Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back in the OSSR

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the OSR movement. Accusations of elitism or of neglecting core aspects of what makes Dungeons and Dragons D&D fly fast and furious. There is a whole blog devoted to picking apart OSR dungeon and module design (Your Dungeon is Suck) and almost everyone that gets sent to my own blog from rizon.net where we run 10th Age games comes back full of tales of woe about the future of the hobby because of how exclusionary and elitist the Frothing Mug is.

I think that's a misconception about the OSR as a whole. I wouldn't even necessarily consider the Mug to be part of the OSR movement as it is focused on things that are decidedly outside of the scope of most OSR sites. Is there are a Middle School Renaissance? Is there a Second Edition AD&D Renaissance? Not that I know of.

I read a lot of OSR blogs and one of the things that strikes me as a very common cord is humor. The games that most OSR people run are filled with jokes and light-hearted monsters that are clearly not meant to be taken at face value. Many OSR leaders reject verisimilitude in setting, others characterization, and still others the value of comprehensively fleshed out worlds. These are things that are very dear to my heart.

Does that mean I can't be part of the OSR? Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, though the movement is nebulous enough that I could probably squeak in, but that's not my point. I don't really mind what other people play as much as it may appear otherwise. I have deep reservations, for example, about the modern course of D&D and I find its most recent incarnations to be shallow and misguided—but by all means play and enjoy them. I would never try to stop you from playing a game that you liked unless it was to try to convince you that my game was better.

I think that's at the heart of what this whole business means to me. Sure, every game has its merits and flaws and everyone thinks their game is the best. But, as a personal aside, the edition I play is the best! I want people to come join my table in rizon. I want you to come and play on IRC (we can't use roll20 or google plus because one of our guys uses, no joke, a cellphone as an internet anchor and it can't handle voice or video).

If you think you aren't going to like AD&D or if you want to experience... come on down. Our address is irc.rizon.net, #dndooc and #10thAge and sometimes even #Spelljammer. I never exclude people because they prefer another game over AD&D... I just do my best to convince them that they're wrong, and that's not elitism.

Yes, I admit, there are times when I've been a blowhard, particularly here when I've been angry about some design issue, but that doesn't mean the people who play anything other than AD&D are assholes or are purposefully destroying roleplaying by giving money to the Big Bad Wizard and his Hasbro Master. If I ever implied (or even outright stated) that it was merely as a rhetorical strategy and not something that I firmly believed.

So, if you feel like playing AD&D in the 10th Age, or even just seeing why I care so much, I invite you to come down to Rizon and join the club.


  1. I've been participating in online ttrpg forums since 2002, when I started gaming again after a thirteen year hiatus, and what I've noticed is that some gamers seem genuinely shocked to discover that people still like 'those old games,' with a few actually affronted by the notion that the latest and greatest isn't the end-all, be-all for everyone.

    That fact that we as old school gamers became more vocal about our preferences, and dared to intrude on marketplace not only of ideas but of actual products, seems to really upset the apple cart of those who tend to use words like "evolution" in describing ttrpg design.

    I think this is particularly true of those who absorbed, directly or indirectly, some of the attitudes promulgated by The Forge and its depiction of D&D as "incoherent" and its fans as "brain-damaged," but it was also fostered by marketing babble like 'twenty minutes of fun in four hours of play' by games designers who think the only time playing a ttrpg is 'fun' is when you're rolling dice.

    1. I feel like I'm better off for not having read any of those things, particularly from the Forge.