Thursday, 21 January 2010

Poll Results - cause for concern?

So the poll results are in - hmm.

I asked how you joined the OSR, and this is how the votes went

Played newer editions, became disenchanted and moved to retro-clones 9%

Never moved on from the original games 42%

Went straight to the retro-clones 4%

Other 42%

I thought that I'd covered the various routes by which I could imagine people getting into the OSR but this is clearly not the case because a large number of you chose "Other". I'd be interested to hear a little bit more about "Other" so feel free to share with Daddy G

What I think this poll shows, and things might change if "Other" proves interesting, is that the majority of those who class themselves as belonging to the OSR are still playing the games they've always played. The level of new blood entering the Old School Renaissance/Revival seems to be minimal. This concerns me - as I have often said, it's vital that we bring new people into the OSR or we will become a dwindling band.

So to those of you (Carl Nash being a good example) who are going out and recruiting new players, either those who have never played or who have never played Old School, I salute you (and I may well steal your tactics)


  1. I've always been led by the nose by Dungeondad. I got into D&D 15 years ago when we met, I think he was playing 2ndEd then. We've had the odd encounter with 3rd Ed (My bro-in-law also DMs and his current campaign is in 3rdEd). I like bits of both but am more used to 2nd. And we mix things up a bit to make them simpler too. I'm just a player (and even after 15 years I still ask questions about rules ALL the time) so I just go along with what the DM serves up.

  2. Sometimes I think that we're all preaching to the choir. The few people that I've introduced S&W to have enjoyed it quite a bit. I've got a bit public game coming up in a couple of weeks and I hope to turn on some new players.

  3. I missed out on the poll -- too busy lately -- but I would qualify in two catgories: never fully moved on (I stopped playing AD&D for awhile, true, but not for newer editions, just other non-D&D systems) AND became disenchated with 3.0 and more recent editions (e.g., I despise 4e). So would I have been able to vote in both categories, or could some of your "other" pollsters be in my shoes?

  4. In the 42% Other of which I was one, I class myself as an "Other" for the following reasons:

    Its all a question of where one considers the boundaries of the OSR to clarify in my own case....

    1980s - started out with B/X....came home from college for the summer holidays started playing 1e because that was what the chaps were playing.

    Made the move to 1e fully - race as a character class fell by the wayside!

    Despite its detractors bought into and played 2e when it came out - because I saw it as an ironing out of some of the kinks in 1e

    Played 2e for years - 1990s to pretty much date.

    Obtained the 3e books and shamelessly pinched bits of them I liked and felt fitted with what I was doing at the time...

    4e I wouldnt touch with a 10 foot pole....

    Bought Castles and Crusades because of its elegant and quick mechanics and houseruled it with bolted on rules from all of the above..........
    The quick being the operative word only getting the chance to RPG twice a year - pretty much!Apart of course from my recent forays into the TD with the resident medium sized person.

    I then encountered your good self and the OSR and not even really sure I'm in it or out of it although it espouses the values and mechanics of an RPG I've played for nearly 30 years - its been some years since I've played a "pure" version of any of those games.
    My Dad for example tells anybody and everybody - usually in conversation at social gatherings - me and my longest standing mate play "Dungeons and Dragons" ...nobodys ever dared ask what Edition.....

    Whats never been clear to me - is where the boudaries are exactly - are they at B/X clones(LL S&W OSRIC and others to be soon published), 1e or at the most far flung field over the next hill........2e?

    So I class myself as an "Other" because Edition wars aside we're all looking at the same game from different angles.(I prefer not to play race as character class or take ages determining feats and what not - I do like characters to have skills other than those allowed by character class)....or possibly a mountain and a hillock because 4e bears no resemblance to the others.....B-)

  5. Perhaps some people chose 'other' because they play a variety of RPGs, possibly including several versions of D&D.

    As phrased your options suggest a rejection or exclusion of "non-OSR-approved" editions.

  6. I got into the retroclones looking for a rules light version of the game that could be played by email easier. I was captivated by the energy of the osr and started to follow quite a few of the blogs.

  7. Thanks for all the comments, a most interesting selection. If I've done nothing else, I hope that I've made people think about where the OSR comes from and where it's going.

    I think that we should seriously consider ways to reach out not just to gamers who might have moved on to 3e/4e (whilst avoiding the contentious issue of the edition wars) but those who have never gamed and might enjoy it. After all, we were all non-gamers once - what drew us to the hobby and what made us stay?

    In response to Old 4 Eyes, I think that outside the hobby, when someone mentions D&D, there is no question about the edition because as far as the non-gaming public is concerned, there is only one D&D. We need to use that in our favour to draw in newcomers with a rules-lite, easy to learn and fun to play version. Retro-clone or 1e/2e, we have a lot to offer.

    We'll never get D&D back to what it was in the 1980s, but to draw in new blood and get new groups gaming in an Old School stylie, now that would be a real feat!

  8. I've recruited a close friend recently and she loves it. We play most weekends: her, me, Dungeondad, Dungeonuncle and 2 other friends (plus one of their girlfriends) who have been playing since they were kids. I think having a very understanding partner/wife/husband or a partner who plays also OR not being in a relationship goes a long way towards making D&D a regular event.

  9. I'm trying to interest Mummy Grognard in playing but unfortunately the one time she did (with Junior Grognard) he did what all 6.5 year old boys do and tried to take over. She didn't appreciate this and left the table.

    She did wander by during another session and did some d20 rolling during the fight with the bugbears (check out the Training Dungeon sessions for a recap of that - Ogre and Out, I think it was). I even bought her some Chessex Precision Ice Blue dice for Christmas. But as the Training Dungeon is now finished (the logs are a few weeks behind time) I'm working on the sandbox and its associated dungeons and those aren't in any runnable form yet. Another week or two should do, which is just as well as I don't want the interest that JG has for the game to evaporate. However, with family life come other responsbilities, as I'm sure you'll know.

    I reckon we should institute a Reach out and Recruit plan that gets each gamer to try and bring a non-gamer into the hobby. What approach did you use to recruit your close friend? Had she seen the game in action and wanted to play or did you have to start from cold and tell her all about it?

  10. I believe I voted "other" because I'm a player from the old school who has played D&D 3.5 too. I actually like 3.5 as do all of the members of my game group. Ironically, in 2009, we all wanted to play D&D 1st. ed. again and we're still playing it nearly 12 months later. As for the retro clones, I intend to focus my design efforts on the Mutant Future rules system this year.