OSR – Which path to take

My forays into publishing seem to be going well, least for web publishing. That novel is still somewhere in my head. This has gotten me wondering how I should continue, I would really like to write up an adventure with monster and personalities for Lapsus Calumni, detail out a few of the characters I am beginning to introduce in the zine. This means I have to settle on a system. In the past I have gone for a rule system agnostic approach, just telling the details like a commoner might tell another. While an ok approach, this has left me wanting.

So I query you to get your thoughts on the system I should be looking at. I have a few thoughts and I will share those with you.

1) Risus, my forbidden jewel of awesomeness. I love the system, enjoy writing for it, but I am not sure it is popular enough to make the zine useful for many people. Let’s face it, i live off the supportive comments people leave for me, it really is the driving force on this blog. If I were to go the route of Risus, I would be happy, but probably me and Risus Monkey would be the only people reading it. I could be self defeating.

2) Swords & Wizardry, the core, no wait, complete, no, freestyle….aw shit. What version? Holy crap, I wish these guys would figure out what they want to do, I liked when there was S&W and S&W:Whitebox. Two choices. Easy. Anyway, I like the S&W rules, they are what I grew up on, familiar, popular and fairly easy to write for. This would be a more advanced option than it’s little brother Whitebox, provide a little more depth and choices for the players…however, I don’t think you have to provide them those options if they are good players. Source of, or at least part of, a recent war within it’s own group of publishers.

3) S&W: Whitebox, personally one of my favorite systems. So damn easy to use, my only gripe is it is (as written) somewhat limiting, course we can always expand upon that. I have used this sytem before and enjoyed running games with it, but I did feel it seemed to force players into a simplistic style of role-playing and it would take some pushing to get players to open up and be more freestyle in role-playing. The addition of the WB: Heroes book is a great addition. This too was part of the war with the publishers, which leads me to….

4) Delving Deeper. A new comer on the scene, still being developed by the publisher Brave Halfling Publishing, the former publisher of Whitebox. The developer claims the system will be very much like any 0E clone out there, but with some modern flair to it. Which sounds appealing because, though I love OSR, I do feel it can be somewhat stiffling on those of us who have adopted the storygaming mantra (yes, I am ready for the ensuing flamewar). Plus the publisher is a brave HALFLING! Come on, what is more perfect! Also, the owner lives in my hometown, how cool is that? Plus, in a moment of silliness, I pre-ordered the upcoming box set for full on OSR fanboiness..before seeing the game. That my friends, never happens.

5) Old School Hack. This is actually my favorite game right now, course that may be because I am currently running it for some guys here on base. It is simple, fun, fast, and easy to GM. my one real concern is that it may lack depth. I plan on adding some role-playing aspects to our little game as we go instead of the absolute crazy combat we have had thus far, but honestly I am not sure the group I have assembled here will be open to it, or if the game will encourage it or not. The writer has mentioned he feel s the rules do not encourage dungeon delving, which would be a problem, and one I plan on investigating because I think they do. An additional problem is the game is currently written up to only fourth level, where do we go after that? I really have high hopes for this one, it hits that perfect spot somewhere between old school Whitebox feel and Risus and for me that, that is damn near perfect.

Anyone have any opinions? Right now I am leaning towards either Old School Hack or Whitebox, simply because they are easy to write for, easy to expound upon, free, and I like the rules. Much of my decision weighs on OSH’s ability to facilitate real role-playing and the whole dungeon delving aspect.


5 thoughts on “OSR – Which path to take

  1. Interesting, a WW2 Risus game? Very cool idea. Having played OSH twice now, I have to say I have a full on crush, I just love the system. My only complaint is the advancement system, I think the players will advance too fast for a seriously running campaign, but we should see how much an effect advancing a level has on the game, if it has little, i think it will be ok. If it affects it too much, the quick rise ilevels I think will destroy the awesomeness.
    I am seriously toying with a Star Frontiers or Iglourious Basterds hack of OSH, I think either could be truly a great play if done right. Killing tons of minions Sather or Nazis would be Awesome!

  2. I, too, am concerned about OSH and long term play. But there’s never a way to know unless you try.

    Shortly after playing OSH for the first time, I jotted down a bunch of notes about a “modern” version of OSH, with guns and the like, as I thought about OSH and a WW2 game. I’ll be happy to share those, if you like.

  3. Certainly! I have thought of little else this day. I believe the game might have legs if done with an eye towards a more fantasic view of WWII, such as one presented in Tannhauser or Cold City. The main problem I see is presenting classes that provide a distinction in play and are archetype enough to provide a instant connection with players as the elf, fighter, magic user, and the if do in regular OSH.
    Please send to Snikle one nine seven three AT g mail dott com….damn I hate spam.


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