Monday, September 14, 2009
Ah, more OSR debate (yay for rage)!
Dan over at Uhluht'c Awakens call our attention to a somewhat... tense... discussion over at Dragonsfoot, ostensibly about the point of this whole OSR thing.
The thread's OP, Gnarley Bones, starts out by (and I'm paraphrasing generously here) claiming something along the lines of "the retro-clone movement has co-opted the term 'old-school renaissance' from the out-of-print movement". He goes on to define the OSR as "individual OOP D&D gamers, spread far and wide and pretty out of touch with current gaming, getting together, talking shop and rolling the dice."
Now, I respect GB's work, and his moderation on DF has always seemed fair to me, but I catch a faint whiff of angst in this post. Perhaps something along the lines of "why are the retro-clones getting all the attention when we've been carrying the torch for OOP games all this time?" I could be wrong, its just the impression I get. (Kellri's response here is amusing btw).
Personally, I use the old stuff and the new RC's interchangeably, along with my own stuff, and stuff from the great blogs and old-school sites out there. I think there is a big difference between the "OOP movement" and what I consider to be the OSR.
I think a look at the definition of Renaissance is in order: "As a cultural movement, it encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources..."
This is a very neat way of putting the OSR into perspective, or at least delineating it from a strict adherance to OOP materials: The OSR, as a movement, encompasses a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, using them as an inspiration and base for new things, and new ways to use old things.
This takes things a step beyond "old-school gaming". The truth is, the differences between B/X, AD&D, LL, S&W, LBBs, OSRIC is so insignifigant as to be reduced to a simple matter of taste. Its like arguing about what brand of sauce you like on your spaghetti. The big difference comes in whether you're using that classic material to keep your gaming experience alive and fresh, or are you just hanging on to the "pure" original for the sake of some sort of archival purity. Obviously I consider the OSR to be the former, not the latter, and I think that's what is making it a little more accesible to new fans, and a little more creatively active. Why take offense if a group of curious newcomers downloads and tries out Labyrinth Lord for free, rather than hunting down a Moldvay Basic set on Ebay or something? That is... silly.
As a disclaimer, I'm not putting one "side" above the other, just stating I don't really feel the term "OSR" is very applicable to the OOP movement. If you're perfectly happy with what you've had for the last 30 years and don't need anything else, that's great. But how about cheering from the sidelines, rather than booing?