Monday, August 27, 2012

The OSR is Dead, Long Live the OSR!

Fresh from Gen Con I posted that the OSR is Dead, or rather more to the point I asked if it was and then followed up with a comment that the movement was dead.

Many took umbrage with this.

Here is the deal.

The OSR as a movement has satisfied it's goals.
There is unprecedented access to "old school" and "old school-like" material.  Yes, several thousand copies of Swords & Wizardry are going out, WotC has AD&D out in stores now and D&D5 looks like a streamline, even old-school, version of 3e, these though are only the largest examples of why the "fight" is over.  If the R is Revolution then the revolution is over. If the R is Renascence then we are in a post enlightenment period. What was learned is not lost, but it does change.

The OSR as a community will continue to thrive.
Anecdotally we have had many posts from the the first rush of bloggers (present company included) talk about how hits and views are down.  How posting is down.  We might not ever see the growth we did of 2008-2010 again.  But that doesn't mean there is not a constant flow of ideas, text and things we can all do.

What does this all mean though really?
Will people stop playing Basic Fantasy, S&W or LL?  No.  Those games will rise and fall by desires of their fans and market forces.
Will people stop making material? No way. They didn't stop when 1st Ed replaced OD&D or 2nd ed replaced that and so on.  In fact it is now easier than ever before.

It will be interesting to see what D&D5 does to the OSR community.  Will people jump ship for this new game? Will the backlash against WotC continue?  Will the Pathfinder continue to grow?  2013 will be interesting to say the least, but one thing is sure, don't expect it to be the same as now.


Digital Orc said...


I suppose you're right.

Unknown said...

I think the greatest danger to the OSR is the fact it is spread out throughout sooooo many versions. With so many voices (all of them good in their own way) it is hard to rally behind one statement and thus it gets diluted. It is easy to get lost in so many voices.

HitAdjacentAlly said...

I'll tell you one thing right now - WotC just sold me on the idea of Bounded Accuracy. That seems like a great and incredible idea. I've been trying to figure out something similar for a long time. If they don't mess the rest of it up, I'm heading for 5E, depending on how easily modifiable the system is. At first glance, it should be. If I can easily port old/new material back and forth, so much the better, and I'm crossing my fingers on that one.

Eldrad Wolfsbane said...

As much as I was not really caring about D&D Next I finally got board and looked at the most recent play-test, listened to the Gen Con seminars on youtube, and such. I then downloaded the most recent packets and printed them out. Okay they have streamlined it to a level that IS Old School. Mike Mearles seems to really be on the Story is more important that mechanics but has been really working on simple mechanics. It's kinda is a combination of 3E and very little 4E mixed with Basic with the feel of 2E and a little 1E mixed in. Damn that is about the best description of D&D Next I have ever seen! WotC unlike what they did with 4E play-testers is really taking into account the wants of the players, UNLESS you guys don't get on their website and the munchkins guide the creation of Next.

Unknown said...

For anyone curious, there is now an SRD site for Swords & Wizardry at (also available via