Friday, March 22, 2013

My Fascination With Old School Gaming

From the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG,
Art by Pete Mullen
As I've mentioned before, my introduction to roleplaying games was the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Because I was introduced to this hobby with a game that some would label as "new school", I sadly have had very little hands-onn experience with older editions of D & D and the "reroclones" based on those editions.

However, as I've delved deeper into the hobby and learned more about its history and the games that laid down the groundwork for both the hobby and the industry as we know it today, I find myself extremely fascinated with these "old school" games and the modern games that seek to emulate their rules and style.

While I still love the d20 system and Pathfinder remains my go-to game when I want to run a fantasy campaign, I find the simplicity offered by old school games to be rather refreshing. Instead of trying to give you a rule for almost every situation, they just give you the rules that you will need and leave enough room for the GM to improvise things not covered and add elements to better fit his style of game and campaign. As someone who loves to tinker with almost every system I purchase and run, the fact these systems are easy to manipulate and make additions to is a very good thing.

The flavor and ideas behind these older games are very interesting as well. Instead of relying on numerous character skills and abilities, players had to be creative to figure out how to overcome challenges and obstacles. I also love how the escalation of power is not as drastic as it is in newer editions of D & D where characters eventually end up being superheroes and demigods.

Because of this growing fascination, I'm contemplating running a one-night dungeon crawl for a few friends in the near future using one of the numerous retroclones that are available. I've narrowed my choices to Dungeon Crawl Classics or Lamentations of the Flame Princess. While the fact that DCC is based on the d20 system would make it easier for the players to adapt, I feel like LotFP is much more simple. Decisions, Decisions...