Sunday, March 13, 2022

The OSR & 5E

This blog doesn't exist without the OSR because it was Grognardia and Basic Fantasy that led me to better understand DnD Editions prior to 3.X and begin to write about them. As luck would have it, I started playtesting DnD Next within several weeks of my first post and many of those early posts were bout those Campaigns I was running.

In April this blog turns 10 years old and that means I've been playing an iteration of 5E, in one form or another, for 10 years. That is a pretty good run in my opinion.

One of the early draws for me to 5E was how the design team looked at the OSR for some of its inspiration and I still appreciate that. While the team learned a lot about Class Balance in 4E they used terminology from older Editions to disguise much of those innovations which were brought forward to 5E. However, some of the products Wizards of the Coast has released in the last few years hasn't interested me as a Dungeon Master or Player very much and I'm okay with that. I'm a DnD player with 30 years experience and WotC has millions of new or returning player to engage and their goals shouldn't always line up with the products I desire. On top of that, playing a rules set for so long got a bit boring which pushed me to explore OSR games like Hyperborea, Barbaric!, and Stars Without Number.

However, I kept noticing that there were elements of 5E I wanted to import into those games because I think those innovations were excellent rules additions. On top of that, taking some time away from 5E reminded me that it is the version of DnD closest to my ideal/ rules set, it has DnD Beyond, and my group really loves it.

In the past when I'd toyed with running an OSR game I kept coming back to the conclusion that the system mattered far less than the fun we had at the table with out shenanigans and my detour running the previously mentioned games simply reinforced that. 

I'll never lose my love for the OSR because it is rooted squarely in my love for DnD but for me 5E and the OSR don't have to be mutually exclusive, nor crossover as O5R, and I don't need to buy every 5E product WotC makes. I'm not WotC's core audiences in my opinion because I know squarely what I want from DnD and am willing to ignore products that don't fit that mold and use DnD Classics to acquire older products that do work for me. 

WotC needs to engage customers who aren't experienced enough to fully understand what DnD is to them and there are millions of those players to appeal to. No matter what WotC does in the future I have plenty of material for 5E to get me through years and years of Campaigns without ever making a dent in the OSR and when those two are combined I don't have enough hours in a day to consume all of those products.

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