Monday, 18 April 2011

A - Z Challenge: O - O is For OD&D Saxon Rampage

I haven’t got much to say today other than I love the OSR. Love it. A ton of stuff has already been blogged about the OSR and I find it weird how some folk can get themselves into such a stew about some of it, and even actively hate the OSR. I won’t go over that because other blogs such as the excellent series of posts over at There's Dugneons Down Under covered it in depth.

What I like about the OSR is I get to enjoy D&D all over again. I was a second gen kid. I came to RPG’s with no wargaming or Sword & Sorcery pulp fiction background. I came in with a background in King Arthur, Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad, the Water Margin, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, 2000AD, Blake’s 7, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I took D&D, and all those other games, and played hero-centric epic high fantasy and space opera. That’s when we weren’t playing through the old TSR Modules that were totally unepic, but great fun.

Back then I didn’t even realise OD&D existed. I thought AD&D was the first edition, there was no internet, shit here in the UK I don’t think I even ever saw a copy of Dragon magazine (although we had our own White Dwarf and that rocked). So I never knew or heard, anything about the way the game was played in the very early days: megadungeons, sandbox campaigns, hirelings, and the high attrition rate of low level characters. The idea of avoiding monsters was completely alien to us back then, as was not cheating when you rolled your stats, or characters dying (hey we were snot nosed kids). That’s one of the reasons why I like Swords & Wizardry: White Box so much. The chance to play a familiar game in a totally different way.

I’ve been playing (well GMing I rarely play or want to) since 1980. I was a snot nosed second gen kid playing at the height of D&D’s early 80’s fad popularity. I played the hell out of T&T, B/X D&D, Runequest, Bushido, Traveller, WHFRP, and Golden Heroes from 80-86 and owned a ton of other games that were rarely played, but read over and over. I can honestly say the OSR, what’s happening now, although not as widely popular, is as exciting as those early days in the hobby. Different, but for me at least, just as much fun.


  1. I agree. While there are some pointless "you're doing it the wrong way" debates at times, there's an incredible amount of creativity and vibrancy to things these days--really kind of democratization of the sharing of creative output, perhaps, brought on by the internet.

  2. What I also like about the OSR is that it is diffuse and leaderless (other than nominal oversight by the OSR Pope) meaning you can pay attention to the good bits and ignore the bad.

  3. @Tray: Yeah I think no Internet, no OSR. Back in the early days the only way I had of knowing what was happening in the USA D&D scene was by reading an article in White Dwarf, and that would have been researched and written the month before it was published. Hell I didn't even know what was happening in any group outside of my own, other a few inklings gleamed from the White Dwarf letters section. We had a very limited view of what was happening. Now I log on and get almost minute-by-minute updates of what's happenin in Ye Olde D&D Worlde.

    @Paladin: Ahh, it's nominal oversight now but how lomg before he starts burning heretics, excommunicating those who refuse to kiss the Papal ring (fnarr), and demanding the rest of go on a Crusade! :D