Have you read Matthew Finch's "Quick Primer for Old School Gaming"? If not then I'd seriously recommend it.
A weird thing happened over the past couple of weeks since my last article
. The more I imagine Taran, the more I am drawn into a mood and feeling that I associate with my first experiences of Dungeons & Dragons... way back in the days of 1st edition.
Yesterday I skimmed through the playtest file for D&DNext
, the rules for the forthcoming re-iteration of D&D from Wizards of the Coast. As I read those rules, and later chatted to my gaming buddies about them, I realised that what I really wanted to do is get back to the original experience from more than 30 years ago.
And it's not just a retro reminiscence thing. It feels deeper than that.
"Old School" is the term for a re-exploration of the original fantasy gaming rules played in the style and with the re-imagined rules of the original. In other words, it's getting back to something very close to 1st edition D&D.
Let me start by quoting from Matthew's excellent (and free) booklet:
If you want to try a one-shot session of 0e using the free Swords & Wizardry rules, just printing the rules and starting to play as you normally do will produce a completely pathetic gaming session – you’ll decide that 0e is just missing all kinds of important rules.
What makes 0e different from later games isn’t the rules themselves, it’s how they’re used. In fact, there’s such a big difference between the 0e style of play and the modern style of play that I’ve described four “Zen Moments” where a fundamental modern gaming concept is turned completely on its head by the 0e approach.
Old School leans on the idea that the GM and players will cooperatively build and enjoy an exploration within a fantasy world. The rules are slimmer than modern games and the focus is on player skill rather than what's on your character sheet.
The appeal, then, is to get back to the basics of roleplaying by taking some simple rules and then "imagining the hell out of it".
A Primer? Really?
This primer was not something that I realised I needed. After all, I am a long-time gamer with more than 30 years of experience. Primer? Pah.
Matthew's booklet is great. It lays out in simple terms the things that you need to get your head around in order to make "Old School" work for you. It also shows you why that might be worth the effort.
That said, "Old School" isn't for everyone. That's why the primer is useful.
It costs £0.00 and it might show you something that'll freshen up your gaming. It certainly has for me.
Game on. I'm off to imagine some more of Taran...
Labels: fantasy, review