In an interesting posting, serial (and I mean that in good way) blogger Erik Tenkar discussed what he perceived as a connection between complexity in rules and mortality in play. Key to his argument were two questions: “Does Pathfinder not mesh well with old school dungeon crawls? Is the risk of character death in a rule system that encourages players to plan out their skills and feats in advance too great for the "Oh Shit! Run!" style of play?”
At one level I fully agree. After all, who wants to spend a session making a character that ends up finding out how a bottomless pit trap works…the hard way.
Having never played Pathfinder, I can’t speak to the rules, character generation or modules. Yet I do recall that there were OSR era games that did have some very substantial generation hoops. Early-ish RPGs such as Traveller, Rolemaster, James Bond 007, Palladium Fantasy come to mind. I would imagine for such games, "Oh Shit! Run!" style of play” might have been less than satisfactory? Perhaps the answer might lay in reading old non-D&D modules?
Indeed, OSR as "Oh Shit! Run!" may in fact, be more specific to D&D or even perhaps the D&D dungeon crawl? Perhaps "Oh Shit! Run!" might have largely been a notion found mostly in fantasy (D&D?) games? I wonder if the same phenomenon was experienced at game table favouring other systems? In my experience, other early games such as Top Secret, Gangbusters and Boot Hill, while not ‘first generation’, rarely followed such a tempo (and play principles). Indeed, there was ‘running’ but many of the virtues (fun and frustration) found in D&D was simply not part of the equation. Seen in this way, is "Oh Shit! Run!" more suggestive of OSR-D&D rather than OSR? Surely OSR can also mean: “Other systems…remember”?