Old School and the New Old School

Old School mayhem

Last week I got the new 5e Monster Manual. Got it reasonably cheap from an online bookshop.

It’s an awesome book, just like the Player’s Handbook, and I will get the Dungeon Master’s Guide when it drops some in price.

Looking through these new, full colour books I find myself missing something that instantly emerges when reading the originals or newer iterations like Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord. Or evolved versions of the OSR (OSR+?) like Fantastic Heroes & Witchery or Blood & Treasure. I cannot put the finger on what it is, but somehow these new books miss something.

When I pick up the OSR books I get that inspiration, that urge to play or design stuff. In contrast, the new 5e books fail to evoke that feeling in me. I don’t know why, but that’s how it is. Maybe they’re too slick and designed?  I really want to like them like the OSR books, but I can’t.

Maybe it’s the “professional commercial product” vs the “labour of love” thing that shines through? On the other hand, Frog God’s products are very slick and professional and I just adore them.

Anyone else with these thoughts on the new edition? It’s probably just a mental threshold for me to pass, but at this point I think I will stick with the OSR.

3 thoughts on “Old School and the New Old School

  1. I had a similar reaction to the PHB. There’s little in the game I have any real problem with, but I find myself looking at Delving Deeper, OD&D or whatever, more.


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