Does the term "OSR" just mean "D&D? Can the OSR grow to encompass other games and play styles? Should it?

robertsconley

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Especially as we'd been doing all of this at least since the early nineties:
This get stated by many classic D&D hobbyists as well in regards to the OSR.

We really didn't need the new kids on the block to teach us how to do our thing.
I think most involved in the OSR including myself were too busy to tell other people how to do their thing.

The larger issue is that been various accusation thrown at the OSR over the years none of which are substantiated when you look at what those involved have done in regards to classic editions of D&D.

Unlike what available to fans of many other older RPGs, the OSR lucked out in that much what one needed to support a classic edition could be found in the D20 SRD provided you pare away the newer mechanics. There so only so far one can go with supporting and drumming interest in something like Dragonquest before you run afoul of the rights of holder of the IP (WoTC). It sucks but that the reality when there is no open content or public domain to build off of. Sure you can build something like the older system. But unless the author hits a sweet spot (rare but it happens) it will not be the same as the original.

If anything, the main concern some of us are having now is that several full rulesets have disappeared into the ether and more are likely to follow unless some kind of preservation project happens.
Well that the downside of overly long copyright terms. It already effected the preservation of film and music from the 20s and 30s. If the work predates 1978 you may want to look at whether the work has a copyright notice which was required then. If it didn't then I would talk to a IP attorney to see if it is in the public domain.

From time to time people call me out about my advocacy of open content but what you wrote above it one of the reasons why I keep bringing it up. Authors should enjoy the right to their work for a time. But even if I didn't open up Blackmarsh already, I still would think it is ridiculous that if I die tomorrow it would not be public domain until the year 2115.

I published Blackmarsh back in 2010 and I would be find if the old terms of 28 + 28 renewed was in force. If it just sat there then Blackmarsh would be public domain in 2038. If bothered to renew it it would be public domain in 2066. More than enough time for me and my heirs to earn the bucks if it amounted to something.
 

Toadmaster

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You know, one of the things I always liked about Star Fontiers is that every alien race's special ability was always tied to their weakest stats. This allowed aliens to have superpowers, while still making baseline humans always a viable choice.
Not familiar with this one. I assume the PCs are typeset trouble shooters that travel the galaxy fixing printing errors?

Where is the grammar nazi emoticon when you need one. :hehe:


D&DIY is indeed the best aspect of the OSR.
I much prefer this to OSR, it is witty, descriptive and highlights the best aspects of OSR as re-visiting older D&D rule systems to do new things.

Wow, You can really tell who the rules lawyers on this board are.... :wink:

There are no rules for the OSR.


OSR is a social movement. OSR is about feelings.

It's a bunch of different people and groups Reviving Old School RPGs, RPG playstyles, RPG aesthetics in a bunch of different ways, to evoke the feelings it gives them. It's art.

It's not a product line, it's not a set of laws.

Another thing that's really gonna get rules lawyers panties in a bunch: the feelings the OSR evokes are different for every single person. Same with how those feelings are evoked.

For some that manifests as busting out their old rulebooks for a campaign, for others it's being able to talk about these old games they've never stopped playing. For some it's making rules inspired by or interpreted of old school original products, for others it making brand new games trying to evoke the same feeling. For a few, all that matters is if it's got Errol Otus artwork. etc. etc. etc. Shit, for some people it's how they feel reading old rulebooks for games that were released 20 years before they were born.

Because the moment, the very moment, you try to define anything about the OSR movement, the definition breaks down. That includes everything I just wrote.
The first rule of the OSR, is you don't define OSR.


Leave OSR to be “something related to TSR D&D, or the playstyle assumptions present in that era, or the artistic styles prevalent in that era”.

It would be cool if we had an overarching word for the playing of Maelstrom, Dragon Warriors, AFF, Fantasy Trip, WFRP1, DragonQuest, T&T, Arcanum, anything FGU, like maybe “Retro RPG Revival” (R3) or something to allow people to come together under a banner like the OSR peeps did. It wouldn’t have the same effect, because in the OSR, every author contributes to a whole that all can Riff off of, which wouldn’t be the same for disparate systems.

Still, recognising that the OSR itself is just one system-specific iteration of a much larger movement that digital publishing has made possible - namely the revival of older game systems that still have a lot of worth today and a lot of RPGers have never heard of, let alone experienced, would be beneficial to the hobby at large.
My vote is for Retro-Geezer, abbreviated simply as RG. :smile:
 

Nick J

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The OSR was really good for one thing. Certianly the DIY and hobbyist nature of it really pulled me in because that had always been my roots when I got into D&D back in the mid-80s, but it was my gateway into exploring lots and lots of different RPGs after coming back to the hobby after a few years of layoff (and getting off of the "official" D&D railroad, that I'd been on since the halcyon days of AD&D 1st ed all the way up to 4th). Ultimately it lead me to Kickstarter, where I started looking at all kinds things unencumbered because I'd completely missed all of the internet wars over editions, play-styles, etc. and finally landed on stuff like DCC RPG, RuneQuest, BRP, Dragon Warriors, etc. and realized that there was this whole universe of games out there that I'd missed by only ever considering D&D as a viable game.

So maybe OSR is technically a TSR-revival thing, but it turned out to be a lot more than that for me
 

Endless Flight

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Defining this and categorizing that are tiring. I just think of the OSR as anything made before 2000, when the OGL was released.
 

AsenRG

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This get stated by many classic D&D hobbyists as well in regards to the OSR.

I think most involved in the OSR including myself were too busy to tell other people how to do their thing.

The larger issue is that been various accusation thrown at the OSR over the years none of which are substantiated when you look at what those involved have done in regards to classic editions of D&D.

Unlike what available to fans of many other older RPGs, the OSR lucked out in that much what one needed to support a classic edition could be found in the D20 SRD provided you pare away the newer mechanics. There so only so far one can go with supporting and drumming interest in something like Dragonquest before you run afoul of the rights of holder of the IP (WoTC). It sucks but that the reality when there is no open content or public domain to build off of. Sure you can build something like the older system. But unless the author hits a sweet spot (rare but it happens) it will not be the same as the original.

Well that the downside of overly long copyright terms. It already effected the preservation of film and music from the 20s and 30s. If the work predates 1978 you may want to look at whether the work has a copyright notice which was required then. If it didn't then I would talk to a IP attorney to see if it is in the public domain.

From time to time people call me out about my advocacy of open content but what you wrote above it one of the reasons why I keep bringing it up. Authors should enjoy the right to their work for a time. But even if I didn't open up Blackmarsh already, I still would think it is ridiculous that if I die tomorrow it would not be public domain until the year 2115.

I published Blackmarsh back in 2010 and I would be find if the old terms of 28 + 28 renewed was in force. If it just sat there then Blackmarsh would be public domain in 2038. If bothered to renew it it would be public domain in 2066. More than enough time for me and my heirs to earn the bucks if it amounted to something.
I agree with you about the copyright, but Disney ain't about to give up its cash cow/mouse.
 

urbwar

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I agree with you about the copyright, but Disney ain't about to give up its cash cow/mouse.
It's not like they have a choice. They will have protections, but early appearances of their characters are going to become public domain.
 

Chris Brady

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Copyright expires, but Trademark does not, I believe. Which further complicates things.
 

urbwar

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Copyright expires, but Trademark does not, I believe. Which further complicates things.
The main issue with trademark is (in the case of a character) is you cannot use their name on a cover, or in advertising. The biggest case of this is Marvel owning the name Captain Marvel, which is the original name of Shazam! DC couldn't use it on comic covers, but could inside those comics. They finally gave in and just called the character Shazam, which gives them their own TM on the character (which also helps as their first appearance is public domain, so people can create derivatives of the character). They still can't use trademark as a backdoor to claim copyright; the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle did, and it cost them big time. It doesn't stop them from trying to sue people, but they haven't won a single case since it was made clear in a court of law that only the last 10 Holmes stories are still under copyright, and that their use of trademark wasn't a legal way of preventing people from using the character based on the earlier stories.
 

Endless Flight

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Copyright expires, but Trademark does not, I believe. Which further complicates things.
If you don't use your trademark you can lose it. If you are in the US, the trademark office needs updates about every five years that you are still using it. Otherwise, into the public domain it can go and somebody else can scoop it up.
 

urbwar

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If you don't use your trademark you can lose it. If you are in the US, the trademark office needs updates about every five years that you are still using it. Otherwise, into the public domain it can go and somebody else can scoop it up.
You can still own a trademark on something that is in the public domain (like characters), which just limits what you can do with the pd version (no name on the cover or in advertising, but the name can be used inside a comic). Marvel owns the trademark for the name Captain Marvel, but many of the stories for the original (aka Shazam now) are public domain. Dynamite trademarked the various PD characters they use in their Project: Superpowers comics, which is for their versions of those characters (as others are using some of the same characters for comics, before and after Dynamite did)

It's a bit of a convoluted mess in the US, made worse by the Bono law.Thankfully there wasn't a push to extend that (as there were a few groups willing to fight such action, with actual funding to make it costly for the big corps that they blinked)
 

AsenRG

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It's not like they have a choice. They will have protections, but early appearances of their characters are going to become public domain.
Unless Disney manages to secure another extension of the terms:shade:.
 

urbwar

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Unless Disney manages to secure another extension of the terms:shade:.
They won't. There are at least a half dozen well funded, well organized groups (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation) who are ready to make a legal fight out of that. This is why they didn't try and get the law extended the last time. Now they have actual opposition, and they didn't want to take the chance of losing more than what their copyright extensions will protect.
 

AsenRG

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They won't. There are at least a half dozen well funded, well organized groups (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation) who are ready to make a legal fight out of that. This is why they didn't try and get the law extended the last time. Now they have actual opposition, and they didn't want to take the chance of losing more than what their copyright extensions will protect.
We'll see, I guess:smile:.
 

urbwar

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We'll see, I guess:smile:.
we did already. When the Bono act expired, Disney and all the other big companies didn't try and get it extended in the US. They had their chance, and they let passed on it. Most said it wasn't worth pursuing, because they saw the writing on the wall.
 

AsenRG

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we did already. When the Bono act expired, Disney and all the other big companies didn't try and get it extended in the US. They had their chance, and they let passed on it. Most said it wasn't worth pursuing, because they saw the writing on the wall.
There's always the possibility for actions later on. Or for changes in the trademark law instead, come to think of it:devil:.
 

Toadmaster

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There's always the possibility for actions later on. Or for changes in the trademark law instead, come to think of it:devil:.
Yep, Disney still has a few years to make another effort to extend the copyright on the mouse. Everybody was watching last year when the Bono act expired, I expect they will be looking for something they can quietly slip in while people are distracted by other things. I think they have until 2024 to pull some shenanigans and I don't expect the mouse to go quietly.
 

Endless Flight

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I don’t think this era is kind to copyright extension shenanigans. The world is a total different place than 1998. The internet is very much a pro-public domain society and I don’t expect this to change. Steamboat Willie shouldn’t be any different from millions of other creations over time. I would expect significant resistance to any efforts in the future by Disney.
 

urbwar

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I don’t think this era is kind to copyright extension shenanigans. The world is a total different place than 1998. The internet is very much a pro-public domain society and I don’t expect this to change. Steamboat Willie shouldn’t be any different from millions of other creations over time. I would expect significant resistance to any efforts in the future by Disney.
Exactly. Thanks to the internet, groups got organized, ready to oppose any more copyright extensions. They can try something down the road, but there are at least a half dozen group who are watching, and will oppose any such changes. This isn't going to be something they can just get away with like they did when the Bono act got passed. Just because they can try something doesn't mean they will, or that they will easily get away with it if they try. People will still be watching come 2024
 

Voros

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Exactly. Thanks to the internet, groups got organized, ready to oppose any more copyright extensions. They can try something down the road, but there are at least a half dozen group who are watching, and will oppose any such changes. This isn't going to be something they can just get away with like they did when the Bono act got passed. Just because they can try something doesn't mean they will, or that they will easily get away with it if they try. People will still be watching come 2024
I think y'all might be over-estimating the influence of the public and underestimating the influence of corporations.
 

Endless Flight

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I believe even Google is against copyright extensions and you won’t find many bigger companies.
 

Endless Flight

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In the case of Mickey Mouse himself, I don’t believe anyone else will ever be able to use him for their own creations because Disney will claim trademark and he does have second meaning as being Disney’s de facto symbol.
 

Chris Brady

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They won't. There are at least a half dozen well funded, well organized groups (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation) who are ready to make a legal fight out of that. This is why they didn't try and get the law extended the last time. Now they have actual opposition, and they didn't want to take the chance of losing more than what their copyright extensions will protect.
I know some people who are Disney investors and although they're dissatisfied with the company, they've all said the same thing: No lawyer wants to face The Haus of Maus. Disney has too much money. They'll just string it along until the complainants run out of money and they'll go back to doing what they want. Like they always have.
 

Dumarest

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I know some people who are Disney investors and although they're dissatisfied with the company, they've all said the same thing: No lawyer wants to face The Haus of Maus. Disney has too much money. They'll just string it along until the complainants run out of money and they'll go back to doing what they want. Like they always have.
Except in this instance it would not be a lawsuit, it would be lobbying Congress to change existing copyright legislation...so in the end it will be about how many legislators in D.C. they can pay to see things their way and/or whether they get sufficient blowback to make it not worth their while. You'd also need a president not to veto it if it got through the House and Senate.
 

Nick J

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Except in this instance it would not be a lawsuit, it would be lobbying Congress to change existing copyright legislation...so in the end it will be about how many legislators in D.C. they can pay to see things their way and/or whether they get sufficient blowback to make it not worth their while. You'd also need a president not to veto it if it got through the House and Senate.
So "in the bag" is what you're saying?

:wink:
 

urbwar

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I think y'all might be over-estimating the influence of the public and underestimating the influence of corporations.
I'm not, because I'm not counting the public. I'm counting groups who are willing to fight copyright extensions
 

urbwar

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In the case of Mickey Mouse himself, I don’t believe anyone else will ever be able to use him for their own creations because Disney will claim trademark and he does have second meaning as being Disney’s de facto symbol.
Steamboat Willie is up going into the public domain in 2024. People can base works off of that, and that alone. Disney's trademark protects people from doing more with the character (because the character has changed a lot since then), but trying to use trademark as a backdoor to copyright is illegal in the US. There's even a term for it (Mutant Copyright). The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle tried that, and lost big time
 

urbwar

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I know some people who are Disney investors and although they're dissatisfied with the company, they've all said the same thing: No lawyer wants to face The Haus of Maus. Disney has too much money. They'll just string it along until the complainants run out of money and they'll go back to doing what they want. Like they always have.
And yet, there are multiple groups today that are willing to take them on, and they're well funded. I think people are overestimating Disney, especially when every company is losing money right now
 

Chris Brady

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And yet, there are multiple groups today that are willing to take them on, and they're well funded. I think people are overestimating Disney, especially when every company is losing money right now
Then why haven't they? You nip it in the bud as fast as you can, don't sit on it. Especially not in a Copyright issue.
 

urbwar

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Except in this instance it would not be a lawsuit, it would be lobbying Congress to change existing copyright legislation...so in the end it will be about how many legislators in D.C. they can pay to see things their way and/or whether they get sufficient blowback to make it not worth their while. You'd also need a president not to veto it if it got through the House and Senate.
Thankfully, there are people who will lobby against it. But yes, it depends on whether a push will be made to change the law again. Whomever is in charge will also be a factor. If that doesn't take place though, there will likely be lawsuits like Chris mentioned (because there will always be idiots who don't research what they can legally use, and think they can just use material outright)
 

urbwar

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Then why haven't they? You nip it in the bud as fast as you can, don't sit on it. Especially not in a Copyright issue.
They didn't have to, because Disney, etc, didn't push for it. Congress wasn't interested in the matter either, because they're too busy on other things (it didn't even come up, iirc). That doesn't mean groups weren't prepared to lobby against it , and aren't working behind the scenes to prevent someone from trying again in the future.
 

Toadmaster

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I don’t think this era is kind to copyright extension shenanigans. The world is a total different place than 1998. The internet is very much a pro-public domain society and I don’t expect this to change. Steamboat Willie shouldn’t be any different from millions of other creations over time. I would expect significant resistance to any efforts in the future by Disney.
I'm not saying they will be successful, I just don't think we have seen the end of this just yet. Yes the internet makes things more visible, and yes there are better funded groups opposing further extensions, but there is also a ton of money tied to copyrights and organizations that don't want to lose their cash cows, RIAA, Disney, the other big movie studios, the big publishing houses.

It would be really nice to see some pro-active laws that deal with the fringe cases like the weird situation with Robert E Howard where copyright is claimed by a third party with a very shaky claim but very aggressive lawyer-ing. Basically copyright by intimidation and harassment. Copyright trolling has been an issue with Youtube for a while now.
 

Baulderstone

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I believe even Google is against copyright extensions and you won’t find many bigger companies.
I suspect that will change as Google gets deeper into creating entertainment. There will be a tipping point where protecting their own IP becomes more valuable to them than being able to use other people's lapsed IP.
 

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One thing that really bugs me about a lot of OSR products have art that is intended to emulate the look of Basic, Expert and Advanced D&D first edition but when you actually get into the meat and potatoes of the systems, they're just reskinned 3.5. As someone who loathes 3rd edition, this really disheartening to me. However I have found some OSR products I really like, specifically the Old School Essentials from Nechrotic Gnome.

To me, if a game wants to call itself "Old School" it should use ThAC0. Otherwise it's just more 3rd edition.
 

Baulderstone

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One thing that really bugs me about a lot of OSR products have art that is intended to emulate the look of Basic, Expert and Advanced D&D first edition but when you actually get into the meat and potatoes of the systems, they're just reskinned 3.5. As someone who loathes 3rd edition, this really disheartening to me. However I have found some OSR products I really like, specifically the Old School Essentials from Nechrotic Gnome.

To me, if a game wants to call itself "Old School" it should use ThAC0. Otherwise it's just more 3rd edition.
I get what you are saying, but THAC0 is my least sacred cow, as the math is essentially the same either way, and it is easy to convert back and forth.
 
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