Monday, October 3, 2016

Just What Is The OSR? And Is There A Renaissance - A Cultural Re-Birth OR Is It Yet to Happen?

I have been thinking a bit about the OSR. My usage of OSR (current usage) is Old School Roleplaying. Why is that, you may ask? I will tell you, I use the term Roleplaying instead of Renaissance or Revival, because for me, there is no Revival, I am just doing what I have been doing for the last 41 years. What I do is (to the best of my ability) is what Dave Arneson did. I build my campaign directly from the original sources (fiction and non-fiction). Now unlike Dave I have access to the internet and hundreds, if not thousands of secondary and tertiary sources and resources and I read a lot, so I am exposed to a ton of things that Arneson did not have access to bitd.

Renaissance carries the meaning of a Cultural Re-Birth and IMO that has not yet happened in the OSR/Old School Gaming niche. There are a lot of people that are creating a lot of new materials for use with the original games and their clones and there are new things being created and going off in a lot of directions. Meaning there is a lot of new fun for everyone. Some of these things are free and some are not. I am a fan of both free and not-free items, although products I have to pay for have a higher bar to pass to get me to invest. I would point out that there are many free products that would have been worth buying if they were being sold.

Likely we will all have different opinions on what would constitute a Cultural Re-Birth when it comes to Old School Gaming. Some will even claim it has already happened. I do not believe that it has, I think it is going to happen, but is not yet here. I am not sure what would bring it about, but I feel that it is imminent - it could be a few months or it might take a few years - nevertheless I think it is coming and when it does it will breathe life back into the game beyond our niche of those DMs and players (the tiny minority that frequent blogs and forums) and extend itself to those who rarely or never check the internet in regard to their gaming.

I think that a real Cultural Re-Birth would mean a return to Original School Gaming - going all the way back to what Dave Arneson did back in 1970, 1971 and following when he took ideas from David Wesely and the Braunstein game scenario (which started in 1967) and
Though Wesely thought the results were chaotic and the experiment a failure, the other players enjoyed the role playing aspect and asked him to run another game.
Wesely continued to run these Braunstein's because his players loved them, including a player by the name of Dave Arneson. When David Wesely went into the Army in 1970, Dave Arneson took over as the referee and continued to develop things and add things until Blackmoor was born. Dave Arneson went where Wesely (reportedly by his own admission) was not interested in going. 

I think when people take a closer look at what Dave Arneson did and recognize his contributions that have been obscured and denigrated, there will be some light-bulbs coming on and some serious new stuff will result when that happens.