The #BrOSR is real D&D. It is AD&D played as intended. It is successful fantasy campaigns that just won’t quit. It is a fundamentally different type of play that is distinct from the conventional approaches to roleplaying that have dominated hobby gaming over the past forty years.
What does it consist of? I asked the #BrOSR’s most vociferous advocates on Twitter and this is what they said:
1:1 time aka Jeffrogaxian timekeeping — The game world is tied to the real-world calendar. For each day that passes in the real world, a day passes in the game world. This may sound strange, but it turns out to be foundational to everything that the #BrOSR does. If you ever thought it was dumb that adventurers go from battling rats in sewers to assassinating demigods in a span of a couple weeks in contemporary games, rest easy. Gygax never intended the game to work that way!
Faction play aka Chantsonian patrons — You may have noticed that high-level characters don’t really do much except give out quests and missions to the player characters in conventional games. The #BrOSR hands these roles over to players that don’t necessarily even show up to game sessions. What is mere scenery in most other games turns into a constantly developing backdrop that influences player character activities in countless ways.
1:10 scaling aka Chainmail scale battles — #BrOSR campaigns spontaneously generate exciting battles that integrate individual player characters and large army factions. Because D&D rules derive from a medieval miniatures game, it is trivial to resolve them without coming up with variant systems. It has never been easier to find, develop, and keep wargame opponents than with this approach to campaigning.
An “always on” campaign made up of multiple interacting Braunsteins — #BrOSR campaigns create a framework that allows many different environments and situations to develop independently while all influence each other in surprising ways. Multiple Dungeon Masters find it trivial to coordinate their efforts and elite level patron players exercise many powers that are normally restricted to the DM.
This approach to playing D&D answers countless problems that have vexed lesser tables:
Alignment finally makes sense because it can be seen to work in its intended context: defining several different sides in a complex ongoing wargame. Restricting player behaviors with these odd-looking rules frees them up to even play different roles that operate with conflicting objectives on different parts of the map.
The original monster manual finally makes sense! Combined with the random tables in the DMG, it puts detailed Chainmail scale factions into play that have a wide range of leveled characters backing them up. Only the #BrOSR has the objectively correct answer for what to do when the players encounter 300 orcs!
How dungeon masters created and ran campaigns without piles of adventure modules and supplementary material is finally revealed. This system generates so much adventure and conflict, there is no longer any need for adventure modules. The random tables in the back of the DMG are more than sufficient for sustaining a campaign practically forever.
The Dungeon Master no longer needs to make up any stories. All he has to do is resolve the many conflicts that arise between factions consistently and fairly according to the rules. Further, a campaign with a culture based on rules as written allows for individual patrons and characters to operate independently while still maintaining campaign cohesion. You can now start playing the legendary domain game starting with your very first session!
D&D has never made more sense than right now.
By the way, I will be featured on this episode of Inappropriate Characters this Sunday. DON’T MISS IT!