Rules for the OSR (Old-School Renaissance)

Housekeeping note: I'm still too busy with programming on the new Perilar, and some other things, to get back to my tabletop and/or online chat games regularly, but I'll be moving all my RPG stuff over to this blog from Mark Rolls Dice, I'd like to have one site to maintain which I own.

So, start with basic principles. How do I run games.

I'm a caveman from the '70s and '80s, so my Old-School is literally old and from school, as noted in Five Games. The Old-School Renaissance is my frozen caveman ass being thawed out to do it again.

There's a bunch of guides to how to do this, but they're kind of bullshit. Matt Finch's Quick Primer for Old-School Gaming is close to my view, and has gameplay dialogue examples which can be read in funny voices, but it goes on too long about irrelevant stuff. Principia Apocrypha and a bunch of other bloviating diatribes just go on forever, I started to nod off, make a little hand-puppet with my hand and flap its mouth up and down.

Here's my OSR principles:

  1. Let the dice fall where they may. ( Knights of the Dinner Table's Law )
  2. Be excellent to each other. ( Bill & Ted's Law, the inverse of Wheaton's Law )
  3. The Referee is always right, but the players can choose to stay or leave.
  4. Rules are just recordings of what we've previously done. We can change them at any time.

Like the Three Laws of Robotics, each principle is tempered by the ones previous: The Referee can override new rules. But, be excellent to each other. But, don't cheat and take away risk.

2 thoughts on “Rules for the OSR (Old-School Renaissance)”

  1. My rules are the same except PLAYERS MAY NEVER LEAVE. I mean what the hell Mark? What’s up with adopting some shitty ass millennial commitment? You, the GM, stayed up late the night before, studying rules and all the angles to lay a well crafted trap. I’ll be damn if some posers are going to be allowed to “step out” when the going gets tough. HELL NO. They get killed and you burn that shitty ass level 18 Necromancer character sheet ON THE SPOT.

    I mean hell, it’s not a game if nothing is at stake! If gamers can’t take it, they can go back to playing blackjack with their parents for nickles.

    1. Well, if they choose to leave they run into the deathtraps I set up as I enter, and take down as I leave. And I keep any lost limbs!

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