Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Lair of Sword & Sorcery Adventure game, I guess it's OSR?

What is Lair of Sword & Sorcery Adventure Game (LoSS)?

I guess it's OSR?

 (I get a little editorial here, sorry)

When I started this journey to make my own game a couple of years back I would have had a very different answer than I do now.

Originally I avoided the OSR definition as I didn't want any of the baggage that a "d&d" type game carried.

I also avoided the "putting" role playing game, into the title, instead calling it an "adventure game".

All of this was to avoid bringing any unwanted feelings or preconceptions to the LoSS game.

I had wanted to create a game that anyone could play, or would play.

If I could have  I would have made a boxed version of the game in a monopoly shaped box, with a card folding Demon board and plastic Demon blocks, with some little plastic figures to represent the heroes and a different color plastic for the enemies. Ideally it would have come with a rule book that was 50 or 60 pages.

I wanted a game that people could whip out on a Saturday afternoon, dust off their heroes and play for a few hours before going out for Saturday night. Without making a big commitment to becoming a "role player" or joining a "campaign".

Hence my adventures are called "lairs". A map, with some objectives for the heroes, and some rules for some interesting differences between this and every other Lair,

Many "lairs" could be strung into a "story" with each lair played out in an afternoon.

I also wanted the Demonlord (read GM, or DM) to have fun. I wanted a game that required no laborious "prep" for the demon lord. Everything could be right there in the scenario on a couple of sheets that could be run after 5 minutes of reading the Lair.

But you know what? After riding this train for a while, I've been coming to an almost terrifying conclusion. That the inventors of D&D (nope not getting involved in who's who debates at this point) had the same kind of thing in mind in the beginning.

The one sheet dungeons of the past are exactly the same. Throw together some rooms with some different interesting features and have at it.
The mega dungeons as well were just born out of running large war game on big tables, and to accommodate giant parties of players and different groups of players at different times.

I think all of this "prep" time got added on people began to become tired of the "same old dungeon" and started going to cities, wandering the wilderness, exploring whole worlds, necessitating more prep time and more rules for all of those situations.

Indeed right in the first edition books it's clear that it was perfectly acceptable to randomly generate a dungeon layout, randomly fill it with contents, roll up some wandering monsters and have at it.

And all of this "character development", min/maxing, endless options for characters, and even leveling up every 2 or 3 games, all comes from people just wanting to do more than take their level 1 fighters out for a romp through a dungeon.

But here's the problem, all this extra "stuff" is for people who have already had their fun. It's for people who have already slain the dragon, saved the damsel, gotten the treasure and gotten all the way to Level 5.

But what about everybody else? There are so many people out there that want to do that, want to jump in and say "I attack!" for the first time.

They don't want a 2 hour discussion about planning their character build for optimal effect at level 8, and they certainly don't want to spend 3 months of their campaign at the court of King Olaf working as diplomats to broker a treaty with the orcs of the Hinterland Fells.

So for me, yeah, LoSS is OSR. It may not resemble D&D in any way other than there are characters with stats but for me that OSR feeling is still there.

Just get some friends together, roll some dice and see what your heroes can do. Sure there's still a ref in the role of the Demon Lord to keep everything on track but he gets to try to take the heroes out too with a fairly determined number of enemies on the board. Sure he'll be thwarted at every turn by the heroes but that's the villains job, and it makes it that much sweeter when he finally gets to take a hero down.

So yeah, I guess it is OSR, it may still say adventure game on the Cover but for me, this is what OSR is all about
For you it may be different, and that's okay, but as I get older and grayer and watch less and less people out there playing roleplaying games I think we all need to take a step back and realize that things have to change, by becoming the same as they were a long time ago.

(And yes 5th edition rocks, I just wish the starter box had a dms booklet and a players booklet with character creation, I mean come on I would have preferred those two books and cheap out on everything else, who needs cardstock character sheets in a starter set?)


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