Also BROSR? Do I want to know?
Likely not? My understanding is that it’s a loose affiliation/subscene of dudes who exhort playing fantasy RPGs in a classic/Gygaxian way as a sort of masculine expression of toughness. There’s some decent understanding of and obvious joy in playing older games found in the tweets and such I’ve seen from this crew, but it’s cloaked in the sort of posturing one would expect from a bar just down from frat row that has peanut shells on the floor - likely off-putting to many people - very silly (and maybe not entirely serious), in the way most toxic masculinity tends to be – especially when the subject is something like fantasy elfgames. But brOSR is a subscene of a subscene.
I would love to hear more about what you see as trends in the Post-OSR because what you are describing is a big distinction that I’ve noticed but not been able to put my finger on.
I’m not a social scientist or Cassandra, but I’ve also notice a few different interpretations of where the older play styles post G+ scenes/sub-scenes should go. I don’t think there’s an especially coherent definition yet, and don’t pretend to understand it all. I tend to use “POSR” for everything that’s after the fall of G+ in the loose constellation of non-contemporary traditional (5E/PF) and non-story games “indie” games (though “indie” is often used as a umbrella term for post-forge PbtA, story and other narrative games). It’s a big tent. So was the old “OSR”, but it as a social scene at least it was more cohesive then the POSR.
First there seems to be a contingent of many of the original forum OSR types - the Knights & Knaves Alehouse or ODD74 posters - and some new blood. To my mind its mostly the sort of pre-2012 or so revivalist OSR still. Deeply steeped in nostalgia for both the mechanics and aesthetic of Gygax era TSR. There’s some interesting stuff in this area if you want to learn about the history of the hobby, but like many ideas devoted to nostalgia it has a dark side. Both demographically and because of concerted effort by some leaders in the space it has a higher number of weird, angry grognards with aggressively right-wing attitudes. This doesn’t just express itself in bigotry, but also in a dismissive and combative attitude toward other play styles.
The next major division I’d make is around the folks that are similarly somewhat revivalist, but newer, and less historically rigorous about what they want to revive. Mostly “discovering” OSR style play via consuming OSE and other retro-clones - playing them fairly casually, not necessarily making a lot of stuff for them but enjoying simpler rules and older styles of play without any concern for fidelity to 1970’s/1980’s play conventions. At its worst this group could be considered a sort of ghost of the “Mid-OSR” - the early/mid G+ period where OSR content still largely stayed close to the original systems, but innovated with setting and non-core mechanics (new classes, spells, settings, hacks around the edges etc). This group contains a lot of new players, many migrating in from 5E, and that’s great! Enthusiasm! I also find it frustrating as it tends to be enthusiastic about reinventing all sorts of things that were long hashed out in the 2012 - 2016 period of G+ OSR creativity. I’ll see someone claiming to have “invented” slot encumbrance every few weeks on Reddit or whatever. It’s too bad so little was saved from the OSR bonfire, and that there’s not really a core space for this group to bend their creativity in new directions.
Another large division is the more experimental “POSR” proper. Generally folks attracted to the late-OSR with its more professional culture of making product instead of blogging or working collaboratively. Also far more influence from other sorts of games, especially narrative games and often focused on slicker production values. Derived I think largely from the post 2017 OSR (I think Blue Medusa - let’s not talk about it - or Hotspring Islands - which is fine - were the harbingers of this period). There’s little fidelity to the systems or aesthetic of old games, but some interest in the feel – leading to a lot of ultralights. In many ways it’s a very exciting area of post-OSR design, some interesting stuff, but also a real step away from hobby cooperation/community and toward small business/brand. The downside of this that its scene seems more commercially focused, with social worth and engagement derived from publication and a corresponding pressure to constantly publish small works. This corrodes interaction and introspection as its harder to get feedback on paid work, harder to produce longer works, and gives a perverse incentive to claim credit and conceal ideas until they are converted into marketable product.
Then there’s other often smaller groups based around system or play style out there - GLOG, FKR etc.
I don’t know how good my breakdown is, I suspect I’m missing a lot.
Also not sure where I fit into it really - I like to think of myself as part of one of those small groups, but my design sensibilities are all over the place. I will snark at system for lacking functional encumbrance mechanics, but snarl at an adventure for being about murdering a bunch of evil orcs in their sad hole house … I guess all I can say is I like to play and write classic dungeon adventures, with a growing insistence of procedural rigor, but little fidelity to old mechanics and disdain Gygaxian vernacular fantasy as an aesthetic?
It’ll be cool to see what reliquaries the bones of the OSR end up in.