Thursday, October 2, 2014

A few points & observations regarding the "history" & meaning of the OSR

In response to some of the recent bullshit:

1. It was gamers who were hostile to old school play, that first started referring to the OSR as a "Movement." Personally, I've always considered it an Event.

2. Just like it was people hostile to the nascent OSR, who started calling James Malisewski the "pope of the osr," then pretended he claimed that title for himself. Just so they could have a figure-head, with which to attack the "movement."

Alas, I was merely a "Saint of the OSR," (per Johnathan Bingham) and escaped their hostility.

3. Back in 2009-2012, when I was still quite active on the scene, most of the non-commercial, online OSR related action, by which, I mean DIY D&D works & commentary by people who considered themselves OSR gamers/publishers/enthusiasts, took place in the blogosphere. But, not all.

4. The previous observation is not meant to disparage, or marginalize gamers who considered themselves "old school," but not OSR. Or, those who never got into blogging.

It's certainly not meant to exclude members of the communities of Dragonsfoot, the ODD Forum and Knights & Knaves, all of whom put out a ton of DIY D&D stuff.

It is meant to acknowledge the fact that, at least at the time and almost certainly now, to some extent, many of those worthies eschewed the OSR designation and some were rather vitriolic in their criticisms.

5. While TSR era D&D and it's clones, derivatives, and private mash-ups were far and
away the most popular focus, there were always bloggers talking about Encounter Critical, Mazes & Minotaurs, Star Frontiers, Traveller, Runequest, Barbarians of Lemuria and various & sundry other games. Oh, and DCC, because, DAMN!

6. For the zillionth time, the number of retro, pseudo & neo clones, were and are, dwarfed by the number of modules, accessories, play aids and what-not, which the OSR has produced.

7. Back in the day, OSR meant Old School Renaissance. A few people decided the "R" should stand for "revival." Mostly in response to further criticism from "outsiders." Personally, I don't care what it means to you, or if you use the term at all.

8. But, if you decide you need to define the term for the rest of us, you're really missing the point of that brilliant, spontaneous energy that burst upon the gaming scene and changed it forever!

9. As to when the OSR started, what games are "cannon," etc., Fuck all of that noise!

Your personal opinion on the subject? Great! By all means, tell me what you think. As long as you don't take it too seriously.

Just don't try to tell me what to think. Because, the OSR, whatever the fuck it is, got along fine for years, without "gatekeepers," "authorities," "hierophants" or any sort of pseudo-academic wankery.

(edit: All right. There's been wankery. But it's usually been mis-characterized.)

10. To my mind, the OSR is a beautifully abstract thing. Kind of like TSR era D&D. It works best when you let it be what it is, when you don't concern yourself with other people's "badwrongfun," and when you don't grasp greedily at it, or try to over-define it.