Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dead or alive?






























 I have read various missives over the last few days about the OSR and its relative health or lack thereof now that WotC is going to provide electronic (note, not necessarily PDF) versions of their old stuff.  Well I'd like to posit the following:

1) Most current OSR inspired folks have most of these already in book or PDF form.
2) One can currently, with some effort, find PDF's of many books/manuals/ modules already.
3) A lot of folks will buy the missing bits of their collections and then use them in OSR games.
4) WotC is NOT supporting nor creating new material (so far) based on the previous editions.

If your vision of the OSR assumes its only strength or legitimacy is based on the lack of TSR/WotC product in market...then indeed it would be on life support...for another 12-18 months.  If your vision of the OSR goes beyond this? Then rejoice because there are a lot of ancient tomes that you can look to and improve, expand or become inspired by creating something new.

For myself, OSR represents something beyond just making another Grand Olde Game rules set or  accessory.  Instead, it represents a do it yourself mind set.  Rather than waiting around for someone to make the game or accessory I want, I'll just do it myself! Sure that's been core to the hobby--but somewhere in AD&D 2e era it got lost as TSR produced more an more material, it became easier to just go buy something new....and then bitch about it.  Same thing in 3e...4e...and I will guess 5e.

I am thankful for the growing dissatisfaction with 3e+ editions of D&D and the rediscovery of personal ingenuity and initiative shared amongst a community of like minded creative types looking to share their own trove of tables, terrors, and treasures.  I have discovered some really talented people and some outstanding and unique products, free or otherwise. This creative storm has provided me with an opportunity to explore some of my own ideas and designs,like Rogue Space and the upcoming TFT inspired Heroes and Other Worlds. Yes even non-D&D inspired games are part of the OSR, which is an often overlooked strength of the movement.

I don't see the OSR so narrowly defined as D&D pastiche and whose life is based only upon the whims of WotC. Instead I'd argue the success, influence, and energy of the OSR has redirected the activities of many companies, even WotC, into areas they long thought shuttered and abandoned. Yes the OSR will change with time, that is the nature of everything. I do not believe the OSR spirit, creativity and talent will become lost by an expansion of its boundaries into lands previously labeled off limits. Instead I hope by back tracking new treasures might be discovered.

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