Don't Call It a Comeback!
Like many, I was introduced to D&D in 1980 with the Holmes blue book and was instantly hooked. I saved my money and purchased modules, but my young adolescent self lacked the discipline to actually read them. It was more fun to create my own dungeons and put my friends through them. So what happened to those old TSR published adventures? I still have them!
Here is where we come in…
This campaign is not about nostalgia. We are NOT reliving the same adventures from our high-school days: we are playing them for the first time and appreciating them for who we are today. Although we are exploring what the play style was like all those years ago, the reality is the game never went away and has been here for years. Other good games that serve different play-styles have emerged, but we will be playing classic adventures that we have not played before. I’ve already done so with some other modules from my collection and have had fun. I’m confident we will this time as well.
Have you seen Stuart Robertson’s GM Merit Badges? If not, check it out. While it is open for interpretation (and misinterpretation) it is a good start for a meaningful dialog about game expectations. Here are their meanings followed by some of my thoughts and how it will apply to our game:
MAP: My games use a pre-made Map and pre scripted content.
Because we will be exploring the original old school adventures, we will obviously be using their maps and content. This means the party will openly accept the missions — even if only superficially. The point, however, is that the party is willing to interact with the established material.
DICE: I roll Dice in the open and don’t fudge the results in my games.
This is just a personal play style: I don’t fudge rolls. I may still roll secretly, but that’s to keep the players guessing.
PLAYER SKILL: My game focuses on Player Skill rather than character abilities.
This is a characteristic of old school play. Unlike the adventures, this part of the campaign is not an experiment. I’ve been playing the original games for years and it is (and has always been) a lot of fun.
DEATH: Player character Death is a likely event in my games.
Another feature of old school play is when PLAYER SKILL has a momentary lapse and the DICE turn against them, this results in character DEATH. Don’t stress it. 3d6 six times in order will generate another character and get the player back into the game.
RUN: Players in my game should be prepared to Run when the odds are against them.
Do not assume that encounters are perfectly balanced: they’re not! The best measure of PLAYER SKILL is knowing when to run.
IN CHARGE: The GM is In Charge in my games and “rule-zero” is in effect.
I’m not happy with the title of this, but the sentiment is about right. This is about GM trust. There is no way for the players to be certain — hence the trust — but I will be fair in my callings.
Still here? Good!
The rules we’ll be using is Swords & Wizardry 2nd edition. It is a clone of D&D. Although the modules will range from Basic D&D to AD&D 1st edition, S&W is readily available, mostly compatible with the published adventures, and inline with the goals I have for this campaign. If all this sounds like something you will like to try, continue to the Wiki tab for more specifics on house rules.