Wednesday, March 2, 2011

OSR Manifesto

Imagine it is summer of 1971. You and your friends enjoy playing wargames with lead miniatures, pencil, paper, and dice. You get this idea to add fantasy elements: elves, orcs, dragons to the game. Then you realize how cool it would be if each player just played one character instead of an army.

Next thing you know you've invented the world's first roleplaying game.

You quickly put together a rule set and get your friends to playtest the heck out of it. Play session after play session you refine and add to the rules while you map out an ominous mega-dungeon. BUT! You know the idea is hot and rush to market. You put together all your playtest notes into a rough manuscript and try to get it published. No one is interested, so you scrape the money together and publish it yourself!

People love the game and next thing you know you are selling copies of the game like crazy! Your company grows from you and a few family members and friends in a basement, to an office to much more!

How do you manage the growth of this phenomenally successful and crazy cool idea?

All right, let's return from fantasy land and come back to reality.

Presently you have the opportunity to add to this quirky and wonderful game. The OSR is an opportunity to re-invision how the original fantasy RPG, and it's children could be. And you can participate with your own designs. ePublishing has made it so easy.

On the excellent Maximum Rock and Roleplay blog, Chad Thorson has given the OSR community a brilliant "OSR" logo.

Here is the logo cleaned up in high resolution format. As a community perhaps we could establish a manifesto that adjudicates the use of this logo. You may freely use the OSR logo on your product given the following criteria:

  1. The product is compatible with the original white box (or wood-grain box) edition of the worlds first and most famous fantasy RPG.
  2. That's it.

I would go so far as to say Blue Box through 1st edition are in most ways an extension, and generally compatible with the original edition. Even 2nd and 3rd edition at least payed homage to the original. So the definition is fairly flexible.

As long as you hold to this criteria you can use this logo on your OSR product. What do you think?