Saturday, February 15, 2014

Old School Renaissance


Next seems to be looking to old school games like LL, OSRIC, BX, AD&D, Swords and Wizadry to revive some of the things that were missing from the 4E experience, at least for me. I noticed something when 4th Core debuted and captured my attention. Player agency was severally lacking in my game. I believe the skill system and skill challenges had turned some of my players into little automatons. They stopped thinking about what their characters wanted and started focusing on getting the next bread crumb to get to the next fight. This was probably my fault as much as theirs. 4E focus on combat encounters and skill challenges, led me into the trap of designing adventures for the characters rather than for the players. Instead of trying to challenge my players I was focusing on challenging the characters. Not just in combat, but in skills and even story.


This realization has lead me to wonder what is the use of skills in the game. I find my self agreeing with Courtney on This site is chocked full of great advice. Both On general RPG design and On adventure prep ideas. The DM/GM aids are fantastic and easily plundered. As soon as I get a chance I will pick up his NPC booklet. Also check out his Patreon This writer deserves the shameless plug after all he has contributed to the web over the years. Spend a few hours reading thru his blog with edition-less eyes and you can see a lot of his points.

Another must read is the, though I can't support all his ideas his node based adventure design is brilliant ( There is a lot of other great posts here but his commitment to 3.5 isn't my style. Been there done that I suppose, boxes of mags and books in my garage piled beneath the 4E stuff.

My campaign is off and running seven players, a few hirelings and four sessions of the most fun I have had in years. If you burnt out on tactical combat, lame threats and too much rolling instead of thinking, look thru some of these sites and go back to roots of the game, I understand WoTC reasoning now. Next might not be the right design but the their instincts are. The future of D&D is in the past, OSR.

Some more things I have been reading: