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Friday, February 9, 2018

1st Level is the Best Level: The Friday After Report

It seems to me that there can only be two kinds of people who play OSR games.  

The first type is new to the style, the system, or the situation.  Perhaps they have played an RPG before, but it’s been of a newer bent.  There’s no age or gender associated with this player, btw, just an inexperience with OSR gameplay.  As with all things, there are misconceptions and preconceptions many of which are turned on their head once they start playing.  It’s somewhat self-correcting, the act of playing, assuming this individual has inserted themselves into a group of players more experienced with the OSR.  The group will almost always usher the noob through the rites and rituals of the game...things like the proper use of a 10’ pole, why doors should be spiked when camping in the dungeon, and the most important combat tactic, hasty retreat.

If the system is being played close to the RAW (rules as written) then it may be a bit of a shock when their PC meets a quick and untimely death at the hands of a scruffy kobold or stinky goblin a few minutes after the party enters cave 1a on the map after having spent a few minutes building the PC and equipping him/her with the best a few GP can buy.  The rest of the group will remember to add a few henchmen and continue aon a bit while the noob rolls up ‘round 2’.

Keep in mind, this is fun.

The second type of player, of which I myself am a member, is the guy who either

  1. Never left the OSR and hasn’t moved past AD&D1e, ever…
  2. Left the OSR (or gaming entirely) and finding that he/she misses the old ways and the old days, attempts to connect with some like-minded folks to relive the past, which is fun but never quite as fulfilling as the original ride around that particular carousel.

By all the lords of light and darkness, I am B.  So B.  100% B.  A solid B. I'm so B I listen to Asia...

What is the Music you Most Associate with Gaming?  An Upcoming Post will cover this very topic...

I’m back, and I’m doing so with all the grit and gusto I can muster with this body and mind, long ravaged by time, tacos, tequila, and toking.

Welcome to the Friday After Report!

Last night we met once again with DM extraordinaire, Kelly (@oxfordgamer on the twitters) and had a blast.  I’m not the sort of fellow who enjoys reading or writing long game recaps (that shit is boring folks, please don’t do it), but  after defeating a couple of beefy hobgoblins, freeing a few unlucky prisoners of said creatures, and clumsily executing a gnoll and orc who were chained to that same wall and unable to defend, we trotted back to the Keep and sold off our booty.  Some really great role-playing went down last night, proving once again that OSR games like B/X do NOT have to be cold, militaristic bash-fests!  I can’t wait for the banquet with the Castellan next week...gonna wear my Pope Hat!

This is the fourth or fifth time we’ve played this game/campaign, and many of us are STILL 1st level.  Some folks might be super frustrated by now.  Other folks may have simply given up, dropped out, and gone looking for a game with a more generous DM...but I say that there is nothing gained by doing so and in fact, I believe that a most important and pertinent detail would be lost.  If you’ve come to the OSR game new to the hobby, or have migrated over to this side of the block from a system like 5e, than this frustration might be very real.

As a group we have struggled through great losses, learned hard lessons, and now fully back in the swing of things we push ahead as a cohesive unit, a bonded group of real-life friends and stalwart adventurers.  My PC is approximately 250 XP from level 2, and as a Cleric this means I have spent week after week NOT casting a single spell (as per the B/X rules).  It’s both frustrating and freeing.

I hope that the weeks and months of gaming ahead are just as exciting, but somehow I think that having a few more HP, a better weapon with a +1, spells to sling and a bit more gold to throw around won’t make the experience better than hanging onto the edge of my chair knowing that a single, well landed strike from an enemy combatant can end my PC with the single roll of a die.  Sure, I want to help the fighters recover some HP with a Cure Light Wounds, or Bless everyone before we head into battle, but the magic of no magic has been exhilarating!  

For me, with OSR games or really any game, 1st level really is the best level.

Game on!

(BTW Kelly, I love my new mace...please don’t take it from me.  My cleric is faithful and pious, and that mace means the world to him...and me ;) )

1 comment:

  1. I am B too. Maybe that's why I enjoy these posts.

    To me, the gang is most important. More than the game itself, which is easy enough to find these days. I had a DM and his wife for about a month, but they were adjusting their career, and I'm moving now, so unfortunately they are left behind.

    Being close to a large university means there's a DnD shoppe with tables and people who'd teach you to play, but I don't need that. I got a hang enough of 5e (I like it a lot) and years of taste from ADnD. But it takes time to open up, find the right people, and you know what, I'm tired of the "activist energy," if there is such a thing, that bleeds everywhere. I want a bunch of guys who don't give a shit and just pass the chips and the beer and roll the dice. Meh. I want to sink into the game, not feel like I step in eggshells or need to bust balls myself.

    So… I find that the real task is not find the game, but finding the right people. I guess I'm too choosy for my own good.