OSR, Old School Roleplaying, seems to be gaining some kind of resurgence. I think it’s that the hobby has hit “middle age”. Yes, that sad old time when people remember their earnest and energetic fumblings through life as adolescents devoid of responsibility and any wisdom about what they don’t know but applied to RPGs.

“I want to game like that again!” is the motivation behind it. “Internal consistency, feh, emotive characters, meh, logic, what-evah!”

Well, that may be overly condensing the sentiments but that does not mean it comes from different broth.

It is unfortunately like going back to the TV shows of your early years and getting excited only to realise how terrible ($#!t) they actually are. I wouldn’t force anyone through the “Rat Patrol” but I loved it in primary school. I wouldn’t put anybody through re-runs of Macross wtih Minmei’s horrible singing but it was awesome as a young teenager. And I certainly will neve make the mistake a former friend made of again watching Battlestar Galactica and A-Team from the 80’s. I think my eyes would bleed as my suspension of disbelief snapped back in a thermo-logic-fusion-explosion.

Underlying this push to get back the magic of roleplaying is the realisation that things have mutated past their essence. Games are less about fun and more about agenda. Rules are about being simple, or sharing narrative control, or consistent in resolution mechanic for all things. The fact remains that all the rules have to do is resolve conflict at the table within the game world in a consistently understood manner. Everything else is fluff (which should never be confused with flavour: as unfortunately it often is).

OSR is a slightly complex movement to try and have fun with roleplaying again. If that’s kill things and take the stuff, or sandbox gaming, or chains of modules ending in godhood, so be it. Just know what you want out of gaming and have the courage to pursue it as a group. Abandon the post-modernist trap of naming tropes and plot-devices to take away their power. Work together at the table towards the experience you want to share. But most importantly of all, get on the same page about expectation and investment, so you can actually have a fun game together.


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