Sunday, May 25, 2014

What's Next for the OSR?

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition is coming...

As most of us know (or have been told) this iteration of the world's first, most popular, and possibly greatest fantasy roleplaying game is supposed to cater towards grognards, noobs, and everyone in between who favors streamlined, innovative, and nostalgic D&D as opposed to the math-heavy, rule-bloated, video game aspects of 3rd and 4th editions.  This will undoubtedly be a new beginning for paper & pencil tabletop roleplaying in general, but what about the nostalgia niche?

If the rumors and playtest packets are true, D&D will be more like the 70's and 80's but with a few key enhancements from the last three decades.  I wonder what this means for the old school renaissance.  Will is bolster RPGs like Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, and Dungeon Crawl Classics?  Could it replace or bypass them to some degree?  How about OSR modules, maps, gaming aids, and campaign books?  Boon or bust?

Show of hands, how many OSR devotees are willing to jump ship if 5e turns out to be all we hope?  If 5e gobbles up the majority of old school market share, then what's to become of it?  Will those who obstinately continue to play original Red Box D&D, AD&D, or 2nd edition be viewed again as throwbacks who refuse to evolve?  Will the OSRIC or Castles & Crusades (shudder) holdouts become even more ghettoized, misanthropes who simply refuse to join the party because D&D is awesome and popular again?

Personally, I won't make up my mind about 5e until I read it and either run or play it (at least twice).  However, if it's what I think it'll be, then many of my core books and boxes will go to the back of the gaming closet.  Even though I naturally eschew that which is fashionable, I'd rather join the party than lurk in the shadows - especially when those shadows are a pale reflection of what they used to be.

Have an opinion or something to say?  I want to hear about it!  So, post... get it off your chest.


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