Friday, January 16, 2015

Why OD&D is my (sometimes) favorite RPG.



I've seriously played Original D&D, the Little Brown Books, twice in my life.  Long ago, in my early 20's, when I still had the white box and now, last year or so.

Many years earlier when my dad had bought whitebox for me, I looked at the goofy art and put them aside cause at the time I already had *Advanced* D&D. Why regress to something "inferior". Some latere point, exhausted with weight and complexity ("realistic" weather, economy, ecology, etc. etc.) of my own campaign world and especially with the endless splatbooks and crappy products being written by fiction authors instead of gamers being churned out in 2ed area, digging through all my junk found that white box, sat down and actually read them for first time. It hit me, that feeling, the same one wargammers in 1974 must have got. Awe, newness, excitement, wonderment that anything was possible, it would be easy, and fun!  Right there, I rolled up some characters (on plain ruled paper, no special character sheet) and started hexcrawling a random wilderness.

I play/played many RPGs, and try all editions of D&D. But always end up gravitating towards rules lite systems. First FUDGE, then Labyrinth Lord, more recently Swords & Wizardry (which is my 1st choice now). In Austin, TX there is large group of DMs and players using OD&D with shared set of house rules and campaign world, called Planet Eris. In between other campaigns I've been playing with them on/off for a couple years and will be starting my first OD&D Planet Eris campaign next Fri.

The appeal of OD&D (for me anyways) dawned on me while writing this somewhat tongue and cheek response to DM adding ranger class on roll20 (which I don't think you have access to so reproduced below)
BLASPHEMY! Damn you and your rules bloat.Where will it end? Subraces of hobbits? Comeliness attribute? Madness! Our forefathers succumbed to the seduction of splatbooks. Has their sad history taught us nothing! We play the original rules, not because they are old, but because they are NOT NEW! 
Sir, I reject your wanton modernity. And if my dueling trousers weren't in the laundry, I might have been tempted to call you out.
also fighting trousers ->


That line, "not new"...  OD&D is simple and **simplistic**. There are almost no rules. Which forces everyone to be more creative, to use more of their imagination. Also, nothing new to learn, no new class/rule breaking game, almost nothing to rules lawyer, min-max, or argue over. Even the basis of the game is simple. While you could play massive RP/court intrigue, ODD doesn't lend it self to that. It's heavy on *game*. And a specific, simplistic type at that, the crawl game. Dungeoncrawl, Hexcrawl, Citycrawl. Explore, do stuff with things you've found, explore some more.

It's all so refreshing and easy. Even more so than S&W which has variable damage, more complex monsters, other stuff. Sometimes I feel like gourmet almond crusted chicken with some freaky berry sauce arranged artistically and accompanied by nice wine. Other times I just want a hunk of meat juicily roasted with fire.

Those times I crave OD&D.

All Time Most Popular Posts

Follow by Email