Story was an excuse back then. There were giants, slave lords plotting, there was The Master in the desert and dwellers in the Forbidden City. There were Tharizdun and Zagyg. They all gave us the feel of a greater scope. But let's look at it: we didn't actually play this greater scope along scripted lines, we played whatever popped up at our own private game table. And this game table was unlike any other, because they all were unique. There was a storm, but every snowflake was peculiar. And there was a risk too.

This is what roleplaying was like. And this is why I fully back everything guys from The Forge intend when they craft games you can't plan anywhere else but now, as you play and go together. They had the feeling that roleplaying had become something else, that what they were looking for was waning everywhere and us, Old School Renaissance players, share this feeling. Except we go another way.

There had been a slide, you know, from the point where published campaigns and setting were mere excuses for your own creativity to the point where I can hardly distinguish between a roleplaying campaign and a HBO series. As hard as I look into 3rd or 4th Ed products, I can't find any usable material for my game table. All I see is scripted content I don't want to cope with. Why? Because the material would become a hindrance instead of a help. The original ideal of Dungeons & Dragons meant that each and every game table, each and every gaming group would become a Lake Geneva of its own, not to copy the Lake Geneva group a thousand times. We've entered the era of spoon-feeding: Encounters detailed to the absurd, format standards, learning curves, climatic endings, tightly-knitted plots leaving no room for chaos and creativity, settings ripe with railroads everywhere – hardly even hidden. Players write actual play reports you could have written before the play. And they enjoy it as one enjoys a good movie. And they all look the same. Deep down, it's not a matter of edition, it's a matter of agenda. But the newest editions are supporting very specific agendas that don't leave room for any other, hence the Old School Renaissance.

We fucking had something different, something nothing else really had, something that could have mauled mountains. And there's the blueprint somewhere amidst those weird 5 saving throws, those dwarves as character classes and those +1 swords. We have the tools so, yes, let's get out this bush and invent the wheel again.


  1. Absolutely correct. I have no idea what people are seeing in the modern style of RPG, and wonder if they understand the magnitude of what they are throwing away by ignoring the hobby's past. I mean, why would you want all that utterly predictable stuff when you can have limitless freedom? They box themselves in, willingly, then claim it's an improvement and that they prefer it. It leaves me scratching my head.

  2. Some of us never left it.