Monday, 28 May 2018

OSR and COWS in roleplaying.

I must be getting old, or my brain injury is playing up.  I am getting a little tired of the OSR movement (Old School Revival) and of Cows in Runequest, and they are two different issues but with a vague connection (a not-me one).  Which is not to say either of them are wrong, except that I am always right!  Its just that roleplaying is so much more these days and we should embrace all of it.

Why do I have a problem with the OSR. Because they seem to have problems getting out of the past and at least trying something new. Yes dnd has a lot of nostalgic value, and yes I find it strikingly easy to slip back into playing dnd (especially 5th edition I might add, which is probably more old school than you would believe), and yes it is a nice comfort zone game that is easy to teach. I started playing dnd in 75 and I even have an original whitebox set, so I have been through all the incarnations of the game. But for god sake the world has progressed and new games with stunningly brilliant ideas have come out (like RQ), and can we move on a bit, at least acknowledge them and the 21st century.

And Cows (the animals, beef, horns etc), I am so sick of hearing about cow herders and clans and tribes and homesteads in RQ. Who are these people who play at this level? I'm sorry but most of the pre-Rune level stuff in RQ is simply practise for when I turn uber!  I want to go on HeroQuests - which strangely enough is the one thing the game has NEVER clearly defined and developed 'official' mechanics for (apart from the runes themselves to some degree, but that seems to have been solved by the coming latest edition).

I want to be a hero at the side of the dudes who defeat the Evil Empire (yes Lunars have gone to the Darkside), I want to be on the top deck of the Cradle, I want to look Gorn Orta in the eye and haggle!... there is no room for cows in my RQ! And yet whole volumes exists to support this level of play. (Disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with this, its just not me, and it is ALL about me!)

And everyone I played with since 1978-9 has had the same view as me, we all want to be Rune levels and stomp Lunar scum (apart from a few recalcitrants). Did I misread the implications of the original books, where the tribes of Prax not the oppressed ones, were the Orlanthi not oppressed, were Ducks not oppressed!!!  And who oppressed them all!  And who were the Heroes of both history and recent times, I don't recall Lunars being in that group, in fact the opposite.  I suspect there has been some historical re-writing going on, apologists for the Red Moon have infiltrated our libraries.

And Sartar itself? My friends and I seem to have made another mistake there... we NEVER (well hardly ever) played in that area of the world, we played in PRAX! Wasn't that the true homeland of the first two books? Didn't everybody head east to Prax and Pavis? If you were not a beast rider were you not a rebel orlanthi hiding out in Pavis and the Big Rubble. Where did you have to be to play The Cradle, surely one of the greatest adventures ever written.

There are no cows on the Cradle. Pigs, yes, but that pig was BIG, and tough, a Rune level pig!

The world is full of people who are not me.

And NEW games systems that excite me just as much as DND and RQ did when I first encountered them... such as Apocalypse World and its many hacks. 

Thats all, move along, ranting over...

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