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There is a lot of theory in the OSR about how to support what you're calling Fiero. Winning treasure through sheer cleverness, planning and player skill is pretty core to that playstyle. For example:

- Don't balance encounters, but do telegraph them so the party knows in general terms how deadly different challenges are, and can pick between them or prepare for them. This is often called Combat as War vs Combat as Sport.

- Roll in the open. Don't fudge dice for or against the party. Be as fair and neutral as possible in your role as referee. The players should be playing and strategizing against the situation, not against you. If players die, then they die. If the big bad evil guy dies in round one because the players thought of a brilliant tactic, then bravo, they killed him.

- Present them with "OSR-style challenges". These are challenges that have no easy solution, many difficult solutions, requires no special tools, can be solved with common sense (as opposed to system knowledge or setting lore, and isn't solvable through some ability someone has on their character sheet.


Most of the terms and types are significantly older than my take on theory - a fair number from Man, Play, and Games by Roger Callois in 1961, others from Jane McGonigal, some from Rec.Games.Frp.Advocacy, and of course the Forge.

And yeah.  A lot of OSR work is designed to start with what I call (I think accurately) the "Classical" playstyle... and then raising up the Agon, Fiero, Ludus, Venting joys.

Buuuut, there's also simultaneously reaction against 3.5 and 4th, which amped up the same things by binding, mechanistic means rather than loose, body of practice ones.  And there's also been, on and off, a strong dose of "No artificially-induced Kairosis!"


I'd say that OSR games are very low on Ludus, as both the rules and the characters tend to be mechanically simple. There isn't much system to master. Instead, the usual focus is on understanding and mastering the fictional world. The degree of Agon or Venting seems very dependent on the particular group, while Fiero is the trait that seems pretty uniformly emphasized.



I'd put the Rules Cyclopedia and Hackmaster in the OSR category (and the Cyclopedia as core to some gamers there I know).  So...   I think we'd need to talk specific games and artifacts to reach full agreement on the level of Ludus running around.

I think there might be some edge cases of OSR books with a lot of rules, but even in those cases the vast majority of the rules are hardly ever referenced in play (Hackmaster might be an exception, I haven't played that). I don't think I've ever seen a DM in an OSR game look something up in the rules, apart from spell descriptions and things like that.