and hit points and character classes you can suck a dick. That's not a new game whatsoever. I have yet to see one OSR game that innovated one thing at all. Oh I see, you added your own version of bards. Cool. I've personally made twenty versions in the past month, trying to figure out a happy medium between 1st and 2nd edition bards for my own AD&D game. Should I publish Bard: The Roleplaying Game? Might as well.

Fuck you, OSR.


  1. But we'll still see you at the next Hill Cantons game, right?

    We just should not call it Labyrinth Lord.

  2. I think we just call it "DnD" anyway--which is what I called C&C when I played it in Austin. So this means you are not going to buy a third hardcover copy of OSRIC?

  3. Screw you, Brad!

    I haven't been working on MY Bard-based roleplaying game with MY Advanced Rule Set Expansion™ for MY Brain-Bardⓒ psionic, soul-shredding-song-singer class for nothing.

    If you think you can foist your 'Bard: The Roleplaying Game' on a demographic that is too lazy or timid to home-brew an existing rule set, you've got another thing coming!

    I've spent the better part of the past 3 months just tweaking my Instrument Speed and Size Tables alone! (Have you even begun to considered the bonuses and penalties with regards to fret spacing on the neck of a lute? I didn't think so.)

    It is going to be completely METAL!!!

    I'm not only going to have the same old shit everyone else has to make them "feel" old-school, BUT (and this is where I can't lose...) I'll also have the best typography and d30 tables to generate song titles and chord progressions that you've ever seen for the bard character class in a $5.99 PDF.

    The clip art alone will curl your toes.

    You are going to meet your match with MY A.R.S.E.™, let me assure you.

  4. ...nothing more than a bunch of dudes who decided their house rules were so important they needed to be published, generally for money.

    You've just described the majority of the RPG industry post-OD&D 1974.

  5. So much for that new years resolution.

  6. ...nothing more than a bunch of dudes who decided their house rules were so important they needed to be published, generally for money.

    You've just described the majority of the RPG industry post-OD&D 1974

    How can you all say such a thing? If your beloved D&D had been published after the first fantasy rpg (which might have been Runequest, for instance), would you utter this phrase notwithstanding?
    "In that case your phrase would sound like this:
    You've just described the majority of the RPG industry post-Runequest 1974".

    I respect your opinion, but i really cannot understand why a person is not willing, under any circumstances, to admit the unique peculiarity of ALL the other fantasy rpg's which appeared after d&d, wanting to reduce them all to little more than nothing or to a sort of parody of d&d.

  7. But tell us how you really feel... :D

  8. I agree, but when you start trying to find what you want to play, and nothing is quite right, so you decide to make some changes, and you do all this work, why not just. . .

  9. This is what happens when you hang out with hooligans like Kutalik!

  10. I have mixed feelings here. My entire game collection was lost in a fire recently, so having things like Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, and S&W has been a real boon to me. Plus the fact that the writers behind those titles acknowledge that what they are doing is not original and they make it freely available, helps my feelings about them. On the other hand, there are those (LotFP, C&C, Spellcraft & Swordplay) that, to me, violate the spirit of the OSR. With LotFP the editions of D&D they ape are still widely available. On top of that, they do have the attitude that their house rules makes their "game" a unique snowflake. All three place themselves above their source material by not only ignoring their obvious debt to the source, but by not making it freely available. If that's the way they want to make a living, fine, run with it. Just don't associate it in any way with the OSR.

  11. To be fair to Raggi (yes, I'm surprised that I actually mean that), LotFP is available as a free (no art) download.

    It has been my thinking that the OSR isn't about innovation, it's about preserving the past. What is 'the spirit of the OSR' supposed to be? Honestly, is there a commonly accepted definition of OSR that someone can show me?

  12. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

    -- A. N. Whitehead, Process and Reality, 1929

    I'm sure everyone can do the mutatis mutandis.

    It's still fun to read the footnotes sometimes, though.

  13. For every Runequest there were a couple hundred Spawn of Fashans. There is so much crap out there and very few good games (Labyrinth Lord I fully support, Scribe). Again, it's not about making new games, it's about publishing a bunch of shit that really offers nothing besides new, crappy art and poorly edited text.

  14. Are we Mr. Grumpy-Face today?

    Honestly I'm not keen on the Cult of D&D, either, inside or outside the OSR. However, I'm a fan of 'Lamentations of the Flame Princess' (game and company) because it takes the old rules -- with some important tweaks -- and puts a darker spin on them. 'Crypts & Things' does something similar: Swords & Wizardry slanted toward dark swords & sorcery, not the usual Tolkien For Dummies.

    Do you have similar vitriol for OpenQuest or Legend? They aren't writing new games, just retreading everything Chaosium wrote with a few tweaks. How about all these FATE games that keep popping up? Why do we need FATE at all when Fudge is on the net for free?

    As noted above, every game is a riff on some previous game. Or is a matter of other people cashing in on their house rules, and you're not?

  15. As DIY gamer, I find it refreshing to see all these OSR game out there, as there are a lot to cannibalize for my own games. More over, I like seeing everyone's take on the old game books. Where you see a lazy-ass cut-and-paste project, I see as a form of art and expression. I like to open up an OSR and look at the art, the new rules and see the different take on things. Although I do agree with you on the issue of money, as I like to see them have more access to people, and those free "art-free" books suck - it like seeing the Mona Lisa with a black bar over her mouth, or having a hard-boiled egg without salt! If you made a "Bard" game that is interesting, uniquely made and is a free download (publishing is a whole other thing), then I would be quite interested in seeing it.

  16. @Malcadon

    Good art costs. Big blank spaces may ruin the layout, but giving away a product in which one has invested a great deal of time and effort is just stupid. Take a look at LotFP's 'Carcosa' or 'Isle of the Unknown': products that well crafted -- either cross-referenced PDFs or bound books on high-grade paper -- deserve compensation. They can also attract new players in a way badly-proofread but free-as-in-beer PDFs on somebody's web site can't.


    The "envy" card was a low blow, I admit ... but telling other people not to publish because they're writing "crap" and hurting the cause pisses me off no end. The "Stop. Making. Games." post on the Your Business Sucks blog is yet another example.

  17. Hey! Hey! No dissing the Spawn of Fashan! :D

    I knew a guy who had one of the original copies. We were absolutely convinced it was a parody.

  18. Hi --

    I'm confused about your OSRIC comment, here. Isn't it pretty much AD&D 1e with better layout and tighter (more boring) prose, i.e. Advanced Labyrinth Lord?

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