Sunday, 29 January 2012

A few myths busted...

Matt from . . lapsus calumni . . posted a link to a quite brilliant piece on RetroRoleplaying: The Blog setting the myths of old-school gaming straight. Reading this article, I finally figured out what it was that I wanted from the OSR: a level-based storytelling system. 

Having now run one session with Labyrinth Lord/AEC, I've realised that in returning to the roots of the hobby I may have found just that. It has intuitive and simple character mechanics, not unlike the WW games, but it uses a level based advancement model. The result is a game that supports both cut-throat dungeon crawls, seat-of-pants style challenge resolution, and free-form roleplaying.

I still don't know if the consensus will support continued LL play, but I think at least one of my players may have gone old school already. The alternative is to convert the Langrim game to 3.5 and just be done with it.

[Picture source: Tony DiTerlizzi]


  1. I am a big fan of LL and Basic/Expert D&D. It's hard as hell to find players who are also into it, since 4e/Pathfinder reigns supreme in these parts. Good luck with your game. I really dug that map you posted the other day. Islands are so cool!

  2. Thanks, man. I know how hard of a sell OD&D can be, my old group would probably never even entertain the idea, and my wife is still at best luke warm.

    1. Awe awesome. Glad the link helped you. When I read that post, it literally hit my like a wave (pun intended Christian) and since, I haven't been able to think of much except the OSR.

  3. I am probably swearing in church by saying that I have never liked OD&D, and as part of Harald's old group I can confirm that OD&D is never an option. Then again neither is 4e, but we have played S&W and Birthright with 3.5 rules - something I very much enjoyed.

    My problem with OD&D is the problem of generating a character that is more than just a level 1 Human Fighter. AS a player I need something that gives my character some kind of flavour - feats did that for me. I guess a character can get flavour through play, but I am just "old fashioned" - and need something written down on my charactersheet. When that is said, I might be completely wrong - because I have never played much OSR.

    I have played some Runequest lately, and I guess that is as close I will get to an OSR-experience? I really like their system of generating a character, but it is no way near to be simple:)

    1. I see all the arguments against OD&D - after all, three weeks ago I would have laughed if you'd told me I'd be blogging OSR today.

      The way I now see it, it breaks down as such:

      Against 3.X:
      -Some players will spend 3-4 hours creating a character (Håvard and Eirik, I'm looking at you).
      -The system is quite limiting. Play is very much ruled by the sheets - if its not on there, you can't do it.
      -The effort spent during char-gen rises the narrative death threshold. Now, misunderstand me correctly here. I don't need to kill PC's, but the reason not to shouldn't be that you can't be arsed.

      Advantages of OD&D:
      -Storytelling-like non-combat challenge resolution.
      -Char-gen easy enough that my mom could roll up a paladin.
      -The atmosphere imparted by the mechanical fundament gives me a tingly sense of nostalgia.

      As for "flavour through play," that is exactly what Jeanne said before we had our first session. Though she may not be ready to admit it yet, her level 1 Gnome Illusionist was more than just numbers on paper by the end of the evening.

      And I've never played RQ, so I wouldn't know. But who knows, I may go on a system-sampling rampage now that I've gone mainstream and jumped on the OSR bandwagon ;)