Monday, December 15, 2014

OSR, Retroclones.... what are they ?

A nice couple visited my wife and I yesterday with their two kids (each a year on each side of my youngest child so the kids entertained each other most of the time). We had fun chatting and the couple were both RPG gamers keen to start a new game and while they enjoyed games like 7-Seas they are both interested in playing D&D, anything before 3.5, 4th or 5th edition.  I started knocking about editions and games and mentioned Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy Role-playing ,and Seven Voyages of Zylarthen as possible options and they had no idea what I was talking about. I mentioned yeah they are "retro-clones" or oldschool games enabled by the SRD and OGL part of the whole OSR thing".  They commented "OSR? Retro-clones? What are they?".
My wife fetched a print copy of BFRPG and showed it to them while I talked, they were both interested but had no clue such things existed. Specific rule set choice and house rules are up to me as long as it is old-school D&D, and first game is scheduled for Jan 10th.

As I have mentioned before and elsewhere: There is a large number of RPG players out there that have no clue the OSR or Retroclones even exist and plenty of people willing to play D&D in general that have no clue at all about editions wars and the drama hardcore fanboys enjoy.

Having trouble finding players for your RPG campaigns? Talk about your games and they will come.


  1. Not that this means anything, but after being repelled by 4e, after buying the books for my nephew four years ago, I resolved to put together a 1e campaign world with help from the internet (I figured there would be free modules and such available). It was at least a few months before I ran into the OSR or at least took any notice of its existence. And this from someone who was predisposed to like it.

    1. I'm not blaming anyone but all of us who play, blog, and write oldschool stuff... . ;-)

    2. The answer ? I talked about retroclones and related blogs for a little while. Showed them BFRPG and talked about that Seven Voyages, and Swords & Wizardry. Everyone got excited enough we are playing next month.

  2. Glad to hear it, JD! I hope you don't mind that I updated your character sheet for 3rd Edition. It's still my favorite, the one I use to start new players with.

  3. As to the lack of visibility of the OSR, I'm not sure what could be done about that. We're a niche of a niche, honestly.