Monday, August 27, 2012

Ghosts of the OSR

Yes, the OSR is dead. I called that back in January when I was informed I was 'over reacting' to news that has been coming in a steady stream ever since. Remember...the guy everybody pissed on when he said 'hey, this is gonna screw everything up' guy.

First, there never WAS an OSR. A lot of people claimed it existed. One person even defined what IT was:

OSR Manifesto

"On the excellent Maximum Rock and Roleplay blog, Chad Thorson has given the OSR community a brilliant "OSR" logo.

Here is the logo cleaned up in high resolution format. As a community perhaps we could establish a manifesto that adjudicates the use of this logo.

You may freely use the OSR logo on your product given the following criteria:

The product is compatible with the original white box (or wood-grain box) edition of the worlds first and most famous fantasy RPG.

That's it.

I would go so far as to say Blue Box through 1st edition are in most ways an extension, and generally compatible with the original edition. Even 2nd and 3rd edition at least payed homage to the original. So the definition is fairly flexible.

As long as you hold to this criteria you can use this logo on your OSR product. What do you think?"

(Note the true creator of the logo and not a plagiarist who shall remain unnamed.)

Wow...that's not what the OSR is to me at about you?

That's when I saw the following and realized the difference.

This has graced many pages in this community and comes the closest to actual depicting what OSR might stand for:

"To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It [is] about going back to the roots of our hobby and see what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time."

Rob Conley - Bat In The Attic

I began to mark this as the OSS-Old School Style.

What is old school? Think for a second about this. A 21 year old persons' car breaks down and they pull off to the shoulder cursing loudly. They break out their cell phone and start crying into it.

New School

Now it's 30 years earlier. The car breaks down. You are in the middle of nowhere. You pop the hood, get your tools out of the trunk and start fixing the blown radiator hose. If you can't fix it it's a long walk.

Old School.

We live in the pre-chewed food era, when people have to be told what to buy or they are confused. Look at what brand confusion did for the 800 lb beast...4e or Essentials. Yeah, that worked out real well.

So well that they ARE MAKING ANOTHER ONE.

So what OSR was I talking about? The one that gave gaming back to the gamers. The one that acted as an umbrella to shade one from the glare of glossy page over bloated rule sets.

Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord

And many many more. The guys who had your back when the company who had control of your game turned theirs to you and ignored you.

The Publishers of systems both free and commercial that let you once again sit around a table and play a game with friends without breaking the bank buying 'collector' items or games that just weren't hitting the spot.

Think I'm the only one saying this?

NOW somebody gets it.

Who wants to buy an old 'clone' when you can get the REAL game? Right? And how long before they decide it is not in their corporate interest to continue selling the REAL game? Just as soon as the last of the competition closes up shop.

We had grown beyond the reach of the tentacled abomination that had tried to drag us down. We had our own show. Our own writers, artists, publishers and now the final bullet to the back of the head of the 'OSR' will be delivered by a digital gun, controlled by the company who started the problem in the first place.

The community is divided and deluded. They are not going to republish everything in book form. They have already said that. And they have already taken the pdf route and decided that doesn't work either, so what hoops do you have to jump through before you sit up nicely for your treat?

Good doggies...