” R ” is for Religion [[ OSR ]]

I recently posted about what I think is common to, and so is, the OSR (link), and why your ‘faction’ of the OSR is a self-fulfilling prophesy. That is, your OSR is THE OSR because you liked that faction of the OSR, and that is the reason why you subscribed to it.

Recently I’ve been thinking more about this factionalism in the OSR. [[Edit: Reddit has pointed out that ‘Faction’ is perhaps a bit too strong – so, when I say ‘faction’ please read this to mean ‘hot spot’, ‘gravitational well’, ‘leaning’ or ‘wing’ etc.]]

I think this factionalism in the OSR is a bit like Religion.

Whatever faction of the OSR you first encountered (and the people in that faction) will heavily influence what you think the OSR is, and importantly if this was an attractive or repulsive experience.

If your first experience of the OSR was rules-as-written-TSR-era D&D – then that will probably be your (OS)R, especially if you liked it or hated it. If your first experience of religion was hyper austere Calvinism, then that will shape what you think “R” religion is. Again, this might be what you are after or you might hate it. Later discovered “R”s are clearly deluded/imposteRs. Or, of course, you might drift from one “R” to another overtime as you become more enlightened. Some “R”s may be tolerant of other “R”s, but others may be very intolerant of other the “R”s.

Anyway, if you want to hear a more expanded view on this (I was going to write the whole thing out, but I need to recover some time in my life) – please see my podcast:

(yes, I have a podcast)


– – –

Me on DriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

3 thoughts on “” R ” is for Religion [[ OSR ]]

  1. Yora

    OSR just really doesn’t seem to be a useful or meaningful term when it becomes “the OSR”.

    Oldschool Roleplaying as a general field of styles and customs for how games can be played and mechanics be designed is all and well. But when it’s “OSR is this”, “OSR does that”, and “those OSR people”, it is meaningless because it defines one group of olschool players as being “the OSR” and everything else isn’t. And everyone who uses the term is referring to a different group, while still maintaining there is only one.

    I’ve become a huge fan of Gus L’s term “Classic Dungeon Crawling”, because that spells out in its name which one specific segment of the oldschool RPG sphere it is referring to, and because it talks about practices instead of one clique or another.


  2. Goblin's Henchman Post author

    I agree that the various factions/segments/movements of the OSR might do better use new terms that describe what they are in favour of e.g. like the ‘CDC’ you refer to. Better still create a manifesto a bit like “Games Omnivorous” do, e.g.:

    All books are adventures.
    The adventures must be system-agnostic.
    The adventures must take place on Earth.
    The adventures can only have one location.
    The adventures can only have one monster.
    The adventures must include saprophagy or osteophagy.
    The adventures must include a voracious eater.
    The adventures must have less than 6,666 words.
    The adventures can only be in two colours.
    The Lost Rule: the adventures cannot have good taste.


  3. Lyracian (@Lyracian)

    Interesting theory. We have just finished playing in a Moldvey Basic game that went on for five years. I started playing in the ’80’s with the old red box set but having looked as a few of the OSR offerings I would pick “Basic Fantasy” as the option for running a game not Modvey/Mentzer rules.



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