OSR Reading List

April 23, 2016 at 3:38 pm
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These are in a very rough order. Those which I feel are the most compelling are toward the top. That’s stack ranking for you, though, because these are excellent. Perhaps some of them are first among equals, so to speak.

Grand Experiments: West Marches • By the time I’d read this post, I’d been intrigued by OSR. This went a long way toward bringing me on board. It is, in my opinion, the distillation of what makes exploration-based gaming fun. Likewise, there are some lessons to learn from the way they scheduled it.

Quantum Ogre • I take the idea of player agency very seriously, or I thought I did. This is one of the most influential RPG pieces I’ve ever read because it rearranged my idea of agency in RPGs. It forever changed the way I look at player choice in games. Seriously.

The Hex Crawl • There might be better summaries of hexcrawlin’ elsewhere. This one is the one I found which made the most sense to me.

Don’t Prep Plots • Whether or not you’re into OSR, I think this is actually good advice. It’s not hard to envision how you’d run a Vampire or Mage game in this way: prep scenarios which do not have a pre-ordained list of endings, and instead prep scenarios with choices.

Opening Your Gaming Table • If you like baseball, you don’t need a pile of equipment and a couple dozen other people to play something like it. At a least, there’s always playing catch. So what’s the RPG equivalent? When you insist on realism or completeness, are you missing out on a chance to drop a couple of those rules for some light, pick-up gaming?

Three Clue Rule • Worrying about clues meant I almost never left it to chance. Perhaps that’s a fancy way of admitting I was railroading in this respect. This is the answer: offer a minimum of three clues to any mystery. To find out more, I urge you to read it.

The Importance of Choice • Compelling argument for choice in RPGs, particularly outside of combat. In short, RPGs are analog which allows for a great deal more flexibility than the digital. When you focus overmuch on balance or railroading, you’ve missed an opportunity to play to the strength of the medium.

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