Wednesday, July 05, 2006

All hail OSRIC

As my experience running and playing D&D grows, so grows my confidence that I can actually hack it running a game that runs to almost 1000 pages of core material (not to mention the near limitless supply of supplementary stuff available). At this stage I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm competent with the 3.5 rules, but I know enough that I can use 20+ years of accumulated low DM cunning to fake my way through it. So nowadays I don't pine for the fjords of retro play as much as I used to. It wouldn't take much searching through the older posts of this blog or my previous blogging effort to find endless words of mine wasted on whining about how the new game is hard and not the same and blah, blah, blah. I still have as high opinion of the old ways of the Rules Cyclopedia and Moldvay's Basic Rules. And I find myself continuing to buy Castles & Crusades books in a slow trickle. But I no longer yearn to flee the artifices of modern gaming civilization and return, like some Ludo-Luddite, to a nostalgic golden age of gaming that never existed.

Max Von Sydow as Osric the Usurper from the film Conan the BarbarianStill, I would be remiss if I didn't tell all y'all about OSRIC. OSRIC stands for 'Old School Reference and Index Compilation'. The basic idea is to extract the rules information, the hard mechanical data, from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and release it as Open Content. I am not a lawyer but it looks as close to legit as any such project could get without Wizards' approval. For all the reasons outlined above I'm not exactly racing to hop on the OSRIC bandwagon, but I find the project exciting. A free version of AD&D would make re-recruiting old gamers much easier; no slinking through bookstores for used copies of the old books or chasing copies on eBay. And even better, we may see new modules for the old game. That would be pretty dang cool. Best of luck to the followers of OSRIC.