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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Adopting the Future...

The last few blog posts have been good ones.  Enlightening.  Thought provoking.  A bit controversial.  I appreciate everyone who took the time to read them, and those who commented in the various forums they inhabit.  It's safe to say that people hold some strong opinions about these topics, and while no argument is likely to sway them from their current position on such matters, we've been exposed to some viewpoints from the other side...and I think we can all agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions no matter how we feel about those opinions or the topic at hand.  It's time to move on now...

Many of us OSR guys have been touched in some way by the new generation of games and gamers who enjoy our hobby, even if what they've adopted is not necessarily as easily identifiable by us Old Heads as the rpg we know and love.  The introduction of 5e has had an interesting affect on the gaming landscape, and while it's not my cup of tea, it has certain aspects that I consider advancements, rules or mechanics that bear closer inspection and perhaps even adoption.

Even many of the OSR games, retroclones like Labyrinth Lord, Castles & Crusades, and Swords & Wizardry contain small changes that make a big difference for those folks clinging to older core rulesets like AD&D 1e, which I still play as well.  Thanks to the Fantasy Grounds AD&D1e ruleset that has recently become available, I'm now playing my favorite game once again.  While I always Housefuled the game, as I think most folks did/do, I did make a concerted effort to try and remain true to the core of the ruleset and that Old School manner of play.

Still, it's hard to ignore some of the great ideas that can add texture and nuance to the older games, and that likely will not break them but instead elevate them, clarify them, and make them once again seem as fresh as the day you first cracked a rulebook.

What sort of houserules have I adopted in the past?  Well, for one thing, I always felt that if a character could close the distance between himself and a combat target, that in that same combat round he could strike.  Is it a charge attack at that point?  No, I don't treat it as such.  In fact, I allow a move a strike in the same round, each combat round.  I know that it's not how AD&D1e combat should play can move OR you can attack, but normally not both (though there are exceptions).  I know there will be folks who are now running to the books to figure out if I'm right or wrong, but that isn't really necessary.  The bottom line here is, I allow a move and a strike in the same combat round on most occasions.  Exceptions are determined by me as each combat round unfolds, because that's how I roll/rule.

Which brings me to the sort of new rules that I find intriguing, and might introduce into my Old School Game.

I think that it's safe to say that alot of OSR gamers like the concept of Advantage/Disadvantage.  It's a quick and easy (and a bit dirty) way to adjust the possible outcome of a situation that we would have solved in the past with a simple +/- modifier.  5e really brought the heat with this.  It's not a game changer, but in every way possible it seems like a game enhancer.

It's also interesting that there's now a formal Inspiration system.  I've been using a simple system like this for many years, calling it Luck Points or Fate Points or some-such so that players had a small amount of control over their universe beyond their character sheet.  There was never anything formal for me, but if I had a player who engaged in some great role-playing, or they took an action that was heroic/insane in order to solve a problem or defeat a monster, I would reward that behavior with both XP and a Point.  So it's safe to say that I've already adopted this mechanic, or did they steal it from me???  Hmmmmm....

Many GM's will weave a tapestry of rules and mechanics from other systems into their game.  That's not me.  I really am, at heart, something of a purist.  When I show images of monsters during my 1e game, I pull those images from the Monster Manual or Fiend Folio.  I try to remain true to both what I love about a game, and what my players will enjoy.

I'm curious what other bits and pieces OSR folks may be adopting from 5e.  Do you allow the use of anytime cantrips?  Have you adopted a quicker form of healing?  There are many things that make 5e wrong for me as a whole, but it's possible to find some value in a newer system even if you never intend on playing it as a standalone work.


  1. With my current C&C table-topping, I've been handing out tokens to each player that comes out with a good idea or commits to progressing the story or does something impressive. I add these to the players xp at the end of the game (trading them in for 100 xp each) but they can also trade them in for the +1 bonus instead... Makes it easier to track the extra xp bonuses to the full party xp.
    I haven't played 5e or 4e at all. Don't think I will.

    1. You won't like 5e any more than I do Rich. So many things seem out-of-whack for me there. How goes the better-work-schedule hunt?

    2. I'm still with the old random schedule as things seem to have fallen out on the new prospect. We have some new grunts at work... so maybe I'll be able to get a more consistent shifts.