Wednesday, April 27, 2011
OSR is a pilgrimage, not a destination
I can't say my site is OSR (Old School Renaissance) compliant particularly if by OSR you mean only D&D. In fact its clear using that yardstick, this site is not even measurable. For me (and yes I own and love the old stuff, D&D and beyond) I see the idea of OSR as one not about recreating D&D in some idealized form, I see the OSR movement as one of a pilgrimage. I define a pilgrimage as a search to find deep moral or spiritual significance. So I read, write, study and play the old school games trying to find that spark of significance that still matters to me and inspires me all these decades later.
Also note I am referring to myself, although I don't think I am the only OSR Pilgrim. Between my starting in the RPG hobby in 80-81 and to where RPG games are now, something to my mind has been buried and lost. Well at least to me its been lost. The fun and joy I had in playing RPG's which numbered 64 or fewer pages became buried in tomes of rules. The free form, figure it out style of play where every DM did something different became homogenized, ruled, and dis-spirited. Somewhere along the line, "it's not in the book" ceased to be an opportunity, and instead became a problem. In the end the more advanced and detailed rules have become, the less free and enjoyable I have found gaming. In fact it is to the point where I simply gave up playing driven away by encyclopedias of rules, their vocal adherents, and attendant rules lawyers.
Then I realized if what I enjoyed were the more free form, more flexible, less layered rule sets-they were still available. Sure not in a store, but in my garage and in my closet. I began my journey by reading and re-discovering what thrilled in the past, and how little enforced structure was actually there. That lead me to the net to see if any other journeyers were on the road as well. Sure enough the road is packed with travelers. There are the outbreaks and cries of truth and heretic, but I keep right on walking.
In the end D&D is not a bible, Gygax and Arneson are not saints, and Tekumel is no temple. Even so they all have something to say to the traveler on an OSR pilgrimage who stops to read, ponder, and look for enlightenment-not an answer. I hope to see you on the OSR road, and I know that whenever I stop, others will keep going on their own pilgrimage, and that is as it should be.
In the immortal salutation of Marc Miller of Traveler fame, "Bon Voyage!"