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Did 5E neuter the OSR movement.

Zzrryll

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Validated User
#1
Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve been collecting and playing RPGs for about 33 years.

In 2012/2013 I became aware of the OSR movement. At the time I was really excited to find resources like OSRIC, the slew of retro clone systems and all of their new and creative supplements, modules etc. It was amazing to be able to find new product, to support the old game systems that I grew up with, loved, and continued to play and collect well after their “retail” lifetime.

By 2015 or so I was listening to at least 3-4 podcasts that generally updated monthly. The OSR movement still seemed healthy at that point. There were several new products that had come out in the preceding 2-3 years, that sold well, and were well received.

But. Then by early 2016 or so...I noticed most of those podcasts essentially stopped. Or would only record intermittently. When they did episodes they tended to be less enthusiastic and have fewer “new” OSR products to discuss. By mid-2016 most of them had major cast changes or just stopped recording entirely.

My awareness of any new OSR stuff ceased at that point, as the overall chatter about new OSR products seemed to subside. I feel like I haven’t read a forum post dissecting an amazing new OSR module/supplement in quite some time. It seemed like those were more common in 2010-2014 or so.

It seems like the main “culprit” here is 5E. 5e is, apparently, OSR-like just enough to have brought folks that hated 3/4e, back into the fold. I know that personally I find it to be the best version of D&D since 2E.

Con games for 5E, at least in my area, are very well attended, and it’s honestly hard to find a con in my area, that actually has tables for scheduled OSR games. Around me, at least, it’s either Pathfinder or 5E, at all of the cons. There’s no DCC, OSRIC, BECMI, B/X, 1/2e, Holmes, etc, etc really ever listed on con schedules.

So, to get back to the title. Did 5e’s success essentially gut the OSR movement? It felt like OSR really was competitive with the “big dogs”. Now it seems like it’s been completely overshadowed by them.

Am I just misguided or underinfomed? Is my area just the exception?

I’m curious to see what everyone else thinks.
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
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#2
Could it be that it would've spun down regardless? I mean, after that many years I'd imagine the category would've gotten rather full/well-trodden, and saturated.
 

Artaud le momo

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#3
Only anecdotal, I know, but it hasn't for me or our group. I can only think of one 5e game I've played in, and only a couple of other one shots in the last year or so that others have played without me, but we've played a lot of Beyond the Wall, some Swords and Wizardry, and some Labyrinth Lord within the last year.
 

Elvish Lore

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#4
i certainly see lots of OSR products getting released and developed but it would be logical to assume 5e has caused some attrition of OSR given that OSR was in response to complicated rulesets that didn't necessarily feel like D&D back in the '70s or early '80s, and 5e isn't nearly as complex as 3e or as mechanically rigid as 4e.

Lots of room for OSR to flourish, though, given that 5e isn't nearly as pared-down or as focused as many OSR folk want.
 

Von Ether

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#5
Seeing as how three OSR products won several awards for the 2018 Ennies, it might be that the OSR movement is is just less vocal since all the easy ground has been covered. Or the vocal parts have all centralized around three or four games. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/2018-ennie-winners/

In my neck of the woods, I was the OSR guy with C&C, DCC, ACKs and LotFP. But I've been focusing more on Cypher and 5e these days for professional reasons.
 

WistfulD

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#6
It seems like the main “culprit” here is 5E. 5e is, apparently, OSR-like just enough to have brought folks that hated 3/4e, back into the fold. I know that personally I find it to be the best version of D&D since 2E.
...
Am I just misguided or underinfomed? Is my area just the exception?
I think there were two audiences for osr gaming -- those that wanted a published, supported, osr game, and those that just wanted a D&D that wasn't as... whatever it is... as 3e and 4e.

5e captures the later fairly well, certainly if you switch all the knobs and levers towards TSR-ish play. So those people could probably play either an OSR game or 5e, and number of open tables probably just favors 5e at this point.

The other group, well they are still being best served by OSR games. Their decline (or decline in visibility, at least, and podcasts, etc.) probably mostly is related to osr games being a mature form. I mean, OSRIC is 13 years old! The edition it is emulating lasted (in publishing history) for only 12! While there's no limit on how long you can be interested in or care about something, there's going to be a drop-off in how long you can be excitedly engaged in a way that makes you want to go out and make podcasts and the like. Maybe not at the individual level, but at the population level. There will be half as many podcasts on a given subject X years after it becomes a thing as there were when it was new.
 

Monkey-x

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#7
I think having BECMI, 1st and 2nd Edition stuff avaiailble as PDFs may have had some impact as well.
 

LordEntrails

Mad Mage
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#8
As WistfulD said, 5E has an appeal for a significant portion of OSR players. Plus, I have always felt the OSR pool/demographic is a pretty stagnant one. i.e. it is almost exclusively those that have played OD&D and AD&D. It has never really seemed to bring new players, just reignite old players and bring them together. Hence, it is a (mostly) fixed pool of people. Now some of those people are happy with 5E, so OSR shrink a little.

AND 5E has grown in leaps and bounds. So now, if OSR was 100 people and the general pool of RPG'ers was 1000 people (number are way off in size and proportions) and 15 of those OSR's have moved to 5E. But the general pool of RPG'ers has gone from 1000 to 10,000 RPG'ers. So now OSR went from something like 10% to now being something less than 1%. Hence the appearance that OSR is dying.
 

neuronphaser

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#9
As WistfulD said, 5E has an appeal for a significant portion of OSR players. Plus, I have always felt the OSR pool/demographic is a pretty stagnant one. i.e. it is almost exclusively those that have played OD&D and AD&D. It has never really seemed to bring new players, just reignite old players and bring them together. Hence, it is a (mostly) fixed pool of people. Now some of those people are happy with 5E, so OSR shrink a little.

AND 5E has grown in leaps and bounds. So now, if OSR was 100 people and the general pool of RPG'ers was 1000 people (number are way off in size and proportions) and 15 of those OSR's have moved to 5E. But the general pool of RPG'ers has gone from 1000 to 10,000 RPG'ers. So now OSR went from something like 10% to now being something less than 1%. Hence the appearance that OSR is dying.
I think mostly this. There's a lot of "social" or "cultural" issues going on in the OSR recently, too, with people leaving or getting the boot willfully or not, which has caused some discord. I know it was bad enough to cause me to block many OSR folks/communities in my social media feed, and concentrate more of my efforts on 5E and other RPGs entirely in terms of my own publishing, and I know I'm not alone.

I also don't think I'm in some majority or even significant minority regarding that, though, so...::shrug::
 

Mondbuchstaben

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#10
I don't know. Yes, 5e may lure back those who were driven away by 3e and 4e as it is closer to TSR D&D. But when I tried it I was not convinced and stayed with S&W because it felt both more raw and more refined (if that is even possible), and the only other "near D&Ds" that I might consider playing are Whitehack, dK, and M20. 5e is very, very far down the lane.

Most stuff I bought/backed/supported in 2018 were OSR titles so I don't feel a lack of product: B/X Essentials, Black Pudding, OS&R, White Star Galaxy, Hyperborea modules, Hot Spring Island, Midderland, some of Evlyn's wonderful zines, Wormskin, just from the top of my head.

And regarding convention games ... OSR games are virtually nonexistent at German events, at any time. But I just returned from a con where someone had offered the first AD&D2 game I"ve seen since 3e came out. And the table filled up quickly!
 
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