Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Introduction to the OSR

While I consider myself a proponent of the "Old School Renaissance" in gaming today, that is not to say that I don't appreciate and even enjoy the latest edition of D&D.  Quite frankly, I was someone who was following and writing my own material for 4E before I had even heard about the OSR.  Actually, it gets even worse than that.

I had finished the Fantasy Cartographic's latest product, a new character class for 4E called Fantasy Class: Martialist.  I was sending it out to several blogs and websites soliciting reviews.  One of the blogs that I sent it to was Grognardia, because I had seen it on the blog roll of a few of the other sites that I frequented.  Ha!  Poor James must have thought to himself, "What the hell is this guy sending to me?  Doesn't he know who I am?!"  But, in his true fashion, he very kindly sent me an email stating that that reviews of 4E products were not his forte.  I sheepishly apologized and then started reading his blog.  Wow!  I felt like I had come home.  His blog introduced me to Lamentations of the Flame PrincessPhilotomy, the AlehouseDragonsfoot, and of course many more.  Suddenly, OSRIC, S&W, and all the retro-clones introduced to me the reality of publishing AD&D (and older) style material in the here-and-now.  (Yes, I can link-drop with the best of them.)

So, while I am new to the OSR, having only been reading the blogs, thinking about the older games, etc. for about six months now, I am quite comfortable here.  As someone who started gaming in the early 80s but came into the OSR only recently as a newcomer, I feel that I've come a little late to the party, especially concerning the discussions/arguments between proponents of today's systems and those of my youth.  Consequently, I've spent a lot of time thinking about that overarching discussion, and I wanted to offer my views.

First, I completely agree with those who espouse a 'game-and-let-game' approach.  Regardless of what game someone plays or what edition of a given game, as long as they are roleplaying and enjoying it, that is most important.  Our hobby, this hobby, would be best served by having lots and lots of roleplayers, and petty arguments about this game or that game serve no one.

Second, I'm sure that this might be considered blasphemous to some who stump for the Old Ways, but I have to say that 4E "feels" like D&D to me.  I enjoy it.  I like it a lot, in fact.  Now--is it a different game, with widely different playing styles, mechanics, and mindsets?  Frankly, yes, but it is just as much D&D to me as the D&D that I grew up with.

Third, I have various complaints about both ends of the spectrum.  I see strengths and weaknesses in OD&D just as I do in 4E D&D.  Perhaps I will go into more detail at some point in the future, but suffice it to say, neither is perfect.  And let's face it: A good group of players will make the game their own anyway.  House rules, ignoring what doesn't feel right, and concentrating on those aspects of the game that the group enjoys work as well regardless of the system.

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