Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Perplexed Questionnaire

OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire 
I realize I've been interacting with and playing OSR style D&D for a long time but have rarely contributed directly to that community.  Here goes.

  1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me: I'm going to go with "What I mean when I say dungeon crawl". There are so many, but this one represents a great mix of geekery and intellectualism that I really enjoy about the OSR. Too bad the image links are all broken now.
  2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark: Roll the dice in the open. Let the dice fall where they may (as long as its on the table. Floor rolls are always considered cocked). It saves you from yourself.
  3. Best OSR module/supplement: The most used module has been Barrowmaze. A solid 2+ year campaign.
  4. My favorite house rule (by someone else): Hazard System from Necropraxis. This has changed the way I run my game, especially dungeons, and now feels core to type of game I prefer to run, though I have renamed it the "Doom Die". Essentially, random encounters, time passing, depletion of resources, and dungeon dressing are folded into a simple d6 die roll. It works great for side initiative rolls as well.
  5. How I found out about the OSR: It's hard to remember exactly, so I looked back at the first few blogposts I made in 2010. I had watched the great edition wars rage across the forums, was kinda bummed when Dungeon magazine disappeared, observed the Pathfinder schism, was disheartened when Necromancer games decided they couldn't follow along, but I was a Type IV convert. I had grown tired of the fiddly, amorphous nature of 3rd, so I went all in. I was still playing and DMing 4th edition D&D (I even ran a 1-13 level campaign of it using the War of the Burning Sky modules by ENworld), but I was burnt out on how slow the combat went, and how players became so focused on their character sheets. And the type IV art direction was painfully uninspiring.
    I remember following a lot of ENworld forum chatter about streamlining/speeding up the game. Somewhere in there I found the AD&D3 pdf, a faithful reconstruction of the old AD&D players handbook down to the font, layout and art, but with streamlined 3e-ish rules. I never actually played it, but I think this was the first OSR game I ever picked up. Then I started reading Dndwithpornstars and followed that to lots of other blogs.
    The final flowering for me was Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. I had always dug the style of the DCC modules during the 3e era, and even ran one or two of their 4e mods, so when they announced this new game I dove deep into the beta rules, started running it and making up houserules on my own. I was happy enough, when 5th edition D&D was announced I wasn't that interested. In time I got tired of DCC spell charts, and my current group formed around playing the latest edition, but at this point I don't think I'll retake the reins of DMing typeV when the opportunity arises. I'll offer to run a simpler game instead.
  6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy: I use the Last Gasp generators a lot. I have a whole list of them in my bookmarks.
  7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers: Google Plus is/was great. Reddit /osr and /rpg is ok I guess.
  8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games: Where ever it all ends up.
  9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough: The DCCrpg dice chain was a great innovation that hasn't been expanded upon much. Variable attack bonus and mighty deeds for fighters is epic.
  10. My favorite non-OSR RPG: Back when, I loved to play Cyberpunk2020. A couple years back I had a great mini-campaign of FFG Star Wars.
  11. Why I like OSR stuff: It's an autonomous zone. It is intellectual and artistic creativity purely for it's own sake. And I've always been obsessed with D&D and at this point I like playing some version that I can basically do off the top of my head.
  12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet: I really like the new Knave rules, and I'm gonna start using them with my students. I really dig the B/X Essentials line and Dolmenwood from Necrotic Gnome. I don't play the game straight, but I love the organization and style of the B/X E. Really dig the weirdness of the dark fairy forest Dolmenwood setting.
  13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be: The classics: D&DwithPornStars completing the Monster Manual redraw/hack, a revived Grognardia, a regular Jeff's GameBlog, revived Middenmurk... oh just one?
  14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: The heartbreaker homerules I've been running the last couple years. I even printed up some zine-style booklets. It's a kludge of all my fave OSR houserules. DCC + S&W + LOTFP etc. I've got two versions at this point, Uncommon (dungeons), and Uncommon Basic (which is maybe too basic, but is the one I've been tinkering with most recently).
  15. I'm currently running/playing: DMing a weekly game of my own Uncommon Dungeons (first in Barrowmaze, now in Dolmenwood); playing in a Type V D&D "Tomb of Annihilation" campaign.
  16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because: My only real connection to descending AC is the pop-punk song my friends recorded years ago that features the line, "My heart was protected by a low armor class". Otherwise, ascending AC is easier. I also don't like Saving Throw charts.
  17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice: 

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