Exactly how OSR are you?
Do you even recognize the image I've posted?
What is OSR?
I actually thought it stood for Old School Rules.
If it's a movement how come most people don't even know what it stands for?
How come everyone who does claim to be into OSR can't really define it for you either. The main point of it seems to be that they are OSR and you aren't!
Ås we researched Role Playing while making Secrets of Blackmoor it became apparent that we needed to invent a system for defining what is, and what isn't, a role playing game. We also noticed that there are a lot of types of RPG's.
We came up with definitions and terms that did not pigeon hole anything too rigidly, because RPG's are hard to define by nature. It reminds me of the old farmer who is talking about art and says: I can't draw water from a bucket, but I know art when I see it.
Consider that, the only way for someone to get a feel for how older games are different is to actually play in an actual game.
It seems pretty clear that some games have different degrees, or types, of role playing in them, so the arguments that erupt all over the internet about Role Playing are not very productive. If you've seen one of these online battles, you'll know what I mean. i.e. You aren't Doin' it Right, and I'm the only one on the planet who is doin' it right!
Michael Mornard has been known to post this during the middle of a flame war online -
"You're Arguing About Elf Games!"
Maybe it's time to dump the OSR label for good. It seems to have done the opposite of what it should be doing. It is somewhat elitist and it's a turn off for some people.
What do we really want?
The real purpose behind wanting to promote older style games is that they really do use different play methods. We certainly do not want to alienate anyone who plays a game with slightly different play in it. Going onto social media, or a gamer forum, and ranting is a jerk move. No one wants to be told: your game isn't an RPG and my game is, and you should only play the games I tell you you can play.
A more polite way to introduce the subject is to use a question, and use words that are not an imperative.
Try this out some time:
-Have you ever considered playing a game that uses traditional RPG play in it?
- I play the same system, but I have introduced Traditional Role Playing into it.
If the person bites and wants to know more, ask them to come play in a game sometime. It seems much more inviting to say: We play with X rules, and we use Traditional Role Playing while running it.
Lets get rid of OSR as a term and as a way of excluding people, and move forward with a much looser definition. Something will grab the attention of gamers as a new label. I would propose a term like Traditional Role Playing, and I would avoid turning it into an acronym. Acronyms are for corporations and people who want to be part of a special club that other people can't be part of. If you run games at conventions, start to put the term Traditional Role Playing in your game descriptions.
The Bards of Greyhawk have invited me to play some HackMaster this weekend. I expect I will be playing a game that uses Traditional Role Playing Methods in it, ;)
All righty, I got my flame suit on - I can take any criticism you can throw my way.
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