I’ve spent the last few weeks downloading copies of the various retro-clones on the market. I’ve been reading through everything from Swords & Wizardry to OSRIC (and everything in between) in an attempt to find the one I want to use. The difficulty, thus far, has been twofold: (1) An illogical brand loyalty. (2) Realizing just how deeply new systems have impacted my thinking.
When it comes to brand loyalty, I’ve always been a D&D fanatic. While I sometimes used other rpgs as temporary diversions I always returned to D&D. It may sound strange, but not playing D&D, even when it is ostensibly a D&D rules set, is really sticking in my craw. There’s just something about looking down and seeing that familiar TSR logo (in any one of its incarnations) looking back at you. It is totally irrational, I know, but that subjective pull just won’t seem to go away just yet. Anyone else experience that? I’m hoping that, in time, the retro-clone logos/covers will take the place of those old TSR covers in my mind’s eye as being representative of great fantasy rpgs.
I’m also coming to grips with how deeply I drank from the waters of the new school of gaming. For example, I was working on a dungeon the other day and found myself asking lots of questions: (1) Why do the monsters get more powerful as the players delve deeper? (2) Why don’t the monsters ever attack and kill one another? (3) Why don’t the monsters trigger the traps? (4) How do the monsters navigate the locked doors? Etc. My need to have everything explained, up front, is a habit that will die hard. Don’t misunderstand me, all of these things will likely be explained as the players explore, but I think that’s sort of the key. Allowing players, their decisions, their exploration, etc., to root out the answers. I think, inevitably, deciding all of these things ahead of time will likely lead me to railroad my players in certain directions to find the answers I’ve predetermined. Better, I think, to have several potential answers in mind and let the players find it out for themselves (or not, as their actions determine things).
At any rate, as I navigate the waters of the OSR, one thing is certain…I’m having a blast!