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Bah Humbug, or The OSR Debate, Microlite7x, and Me

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Another great debate on the OSR has swept a good part of the OSR blogsphere over the last few days. Jim Raggi said something about TSR on his blog a few days ago that got some members of the old TSR crew upset. Both sides posted on their respective blogs (Jim at Lamentations of the Flame Princess and the TSR crew at Lord of the Green Dragons). Many other old school bloggers have commented on it. I haven't as it did not interest me much as it was focused on the industry where I focus on the hobby.

Jim and the TSR crew seem to have different views on how a RPG company should be ran and what it should be doing. I could care less. If you want to put up some money and start a company to publish "old school" material, you are welcome to do so and welcome to run it any way you want.

I'm not interested in being part of the OSR industry. I'm a hobbyist with a pile of old industry stuff and years of experience. I'm part of the OSR hobby. I produce what is interesting and useful to me. If others like it, that's great. If they don't, that's fine by me. It doesn't cost me a penny of front money to produce, after all. I could care less that what I produce probably isn't going to revive the industry nor is it likely to lead the hobby to the next great thing because of my innovative designs.

I wrote Microlite74 as a easy way to introduce 3.x players to old school gaming. It tries to capture the essense of 0e in a lite rules system that is familar to 3.x players. It's worked. Thousands of copies have been downloaded. People play it, both at conventions and in regular campaigns. People talk about it on forums. People recommend it to those trying to grok old school games. It has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. Many people have played M74 and then switched to another "real" old school game or retroclone. Others are using it to run campaigns. The tabletop gaming hobby is probably a very tiny bit better because Microlite74 exists. I will admit that it is not at all innovative and that it hasn't done anything for the industry. I don't care. Being "innovative" and helping the industry be more profitable weren't in my list of goals for Microlite74.

I'm not writing Microlite75 to be innovative or set the industry on fire either. Microlite75 is my current take on 0e/1e filtered through Microlite20-based rules. It's rules are more or less the way I played during the 3 year transition between 0e and 1e -- including many of the house rules I used (at least those that worked) -- combined with a few things I like from later game systems. It will be my personal "go to" rules system for fantasy gaming in the future. From feedback from the playtest editions, I expect a number of other gamers will like Microlite75 as well. It's old school but fixes a number of problems many had with 0e/1e era rules. It's easy to use with adventures and campaign settings designed for any edition before 4e -- even 3.x with some adventure reengineering. However, it isn't innovative and isn't likely to do much for the industry. Oh well. Those are the goals others hold. If they don't like Microlite75 because it does not even try to meet goals they think are important, that's okay by me.

I wish those involved in the OSR industry the best, but I'm happy being just a hobbyist. If for no other reason than as "just a hobbyist" I don't have to care about all the OSR debates that go on amongst those in the industry.

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delvecc said...
July 14, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

I think the issue may have more to do with a retro cloner seemingly stating that the OSR is better than TSR ( IE Gygax ) .

Let's not forget who essentially founded the company.

Its easy to think of it as some nameless corporation, but to the first employee and those other founders of the hobby, TSR might have a different meaning.

chatdemon said...
July 14, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

All I can say that James accomplished with his attack on TSR product is assuring that he'll never have me a a customer. His loss, or mine perhaps, who knows?

I deeply appreciate games and designers like Microlite and BFRPG that remember that the game is king, not fitting into or dominating some "movement". While M74 is a bit too "lite" for my taste, Im curious to see what you add in M75. Good luck with the project.

Randall said...
July 14, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

Delvecc: James says a lot of fairly outrageous stuff I disagree with. However, I don't condemn the entire OSR because of it any more than I condemned everyone at TSR for some of Gary's more outrageous editorials in early issues of The Dragon.

Chatdemon: The latest Playtest version of M75 is Version 0.4. Comments are always welcome, especially things you feel are missing.

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