Arcane Game Lore

Never split the party!

Old School Orginals

Recently in perusing the many RPG blogs I follow, one of the blogs was giving away some old RPG material in a contest.  To enter, you had to tell the story of how you got into RPGs.  I wasn’t really interested in the giveaways so I didn’t post a comment but thought I’d write that story up here.  However, shortly thereafter I ran across this great post by Rick Stump on his Don’t Split the Party blog about his relationship with the OSR.

While my time with RPGs doesn’t go quite as far back as his and I’ve not been nearly as consistent, I’ve been playing RPGs since the early 80s.  And like Rick, I never really left the old games.  Now admittedly, part of that is because I love and primarily play Star Frontiers and there has never been a new version.  It has its (many) faults but it is still a great game.  And so over the years, I’ve added, tweaked, expanded and generally modified the details to fit the games I occasionally get to run.

I’ll admit I was much more widely played in my early years having purchased and (mostly) played D&D Basic (red box), Star Frontiers, Paranoia, Middle Earth Role Playing, AD&D 2e, RuneQuest 3e (the Avalon Hill version, but heavily modified and expanded by my GM), Chivalry & Sorcery (shudder), GURPS 3e, and Powers & Perils.  That last is the game I’ve probably run more than any besides Star Frontiers as I ran a fairly long campaign (several years) for my siblings.

But you might notice those are all old games. College, grad school, family, and work have all cut into my playing time and so I trimmed down to just my favorite, Star Frontiers. And for a while I wasn’t playing anything.  I haven’t really started picking up new games until just recently.

That said, I’m always tweaking and expanding my core rule set to produce the world and game I want, not necessarily the game as originally writing, it’s just a starting point.  I think Rick summed this idea up well in his blog:

In the end this all boils down to two things, one of which I already said in another rant - I am always making my own game and just use AD&D as the jumping off point.   The second thing is something that I believe might separate me from being in the OSR – I am not interested in stripping down rules and mechanics.  My goal is to make a set of rules and mechanics that allow me to create the game experience I want to pass on to the players.

     – Rick Stump, Why My Default Ruleset is 1e, or: I Like Your Ruleset, But Not That Way, emphasis his.

I’ve never considered myself part of the OSR or in the OSR, for many of the reasons Rick mentions in his post.  I’d just never really thought about it before.  I create rules, mechanics, and setting material, and publish materials created by others, that allow people to tweak and modify their games to suit them.  Some are often contradictory or incompatible with one another but that’s fine.  They are never meant to be all used together.  You pick the things you want to create the experience you desire.  But the original rules are still there at the core.

Rick mentioned possibly taking the OSR logo off his blog.  I’ve never had it on any of my sites.  I’m not really part of the OSR, although, like Rick I publish things that could definitely be used as part of it.  What I really am is an Old School Original.

Old Scool Orginal logo. The letter O, S, O are drawn with a grid in blue as an old school dungeon map

Maybe I’ll start putting that logo up.

Are you an Old School Original?  What are your thoughts about the OSR and how you fit in?  Let us know in the comments below.


Categorised as: General



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