Friday, June 17, 2011

Old School vs. Fun

One of the great things about the OSR is how it has created a sense of newfound appreciation of older edition books and writers. I am drawn to the works of the early masters of the hobby because of the creativity found within them and the value of taking a second look at these works, discovering great ideas that for various reasons seems to have been lost along the way.

What I don't appreciate are people who worry too much about what is old school and what is not. Especially the latter part. Trying to define how Old School ended in 1981, or 1989 or in 2000, or with person X being kicked out of TSR and excluding everything after that point seems like a pointless exercise. I am also saddened by people telling others that you're not old school enough or you cannot use book X because that's not an old school book.

Interestingly, the most creative individuals from the OSR don't really seem to spend much time with this sort of exclusivist attitude though. They are instead simply driven by their enthusiasm. This positive attitude is what appeals to me about the OSR; not the people who will spend time telling you that you are playing it wrong.

To me old school is more about attitude and spirit, than about anything else. If my choice is between someone else's definition of what is old school and what I think is fun, I will go with fun. And lets face it, this was what the old school masters were about too, wasnt it? If there is one thing I have learned about the Old School masters is that they were willing to include just about anything they could get their hands on into their games. As long as it seeemed like a good idea at the time. So if you want to include Monte Cook's Ptolus, or the latest sourcebook for 4E in your Old School game, who am I to tell you that you arent good enough for the movement? Ultimately, there is no choosing between Old School and fun. If youre not having fun, it sure isn't Old School.



  1. I like fun. Fun is good.
    I'll take fun over pretty much anything else.

  2. Yeah, this comes up periodically. Last time I decided to use the term Funschool when I got sick of twits trying to argue with me over what's OSR.

  3. Woohoo to fun! I'm all for it. And a little chocolate doesn't hurt either.

  4. LOTS of chocolate...LOTS!

  5. Does this mean I can still be old school with my 5 Pathfinder subscriptions? Fuck yeah!

  6. Being "old school" is so subjective. To me it is playing with only bare bones maps and no-minis. It is also bare bones prep and DMing on the fly/improv.
    To me old school is recapturing the feel of the days when we played 2e AD&D because that's where my "roots" really are. 1989-1990 is when I really became a gamer.
    Even though I'm currently running a 2e game, because I like the system, we have gone "old school" with 3e, Pathfinder, and 4e. Old school is as much a state of mind for me as it is a set of rules or an edition. But that's just me to someone else it has a completely different meaning.
    I've gotten my share of flack from various sources because I prefer 2e over 1e or Basic and I've never actually seen OD&D books. But that's ok, because they don't have to play at my table and I don't want them to.

  7. If there's Mountain Dew and Cheetos at the table, I don't care which school I'm attending ;)


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