Diving (back) into OSR

*Disclaimer, despite naming and by extension promoting a particular game/game system, I make no money off of this post. Additionally, I have no affiliation with White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game, nor with Drivethrurpg.

I do a lot of gaming, and there’s always one kind of tabletop RPG that is murmured about on my tabletop periphery, Old School Renaissance, or OSR. The thing is, retro-clones, and games inspired by early iterations of Dungeons & Dragons aren’t necessarily my favorite. These often feel like they fall under the category of RPGs I’ve seen others call, “beer and pretzel” games. Regardless, I felt like maybe I hadn’t really given the whole OSR thing a fair shake the first time around.

As a result, I decided to give it a go, again. I’ve played OSR games before, and for some reason, it just didn’t click. I don’t know if it was the group, the sense that the systems I was looking at weren’t as inherently easy as others had suggested, or something else. Whatever the case may be, I had abandoned pretty much everything that was clustered beneath the OSR umbrella.

This changed recently as I was given a (virtual) stack of books to read and review by the British Fantasy Society. (Those reviews will start going up on this site soon.) While I was happy for the material, it meant I’d have less time for other stuff. Making matters worse was that I had an itch to run a game, something I haven’t done in quite awhile.

As the overwhelming majority of my gaming is via play-by-post (pbp), something simple was extremely desirable. If you’ve ever participated in a pbp game, you know that its very easy for an adventure to grind to a halt. A single combat, an absent player, people stuck on questions about the rules…, and so on. There are lots of reasons why pbp games falter. At any rate, what was I to do? I needed to find a game that was easy to pick up and play, but recognizable enough that locating other players wouldn’t be an issue.

The choice to play an OSR system was too inviting to pass up. The vaunted “rules-light” systems are plentiful, and inexpensive (or even free!). I decided on White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game. The rules, as advertised, are very light, and the book is available for free as a PDF via Drivethrurpg. (As an aside, I’d advocate buying a copy to support it’s publisher.) Furthermore, because it is a version of Swords & Wizardry, there’s a respectable amount of material available.

It’s my first-time couched behind the GM’s screen in quite a while, which is surprising as I’m kind of-sorta a forever GM. I’m forward to the game, and will hopefully be able to document it’s progress here on the site. Until then, it’s nice to pick up back my favorite hobby, and give a game I’ve never played before a rigorous test-drive.





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