I don’t know precisely when the “Old-School Renaissance” (OSR) came into being, but I credit it with re-igniting my interest in fantasy RPGs. Several years ago, I was poking around online for information on Basic D&D (what I later found out was properly termed Holmes Basic) and AD&D (first edition), what I used to play in the late 70s and early 80’s. I had none of my old collection, unfortunately, but I knew I wanted to play again.
I came across Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC, spent some time digging through the Dragonsfoot and Goblinoid Games forums, and promptly started downloading and reading everything I could find on the OSR and related games. Swords and Wizardry I found soon thereafter, the Whitebox Edition proved to be just the ticket for me and my two children. The ruleset was simple and clear, and lent itself well to houseruling whatever the DM (me) thought was missing (interestingly, while I had the original D&D rules the whitebox is based on, I don’t recall ever playing them). We had many fun games, with the result being that both my kids now feel comfortable making and stocking their own dungeon maps, taking turns as DM.
The highlight of the past few years came in the summer of 2012, my son was attending Boy Scout summer camp for the first time. The camp guidelines discourage electronics (thankfully), and on a whim I threw Brave Halfling’s 2nd Edition Whitebox rulebook (sadly no longer in print), the original Swords & Wizardy Monster Book, some pencils, character sheets and dice into his footlocker. When I visited him at camp a few days later, he had managed to get a group of boys to play D&D together in their tents, during whatever free time they had.
Fast-forward to today, I still play Whitebox with my children, have been involved in several Labyrinth Lord play-by-post games (two of which are still ongoing), and now have my wife asking to play a recent purchase – Majus, one of the latest additions to the Pacesetter Line that has been re-invigorated by Goblinoid Games. I’ve built up my RPG collection again, as well, which now includes a mix of old and new, along with some of the other games I used to play in my youth, like Star Frontiers and Traveler.
So thank you to whoever started the OSR (whether they called it that at the time or not), and thank you to the bloggers and all the forum participants. The freely available rulebooks, e-zines and materials you all so generously made available have made this old gamer happy, and started at least a few others on what is hopefully a lifelong path of fun.