Monday, June 17, 2013
I just read an article / blog post / skyscraper-elevator-pitch for yet another OSR roleplaying game. Now is the age of power, darkness, sword and sorcery... of fantasy heartbreakers and option overload. We have almost too many choices out there. To name but a few...
Dungeon Crawl Classics, Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Monsters & Magic, Castles & Crusades, Microlite74, Adventures Dark & Deep, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyborea, Basic Fantasy Roleplaying, OSRIC, Dungeon World, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, etc. Believe me, I could've gone on and on.
Suffice it to say that DMs and players have a plethora of RPGs to explore. What sets these apart? Why play one over the other? I'm not going to get into that here and now. Perhaps that's a blog post for another time. This little piece is about something else...
What does each and every OSR RPG mentioned above need? Great adventures! Sure, a talented DM could write his own, week after week, campaign after campaign, gaming group after gaming group. But that DM could also just make up his own RPG. Most guys running the game are going to want an interesting module to either riff off, follow religiously, or something in-between.
I say that an old school renaissance war is already upon us, though we realize it not. Too many games for such a small niche hobby - the OSR community is really a niche within a niche. Yeah, a microcosm of fantasy roleplaying. That means (to my way of thinking) that strong scenarios are needed now more than ever. And, to go even further, the best modules will allow certain games to flourish as others fall by the wayside.
Yes, module-smiths are the new kingmakers! OSR RPG companies can either create their own adventures, hire people to do it for them, or simply do nothing and allow scenario writers to do their thing with all the open content and copyright-free goings on. It seems like a symbiotic relationship is forming between the companies creating games and those individuals who are creating adventures.
At the moment, t'were me, I'd much rather be an indie module publisher than a brand new OSR RPG publisher. But I'm sure that not everyone would agree. After all, it's still early days. Let the war rage on!
p.s. Apparently, there are hundreds of OSR modules out there in cyber-land, and the number keeps growing. But so does the amount of game systems. I was giving it some thought last night. Maybe modules are like songs and RPGs are like record labels. If one of the two just stopped multiplying, which would we notice?