Old School Gaming Renaissance

9 Mar


dragon woodcut

Ye Olde Foul Dragon of Ill Fame


Welcome to Retro RRP!
This is the blog of a long-time Gamer who had been kicking and screaming as he was dragged ever onward through “newer and better” editions of his beloved Fantasy Roleplaying Games.

I kept trying to like and embrace these newer versions, but finally I said enough is enough and I have recently gone back to my roots.

I started the hobby back in 1977 with the Dungeons & Dragons “Blue Box” Basic Set.
There was only me, as the n00bie Dungeon Master, and my younger brother, as the only player, back then. However, by 1979 we had hooked up with a large group of gamers that were my high school buddies.

“The Game” was in flux, as it consisted of home brew mixing and adaptations of the three current iterations of Dungeons & Dragons:
0-edition OD&D, Basic and the “new” (read that 1978!) Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

I had been immersed into a fascinating Fantasy Roleplaying Campaign that my friends and I shared in making, whose era I thought would never be seen again until recently!

Enter the (Red) Dragon!!!

Coinciding with the release of the D&D 4th edition, something odd and wonderful happened. Many gamers got tired of the shift of RPGs  (roleplaying games) to resemble video games. Spontaneously, there began a movement in many quarters to return to the Good Old Days of gaming. I was one of those people and I am happy to say that the movement is growing in numbers and intensity. New players are once more being introduced to the types of games I played when I was a teenager.

The Old School Renaissance Movement is giving old and new gamers the chance to return to those wondrous gaming sessions of yore through the free distribution of PDF versions and paid printings of Retro Clone RPGs. Most of these are in accordance with the OGL (Open Gaming License) and their PDFs are free downloads.

What is the difference between Retro and Modern RPGs?
I think the short introduction, A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming, says it best:

“Third Zen Moment: Heroic, not Superhero
Old-style games have a human-sized scale, not a super-powered scale. At first level, adventurers are barely more capable than a regular person. They live by their wits…

Old school gaming (and again, this is a matter of taste) is the fantasy of taking a guy without tremendous powers – a guy much like yourself but somewhat stronger, or with slight magic powers – and becoming a king or a feared sorcerer over time. It’s not about a guy who can, at the start of the game, take on ten club-wielding peasants at once. It’s got a real-world, gritty starting point. And your character isn’t personally ever going to become stronger than a dragon. At higher levels, he may be able to kill a dragon with his sword or with spells, but never by grabbing its throat and strangling it in a one-on-one test of strength.

… Old school gaming is about the triumph of the little guy into an epic hero, not the development of an epic hero into a superhuman being. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, it’s just that old-style fantasy matches up with the former.”

Want to play a character that feels like you are in a Tolkien tale instead of a video game? Go Retro!
I am glad to see 0e to 1st Editions returning to battle for their rightful place at the table once more!I will be doing reviews of Retro games, modules, etc & their clones as well as commenting on other aspects of the hobby soon. Just like the sessions we played back at the dawn of roleplaying, anything goes… that is as long as you can convince your Gamemaster 😉

Until then, “Fight on!”

“Old Gamers never die… they just become skeletons in somebody else’s dungeon!”

– Jeff


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