Old School Gaming Questions

zenten

Active member
Validated User
Okay, fair enough.

I just still, after all these years, don't get the "How do I get my players to take a hook OH NOES!!!!11!1!1!!!ONE!!"

I cannot comprehend the level of passivity pictured. It's like loading up a CPRG and not touching keyboard or mouse.
I find that either different players pick up different hooks and have trouble negotiating in play which one to go with, or they all sort of sit there not wanting to be the first one to pick. The later is a *lot* like when you try to decide where to go out for dinner after.

If you managed to find a pool of geeks who aren't like this I would like to hear about them.
 

hong

Big glowy smiley-thing
I don't know that this is true though. Certainly D&D isn't the be all of gaming, but I think it can do epic. Partly, that's going to depend on what you mean by epic. Most people probably think of the small group of heroes saving the world. Something very Lords of the Rings.

But Oddyseus didn't save the world, just himself. And all Beowulf did was kill a big monster. I think the epid D&D was trying to tell was the "accidental" epic. It's like a roguelike: you lose a hundred characters or more, but its all worth it to get that one story of the guy who made it.

Sure the story of those 100 guys isn't very epic at all. More likely, they're comedic, tragic, or just aggrivating. But with patience, luck, and skill, one character is going to do well. He's going to get to level 8 or something, buy a castle and own land. He's going to kill a big one and retire.

That's pretty epic. But I can see why a lot of people would rather skip the stories of those other guys and go straight to the big one. But I think part of the "old school way" is earning it.
See, that's where the "playing yourself" thing comes in again. Who really is "earning" the big story of saving the world? Certainly not the character who actually does it. They come in, and unless you make up something like they're the brother or cousin of the hundred other guys who died along the way, they have no connection to your other characters at all. From the character's point of view, they're starting from scratch, just like the hundred other guys did. They haven't earned anything. The only person who's earned anything is you, the player.
 

StormBringer

Registered User
Validated User
Excellent thread! I thoroughly enjoyed the first half or so. Very interesting perspectives on olde school play.

Some additional thoughts:

And yes, people, you might have to go through an hundred characters to find one that survives. Just like you have to 'earn' your fun in athletics, you have to 'earn' your fun in other games, and you have to 'earn' your fun at work. You don't get the Stanley Cup after your first match against the Red Wings, you don't get all the territories after your first attack in Risk, you don't get the penthouse corner office running a multi-national corporation the week after college. In the exact same manner that everything else works, you don't get to be 30th level with three Mjolnirs and Zeus fetching your coffee because you killed a goblin. That kind of nonsense isn't playing a game, it's writing a book. To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, if your Magic User starts out with 30 hit points, you might be a frustrated novelist.

Embrace your character's inability to be good at everything (or sometimes anything) Use your head, but mostly your feet. As others have noted, the rules were written like that for a reason. Find out what that is, before deciding it is a poor reason, or needs to be changed. Explore the game prior to exploring ways to make it 'better'.

Gabe and Tycho have the right idea. Substitute 'Olde School Games' for 'Mass Effect':


That is pretty much what any of advice is going to boil down to. 'Stop Drowning'.

The second half? Well...

Mr. Prokopetz: No one gives a shit about your definitions. You like moving bits around a battlemat. Great. Other people don't. Also great. You don't like convincing the DM to do things. Fine. Other people like that. Also fine. You made some good observations early on, but you don't really care for olde school play. No one dislikes you for that, and I am the last one to tell you not to mention what you consider downsides. You have to ask yourself, will semantics advance your arguments in the least?

Komradebob: You disagree. We get that. The above applies to you as well. We don't need a semantic argument to understand that Mr. Prokopetz and yourself differ in playstyle. Let's leave it at that, shall we?

Hong: For vociferously advocating people to not think so hard about fantasy, you spend an awful lot of time writing about fantasy. Precisely, you spend an awful lot of time writing about not thinking too hard about fantasy. Yes, the players are rewarded psychologically, as with any game, but the 'physical' rewards can only be considered the purview of the characters. I certainly don't expect to put my character sheet under my pillow and have 2,000gp and an 18Chr in the morning. Only the character's interaction with the milieu can make use of those things, hence they only benefit the character.

Olde School can be lumpy, warty, difficult to work with, and has a tendency to do things you don't want it to. The reward is learning the flexibility to work around all that and succeed anyway. Aragorn wasn't the hero; he was the expert swordsman that barely aged and had to be dragged everywhere. Frodo, despite enormous odds against him, went out and did what he had to and succeeded through hard work, ingenuity, and more than a little luck. Aragorn didn't change or develop as a character; Frodo did. Frodo is what Olde School is all about.
 

hong

Big glowy smiley-thing
And yes, people, you might have to go through an hundred characters to find one that survives. Just like you have to 'earn' your fun in athletics, you have to 'earn' your fun in other games, and you have to 'earn' your fun at work. You don't get the Stanley Cup after your first match against the Red Wings, you don't get all the territories after your first attack in Risk, you don't get the penthouse corner office running a multi-national corporation the week after college. In the exact same manner that everything else works, you don't get to be 30th level with three Mjolnirs and Zeus fetching your coffee because you killed a goblin.
Stop thinking too hard about work.
 

Old Geezer

New member
Banned
I don't know that this is true though. Certainly D&D isn't the be all of gaming, but I think it can do epic. Partly, that's going to depend on what you mean by epic. Most people probably think of the small group of heroes saving the world. Something very Lords of the Rings.

But Oddyseus didn't save the world, just himself. And all Beowulf did was kill a big monster. I think the epid D&D was trying to tell was the "accidental" epic. It's like a roguelike: you lose a hundred characters or more, but its all worth it to get that one story of the guy who made it.

Sure the story of those 100 guys isn't very epic at all. More likely, they're comedic, tragic, or just aggrivating. But with patience, luck, and skill, one character is going to do well. He's going to get to level 8 or something, buy a castle and own land. He's going to kill a big one and retire.

That's pretty epic. But I can see why a lot of people would rather skip the stories of those other guys and go straight to the big one. But I think part of the "old school way" is earning it.
Two things to remember about Original D&D:

1) HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith were Gary Gygax' and Rob Kuntz' favorite authors respectively. Both of them wrote stories where the main character did not survive.

2) Another favorite author was Robert E. Howard, but seen through a wargamer's lens. Remember "Tower of the Elephant"? Remember the guy who went up the tower with Conan? Well, he thought HE was the hero of the story... right up until the giant spider killed him.
 

Old Geezer

New member
Banned
I find that either different players pick up different hooks and have trouble negotiating in play which one to go with, or they all sort of sit there not wanting to be the first one to pick. The later is a *lot* like when you try to decide where to go out for dinner after.

If you managed to find a pool of geeks who aren't like this I would like to hear about them.
Remember Cheetoism:

People first.

However, part of "People First" is that it is PERFECTLY ALL RIGHT TO SAY "This is the game I want to run, this is how I intend to run it, this is the sort of fun I want to have, and by agreeing to come to the table, you agree to all the above."

I did exactly that before starting this latest D&D game, and it's worked like a Charm Person. I just stated explicitly beforehand that it was a game about exploring a world, and that the players were expected to want to explore the world.

So easy, so seemingly obvious, so rarely done.
 

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
I see it's that time again, appropriate considering the thread title.



Fuck it. Roll for initiative.
Enh... Dave and I just got a bit hot'n'heavy with the jousting so I took some time off. No worries either way. S'all good.

Sadly, the intertron is a lousy substitute for shouting about this stuff over a couple beers.:)
 
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