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[OSR] How vital is gold-as-xp to the OSR "feel?"

Vargold

AKA MalteseChangeling
Validated User
There's a good discussion in the comments here about West Coast/California gaming in the 1970s. There's also a brief section on Los Angeles D&D in Jon Peterson's Playing at the World.
 
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Octiron

Pariah
Validated User
I think in the end I'm just going to stop considering marking it as OSR, it's really too much hassle with all the arguments and I doubt it would benefit in any way from it.

Discussion is going interesting places though. I was wondering what was actually so different about West coast D&D, the articles seem to gloss over that part.

I actually like gold as xp far better than death as xp, but I honestly haven't actually noticed much actual difference in player behavior from either. It might be there on a statistical level, and it makes perfect sense that it would change things, but as far as translating to anything notable in many games I have been in, not really. The same players who obsess over loot in the old D&D games are obsessed with it now even in things like eclipse phase or fate where it isn't encouraged. It's just more annoying to everyone else. I think the idea of the xp award compelling behavior is a bit overstated, and player style has more to do with it. A reflector rather than a director.
 
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Shade the Lost

Registered User
Validated User
I'd agree that it's closer to a reflector than a director, but despite that I'd be okay with a setup where neither treasure nor combat are innately worth exp, but accomplishing quests is, with the party simply leveling up every few quests or whatever.

Of course, gp=xp ties into a lot of things, like the idea that you might have level 2 characters running around with level 8 characters, more or less acting as hirelings until their buddies can funnel a chunk of cash their way and level them up.
 

Octiron

Pariah
Validated User
Yeah it did make things more hopeful for low-level characters, and I also remember being expected to start at level 1 regardless of how stupid-high the others were. Gold as xp made that not as awful long-term.

I've also had the XP in OUB Core described uncharitably as "granola hippy shit" - another death blow to OSR status. Players give a few highlights of last game as a recap and get XP for it (usually centered on their own character's exploits). I ran D&D with that rule tacked on for a long time and the players said they loved it. But... "It's not OSR" so fine, fine. OK man.
 

Daily Alice

Registered User
Validated User
On "West Coast style": As a WC gamer myself, I had limited exposure to what folks elsewhere meant by the term. Fwiw, my impression is that it mainly referred to a more free-wheeling approach to the campaign milieu. For all that they came out of the Midwest, EPT and Palladium might seem more typical of the California scene.

I don't the term was warranted by scope of mechanical variants, given just for a start what came from TSR itself and then from Judges Guild. Getting more particular, I do think "spell point" systems were more common out here -- and easily unbalancing if naively designed.

Different approaches to XP are notable both in Arduin and in Palladium (and in later editions of T&T). However, that seems to have been pretty typical of games seeking to provide "a better D&D."
 

BrightOwl

Who?
Validated User
Yeah it did make things more hopeful for low-level characters, and I also remember being expected to start at level 1 regardless of how stupid-high the others were. Gold as xp made that not as awful long-term.

I've also had the XP in OUB Core described uncharitably as "granola hippy shit" - another death blow to OSR status. Players give a few highlights of last game as a recap and get XP for it (usually centered on their own character's exploits). I ran D&D with that rule tacked on for a long time and the players said they loved it. But... "It's not OSR" so fine, fine. OK man.
It sounds to me that the problem here is not so much the OSR label itself and more the specific person you're using as a gatekeepers. Your game might not seem like OSR to that person but that really doesn't mean too much.

I just looked through a couple of the OSR games on my shelf. The first used gold-as-xp. The next two used alternate advancement options. Both of them were some variation on the whole "one point per session plus a few more for specific conditions." So, basically, character advancement in those games is based on "granola hippy shit." Both of them were marketed as OSR and both of them were successful enough to get discussion on this board.

Don't let one person's preferences, however strongly or crudely expressed, be the sole determinant of how you define your game.

If I have time this week I'll have a look at your game. I'm quite fond of heartbreakers so I won't be sneering at you.
 

Octiron

Pariah
Validated User
Ok, thanks....but you already called it a heartbreaker so I guess the opinion can't get much worse. :ROFLMAO:

Seriously though, it can be downloaded for free using the sample link and you are welcome to it. The real non-sample version is the same but behind paywall to avoid the trolls that hammer free/pwyw game ratings.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
I'm an Angelino who interacted a fair bit with both the LASFS gamers and a lot of Bay Area gamers during my OD&D career. While there was a fair amount of mechanical variation (odd classes, spell point systems, odds and ends of magic items and the like) a lot of it did have to do with West Coast D&D being super-influenced by SF fandom, with some of the things you'd expect of that.
 

Zehnseiter

Registered User
Validated User
Gold as XP for me was never part of the OSR experience.

The reason for this are rather clear in my case.
Back then when this wasn't called OSR but "current edition" we already found that rule strange and house ruled it out. So for me actually using it in a OSR game would run counter to the feel and tone I want to evoke with the game.
 

Shade the Lost

Registered User
Validated User
That's kinda a good point. Some people are going to say that anything less than a 1:1 reconstruction of OD&D isn't "oldschool," or "OSR." I suspect because if they feel they are playing the Original D&D (TM), as it was Meant To Be, then they are doing it right. They're the ones playing True D&D.

Most people are far more reasonable about what is "OSR" and what is not, especially as not everyone played the original editions as "heists in Fantasy Fucking Vietnam(TM)." If you're heavily based on an early edition and pretty much only have relatively minor tweaks, that's good enough for me to say it's OSR, even if it's not the "One True Way" that some say is mandatory for OSR. Heck, major changes that still keep enough of the aesthetics probably count. OSR is part of D&D, and D&D is large. It contains multitudes.
 
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