Monday, July 4, 2011

Old School Gaming

I know I promised you guys the post that got eaten last Thursday, but something that happened over the weekend got me to thinking, and I wanted to talk about that before I went into the other topic. So, that will be up tomorrow (I promise), and for today, I want to discuss old school gaming. See, over the weekend, a housemate of mine started an old fashioned dungeon crawl. Now, we're using Pathfinder, so the system isn't super old, but the style of gaming is. More to the point, it was interesting seeing how I reacted to things going back, and also how some people in the game reacted. That's what I wanted to talk about.

The Setup
The set up is fairly simple. The PCs are all playing level 1 characters. To start with, we have a druid, a paladin, and a fighter. The idea is for it to be a drop in/drop out game so that people don't have to feel bad or not about being there at any time. The adventure itself (dungeon crawl) is a dungeon that is opened up underneath a town after centuries of (at least this entrance) not being there. The point being, if not in system than in execution the game is fairly old school.

The Execution
The execution for this was pretty good. The system was new-ish to most of us. Sure, we had played D&D before, but Pathfinder itself was new, and it has been years since my last experience with D&D. That said, there were some issues that game up. D&D is a system designed for specific things, and there was a lack of freedom felt by some of the players. One of the players, used to more freeform systems, had issues when it came to creative casting. Not that he was having problems being creative, but it was hard for him to get his head around that dropping 2 gallons of water on something from 25' up didn't do damage because it was a 0 level orison with no combat application. (to be fair, he didn't argue, he just didn't like it).

Still, the execution was solid for some good old fashioned level 1 dungeon crawling fun.

The Impact
Honestly, the biggest impact for me was the reminder of how weak you are at level 1, as well as some of the confines of the old D&D formula for things. I think it is a sign of how much I have changed over the years that what I used to like now feels stifling in ways. Don't get me wrong, I had fun, and the GM did a good job. But I couldn't help but think that other systems are more my style now.

The Orison issue was an interesting one, if only because it led to one of the "killing cat girl" debates that I'm going to try to address more in full at a later point.

Nostalgia was a definite factor in the game for most of us. Of the four people playing (GM and 3 players) only one hadn't played AD&D when they were younger. Nostalgia can be a wonderful drug too, and if nothing else it gives expectations for what can and can't be done within the game.

Final Thoughts
Honestly, this is something I would do again. I had fun, and while it isn't my usual cup of tea, the more relaxed nature of the game is definitely a plus. Besides, I love my Gnomish Paladin. Also, as a designer and GM it is good to see how other things work. There are parts of the game that work very well, and parts of the system that I disagree with, but it gives  me a chance to see how they work.

Beyond that, as I said, the experience was fun and old school gaming can be a great way to go sometimes. Just kick back, relax, and fire some D20s and D8s at things.

Which brings me to my question. Any of you ever go back to an old stand-by type of game? What did you think? Was it not what you remembered? Was it everything you wanted? Sound off in the comments.

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