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Anyone interested... [Oct. 30th, 2008|04:20 pm]
Madison WI Gaming Community

madtowngotgame

[jeff_preston]
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]

...in some old school gaming? AD&D 1st Edition or maybe AD&D 2E (sans all the additional optional rules).
What I mean by Old School is that back when we originally played D&D it was a roleplaying game...we roleplayed everything. There were no rules for non-combat conflicts aside from a very basic +/- modifier for reaction.
While we had dungeon crawls sometimes, that wasn't all there was. We played for years without a need for rules for everything under the sun.

What I'm proposing is playing in a campaign where we explore a setting, get in some sandbox adventuring and just have a good time with it.

Something pulpy and gritty would be nice.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: valleyviolet
2008-10-30 10:42 pm (UTC)
I still think a huge amount of this is style of GMing rather than system that you're discussing here. Honestly? I'd recommend trying towards something entirely different if you want overtly different goals like this. There are systems that will better support simple simulations of the world like that.

That said, you're never going to get that sort of interaction with the world unless that's the sort of game the GM wants to be running. And that sort of game is a good deal harder. Not impossible by any means, but you have a lot more to juggle and create in order to keep the world consistent and interesting.

"One of the main problems with having a planned story is that the GM has somewhere for you to go and wants you to get there. One way or another, by hook or crook, unless the GM is simply phenomenal...it results in a bit or railroading."

I really disagree with that. Railroading is unfortunately common in modern games, but "planning" doesn't _have_ to be building a track you're going to harry your characters into following. People do it a lot, probably because that's what most modules do, but we can do better if we work at it.
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-30 10:53 pm (UTC)
OD&D and AD&D are selected because of simplicity. There are plenty of other simple FRPGS out there. This is just one with a lot of folks familiar with it.
It has been the tool of GMs running LT campaigns for decades.

It's always tricky finding a GM that wants to deal with something like that though.

I think the vast majority of GMs end up railroading a bit. Whether that is fudging rolls to help get the PCs where they want em, or just fudging in general. That's not all...but it's more than 50% IMO. That's just railroading "a bit" not the uber hamfist of doom (though that does happen too).

Planning doesn't equal railroad, you're right there.
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[User Picture]From: badger2305
2008-10-30 11:58 pm (UTC)

You might find this interesting...

For something of a description of how "old school" gaming differs from more contemporary games, check out Matthew Finch's Quick Primer; it's an excellent description of what old school gaming can be about.
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-31 12:06 am (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

Actually, what Matt Finch is talking about is EXACTLY what I'm looking for.
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[User Picture]From: badger2305
2008-10-31 05:09 am (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

Happy to help; you might look at some of the links I posted elsewhere.
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-31 07:39 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

Yep, I'm on JM's blog daily. Good stuff.
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[User Picture]From: valleyviolet
2008-10-31 01:31 am (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

Um... that's nice and all, but not really exclusive to "old" games. I personally love that sort of all immersible, creative, interact-with-the-world game, but I don't think there's anything "old" about it. Games are what you bring to them, and there are GMs out there trying to get people to play that sort of game, not cause they remember it from "way back when," but because it matches their concept of what roleplaying means.
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-31 02:12 am (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

It's not exclusive to old games. It's a playstyle that was once predominant but now exists in pockets here or there.

I'm kind of looking for one of those pockets for a fantasy game.
I've currently got the SR4 game which fills one interest/ niche.
I've got a WoD game as well (that fills another niche).

Of course it's hard to say what others are interested in at any given time (some Dungeons and Zombies could easily fill that role, but I dunno if Monica would dig it or not...and either way...that could be a little bit as we've (Matt/ Monica/ Katie and I) have several other games lined up in the "queue".

So Eva, what have you got in mind?
Sounds like you know what I'm about, even when I confuse the issue by talking all the way around it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-31 03:26 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

At the moment my husband and I are trying to put together a Spirit of the Century game, which you'd be very welcome at. :) We've got it scheduled for Wednesdays, but can juggle if people prefer other nights. I can't promise you it will offer you exactly what you want (I'll try when I'm GMing, which will be half the time), but hey, no effort on your part to get it started, and if you decide you don't like it and stop coming, you're not going to upset anyone. ;)

Sadly other than that I can only offer player time. My life has been a perpetual downhill avalanche of crazy for the last two years and I'm trying to make sure I get a chance to do all the little things that invariably get put off indefinitely.
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[User Picture]From: valleyviolet
2008-10-31 03:26 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

Hmmm... that was me. Stupid LJ logging me out at inconvenient times. :(
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-31 07:36 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

No worries.
I just got SotC a week ago. Haven't even looked through it yet but from what I've seen it looks cool. I'd be interested.

As far as the "old school" term...it's just a catch-all tag for a style of play. It refers to a way of doing thing that was considered standard years ago...they aren't necessarily standard anymore. A lot of games encouraged that style of play but a lot of newer ones don't.

Of course none of this means that it can't be done today with any other game. Doesn't mean newer or younger folks can't or don't do it. Actually I think it's awesome when people do things that way these days.

I think that style of play is a little less common due to the effort it takes for the players to trust the GM (and not compete with the GM)as well as the effort it takes the GM to be able to pull stuff out of thin air on the fly (as well as keep things flowing around the PCs without railroading or competing with the PCs).

I think part of this changing climate in RPgaming is due to time and the constraints put on it. It seems to me that folks are more and more interested in gaming, but want to get in, kill some stuff, level up and well...catharsis. Not that catharsis itself is bad. Hardly. The difference is being willing to put time and effort in to it. Partly on the side of players, but largely on the side of GMs where prep time is more and more looked down upon.

Quick and easy setup, no prep, these are becoming positive traits.

I can understand why. I mean, I have less time anymore too. Prepping an adventure or campaign setting and working up NPCs, maps, handouts and stuff can be a real time eater. I tend to consider it a part of gaming but a lot of folks just see it as a drag.

Some games cater to this well (DitV, D&D 4E, etc) while some don't so much. I can't blame folks for preferring games that you can drop in to in 5-10 minutes. (Ironically the Eden Unisystem games are awesome as making a character can take more than 5-10 min...they come with a boatload of pre-gen's which is AWESOME). SR4 you can't do quite as easy because making a character can take a while (and the pre-gens in the rulebook are missing key things to make the character work...bummer). I love SR4.

I dunno...I prefer a GM that does the work, and puts a lot of effort and heart in to the game he/she is presenting, and for that effort I'll gladly grant free reign over GM Fiat and trust the GM to do a good job.

I think one of the side effects of all this is that GM skills are lacking. There ARE good GMs with excellent skills as storyteller, referee, moderator, actor, etc...there are a lot that just don't or aren't interested in developing them.
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[User Picture]From: valleyviolet
2008-10-31 07:50 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

"Some games cater to this well (DitV, D&D 4E, etc) while some don't so much. I can't blame folks for preferring games that you can drop in to in 5-10 minutes. (Ironically the Eden Unisystem games are awesome as making a character can take more than 5-10 min...they come with a boatload of pre-gen's which is AWESOME). SR4 you can't do quite as easy because making a character can take a while (and the pre-gens in the rulebook are missing key things to make the character work...bummer). I love SR4."

O.o 5-10 min? I'm not sure I've ever run a game on so little prep time. (I mean, I've done rules demos, but that's not the same.) The last time I helped co-run a module I spent 2 hours writing notes on the NPCs so they'd have distinct voices and I could keep some of their specific knowledge and opinions straight... I didn't use all of it, but there was no other way I was keeping stupid Keep of Shadow-"lets stuff this place with NPCs we'll only write one sentence about"-fell sounding at all like it had a town rather than a cardboard cutout.

Urg... I know there are a number of things in GMing I haven't practiced nearly enough, but I've definitely learned that total improv from zero is not a skill I trust myself with. I need to brainstorm lots of bits and bobs to start from when I know the players are going to be happier in a world with more depth and color.
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[User Picture]From: jeff_preston
2008-10-31 08:01 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

You've GOT to realize that you're NOT the norm on this. You're a real-live "unique snowflake". It probably depends on the social circles you run in, but there's a LOT of folks who don't do that...have no interest in doing that...but still call themselves GMs and they run games.

I imagine with some games that works. With others...not so much.

I've been in some wonderful games where the GM has prepped the NPCs like that and it's been awesome. Aaron has done it. Jason Blair has pulled off some awesome NPCs. Matt and Monica both have. Most of the folks "round these parts" have done so. (I think this area is especially blessed in that category).
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[User Picture]From: badger2305
2008-10-31 05:06 am (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

I would agree with you that it isn't exclusive to old games. I pretty much do this with any game I run, but it's a little odd to me how much modern players *expect* a plot to move them along.

However....

"I personally love that sort of all immersible, creative, interact-with-the-world game, but I don't think there's anything "old" about it."

I beg to differ. This kind of "sandbox" play was common between 1974 and 1977, and slowly got eroded by how the hobby changed. The fact that there are still people who like this kind of game doesn't take away from that, but merely adds to it.

I agree with you, however, when you say, "there are GMs out there trying to get people to play that sort of game, not cause they remember it from "way back when," but because it matches their concept of what roleplaying means."

So I think we're in agreement when you say that this style of play isn't exclusive to "old" games - but I think you may be mistaking "old" games for "old school" style of game-play - they aren't the same. You can take very recent games and run them in an old school way; World of Darkness sans background works pretty well this way, but 3rd Edition D&D breaks down because of the tight interlocking of the game mechanics.

If I'm mistaking you in any way, please let me know. There's a lot of discussion about these issues in a number of places, including the odd74 discussion board and James Maliszewski's blog; as you can imagine not everybody agrees about everything, but there's clearly an emerging sense of a different style of gaming.
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[User Picture]From: valleyviolet
2008-10-31 03:38 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

"So I think we're in agreement when you say that this style of play isn't exclusive to "old" games - but I think you may be mistaking "old" games for "old school" style of game-play - they aren't the same."

So, what I probably should have said, was that I found your original comment a bit irritating, given that I did get what he is talking about and was trying to speak partly to a different section of his desires in the comment you replied to. Semantics is a really spiky minefield. People appropriate words like "old school" all the time and pull them into meaning different things (I'm pretty sure there are multiple "accepted" meanings running around gaming), so... I felt a little like you were taking a jab at my understanding because of the way you presented the link, to be honest. It seemed to me like the meaning was more important than the exact phrase.

In retrospect I do appreciate the resource you posted. It has neat examples and it'll be something good to throw at my husband who's not as acclimated to this style (but loves similar challenges in LARPs).

After thinking about it some more, you're right that all the examples I can think of do seem to grow out of older games from older gamers, but there are younger gamers who are making this sort of game style their own without a deep understanding of that part of history. That was what I was sort of trying to speak to. Things sometimes transcend history to live their own lives in the future.
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[User Picture]From: badger2305
2008-10-31 05:35 pm (UTC)

Re: You might find this interesting...

My apologies - I wasn't taking a jab at you, at all. To be honest, I thought you might appreciate the link, as well, so I put it under your comment in the hope you would see it - and did not intend it as a criticism of what you were saying! (That'll teach me to be too cryptic.)

And you are right - older gamers and games don't have a corner on this market - younger gamers are doing this sort of thing, too, without having to be silverbacked grognards. And that's a good thing.
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