OSR, or Old Sam Raimi, is a concept in gaming that the most fun game stuff already happened and was mostly done by the early 80s, and that games resembling or utilizing the tools of that era are preferable to modern RPG stuff. WEGS Old Skool is our first game that is marketed as an OSR design. Will we like it?
I’m glad you had something to get mad about. It makes for a good episode, and it’s good for your brand.
I still hope that you end up accidentally reviewing a mainstream OSR game at some point in the future, instead of this retro-parody that’s basically just a knock-off of Dungeon Crawl Classics.
All these acronyms remind me of Scientology.
First, was disappointed WEGS turned out to not be West End Games D6 System but then remembered that, generally, this is a show about bad games. Then thought that surely this is a parody system like Saelorn indicates- nope they have a whole website selling terrible things for their terrible game. I don’t think it’s fair to damn the OSR for this game, though, anymore than it would be to indict any other type of RPG for crappy games. Moreover, WEGS doesn’t seem to be OSR in any way other than it happens to use the term old-school. OSRs tend to be either retro clones (if not flat out using OD&D), or heavily inspired 3rd ed. OGL takes on OD&D. Which means they tend to stick heavily to the whole d20, 6 attributes, saving throws, etc. shtick (as the OSR was largely a backlash against the trends in 4th ed). Say whatever you will about the OSR adherence to Gygaxian orthodoxy but WEGS is just a mess of mechanics that OSR players would shun.
There’s a running joke in the show that if we encounter something we don’t know about, we don’t research it, we just go off the content of the book that is selling it to us. Much like how all we know about Elric of Melbourne or whatever is that he’s a pale whiny invincible baby. Similarly, this was our first exposure to a book that was all “We’re the OSR, baby!” So we took it at face value. Bad idea? Nay! Joke!
Ah, I gotcha. Though you pretty much nailed Elric.
Keep up the good work on bad games!
I know you guys hate research, but I have to mention the roll in order thing has OSR precedence. Yeah, the precedence sucks, but it is there.
(Original) D&D came out in 1974 and was roll 3d6 in order. The idea was that you choose a class based on your rolls instead of choosing a class and making your rolls fit.
1977 gave use Basic/Expert D&D. Again, roll 3d6 in order, but then it let you do a limited movement of points between abilities. Look at an adventure for B/X with pregens and you will see a lot of bad to mediocre abilities. B/X continued with this for years, even later when AD&D came out.
It was 1979 when the AD&D (1e) Dungeon Master’s Guide was published that introduced the method you spoke about.
Really, OSR is kinda crap. It is more about wearing rose colored glasses and ignoring 40 years of good ideas that expanded RPGs. If I want an old school game I will play Dungeon Crawl Classics. It is not actually old school as it was, but old school as we think it was.
No, we know. Here’s the thing. OSR theoretically isn’t based on the first RPG ever, but rather on the first 10 years or so of RPG design. Within those ten years, players and designers realized that if they wanted stats to matter, they’d have to do away with the 3d6 down the line. As you mention, in OD&D, stats were 3D6 down the line, and were mostly used to hit class minimums. I say mostly because they did fuck-all else. Within a few years designers realized that they had these six useful sliders, might as well actually have them matter during play.
So at the five-year mark, AD&D comes out, preloaded with roll options. Not even at the end of the ten year period, but right in the golden middle. So it made sense to us, research or not, that OSR folks would, given the stated intent of OSR, adopt the big changes that came about during the hazy rose-colored years of the late 70s.
Yes, but sense is not what these people are about. They are all about going back as far as they can. Many of the OSR games are based on OD&D from 1974. Why? Why beat the dead horse 1d6 at a time? The modifiers for OD&D/B/X don’t do as much as AD&D for the abilities. But people love the crap. While the game you reviewed is not actually an OSR in the style of actually recreating an old rule set, at least it tried to be different. There are people remaking the same rule set, like Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy, Dark Dungeons, and Labyrinth Lord that are all remakes of B/X. On top of it all, you can just buy the actual D&D Cyclopedia on DriveThruRPG and get the actual game.
I am playing in an online Classic Traveller game, which is the original 1977 rules. It is kinda stupid in a lot of ways. They game literally does not work like any modern game. Instead of modifiers for abilities, each skill has a completely different way of working, with the skill description telling you if you have such and such DEX, such and such happens. It is so backwards assed, and impossible to remember because nothing works in a fashion that is, in any sense, consistent. I suggested we use the Mongoose Traveller rules, written in the late 2000s but based on the old rules with a ton of modern features and the response was, as the GM put it, “I don’t like that crap. The game was perfect.” But these are my friends, so I am trying.
Basic Fantasy looks pretty solid to me. It’s basically just pruning out all of the cruft, in case you really wanted to play OD&D, but didn’t want to deal with Gygaxian prose and giant lists of polearms. It’s the same content, just more polished.
It’s a niche product, sure, but I can’t imagine why it would be controversial at all.
I discovered your show after search for a Pendragon RPG podcast. Then, i got this one, and start thinking “oh no, they are going to bash OSR, they dont know what they are talking about, etc”. But then, the show is SO funny, i start laughing many and many times while listen (i walk to my work, no bus or car).
I cant have enough of your podcast!
Congrats for the amazing show, and have a great one!
Cheers from Brazil!
I so happy that this guy managed to pull off his dream and get his book written and published.
I am even more happy that you had to read it, not me.