Only Show Respect.

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

I wish I’d thought of this one.

I’d been kind of kibitzing with Tom from TableTop Taproom in his YouTube comments about doing a “No Hate in the OSR” logo. I had one that I was working on, but I’m not maybe as artistic as the folx Tom has access to. I’ll start using this on my OSR content as soon as I can. Love it!

Only Show Respect, the other abbreviation of OSR. The one that we all know and love is Old School Revival. It basically just means all of us OG’s like to play original or first edition D&D and other classics from the early days of RPGs.

“We’re here to game.” – Tom/Jedion.

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The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

Due to some seriously negative horse crap in the RPG community, a lot of us older fans really want to drive the point home that we’re NOT HERE TO HATE! I agree entirely. I’ve rallied behind this movement. Everyone is welcome, so long as they do no harm in the real world.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that a lot of us older gamers were raised in a different era. An era when treating some people with disdain, disrespect, and even hate was considered okay. Now, culture in the US and other countries has evolved. Some of us OGs are still evolving with it.

We’re taking charge of a narrative with this.

It’s no secret there are people in almost every community that hold some kind of bigoted beliefs or some personal ideals that seem a little sketchy. I shamefully fell into this category at one time. People can change! People are capable of opening their hearts and minds.

You don’t have to be a bitter, spiteful, Old Grognard forever! There is love in all of us. Open your heart and hopefully your gaming table up to new people. Leave ego and politics at the door and roll some dice together. It’s easy.

It’s not “Woke” culture.

Keep it warm and fuzzy out in the real world.

Please be respectful. Please be kind to others. Play nice. This is not new information. We didn’t just wake up one day in a world where people expect to be treated the way we want to be treated.

If one finds oneself on the receiving end of “Cancel Culture,” maybe it’s a signal that mistakes were made. In other words, if someone is getting pounded on social media for being rude, insensitive, or acting like an ass- some reflection is in order. That’s simple matter of social sanctions within a community against someone who is violating an unwritten or even sometimes written code of moral conduct.

Lovingly submitted, it’s not 1983 any more. The cultures we live in are changing. What was once considered socially acceptable is changing. It’s not a written law, it’s what others find ethically and morally acceptable now.

Hot take: What was acceptable in 1776 United States might not be so popular now.

They did what, exactly?

The Founding Fathers of the United States weren’t exactly angels in some respects. Some of them owned slaves, committed various crimes by today’s standards, and did some pretty reprehensible things back then. If someone acted that way in 2022 and got caught? They’d be going to jail for a long time.

I’ve seen many similar lists to this one from Ranker.com. While the history books paint pretty pictures of the Founding Fathers, they were not all sunshine and rainbows. My point is: what we think of as “right” and “wrong” today looks nothing like what it did in 1776, 1863, or even 1983.

RPGs written in 1980 or earlier are pretty cool, but remember from whence they came.

Even RPG designers of yesteryear are guilty of having some sketchy ethics and beliefs. I’m not going to name anyone specific. I think we all respect and admire certain RPG royalty in much the same way we admire the Founding Fathers. (Sorry, gotta go with what I know. I’m sure Canada, Great Britain, and other countries have their own versions.) None of our heroes are completely untarnished.

Pathfinder 2E (Paizo) and D&D 5E (Wizards of the Coast) are even changing what they are doing with what we called races back in the early days of gaming. We can change the way we look at our hobby and still have fun. Conflict in one form or another still drives a lot of RPGs. Those older games are still great, but we have to remember that morals and ethics were different when they were written. Things that would be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and ableist now were overlooked as the norm then.

The disclaimer that has caused so much uproar in the OSR RPG community.

That’s not to say that being a jerk is okay any time.

The “Old Grognard” in me wrestles with some these concepts regularly. Sometimes ethical and moral dilemmas are at the very heart of RPGs as well. I like a little deeper roleplaying when I’m not slugging it out with superheroes or blasting giant robots. Some of these very deep concepts can lead for epic storylines in RPGs assuming everyone at the table is cool with it.

Just because there’s literally a race reaction table in the Unearthed Arcana AD&D 1E, doesn’t mean we have to play it that way in Old School Revival. Part of the beauty of OSR is that it’s a revision or even a rewrite of the old rules. We can have the nostalgic old school feel without the messed-up old school racism, sexism, -phobia, etc.

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I’m all about that OSR way of doing things because that’s my generation’s way of gaming.

Heck yeah! Let’s go romp through some dungeons the old beer-n-pretzels way! Slay that dragon. Grab some cool loot. Just leave the negative stuff toward other people out of the games we write and the way we play.

Then carry that attitude to our Friendly Local Game Stores. Let’s bring the fun with us to conventions. Let’s bring people into the hobby and show them how awesome roleplaying games can be. Please convey that positive, welcoming message everywhere we go.

O.nly S.how R.espect.

Thanks for stopping by!

What’s OSR?

Old School Gamers typically have been around for a long time. The reason we are somewhat attached to RPGs of the years past is because of the experience with those games/editions. Some of us have had the same Dungeons & Dragons books since they became available back then.

Old School Rules/Renaissance/Revival and what it means to me.

I’ve been seeing more rhetoric from multiple angles on this topic again lately. Maybe Go-oggle and Yu-Tube have picked up on the conversations in the room and my search history, etc. Who knows? But anyway, we’ll talk about what an OSR RolePlaying Game is as opposed to a more modern one.

Disclaimer: This is NOT about one being better than the other. Both schools of gaming thought are valid. Both styles of gaming are perfectly valid. One is no better or worse than the other. Please accept this as strictly my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Old School Gamers typically have been around for a long time. The reason we are somewhat attached to RPGs of the years past is because of the experience with those games/editions. Some of us have had the same Dungeons & Dragons books since they became available back then.

It’s not 100% just D&D, either. There are plenty of other games and other editions of games out there from the 1970’s -1990’s that are plenty popular. Marvel Superheroes RPG has had multiple incarnations over the years. Star Frontiers has only really had one official edition so far. Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) was around before the movies breathed new life into an old series.

Some of us OGs have been around even longers still. Remember Chainmail? Remember Warhammer before everything had a $100+ price tag. Some folx (before my time) played the predecessor to GURPS called The Fantasy Trip. (TFT) Call of Cthulhu has been around a very long time as well.

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Now that we’ve heard about Old School, what’s considered “New” or “Modern” roleplaying?

My personal definition is anything that would be considered the most recent edition of a game. D&D 5E, for example, is most obvious. Some games such as RIFTS or Pathfinder 2E have just been reborn in newer editions, even under new systems, in the last five or ten years.

Game companies are businesses as much as we tend to forget. We would like to think the writers, editors, and production staff of these games as friends who help facilitate fun with our gaming group. We want them to do well. Unfortunately for our wallets, that usually means new editions, new sourcebooks, or new games.

New games, reboots, or new editions often take the form of a Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding effort. Most new games happen that way these days. If a product can’t pass crowdfunding muster, then it’s probably not going to happen. Some companies do the majority of what they do through Kickstarter and BackerKit almost exclusively as if retail and the PDF market are almost secondary.

Newer games tend to have a newer approach and a different attitude.

For example, D&D 5E bases level gain on Milestones (preferred) or Experience Points. Roleplay and story aspects are emphasized over combat. Older editions of D&D tended more toward smash the monster, grab the loot, gain the XP. DMs could set XP for other types of encounters, but it was quicker to go full on murderhobo if you just wanted to level up.

D&D 5E tends toward shorter dungeons, maybe five or six rooms that usually follow a somewhat logical pattern. Most of the story takes place in terms of interaction with other characters and NPCs. Most Old School NPCs were a means to an end. The loot and the monsters were the real goal and they were usually stashed away in some unbelievably huge multilevel underground complex full of traps, puzzles, and more monsters.

One last example. D&D 5E is sort of a generic system. People have created campaigns and settings for superheroes, giant robots, space opera, and even shoujo style manga roleplaying. The best part is, thanks to the Open Game License, creators can get paid for these efforts. In the before-time (Classic Star Trek reference,) there was no OGL and if you wanted to work for a game company you had to bend over backwards to get printed in a fan magazine and then pray you got picked up to write an article for Dragon. Then maybe get a foot in the door at old T$R or another established company. There were different games for everything, too.

So why is OSR so cool, exactly?

This is still all I need for old Basic D&D.

Game companies tend to drop old products like a hot rock once they cease earning money. I mean, it’s just good business, right? Sometimes they move onto a new edition. Sometimes they move onto another project altogether.

Back in the older editions of D&D we had a class. That class was pretty broadly defined in most cases. Fighter could be anything from a pirate to an axe wielding barbarian. In D&D 5E there are subclasses and even some specialization within the subclasses. There are more ways to customize your character than you can shake a stick at and a rule for every one of them. (This is also why Pathfinder 2E is 700+ pages for just the core rulebook.)

If we didn’t have a rule for something back then, we just made it up. Admittedly, some DMs had entire three-ring binders full of house rules. It was fast, it was loose, and it was fun! Our character’s actions were mostly limited by our imaginations.

AD&D 1st Ed had the Fiend Folio and two Monster Manuals. Anything beyond that had to be created by the DM. Nowadays we have how many official books plus dozens of third party monster books? It staggers the imagination and the gaming budget. That’s why I love Dungeon Crawl Classics (an OSR game,) so much. I end up creating and describing most of the creatures I want.

Another case to be made for OSR games is we know there really aren’t any sourcebooks coming out for the original editions. However, newer replicas of these old games serve two main purposes: to bring back rulesets into an OGL framework and to allow for the publishing of old homebrew adventures under the new (old) ruleset while still keeping it fresh. I truly wish I had hung onto some of my old dungeon maps.

Some modern RPG companies have found ways to cash in on old trademark IP. They’re selling reprints in PDF and even Print On Demand copies of old games. This is great because it gives new players a chance to get the old stuff without having to photocopy some beleaguered book the GM has been using for 40 years. There aren’t as many notes and coffee stains on the reprints, either.

I love both.

Fun old times. New fun times to be had. It’s all good.

I’m a roleplaying game fanatic at heart. I’ll run, write, or even play just about anything. It’s still a game. The rules are superfluous to having fun. I like crunchy bits like no other, but I do enjoy a good story, too. Whatever gets us there is fine.

I like older editions of some games for their charm, nostalgia, and fond memories they hold for me. A lot of old curmudgeons balk at new rulesets or editions. I welcome at least taking a look at them. Sometimes the new rules and art of newer editions draw me in. Sometimes they make me want to stick to the old stuff.

It’s also funny to convert newer RPG creatures and ideas into retro games. First, it makes me look like I made it up. Second, it gives me a reference to fall back on if I get stuck. There’s a lot of stuff we wish we had back then that is commonly available now. Plus, I know some OG curmudgeonly gamers have never picked up any new material. Heh heh heh…

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you regardless of editions or game systems. Hope you’re having fun. See you soon.

My Cure for Writer’s Block

Put in 20 minutes of writing every day and you will be amazed at the ideas, creativity and workflow that come with it. You can write literally anything for 20 minutes and that practice will do wonders!

This is actually old advice from one of my many Journalism profs over the years. It’s very simple. Write for at least 20 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what or where as long as you’re putting words to page somewhere.

Admittedly, it’s not always on my blog here. You can start a journal. You can type out straight gibberish in your word processing program of choice. (Did I mention I recently really got into an app called Scrivener? Loving it!) You can see how many times you can write your name on a piece of paper in 20 minutes. As long as it’s something to get your creative juices going. You can write a poem, type out random thoughts as they go by, or even dip into what’s called automatic writing.

Many, many LoA enthusiasts recommend you keep some sort of journal. I have a regular spiral bound $.99 US College Ruled Notebook I used for mine for years. It’s got notes on top of notes in it along with things written on half sheets of typing paper that I paperclipped into it and sticky notes on many pages. When ideas come to me at work, I don’t hesitate to write on whatever is handy.

My journal has turned into sort of a written vision board. I have several pages from doing 55×5 method. This is where you very specifically write down your intention in present form as gratitude for already having it. I think it works beautifully for figuring out what it truly is that you desire the most. I’m still working on my $2.6M USD, but I have found a lot of joyful moments in the middle that have manifested themselves okay.

I know at the start of my day or when I finally get a chance to sit down and write those first 20 minutes are pretty valuable for unloading whatever has been on my mind. I type pretty fast, and so I can dump a lot of energy onto my keyboard pretty fast. I even have one for my phone and tablet that I carry around for when my laptop is not around.

As an aside, y’all kids have it easy. When I was growing up, I learned to type on a manual typewriter, then an electric typewriter, then a word processor, then finally a desktop computer. Which, back in the day a desktop computer literally took up your whole desktop. Nowadays, our phones make those old PCs look pretty sad in terms of memory and processing power. Take your Pokemon Go app for granted. Back in the day, we had to lug around a typewriter in a suitcase and there was no backspace/delete key.

This is where another invaluable tool comes in handy. Since I started wearing cargo pants every day, I carry a notebook in one of my pockets. It’s handy when you’re stuck in line at a restaurant or just need to make a quick note to yourself. Do you know how many awesome ideas flow through at the oddest times when you don’t have anything handy? It used to happen to me a lot, until I started carrying a notebook around again. I would say “reporter’s notebook,” but since I’m not a reporter it’s kinda… anyway. You get the idea.

When you’re writing as a sort of exercise every day, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Put words down, even if it’s literally just stream of thought. This is why I so often tell people I never get bored. Not only that, I never truly suffer from “writer’s block.” I might pause to think occasionally and maybe battle the distraction monster that is my phone. (Social media is like a black hole when it comes to time sinks.) But if you write for at least 20 minutes per day on something, anything, you can usually write yourself out of a funk pretty fast. Or go back and look at the other stuff you’ve written down and dredge for ideas whether it’s for an article, blog post, term paper, novel or whatever you’re doing.

In closing I should probably mention I don’t time myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve been at this in one form or another for 30+ years or because I have kind of an innate sense of linear time. (Bleh! for those who know me.) Early on, you might set a timer for 10, 15, 20 or longer minutes. 20 minutes seems to be a good stopping point for people with busy lives. The point of the whole exercise is just to write especially if you’re feeling stuck in any way.

Happy Writing. Publius.

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