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I try not to editorialize much on here, especially about gaming. But recently I’ve had a few more discussions about how I game, what I game and what the OSR means to me, and I figured I might as well take advantage of this million-and-something-hit blog to be my personal gaming soapbox again.


My first reaction to the OSR was entirely negative. Partly because it turns out (after significant discussion with others) that I’ve ALWAYS played the way the OSR peeps were going on about (with every edition of every RPG I’ve ever run), and mostly because the first experiences I had were with edition warriors decrying the destruction of the game by Wizards of the Coast.

In my head at that point OSR = Oldwhiners ShittingonothergameRs

I dealt with people telling me that I wasn’t actually playing the game right because I was using a new rule set to play with, and so on. In person. Like face-to-face shit. Since this was during the first year of 4e, a lot of online content was bashing how horrible the new version of D&D was, etc. Basically the same shit I had been hearing from the anti-3e crowd in 2000.

Hell, if you go back to my posts telling people to shut up about the games they don’t like and to instead promote the games they do like, you’ll find responses calling me out as “a traitor to the OSR” and shit like that.

I use rules, not rulings (the rules are simple as hell, why make a new ruling instead of just using a simple rule?). I allow for character skills, not player skill (I have played in a game where disabling a trap required that I understand not only the real world physical engineering involved in trap-making (REALLY? fuck, I just wanted to have fun!), but also understand the game world metaphysics enough to understand how magic and engineering can interact in the trap).

But then I discovered the other side of the OSR. The DIY rules-hackers and game-builders. The people who were spewing out awesome ideas faster than I could absorb them. The people who weren’t just rehashing how the people playing 4e and 3e were playing wrong, but were instead discussing stuff from their own games, and thus cross-pollinating their awesome stuff with other people’s awesome stuff.

You know some of these people. Just reading the previous paragraph you should have thought of a couple of DIY books, blogs and websites. If not, you need to get out more. These people are FUCKING AWESOME. Even when you don’t like the majority of the stuff someone is putting out there, the fact of the matter is that they are opening the floodgates of their imagination to us all instead of just to their immediate play groups. This is fucking awesome.

These people reminded me of my favourite days of the World of Darkness – when people were tossing up new clans and disciplines on Abe’s site every week. Where new sects, sub-sects and entire mythologies of kindred were being created on the fly and used by other people, not just the creators.

The DIY ethic has always been the heart of gaming for me.



(The following charms are from Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts)


Charms are a specific subtype of miscellaneous magic item. A charm is a magical fetish, amulet or device that is attached to the user’s clothing, worn around the neck or even strung to a weapon or woven into the hair (including beards for many dwarves). To function, a charm must be visible. Activating a charm renders other charms on the user non-functional (although they can be activated in turn, rendering the first charm non-functional for the duration, and so on). If a charm-wearer has more than two charms on his person, it takes a full round to find the specific charm needed before it can be activated. The vast majority of charms are defensive, but there are some exceptions.

Blink Dog Charm

All teleport type magics and abilities that target someone within 30 feet of the wearer or that would result in moving to a location within that zone of effect are resisted by the charm. The caster of the effect (or the creature originating the effect such as for blink dogs) must make a saving throw versus spells for the effect to work.

Blood Charm

When activated, the wearer immediately takes 10 points of damage (which can be cured or healed normally). Any time thereafter (while the charm is still activated), the wearer can regain those hit points from the charm with a thought. If the charm is deactivated with the hit points still in it, they are lost.

Manticore Charm

The wearer of this charm gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls with bows and crossbows.


This desiccated orange charm provides the wearer with a +2 bonus on saves against poisons and diseases, and grants all those within 10 feet with a +1 bonus on these same saves.

Venom Charm

The charm-wearer gains a +3 bonus on saving throws against poisons and venoms. If there is not normally a save, then the wearer gains a save (with no bonus) to negate the effect.