Thursday, 21 August 2014

Why do I like OSR

I haven't posted a lot here yet, so I thought this could be a good crack to tell why I personally like OSR. That's what my blog mostly is about. In the context OSR means old-school Dungeons & Dragons, retro-clones, neo-clones and simulacrum games. So basically those games which use AC, HD and other basics. I do know that old-school can be more and is not restricted to only D&D and simulacrum but here in this posts context OSR is D&D and its children.

When I started gaming I didn't enjoy D&D that much. I already had played RuneQuest and Warhammer RPG and other games and when tried D&D felt it is restricted. Rules were simple, character classes were restricted and the premise was dull. When I tried AD&D 2e later it didn't fit the game: swashbuckling heroism I intended to run. And the problem was that I didn't grow up with D&D so I didn't know how to use it well - nor how to houserule it to fit what I wanted. Didn't understand the power levels and how to make the game enjoyable.

Many years passed and I played many games.

Then one day I not many years ago I heard of this OSR and it sounded really interesting. I downloaded some free games (OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord for example), tried to read those and felt the same problem I encountered earlier. I felt these games were very in genre and not outside the box (dungeons). But I was interested in OSR as a movement because it revived the old rules back in print and I appreciated it for kind of preserving the history.

Somewhere in between I tried to play D&D 3e but felt it was clumsy and there was too much rules and not that much roles. I played very stripped version of it for a while (no Aoo, flat footed, minis). But it didn't feel right. Two big books and minimal rules felt stupid. It was fun though as long as it lasted.

Then I learned about Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition. Oh was I sold. The box looked super neat (I didn't have a single boxed set at that time) and the premise of weird fantasy. Also what I read about it everywhere blew my mind. I thought this might be the version of retro Dungeons & Dragons I might give a try. And I bought it.

With LotFP and its supporters and all OSR community I started to understand the purpose of D&D style rules - or rulings. Simple, not in the way of action, easy to modify and house rule and add your own rules. Now it all made sense to me!

I think that it needed something as a premise to get me interested. Weird horror stuff. I was bored with vanilla fantasy for 10 years at that time and OSR felt like vanilla fantasy what might have been one of the reasons why OSRIC and LL didn't apply to me at the first place.

After LotFP I naturally wanted to know the origin of these rules. I thought getting the original Basic and Expert sets would have been too complicated I settled with Labyrinth Lord. And loved it! True, LotFP with ascending AC might feel more elegant (also got used to it with 3e) compared to descending with tables, but I loved the feel of LL.

After those two I couldn't get enough. Always searching for reviews and articles of other rules. At that time didn't know how much material there was available.

Then I discovered Google Plus. Found RPG people, found OSR people, found unlimited wisdom and resources. I didn't realize how much OSR material there was available both commercial and free. In print and PDF. In blog texts and forum posts. Everywhere!

I found RPG nirvana in OSR.

I have a collection of different games but OSR are what I value the most. I want more and more. Cannot get enough.

Me getting into OSR I have to thank:
- Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition for really invoke me.
- Labyrinth Lord for showing how great the Basic and Expert rules actually are.
- OSR community for wisdom and resources and unlimited resources of fun.
- Google Plus people I follow for showing how great OSR is.

Before OSR I had a GM burnout. OSR made me flourish.

Before OSR I wanted to create my own rpg system to create material for. Now with OSR I can focus on material instead of system.

Thank you OSR for making my hobby ten thousand times better.