I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ask what YOU can do for the OSR!

Beloch Shrike started an interesting thread over G+ :

My humble contribution:

One things that occurs to me is BETTER REVIEWERS. We have 10-foot pole, a couple of guys calling things "s**t", and dozens of people who say everything OSR is awesome (and, sincerely, it is not - not even some of the most applauded stuff). 
One guy did "Umerican x MCC" the other day, thought that is a great idea: this way he HAS to point the pros and cons of each one.

Lots of people gave their own ideas... And Beloch compiled them all.

I, for one, intend to help as I can... maybe write more reviews if that's what you want to read. I'd say I'm already writing a lot about mechanics, and I often compliment and disucsss other blogs/people etc. 

But let me know in the comment about what kind of stuff you'd like to read... or what books are you interested in, your favorite subjects, etc. This is always helpful!

Without further ado, the current list.


Do you want to make a meaningful contribution to the OSR? Something that will stand out from yet another blogger writing about yet another house rule that nobody will ever use? Something that will make the community better?

According to yesterday's thread, here's how you can do that, sorted from least to most effort.


Start a thread discussing games in some way that isn't just shilling for someone's product. What mechanics are on your mind? What do you wish could be better? What would be useful to you? More threads like this go a long way towards making g+ more interesting. More convivial discussion about games is the single biggest thing we can do to make the OSR work better.

Blogs should be treated as part of a conversation, not as a performative lecture. If you disagree, don't just ignore a blog post, explain why you disagree. If you like it, don't just +1 or reshare, add your own thoughts to the conversation. Make critiques and suggestions. Do this in the blog's comments, or in google+ threads, or in blog posts. More blog posts should be responses to other blog posts.

Give feedback to artists. It's nice to give general compliments, but it's way nicer if you can find something specific to compliment. "Great stuff!" is nice, but "I like the detail on the fingers" is better. Constructive criticism is also great, just don't be a dick about it.

Step outside g+ and represent the OSR on other platforms where general RPG discussion happens. Reddit, Twitter, Facebook. Let them know we exist. Take a few minutes to explain to them why we think the way we do.

If you speak the lingo of RPG communities outside the OSR, help those communities cross-pollinate. Bring us their cool ideas. Take our cool ideas to them.

If you find good, usable game stuff, spread it around. Share it. Let people know it exists.


Run open table games. Do this online, and in real life. Do it both for people who are already in the OSR, and for people who may (through your game) become interested in the OSR. This helps like minded people find one another, introduces people to OSR style games, and most importantly it keeps us all playing.

Tutorials, primers, and other tools to help first-timers tackle layout. Information design makes all the difference in an RPG book. The more of this knowledge we can spread through our community, the better our books will be.

More information to help new people get into and acclimate to the community. Primers on lingo, lists of places to get useful information, collections of links and people to follow, demonstrations of how OSR play can be done. Aggregates of all those things. I, for one, was "part of the OSR" for about 3 years before I knew what "B/X" meant.

Many folks mentioned interest in seeing more small adventures getting publish. A couple pages and a map collected into a semi-polished free pdf is more likely to get you noticed than a month's worth of blog posts.

A lot of things people want already exist, but they're scattered throughout pdfs and blog posts that not enough people know about. Collecting existing information into a single collection of links, and spreading that information around, will help people.

For those with the skills, there's always a need for more software tools like those made by +Ramanan S (http://save.vs.totalpartykill.ca/web-apps/), +Logan Knight (https://www.lastgaspgrimoire.com/generators/), +Brendan S (http://osrsearch.blogspot.com/), and +Alex Schroeder (https://alexschroeder.ch/wiki/RPG).

OSR games that aren't fantasy. Space adventures games, horror games, kids games, using OSR design principals.


The number 1 thing the OSR needs is more reviewers. People who do the hard work of finding new stuff that nobody has ever heard of, reading that stuff, and getting into the nitty gritty of what is good and what is bad. Bryce Lynch of 10' Pole is a great model for how to do this right, but there's more stuff being produced than he can parse on his own.

A matchmaking service that helps people find OSR games to play in would be crazy useful.

People's projects tend to slip out of mind after a month or so. A catalogue of available books, PDFs, & zines, blogs, or even specific blog posts, would be insanely helpful. Not only would it help people to find stuff they're interested in after it stops being talked about, but it would help creators by getting a little more money flowing into their pockets.

Public domain artwork is a great way for smaller publications to break up their text. There are many resources for public domain art online, but collecting those, and even searching out some of the more game-worthy pieces would be a great help.

A periodic look at the community, what work has been done with it, what is good, what deserves notice. The RAMMIES are a good start.

An actual play podcast, or Twitch stream, or YouTube series, or PeerTube series. One that is actually good, with quality audio and focused players. This sorta thing is the future of RPGs. The sooner the OSR gets its foot in that door, the better off we will all be for it.

Better OSR videos in general. Nobody wants to watch a recording of people rambling at one another in google hangouts. This would be a great venue to help new people acclimate to the community.

OSR material that appeals to 5e players. They're the biggest group of tabletop players, they're the group most first-timers will gravitate towards. Bridging the gap between their lame game and our cool games is just good sense if you want the community to grow and evolve.

A frequently-updating OSR news blog, run responsibly.

A podcast that is like House To Astonish but RPGs. Some news, smart people talking, some reviews of new things. Wit and analysis all at once. So that you can learn about new products (which, face it, is a slog bc theres so many--which is good) while being entertained and listening to a smart conversation

A catalogue of people in the OSR who are for hire, with contact information and samples of their work. Help the people in the community get paid!


ConTessa can always use help. Visit http://www.contessa.rocks/ or contact Stacy Dellorfano on Facebook.

Santicore is always behind schedule! You can talk to +Steve Sigety about what is needed to get things on track.

Blogs on Tape has really unreliable updates! You can talk to me about helping with that.

The One Page Dungeon contest is a long standing tradition in the community. Aside from contributing it, I'm sure there are many ways a person could help out. https://www.dungeoncontest.com/

The ENNIES have a huge influence on how people outside the niche communities find new and interesting game stuff. Nobody is allowed to be an ENNIES judge more than once or twice, so they need new people all the time. If you're eligible, apply to be a judge and make sure your views are represented on that panel. http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/

If you have a local con, and you attend your local con, run some OSR games for them.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, if you're looking to make your mark on the community, this list would be a great place to start.

Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday's thread: +Dan Domme, +gregory blair, +Eric Diaz, +Redbeard, +C Huth, +Michael Bacon, +Perttu Vedenoja, +Yann ABAZIOU, +Sean McCoy, +Zak Sabbath, +FM Geist, +Courtney Campbell, +Evey Lockhart, +Logan Knight, +Sándor Gebei, +Dan D, +Alex Chalk, +Patrick Smith, +Shane Ward, +Chris McDowall, +Brendan S, +Steve Sigety, +Eric Nieudan, +Jarrett Crader, +Elias Stretch, +David Shugars, +Jeremy Smith, +Moreven B, & +Iacopo Maffi.

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