Thursday, July 8, 2010

Are YOU Part of the Old-School Renaissance?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Are you playing pre-1989 D&D, or a simulacra unofficially based thereon?
  2. Are you publishing material for those games?

If you answered "yes" to either one of those, you're part of it. If you answered "yes" to both of those, you're so deep into it that you're a spokesman.

There are no membership rosters, no leaders, no applications, no secret handshakes, no consensus, no commitments, and no choice.

The OSR is a description of things people do, and anyone who does those things is part of it.

If you don't want to be part of the OSR, you have but one option: Stop playing the games, and definitely stop publishing for them.

Even worse for you, some people apply the OSR label to a great many games, so even if you put down your D&D, you might not escape.

Just face it.




  1. Got to love the Freaks reference.

  2. Not possible . . .

    I have a six figure income
    multiple advanced degrees
    a beautiful girl friend
    a diverse set of OTHER hobbies
    a 7.5" cock
    and the list goes on . . .

  3. No secret handshakes, but I made a logo!

  4. 1. Yes.
    2. I have an idea for something to publish. Well, two somethings, actually, both for S&W.


    Still stuck at 5 figures.
    Just got my M.A.
    Gorgeous wife and 3 beautiful daughters (and 1 tough son)
    diverse hobbies...hunting, SCA, and WW2 Soviet reeneactment, City of HEroes...I think they all tie into roleplaying somehow.
    and you have me beat by 1/2 and inch.

    I guess I'm doing ok.


  5. You tell me..........

    There are many rooms in the old school father's house......... ;)

  6. Hmm. What does "whimsical mishmash of pre-89 D&D, AD&D 2e, and simulacra, combined with various house rules" get me re: #1?

  7. Huh? Somebody did claim there was a rooster, or what?

  8. Not competing Anthony,
    I am sure you are better looking than me ; - )

    Just trying to break the ‘gamer’ mold
    That the OSR challenges . . .

    I would really like to see a demographic survey of the composition
    (age, gender, profession, etc.)
    which is our tribe.

  9. Well, I’m 30, play/run Microlite74 and Castles & Crusades, think the Rules Cyclopedia is the greatest single volume of rules EVAH, and have been known to leak some homebrew on my site and to Fight On!

    Heck, why *wouldn’t* I want to be a part of it? It’s the best thing gaming’s got going.

  10. So how do you see TARGA fitting in to that description?

  11. 1) RuneQuest, BRP and all their variants.
    2) Pure amateur, playing and sharing with friends.

    So yes, I *am* part of the OSR.

    FYI, @Joseph: "Targa Resources is a growth-oriented provider of midstream natural gas and NGL services..."

    Apparently that organization has nothing to do with us at all.

  12. Not sure if you're being droll or not, Dave, but TARGA is also the Traditional Adventure Role Play Game Association. See

  13. Nope, not a member of the OSR or TARGA or anything that anyone wants to label.

    You can keep the labels, the kumbayah and all that - I'm now a slickback and just done with it.

    I play D&D. I play it the way I like to play it.

    Don't like it? Too fucking bad. The circle-jerk stuff just doesn't interest me anymore.

  14. 89? I'd say second ed is old school these days as well. Thats the thing with old school, as time rolls on more things become old school.

  15. Is the OSR limited to "pre-1989 D&D"?

    I play pre-1989 D&D (Basic D&D and S&W), and have written a few articles for it (KS & FO!).

    But there are other 'old school' games that are getting play these days, and I sometimes wonder how they relate to the 'OSR' (e.g., RuneQuest, Traveller, T&T, BRP, etc.).

  16. @Clovis Cithog - I would be interested in the demographics as well of the OSR, and players of various editions actually.

    As a fellow with very good job, who actually follows sports closely even while I used to collect comics and hang out with James.

    There are a host of preconceived notions that would likely be challenged with a survey.

    I will say walking around GENCON provides a clue as to what the beating heart of role-playing is...

    Perhaps a surveymonkey questionairre could be disseminated among our community, and we could analyze the results.

  17. @ChicagoWiz - your comment is genius... and true. Wow nonconformists and niche elements conform to... nonconformity. Who really needs "armbands" or logos anyway, they went out of style circa 1945.

  18. I don't see it as an important label, it's just something that is. I'm happy to be a part of whatever you name it. I'm not going to get angry b/c people refer to it by a name. It's just a handy identifier.

  19. Well, I do only play pre-1989 D&D these days, but I also own some White Wolf books, so there's probably no need to size me up for an armband.

  20. No one can escape the Nosri* Party.
    We offer the world Order!

    Wear your armband proudly, Citizen...

    *New Old School Rennaissance Inc.


  21. just to clarify, in the recent post on my blog on the matter, what jim is doing is above and beyond what most are doing to bring others into the hobby. my post was directed against him at the beginning only, in terms of defining membership. the rest of it was more towards the potential of the osr to grow the hobby, yet not seeing much happen on that front. How about running games at cons for example? probably the best way to do it. not seeing too much happen. to run an osr con is great, but does it expose others who wouldnt go to it in the first place to older games and gamestyles? i see a lot of energy wasted on fights and history, but not much in sharing the game and growing the hobby. on that front, jim is doing more than most, with his exposing the game to others at ropecon as well as other games and publishers. he gets that a rising tide raises all ships.

  22. Ok, Michael. Here's your own badge...

    Although, AI still has the best:


  23. @GW - I like the one I sent you privately.

  24. @ChicagoWiz - ROTFL! Very appropo!

  25. This is what I got from the comments that have been posted so far:

    1. J.E. Raggi IV is saying that there IS such a thing as an Old-School
    Renaissance (M)ovement, made up of role-playing neo-classicist as it were, centered around the pre-3e D&D and OGL ruleset and that players and publishers are ipso factor, part of that OSR (M)ovement.

    2. The coining of the term "OSR (M)ovement" itself is a political statement
    because, as opposed to OSR (m)ovement, the term (M)ovement embodies a sense of organization, a resolve to achieve certain goals and in that way crystallize the existing (m)ovement in such a way as to attract the interests of the public to said (M)ovement and hence legitimize the views and actions of the (M)ovement leaders. This is as opposed to the self-evident prexisting OSR (m)ovement, which is preceived to be benign, leaderless and is not being marketed in any serious manner and therefore in competition with pre-existing products with greater market share.

    3. The problem stemming from the intended action (1) and the unspoken
    connotation (2) has, as expected, resulted in a backlash. This backlash takes 3 forms:
    (a) People who have strong libertarian tendencies reject being defined
    as being part of any (M)ovement, even as they honestly cannot deny that they are part of a prexisting (m)ovement. They are happy to be part of a benign niche (m)ovement and they do not want the debate between the neo-classicists and the Existing Order to impinge upon their interests.
    (b) People who do not preceive themselves to have any stake in the
    decision making process of the (M)ovement reject the leadership of any (M)ovement and its goals. Even though these people understand that they are part of the (m)ovement, they see this as only being incidental and have no interest in seeing the (m)ovement survive in any shape or form.
    (b) People whose interests are aligned with the Existing Order reject
    the existence of any (M)ovement and downplay the appeal of the (m)ovement because it threatens their market interests.

    4. Given the above, I would conclude that while Mr Raggi views may in part be
    altruistic in the sense that he truly appreciates the neo-classicist interpretation of Gygax, Holmes and earlier rpg pioneers, and so seeks to preserve this legacy, I fear that in this matter he has overreached. The (m)ovement is full of uncommitted or disillusioned members and his opponents are people in suits with bags full of money. Therefore, while I admire his tenacity and idealism, I must advise him to take heed from the fate of TARGA and readjust his goals accordingly. Perhaps a reading of the works of Sun Tzu is advisable as is a round of private apologies.