Saturday, March 5, 2011

OSR - "Old School Rules" - Does that mean New School Sucks?

If anything, I am a very easy-going and it is very hard for me to pick a side.  I don't really get into fights (unless my wife is starting them :P  ) and I don't really dig on confrontation, even on the internet.  I have opinions, but when they come to stuff that is fun, I don't really consider anything to be particularly bad.  If I have fun doing something, its fun. Everyone is open to their own opinions and certainly everyone is welcome to define their own sense of fun for themselves.

With that in mind, I thought I'd bring up the new OSR rebranding that was proposed a couple days ago at Jeff's RPG Blog.   He suggests that the OSR be renamed as Old School Rules, rather than Old School (something else).  There have been a couple responses to this post around the web.  One of these at The RPG Corner suggests the reason that he likes the name change is because he "can't stand modern RPGs."  I'm not writing this to fight him on his own personal opinion, which is something that is totally fine with me.  If it isn't fun for him, that's cool, but i do have a comment...

If Old School Rules in some way connotative of exclusion and picking sides, then I'm really not so down with that.  I like the idea that OSR isn't really about saying that it is the best, but rather, about saying that Old School is still alive and fun and that a lot of people still love bringing back and playing Old School Games.

I'm a relatively new convert to the OSR in all honestly.  The majority of games I play are not Old School, at least in terms of the rules they use, but I am really, really getting into playing Old School games.  I like Labyrinth Lords, I recently picked up the old Red Box and Blue Box and I have also gotten hooked on Classic Traveller.  But, does that mean that I necessarily prefer Old School to New.  Not really.  For me, It is all fun times.  I don't feel like I need to pick a side.  I enjoy different aspects about both styles of play and I feel like they can live together peacefully and happily.  Maybe Old School Rules is a bit too harsh... I suggest Old School Respect, or Old School Receptive, or Only Super Rad... okay, maybe not that last one.  I mean, even Old School Rules is not so bad, but if everyone is going to use that to further divide the gaming community... that sucks... stick together guys... come on.  We can all play nice.


  1. I'd describe myself as a dispassionate and bored observer of the on again/off again discussion of what is the "OSR", but for purposes of bringing another perspective into play here, consider also a recent blog post by Matt Finch. There he uses the term "Old School Renaissance" and describes it as simply '"..The effects of the increase in the volume of communication we have seen in the community of out-of-print FRPG gamers since the advent of the Internet." When I use the term, I don’t freight it with any sort of moral imperative to buy things or donate things to that community, I just use it as the best currently available term to describe the effects of having the internet as a new vehicle for communicating with each other.'

    What I like about Matt's term and usage is how it merely describes a historical process. Doubtless, someone will find a disagreeable connotation of "renaissance" though, and the saga will continue.

  2. Not Sucks. Drools. That would be Old School Rules, New School Drools.

    (Honestly, it doesn't matter what game. If a game is fun for a person - that's what matters.)

    - Ark

  3. Does it really mater what OSR stands for? I'm just gonna keep playing, and not worry about whether it means Old School Renaissance, Rules, Revolution, or Retrogrades.

  4. Well put David. I just don't like the old definition and that is what I'm sticking with.

  5. I totally agree... I'm sick of the elements of the blogosphere that rNt with vigor about whether 4e DnD is savior or Satan. It's a cool game, with flaws! 3.5 was also a cool, flawed game, as was 2e, 0e, and FATE or Paranoia, for that matter.

    I'm not enough of a relativist to say 'anything' is good, But yeah, the ability for gamers to enjoy the product ought to be the key metric.

  6. I think you're misreading the word "Rules" in there. My understanding was rules, as in ruleset - not rules, as in commands with an iron fist. :)

  7. Ha ha, I was thinking more like rules as in rocks with its socks off, but if we are talking rules as regulations than i'm down. Really, I'm down either way. Old school gaming does in fact rock with its socks off. I'm getting in deep.

  8. old school rules i miss looney tunes and all the great shows instead of all the bullshit shows that come on tv, also things were much simpler in the old school nowadays people just dont care