Friday, 12 October 2018

Bandwagons - OSR for the perplexed questionaire.

So zak posted this just now. It can't hurt to leap onto the bandwagon and share a little snapshot of what OSR looks like to me, so here you go.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:
In Corpathium from last gasp grimoire. It's got a wonderfully weird, decaying, eccentric tone, which is nice. And it's basically a setting entirely conveyed through random tables, which is like the most osr thing I've ever seen. 2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:
So it's not one that I see stated explicitely so much compared to the more well-publicised wisdom, but:
As a GM/writer, do not be afraid to fuck shit up.
Like, here's some examples. Deep Carbon Observatory can start an apocapyptic war, Death Frost Doom has the zombie army. LotFP's summon spell can break reality in hilarious ways. Skerples's Monster Menu-All is a big collection of ways for PCs to mutate horribly by eating things they really should't.
OSR design isn't afraid of things that drastically alter PCs or warp the game setting. There's no sense of things needing to stay on track - you play, mad shit happens, it's fine.
3. Best OSR module/supplement:
Module: I'm gonna give a shout to Clint Krause's The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem. It's a simple little adventure with a garden, an abandoned mansion and some spooky cellars all linked together, along with some odd monsters and cool (plant-based!) treasure. Plus a little guide in the back for if your players decide they want to start taking cuttings to grow their own crops of the various plants they find. Nothing revolutionary, but it hits its tone wonderfully and I just really like it.
Supplement: A Red & Pleasant Land is full of cool shit and my go-to example of how the OSR can produce weird and wonderful stuff that you wouldn't expect of D&D. Plus it's Alice and vampires, so it ticks all my boxes.
4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):
Everthing Logan Knight writes is amazing. Particularly his take on magic and the chaotic body-horror weirdness it unleashes. Go start here, but it's all good.

5. How I found out about the OSR:
A buddy of mine in university ran a campaign of (heavily modded) LotFP,  mentioned some cool blogs (D&D with porn stars, Last gasp grimoire, hack & slash I think) which I read and loved.
6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:
The swords & wizardry srd is actually super helpful to me just for collecting a fairly standard example of the different spells, monsters, magic items etc. I refer to it a lot while writing.
7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:
Currently G+. I intend to stay there until the bitter end.
8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:
I'm sometimes on rpgnet, but not often.
I have a tumblr, I'll probably take it out of hybernation when g+ dies.
I actually post on 4chan's /tg/ OSR thread quite a lot. If you post there already, you probably know me, so hi! If not, don't go there it's a hive of scum and villainy and the shitposting ratio has been pretty poor lately (enough that I swore of the thread forever a few months back, but it's improved a bit and I have no self control). If you can ignore the frogposters, /pol/ shitstirring and constant shrieking of FOEGYG it produces the occasional funny or interesting thing juuuust enough that I keep checking back. God, I fucking hate foegyggery though.

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:
OSR is the playstyle. If it's about exploring something dangerous and cool, goal and challenge-oriented, doesn't pull it's punches in terms of danger, and prioritizes the in-world events over mechanics, it's OSR. I've seen stuff I wrote run with Exalted and Dungeon World. I've run Veins of the Earth using Vampire the Masquerade. The dice/stats/mechanics engine you use doesn't matter if your play is oldschool.
Cue angry shrieking from purists.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:
I'm super torn between Vampire: the Masquerade, Changeling: the Dreaming and Wraith: the Oblivion so I'm just gonna compromise and say old WoD stuff. 
11. Why I like OSR stuff:
I'm gonna use a music analogy. D&D is heavy metal. It's been going since the 70s. Everybody knows the progenitors of the genre (dungeons & dragons/black sabbath). You know the genre conventions, the weird cheesy stuff that only makes sense in the context of metal/D&D, the patterns things are going to follow.
You've got a recognised template and set of motifs and techniques to pull from with a big back catalogue and lots of depth.
Now, the OSR is in a similar place to (say) Doom Metal right now. You have bands that are recreating the feel and tone of the classics (Electric Wizard's latest album is one big black sabbath tribute, let's all be honest). But at the same time you have bands like, say, Sunn 0))) or Nadja or SubRosa experimenting and doing weird artsy creative stuff with the genre. And all this stuff is drawing from the same well, part of the same tradition, feeding into each other. It's big and vibrant and constantly growing to new places while staying very firmly rooted in the traditions that started it all.
I like that in a scene. It's healthy, it's a good place to start doing your own work in.

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:
Yami Bakura (who gets mad props for being named after the best thing on yu-gi-oh) writes cool shit here. Go check it all out.
K Yani has put more interesting worldbuilding in the friggin' armour class table than most games manage in their setting explanations. Go read this cool post.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:
This is an unfair question to ask and I refuse to answer, there is too much good shit out there.
Real talk though it's Last Gasp Grimoire.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:
Mutilate your PCs when they hit 0HP.  Injury charts for different types of injury, keying off the amount of damage done. Bleeding out, mutilation, health problems, delayed death, etc. I'm super pleased with how it works out in play.
15. I'm currently running/playing:
Playing in a couple of Vamp games (one is a larp!). Gonna be doing a few one-shot larp events over the winter. Looking to run Ynn for some local people soon.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:
IT IS MATHEMATICALLY IDENTICAL PEOPLE GOOD GRIEF.

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:



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