Thursday, September 24, 2009


Lots of handwringing over this lately on various forums and blogs, it seems.

I'd say no.



Is AD&D still AD&D without the beholder? The bard? The monk? Psionics? The same demihuman level limits? The same experience tables? The same combat tables? The classic contradictory rules (according to the DMG, magic armor is both weightless and half the weight of normal armor...)?

Not quite, no, but so what? The real problem here is the perceived need for OSRIC to somehow be exactly equivalent to AD&D to be a legitimate game and the implication that the two not being properly synonymous is a failing on OSRIC's part. When overly-aggressive simulacrum game detractors and overly-defensive simulacrum game boosters meet, the result isn't pretty.

OSRIC is fine for what it is: A quality, perpetually in-print free game in the AD&D mold that can be used as a vehicle to publish and sell works broadly compatible with AD&D without authors, artists, and publishers worrying about running afoul of the law.

You can focus on what it is (see previous paragraph) or what it's not (AD&D). The choice is yours. I would prefer to emphasize its considerable merits, but that's just me.


  1. I'd agree with your assessment. OSRIC is not AD&D because, well, because it is not (it doesn't say AD&D on the cover and the content is very similar, but not the same).

    It seems like the dragonsfoot debate (dust-up, geek spat, slap fight, nerd rumble, etc) was about whether or not retroclones were part of the OSR. It's like arguing over whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable; what matters in practice is that it is edible and delicious in either case.

  2. OSRIC may not be 1st edition AD&D, but it sure as hell is D&D and that's all I care about.

  3. Do people who own the OSRIC rules call up their gamer friends and say, "Hey, let's play some OSRIC!"?

    That just sounds weird. :)

  4. I agree Will. I don't understand why all the hand wringing and why some people are so invested in this OSRIC = AD&D. Call it "Banana Dropping" for all I care as long as it's fun. If it will get someone at the table, say it's "Just like AD&D" or "House ruled AD&D in a shiny new package"; if someone hates AD&D tell them it's a "Retro-style roleplaying experience". Whatever works!

  5. I've always assumed that OSRIC is just a tool for getting people playing/writing for AD&D. That's unwieldy, though. Playing OSRIC is basically playing AD&D 1e, so it doesn't much matter that OSRIC 'is,' any more than it matters what the rules of chess 'are.' Playing chess is playing chess whether you learned it from a book or from watching your older sister. It seems to me that the activity - the play, god damn it! - is the sacrament. We don't honor definitions, we honor offerings and actions. OSRIC is enough of AD&D. If people want to wave dicks in faces vis-a-vis definition, fine, but the play remains.

    How come your posts here are so much reasonable than your comments at Maliszewski's hovel? ;v)

  6. "How come your posts here are so much reasonable than your comments at Maliszewski's hovel?"

    I tend to start out pretty reasonable by default, but I have little patience for anything on a self-proclaimed classic gaming blog that I perceive as antagonistic to or dismissive of old-school gaming or its practitioners.

    J.M. is a great commentator, but a little too lenient on that score, IMHO.