Thursday, April 8, 2010

Penny Arcade Plays OD&D---Maybe....

Some guy at Penny Arcade took his group on a D&D "Trip to Yesteryear" and played a game of S&W/OD&D.  I don't know anything about Penny Arcade, except that they have a convention, a comic---and a podcast that Wesley Crusher plays D&D on or something?  Until today I don't think I've been on their site.

I figure any exposure to the older games and clones is mostly a good thing.  What makes me wonder if about  this particular case is this statement:

"A sort of OD&D roller-coaster with all the twists and turns of old school gaming but minus the freedom and danger."

How you expose your players to something like a S&W/OD&D/Old School game, and not give the players freedom or place them in danger?  It's  like the difference between actually storming the beaches at Normandy or watching it on TV.

I don't want to get into a definitional war of "what elements make a game old school," but running OD&D without freedom of danger is like shooting a porn where no one has sex.

It sounds like he had good intentions, but if his intention was to really show someone how it used to be, he should show them 100%.

9 comments:

  1. I havn't checked this out yet, did they have any actual video of the game?

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  2. Not that I could see, just the write-up linked to above on the main page.

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  3. "A sort of OD&D roller-coaster with all the twists and turns of old school gaming but minus the freedom and danger."

    I saw this and I about vomited. Great, just what the OSR needs, drive-byes looking out the window saying "There it is kids, the original D&D, but without teeth or claws, and it's been totally neutered for your entertainment!"

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  4. They are big 4e fans, though Tyco played 3e as well (and probably 2nd edition too). They made awesome condition markers for that game.

    I think old school means different things to different people. Playing a less deadly old school game doesn't mean (for me) that it still isn't an old school feeling game.

    For me old school means:

    1) More deadly/differently heroic
    2) More arbitrary/subjective with regards to outcomes. I.e. less rules and more GM influence.
    3) More blending scifi and fantasy elements
    4) More traps and general oddities.
    5) Specific dungeon ecology. I.e. dungeons are treated as their own type of space in which some natural rules do not apply.
    6) More weight on realism vs. balance between types of characters.
    7) More GM v. players feelings.
    8) More greedy
    9) Less equipment based and equipment is more special
    10) More random tables.
    11) Simple character creation.

    So if I played a game with most of those features but still didn't feel like my PC was especially fragile...I would still feel like it was an old school game.

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  5. I'm not objecting to running a more recent version as "old school"...I'm just disappointed in the PA guy's description of the game as being called "old school" when it really has none of the trappings you indicated above.

    My analogy in another blog was that someone says they are throwing a classic rock concert, and you get there and Kelly Clarkson and the Jonas Bros are playing....

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  6. "A sort of OD&D roller-coaster with all the twists and turns of old school gaming but minus the freedom and danger."

    "I'm just disappointed in the PA guy's description of the game as being called "old school" when it really has none of the trappings you indicated above."

    Maybe this is just a matter of talking of his experience of OD&D? Certainly, where there is a sort of shared understanding about what old school gaming is/was, there is room for a different interpretation.

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  7. "Until today I don't think I've been on their site."

    Really? Huh. Times like this remind me how varied the gamer experience is.

    "I saw this and I about vomited. "

    Yeah. How dare someone take a set of "OSR" styled rules and then modify them to suit his needs? The NERVE!

    *shrug*

    Meh. I think being offended by this is really just looking for something to be offended by. His pen and paper gaming starts with 4E... I think the fact that he even felt that something "old school" had a use in his game is a generally positive thing, even if his particular use of it doesn't appeal to you.

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  8. Except when the old school "use" in his game is holding it up to an example of what a godawful mess the old guys were slogging through. I'm sorry I'm the type of guy who doesn't believe any press is good press.

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  9. I suppose since I no longer play anything in the DnD world prior to 3.5 I'm more sympathetic to him... but I still kind of think you are reading it the worst possible way. Unless there is something where he talks more about the game somewhere and slags on the older stuff directly. Because when I read it, I just felt he was giving them a taste of the older style game as a way to give them a larger appreciation of gaming as a whole.

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