OD&D 4 me (April Fools)


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  1. #1
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    OD&D 4 me

    Unless it's for moderation, you guys probably don't see me around here much lately. I've been pondering exactly why that is and I had an epiphany about it this weekend that I knew you'd want to know about: OD&D is really the direction I want to be headed.

    I mean what's at the heart of gaming? Fun. Imagination. Stories. Mystery. Magic.

    Seems like I've let those fall by the wayside amid all the discussions of tactics, balance, "what's core?", "does this model reality?", and "where's the verisimilitude?" When did I start using the word "verisimilitude" on a regular basis anyway?

    With Gary passing recently, it had me reflecting back on gaming with him this past GenCon and how much pure fun that was. None of the other BS that we're constantly reading about here on the boards. Just the magic of enjoyment that comes from exploring a dungeon, falling down a 10' pit and smashing skeletons while finding a Shield +1.

    There were no attacks of opportunity (although Gary could have given somebody one if he felt it was warranted: GM judgement at work). There was no counting squares. There was no big list of abilities that could be used 1/day. There were no skills to track. We had Sleep and Charm Person and we LIKED IT. And for anything else you could make a Dex check.

    Just think of how much easier that is to keep track of. How much easier is it to PREPARE for?! When I think of running other versions of D&D, I think my players must assume that I am MADE of free time! And if I'm going to spend the time to prep the game at all then they can certainly live with a more simplified ruleset where I'm granted a bit more GM fiat.

    It's all very clear now. That is the direction my games should be headed.

    IN CASE IT ISN'T CLEAR, I POSTED THIS THREAD IN THE 4E FORUM BECAUSE IT WAS THE ABOVE REALIZATION THAT HAS DECIDED ME AGAINST ADOPTING 4E. THANK YOU.

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    Great in theory, tough in practice.

    I'm not knocking your desire to go oD&D. I have had the same thing. And I acted on it. For a 1 or 2-night session, it was great fun. For an extended campaign...it was hard.

    Not on the DM, mind you, but on the players. There was little difference for level-ups other than "roll hit points". While this may sound Cool, it began to get tiresome (around level 4).

    Anyway, there's always a part of me that wants to go that route. And, ironically, it's the same part of me that has me so hopeful for 4E. I think - no, hope - we get "back" to some of that seat-of-the-pants DM fiat stuff in 4E that was sorely missed in 3E.

    W.P.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    On 4E: So far my initial concerns aren't justified. There is just as much roleplaying, just as much behind-the-scenes maneuvering, and just as much character interaction -- with far easier DM prep, faster and more tactically rich combat (now that the learning curve for each player's powers is diminishing), and a longer adventuring day. Yeah, I'm having a blast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisdom Penalty
    Great in theory, tough in practice.

    I'm not knocking your desire to go oD&D. I have had the same thing. And I acted on it. For a 1 or 2-night session, it was great fun. For an extended campaign...it was hard.

    Not on the DM, mind you, but on the players. There was little difference for level-ups other than "roll hit points". While this may sound Cool, it began to get tiresome (around level 4).

    Anyway, there's always a part of me that wants to go that route. And, ironically, it's the same part of me that has me so hopeful for 4E. I think - no, hope - we get "back" to some of that seat-of-the-pants DM fiat stuff in 4E that was sorely missed in 3E.
    QFT

    I dearly love Basic D&D, but my group would revolt if I tried to get them to play it again. While it is really easy to DM, the sparseness of mechanics and lack of tactical combat makes the game rather lackluster for players (at least mine). Plus there are some real issues I have with early D&D- the high death rate, the 1st level wizard that's useless after he casts his one sleep spell, the incompetent thief (but boy can he climb walls), the tons of save or die effects, etc.
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  4. #4
    I was recently about to get into a group that played 1st ed. adnd. I flipped through a book and realized i wasnt interested- the DM allowed for parties of all levels and i was gonna have to start at 1 and be useless for several weeks.

    but mostly, i didnt like the vagueness of spell effects. they involved too much DM arbitration b/c you could easily break quests with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhensley
    I dearly love Basic D&D, but my group would revolt if I tried to get them to play it again. While it is really easy to DM, the sparseness of mechanics and lack of tactical combat makes the game rather lackluster for players (at least mine). Plus there are some real issues I have with early D&D- the high death rate, the 1st level wizard that's useless after he casts his one sleep spell, the incompetent thief (but boy can he climb walls), the tons of save or die effects, etc.
    I think that the combat can be as tactical as the players want if the GM is willing to work with them (at my gaming table I do the best I can to work with the players). If they want to trip an opponent or "bull rush" them then I can just have them and the foe each roll a d20 and see who rolls the most under their Strength. Stuff like that. A simple mechanic is a flexible mechanic.

    As for the spells, first of all, for anybody who doesn't know, they were called "Magic Users" back then. That Magic User is going to have to realize that he's "paying his dues" for later on when he's the most powerful member of the party. He should still be able to contribute to their efforts after he's cast his Sleep Spell if he's creative (again, my willingness to work with the player). If he's not satisfied or capable of that, he probably shouldn't be playing a Magic User in the first place.

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    The whole verisimilitude thing has gotten really bad, hasn't it? Sometimes, we seem to over-analyze all this stuff.

    I have no experience with OD&D, but plenty with 3.x. After preparing and running my first 4E "light" playtest with my group, I definitely can say that the preparation seemed to have dropped considerably. I used exclusively kobolds in my encounters, and I didn't create a single write-up on my own. That was a serious time-saver. The rest of the "plot" was quickly done (stealing from various sources), and I think I took two short evenings to prepare for it (4-6h total), including the time to create the map for the dungeon. And I only finished 2/3 of the adventure in a 5h session. And we had a lot of fun, too!

    Maybe I come around and post my first playtest experience a little more verbose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully
    After preparing and running my first 4E "light" playtest with my group, I definitely can say that the preparation seemed to have dropped considerably. I used exclusively kobolds in my encounters, and I didn't create a single write-up on my own. That was a serious time-saver.
    Is this really a surprise? The big drain on prep-time in 3.5e always came with statting up custom NPCs, especially at high level.

    A couple of weeks ago, I created an adventure for 6th level PCs, using the pre-gen lizardfolk from MM4 (and the variant lizardfolk from MM3), traps from the DMG and DMG2 (or was it Dungeonscape?), a black dragon from Draconomicon, and maps downloaded from Wizards.com. The whole thing took less than an hour to prep, and we played through it in a single six-hour session.

    As long as the DM is happy to restrict himself to the bank of pre-generated elements, prep time will be very quick indeed. And, in fact, 3.5e has the edge here, simply by virtue of that bank of pre-generated elements being so much bigger. The real test of 4e prep will come when DMs start advancing monsters, adding class levels and templates (or equivalent), and otherwise stepping off the beaten path. In which area there are big savings to be had, and to be fair to it, 4e is looking pretty good so far.

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    Sure Rel, we all know you just want to be able to give out your own slimy mule bones to the party and not have the players whining about wealth-by-level guidelines and nerfing the party.

    Seriously, I hope you and your friends all the best with it. For me I'm looking for a middle ground. I want some of the great player options and features that really came to life with 3e without bogging the game down as much as it can. I want more DM lattitude and less prep time, but I also appreciate some of the consistency that can come about with the increased complexity of the rules. GM fiat is great up to a point but like anything, too much can be just as bad as too little.

    I'm hopeful that 4e will land somewhere near that middle ground I'm looking for.
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by delericho
    Is this really a surprise?
    From what perspective? From soneone going into D&D 4 with only 3.5 experience and knowing nothing about its design goals and changes? Absolutely.

    For someone totally into the hype of 4E and knowing what the designers are aiming for? I would have been surprised if it didn't work!

    It worked as advertised. I like that. I don't need to create stat-blocks, since the MM has provided them for me.
    To be honest, I am wrong. I created a stat-block, but I didn't use it. I wanted to add a Goblin Minion, but the adventure didn't get to that point. I think it took me 5 minutes to recombine some of the Goblin and Kobold Minion stats. Though I don't know if it would have taken me more then that in 3E - but then, in 3E, I would have already have the "Minion", and instead create the Picador. (And I assume Goblin Minions will be in the real MM, too).

    So, no, I was not surprised. I was just happy.
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