Or as far as what it means to me, and taking from Tenkar's post here we have my definitions. In no way do I think,"I am the final authority of the OSR.", I'm just interpreting them for myself.
Megadungeon: I remeber back in the early years of me gaming, maybe around 5th or 6th grade, me and a buddy begin building a "Megadungeon" of course we did not call it that. And come to think about it, I don't think we had a name for the dungeon. I do remember however, it was drawn on a single sheet of graph paper and had only one level. Although we had intended to fill the whole reem of Graph paper with levels it never got pass the 1st level.
I remember stocking that 1st level with creatures plucked out of the Monster Manual. no though was given to ecology, or why the monster even was in the room, we just thought the monster was "kewl" and it would be fun to fight.
So what is a megadungeon? Something big, something Gygaxian (whatever that term means) or something altogether mysterious to the OSR? I don't know but when I think megadungeon I think, Dungeons, coverns, strange rooms and items. Magic is around every corner and some mad wizard controls all. It could be Undermountian, or Dwimmermount or The Worlds Larges Dungeon...or it could be that single level I built all those years ago.
To me it is something lost in time, and maybe something I will never get back, because I don't "feel" the same mystery and awe over Gaming like I did back then, no wait I take that back. Alot of the "New" Retro games like, DCC and ACKs makes me "feel" that way. They do, and that's kinda "kewl". For several years I have hated the "Dungeon Crawl" totally and utterly, but these new versions of the games have excited me again.
Railroad: HOLY crap do I hate railroads, in games in video games in my life. I hate them. But whats to hate? I have to define it right? Yes well I guess I do.
I remember playing in a "railroad" once...it was an "Adventure Path" by noted masters of the Railroad, Pazio. I was utterly miserable, not only being "force" into a charcater class and race i had no interest in, the Game Master around every corner forced us into story arcs and side quests. it was HORRIBLE! Railroad, is anything or any time a GM "forces" his players into a series of events because he lacks the ability to "Guide" players back on the tracks, or is such a control freak he is incapable of allowing a person to act outside his wishes.
Is that what a railroad is? PFFT, I don't know but the moment a GM tells me "You have to do this" I'm ready to walk out the door. Sorry maybe i'm an @$$hat about this but, I really hate it.
Look I get it, you spent 3 weeks putting your "Epic DOOM Dungeon" together, but if you tell me one more time the 27th Level nub that gave me this quest can't get his 500 level 7 rangers to clear the dungeon, I am out.
What it come down to I guess is reality maybe. Do not try to intimidate your players, don't try to justify sending level 1 n00bs into the Doom Dungeon, when you know no ruler with half a mind would chance the fate of his kingdom to a wizard that can cast sleep once per day, a thief with a bad dex score and a Fighter that still can't decide if he is gonna use the mace or the flail.
OSR: It never existed....no wait...its dead...no wait...hells nine brass bells I don't know. To me it's anything before 2e, anything before the OGL and everything that uses the OGL to emulate anything from 0e to 2e and back again. Its the best 3e had to offer, the best of what 0e had. Its old farts like me, teaching my kids Mutant Future, or every blog that talks about it. It's the smell of cut grass in the summer and the taste of the first snow in the winter. It is what I have choosen to be associated with.
At times it's all the old games no longer in print, it's the memories of old friends around hundreds of tables over 40 or more years. It's a passion for an art few know how to appreciate, it's the geeks or nerds version of poker night.
The OSR is the study in what made gaming great, its the practice in lost and forgotten arcane rights. Its simple when it needs to be and rule bloated when it has to be. it's more than the sum of its parts but doesn't need any of it's parts to work. It is the best my generation, my subculture has to offer in the realms we dwell in.
It was never a revolution, but it made the 800lb pound gorilla take notice, it was never a renaissance but it angers every revolutionary out there, it was never a revival, because it never needed to be revived. It simple is the OSR.
Crunch & Fluff: About 5% Crunch and 95% fluff in contained here at my blog. Don't want fluff? Bugger off!
I don't hate crunch, I'm just not that into it. I love the fluff. I love the written word, the stories and tales created by writers. Sure crunch has it's place, but there is a reason I just don't simply use an SRD to play a game. No fluff.
Fluff shapes the flavor of a game, it nails down what the game is all about, crunch on the other had shows us how to interact in the world created by the fluff.
I love the fluff contained in Warhammer 40k, I love Warhammer 40k, of all the games I play, 40k in my honest opinion has the absolute best fluff, but I know guys that have no idea about the fluff, or lore of 40k but have played the game longer than I have. Amazing.
I know very little about the current fluff of the WotC worlds, and I really don't care cause I hate their current games crunch.
I really don't like the fluff contained in "Stars without Number" no wait, I hate it, but I love the crunch.
I love random tables, and random encounters but I hate tables that slow combat or interactions. I hate Palladium Character generation but I love the game play. I roll my eyes at building a Rifts character but Kevin's Rift fluff is awesome.
Give my Fluff, unless it forces me to play the game in such a way that makes the crunch useless to me. Give me Crunch, unless it forces me to play the game in such a way that the Fluff is useless to me. This is were 4e failed for me. It did not seem to ever quite capture a balance. But enough of that.
Ganth is waiting on it's crunch, it maybe that I use Swords & Wizardry or it may be I go with OSRIC, the poll is still ongoing and even then I may go in a different route. I don't know. But when it does the Blog may final get more crunch, maybe. I never meant the Blog to be about Cruch as much as it was a place to share the fluff that is Ganth.
Multiclassing: Munchkins, end of that.
Clones, Retros, Sims, etc etc etc: Does it matter? Naw, just a label that more often than not "Haters" give the OSR games.
Module/Adventure: Part of me thinks this is the way best to define railroad, but then I think of my favorite Modules/Adventures. Kingmaker by Pazio is the best of the 3e Era in my honest opinion. It is the best of what I like to do with a campaign I create. B1 in search of the unknown and B2 Keep on the Borderlands also feel very sandboxy to me, and as such is what I love about them, they are the best ever of the red box days.
I however had a great DM in my early days, and he was able to weave the sandbox feel into any module he ran, which taught me alot about running scripted games.
And maybe that would be a better way of describing Adventures or Modules, as scripts. Just like a good movie has a good module can make or break a session.
The 3e era seemed to be a wasteland of crap though, with just a few gleaming jewels, and of all of the publishers it was WotC that seemed to put out the worse...not that it mattered for me during thoses days as I was happy building my own stuff, I never seemed to have the same issues other folks GMing D&D had, when it came to Adventure building or preparation. It would seem I was running and building D&D the same way I did back in my 0e days. Hard to do? Naw never for me, I tended to make stuff up as I went along, and would pull stats out of my butt when needed. Much fun was had, and I only got one complaint from a Rule Lawyer...rules lawyers...ruin all my fun...jerks.
Hit Dice: How many dice I get to roll for my Hit points. Hit points are how much damage I can take before I am dead. Hit 0 hit points and fall unconscious, hit -10 and die. The end, I have always done that, even back in the old days, don't know where it came from, we just always did that.
Story was always more important in my games and I didn't want to kill a character with a bad roll, was it always the case, no, but I found it was the best way to avoid silly deaths. Guess I need to turn in my OSR membership card.
Sandbox: (I had a hard time typing that for some reason, sandbox, weird I did it again, I must be getting old) Sandbox, the absolute very best ever idea to come out of gaming period. Give me some tools, and a reason to jump and I am in that sandbox. Video game sandboxes, board game sandboxes, war game sandboxes...anything to do with free will and I am there!
The term I would suspect comes from the military usage. We would practice missions in a sandbox, a controlled environment, a place that was "Safe" where different scenarios could be played out, thought over and finalized to perfection.
That is what we did for 18 years I served in the Army at least. Up to the point of playing in a real sandbox some where south of Baghdad....
The OSR is a sandbox...