Listening to old-timers describe RP in the 70s and 80s

Mark Hope

Adventurer
What I recall the most from my early days of gaming (started in 82) was that I saw games as a way to emulate or reproduce the types of fiction I enjoyed. So I was (and I suppose still am) trying to capture the feel of the books, movies and TV shows that interested me. Yeah, we had dungeons but most of our games were trying to be like whatever media we were consuming, with our own ideas riffing off and growing from that.

I think that's probably still a large influence for newer players these days, to be honest. When you see threads talking about how D&D parties or adventurers don't look how they used to, someone often brings up the point that they are instead inspired by more recent media. And that's as it should be.

EDIT: To answer this:
Since people are mentioning non-D&D fantasy games, how many folks actually preferred playing other fantasy RPG systems from the 70s and 80s?
We also played Call of Cthulhu, Gamma World, Golden Heroes, James Bond 007, MERP, Paranoia, Pendragon, Runequest, Star Trek (FASA), Top Secret, Tunnels & Trolls, WHFRP. As the 90s rolled around, we dug into a bunch of newer games from that era as well.
 

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Peter BOSCO'S

Adventurer
Back in the day we played a Magic User with 2 hit points, who died at zero hit points the first time he was hit, in the second room of the Moathouse, and we liked it. (Well not really, but we had been having fun before then.)
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Since people are mentioning non-D&D fantasy games, how many folks actually preferred playing other fantasy RPG systems from the 70s and 80s? Our gaming group quickly graduated from D&D when we wanted to play a fantasy setting. So here's a list of 80s fantasy RPGs and the trope of dungeons...

Most of my fantasy RPG career was in non-Gloranthan RQ; most of the rest was Fantasy Hero.
 

darjr

I crit!
raises hand

I’ve played that way. We played a lot of ways. I’ve even done it recently.

It definitely wasn’t the only way. We did have fun.
 

darjr

I crit!
So people aren’t perfect, I dint want them to be. So please understand I write the following not trying to knock anyone but just another observation.

I’ve heard some folks talk about how they played back then, that characters where squishy and yiu needed a stable of them. And there are anecdotes from back then that show some people paying that way.

And in the one recent anecdote instance they were not saying that it was universal or that it was the one try way.

But then I realized that very person had a high level semi famous (OK almost a household name in some circles) character with a very district name. One that I’m certain was given to it at 1st level. Which made me realize that the deadliness being described may have not been exactly as described, for that character anyway.
 
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RareBreed

Adventurer
Most of my fantasy RPG career was in non-Gloranthan RQ; most of the rest was Fantasy Hero.
Fantasy Hero...I forgot to put that one on the 80s list :) I loved the Hero System back in the day, though I didn't use it for fantasy gaming. Played tons of Champions and Justice Inc with it, and also a little Star Hero.

I never played the Avalon Hill version of RQ, so I don't know what changed. I remember for the longest time at my friend's father's store, the Viking supplement was sitting on the shelf, but the game itself had sold out.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
My first tabletop FRPGs 1977-1987, in order:

AD&D
Basic D&D
The Fantasy Trip/In the Labyrinth
Stormbringer

(In that same time, I also got into Classic Traveller and Champions.)

Over time, I played & enjoyed other non-D&D TTFRPGs, with Fantasy HERO being my favorite.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
But then I realized that very person had a high level semi famous (OK almost a household name in some circles) character with a very district name. One that I’m certain was given to it at 1st level. Which made me realize that the deadliness being described may have not been exactly as described, for that character anyway.

Even with going through characters like chaff, someone is going to survive sometime. And remember the die-off tended to flatten out once you had PCs that could cast Raise Dead. I had a 14th Level MU when I stopped playing OD&D, but I'd probably gone through 50 or so 1-4th level characters on the way to him; he just didn't happen to be one of them.

(It helped a lot if you played frequently or played multiple characters.)
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Fantasy Hero...I forgot to put that one on the 80s list :) I loved the Hero System back in the day, though I didn't use it for fantasy gaming. Played tons of Champions and Justice Inc with it, and also a little Star Hero.

There were some issues with it (mostly having to do with three magical elements), but it didn't work badly otherwise.

I never played the Avalon Hill version of RQ, so I don't know what changed. I remember for the longest time at my friend's father's store, the Viking supplement was sitting on the shelf, but the game itself had sold out.

It largely disconnected (as a base) the Gloranthan connection, and did a couple other things, but it was still very recognizably RQ.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Even with going through characters like chaff, someone is going to survive sometime. And remember the die-off tended to flatten out once you had PCs that could cast Raise Dead.
I find it happens somewhat sooner, at the point where the PCs can afford to pay an NPC to cast Raise Dead for them.
I had a 14th Level MU when I stopped playing OD&D, but I'd probably gone through 50 or so 1-4th level characters on the way to him; he just didn't happen to be one of them.

(It helped a lot if you played frequently or played multiple characters.)
Playing more than one at a time is highly recommended at low levels around here. :)
 

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