Nov 162012

This blog isn’t even six months old, but I’ve already learnt a whole bunch about the hobby I love, that playing games in it for over 17 years never taught me. Most of these are just odd little words and phrases, but I thought I would put them down for other people who want to get involved in this awesome online community, but have no idea what a whole bunch of the stuff that gets talked about even means. The headings will link out to larger articles on the subject, if people want to delve deeper than this list dares to go.

OSR: Old School Renaissance. Basically it boils down a gamers who have a preference for old school RPGs. What constitutes an old school RPG? That’s a little harder to pin down, but the basic ethos seems to story over rules, and the freedom to make the game the way you want to play. I admire the movement, but I cut my teeth on more modern games, and haven’t really played anything old school bar a short delve into Hackmaster. A great game which quite rightly gets a fair bit of praise from the OSR folks.

Grognard. At its most literal, it means ‘old guard’ or old soldier. In my time gaming, I’ve recently been referred to as a member of the old guard of the gaming society I’ve been a member of for almost two decades. In RPG terms though, it can mean someone who has a fondness for older editions of games who have been playing for a long time, and who would probably think of themselves as being part of the OSR.

GrognardlingAt first I thought this was some kind of Grgnard/halfling husbandry incident, but it turns out, it’s actually a name for people who love old school gaming, but are fairly new to the hobby.

Flail Snail. More than just a rather peculiar fantasy RPG monster, it’s also a way of gaming that allows for cross system characters to end up in the same party. I really like the sound of this and might give it a go at some point.

Murder Hobo. This is something I had experienced, but had no idea that there was a name for it! Imagine a bunch of player characters who see the world as their own playground, and the most fun games involve killing anyone who looks at them funny, and moving on before they have to face the consequences. What you have there is a pack of murder hobos.

Hex Crawling. This is actually a old way to game, but one that had managed to completely pass me by, apart from a vague understanding of it being like a dungeon crawl, but above ground. I can’t really do it justice, here, so please follow the link. Suffice to say, it has interested me a lot recently, and I think as way of running an RPG it has a whole heap of benefits.

The Secret Santicore. Sadly, this has closed for the year, but it’s a great little idea. Everyone asks the Secret Santicore for something RPG related, and offers something back. magic then happens, and people get what they asked for! I’m sure there’s more than that, but i don’t want to spoil the magic for the kidlings. Seriously though, this is such a great idea, and sums very effectively what I love so much about the role playing community online. people creating things for other people, just for the joy of creating it.

So there we go. A far from exhaustive list, but feel free to add anything else you like to the comments below, or even correct me if I have misunderstood anything.

  4 Responses to “A list of random RPG terms I never knew until I started my blog”

  1. For me, Old School Renaissance refers to Dungeons & Dragons Retro Clones. You wouldn’t say that, for instance Mongoose’s version of Traveller is an OSR game of the original 1977 Traveller, even though in both cases they are taking early rules and updating them with modern mechanics and RPG tastes.

    • Thanks for clearing that up a little. I admit that I don’t heat many people talking about OSR science fiction games; are there any that fit the bill?

      • Based on the way I’ve heard the term OSR used, I would say that no, there are no OSR science fiction games because it always seems to imply fantasy games based on Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, you’ll notice that the link you provide for “What is OSR?” talks exclusively about games in D&D terms.

  2. Also, the term “Murder Hobo” also goes by the name “Chaotic Stupid” or “Stupid Evil“, depending on their rationale for murdering everybody in sight.

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