OSR = Old School Renaissance

RPG = Roleplaying Game

So what is the OSR? After all, a podcast dedicated to the OSR should have a decent definition of the OSR right? Well I don’t, nobody does, or rather everybody does. If you ask 15 people in the OSR what the OSR actually is you’ll get 25 definitions in return. Some people cut it off at early D&D, some set the cutoff at AD&D, some people people say that and the retro-clones, some count DCC some don’t. For me…

I’m not sure. Here is the working definition I’ll be using for this podcast until someone shows me a better one. I worked this out after watching an argument between The RPG Pundit and Venger Satanis, so most of it is actually a reworking of the Pundits “waves” of the OSR.


the Original Dungeons and Dragons system, from its roots as a supplement to Chainmail all the way to the splat-book laden days of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition. Also counting systems based on or inspired by early D&D, systems like Tunnels and Trolls, Metamorphosis Alpha, Boot Hill, Starships and Spacemen, and some versions of Hackmaster

OSR 0.5

Other early RPGs, mostly from the 70’s, petering off in the 80’s, and mostly dying back by the 90’s. This would include things like Traveller, Pacesetter, Runequest, and Talislanta, but not systems like GURPS… Star Wars D6 I’m on the fence about, but I’d lean No.


the retro-clones, Any game system which is essentially a polished up copy of early D&D designed to facilitate new published material for the old games. This would include Swords and Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, and Delving Deeper.


Games which riff off the rules of OSR 0 games, rule tweaks, house-rules, and the like. Examples would include Dungeon Crawl Classics, Adventurer Conqueror King, Blood and Treasure, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

OSR 2.5

Games who’s rules are within the range of OSR 1 or 2 with setting specific tweaks, but who reshape these rules to cover setting ideas not common to early D&D, things like Arrows of Indra, and Spears of Dawn, or Machinations of the Space Princess.


Pretty much all the kinds of modifications present in OSR 1, 2, and 2.5, but performed on OSR 0.5 games. So Retro-clones, Rule Tweaks, and Completely new setting concepts for games like Traveller… which could even include something as out there as the Traveller edition of Mindjammer depending on how consistent you find newer editions of Traveller as being.


OSR 4 includes games which are not part of the OSR Category or Genre, but rather the OSR as a movement. Games which show alot of OSR influences without being OSR would be considered a part of this. This is the category I intend to talk about the least in the podcast, but I may mention it from time to time, or do the occasional interview about it, but only to show the wider influence the OSR is having on Gaming in general.