Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Thoughts On The Death Of The OSR

Perhaps it's just me, but I've always viewed OSR to mean Old-School Renaissance, as demonstrated by the Old-School Renaissance Group booth I ran at GenCon 2011. I've always preferred Renaissance over Rules, Revolution, Reformation, or any of the other "R's" that others ascribe to the an acronym, because renaissance implies a return to an older gaming aesthetic as interpreted through a modern aesthetic. I think that's an apt description - we admire the things we view as good in the older material, discard the things we think are bad, and argue with each other about what falls into those two categories... :-)

The OSR is not a business model - it's not dependent upon market forces - because *every one of us* is a creator and a critic. We can both sculpt and critique the sculptures, we can both paint and critique the paintings. The OSR is a very egalitarian endeavor - which is what original gaming was about - making up your own stuff using the rules as a framework for the shared creative experience.

I am in "the industry" of gaming, but I am no different than any other participant in the OSR. There is no barrier to participation in the OSR, and there are limited barriers in presentation of new materials. I commercialize the OSR material I produce (because I like to eat!), but the commercialization that I do *does not* have to be done by others. My interest in running a profitable business has *zip* to do with the OSR. Nada. Nilch.

The OSR isn't an industry - it's thousands of people getting together, playing face-to-face (or virtually so), and having fun being creative and social.

The OSR will only die when we stop playing, when we stop teaching others how to play.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree Joseph and am a bit puzzled by those who don't get it. Some folks seem determined to read a bit too much into what's going on here. :-)

  2. I prefer resurgence. :D

    The higher the profile of the OSR the more severe and frequent will be the criticism, that seems to be true of anything popular. Claims that the OSR is dying are probably, somewhat ironically, a sign of its increasing success. On GitP there is a thread at the moment once again trying to define "old school".