D&D General On Grognardism...

TGryph

Explorer
61 years old, and been playing some form of D&D since 1980...still do. I wrote some for Dragon Magazine and some other stuff for Runequest, so I have been around a while. I just decided to reunite online with a group I played with in Michigan for 25 years, and in deciding what system to use, I decided on Old School Essentials, despite already playing in a weekly 5E group.
My reasons for using a B/X system instead of something more recent were simple...
1. Faster pace - I do not want to drag a session out while someone as low as 5th level goes through their character sheet, weighing a myriad of options on what to do to eventually grind their opponent down. The rules are, at least to me, simpler and less intrusive, which is ideal for online play.
2. Rulings, not Rules - Again, with regard to faster play, I prefer just to throw out a rule to keep the game moving rather than stop and figure out a lengthy spell description or double-check some other sort of rule. My general feel as well is "Every time a new rule is added, it really limits your options or those of the other players." If there is a rule that states "Only this class can do THIS", the implication (true or not) is that none of the others CAN.
3. Easier to Houserule - We were always tinkering with the rules, making minor changes here and there. I find the older systems are easier to do this with, but YMMV.
4. Danger Level - Again, I realize it is more controversial, but I feel the older systems have a higher Danger Level. 0 hp equals death, period. In my experience, it rewards Player Ability rather than Character ability, but as always YMMV.

My new/old group is having a blast, doing crazy things like they did back in the day, forcing me to keep on my feet with the rulings, and personalizing their PC's with Role Playing and not merely Feat Trees or abilities. With all of these things combined, even when going back to face-to-face gaming I would much prefer to go back to the older, simpler systems. Just my 2 cents.

TGryph
 

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I had a load of Traveller stuff, which had the advantage of not needing polyhedral dice, which where really difficult to get hold of.
heh. That's something newer players today never had to see.... way back in the day, getting polyhedral dice was indeed a hassle, and for a while, none of them had the numbers inked, so you had to do it yourself. I can remember the oohs and aahs the first time someone released dice with the numbers already inked! Also, for some reason, for a while, they didn't make any D20s that were actually numbered 1-20, but had 0-9 on them twice. Luckily, that all started to change not long after I started gaming, so we didn't have to suffer for long.... :)
 


Schmoe

Adventurer
heh. That's something newer players today never had to see.... way back in the day, getting polyhedral dice was indeed a hassle, and for a while, none of them had the numbers inked, so you had to do it yourself. I can remember the oohs and aahs the first time someone released dice with the numbers already inked! Also, for some reason, for a while, they didn't make any D20s that were actually numbered 1-20, but had 0-9 on them twice. Luckily, that all started to change not long after I started gaming, so we didn't have to suffer for long.... :)

My very first d20 is a 20-sided dice, numbered 0-9 twice, that I scratched in the 10's place. I still have it to this day and bring it out for special occasions. :)
 

My very first d20 is a 20-sided dice, numbered 0-9 twice, that I scratched in the 10's place. I still have it to this day and bring it out for special occasions. :)
I can remember that first we had the 0-9 twice dice that you had to color one set differently and note that they were the 'higher numbers'... then they had the D20 with the 0-9 twice, but one set had a + next to them to mark the higher numbers... and finally, an actual D20 that was 1-20.... come to think of it, for a while, they didn't have actual D10s, and the 0-9 D20 did double duty as both...
 


Ganders

Explorer
This is what I liked about ad&d too. And I loved the way PHB 2E was written. The book is mostly optional rules. There is no official method of initiative, just 3 optional rules for it. I loved how they encouraged you to customize the rules and game for your own setting or world. Today I feel players stick their nose up in the air at that type of creativity. It’s like many have a fear of not being orthodox or not playing like everyone else. I half expect 6E to be the edition of where we have to get a license and a certification to be a DM (I am just joking). Maybe a requirement of 1000 hours as a PC. One characters had to have made it to 15th level. And then 40 hours of instruction. 😉
Certified DMs were actually a thing for awhile in the RPGA. For instance
 

I started playing D&D in '77 (white box edition)-slowly jumped into AD&D...heh because TSR was slow in releasing the books...Monster Manual in '77, PHB in '78, went to Gen Con XII to pick up the DMG in '79. I ate everything I could of D&D in those days. Judges Guild and Dragon magazine. I left D&D when I moved away from our group in '87, so I missed the 2nd edition AD&D. Dabbled a bit in 3.5 with one of my friends (didn't enjoy it...to rule-heavy for my taste). Played 4th edition as a player, enjoyed myself, but it didn't really feel like D&D. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it more than 3.5. My group disbanded and so I was again not playing D&D. I started buying 5th edition rules about 5 years ago and liked what I read. I still hadn't jump back in, but then something happened that changed everything. My older daughter started playing 5th edition with her friends. She was really enjoying herself, her enthusiasm was contagious. I decided to host a game as DM for some of her friends, my wife, both my daughters. We started with Curse of Strahd and really enjoyed ourselves. When we finished Strahd, we started up Princes of the Apocalypse, which we are currently playing. We will probably finish it up in the next couple of months and move over to Rime of the Frostmaiden.

Yes, I love the old D&D. I also love 5th edition D&D. WotC really did an excellent job of making an edition by going back to their roots but changing things that needed to be changed and keeping stuff that needed to be kept. I love that we don't have THAC0. I love the advantage/disadvantage system. I love that we don't have to dig down through multiple books to find all those multiple modifiers. I like the idea that AC on monsters and PC are soft capped at 22, and 25 on epic monsters. Happy that they got rid of DR. I love at-will spells(from 4th edition) made the cut as cantrips. That we don't have tables for everything.

If I had to describe myself and my D&D style. I'm an RAI type of guy and really don't understand these RAW types(must be holdovers from 3.5).

I wonder if what Grognards miss is that initial magic of playing D&D and look fondly back with rose-colored glasses. The first time you stuck your head against the door and listened to what was behind it. The surprise of opening that chest and finding that mimic. Having to split some monster from head to tail to get that gem that was in his stomach. That worry that anything could kill you, because yes we all pretty much had glass jaws (especially mages with their 1d4 hit dice and Thieves with 1d6 hit dice). Having negative hit points was pretty much death unless you hit 0 hit points exactly, none of my players in the old days had access to Raise Dead. I wonder how many dice rolls were fudged by DM's in the old days to keep from having TPK's. Leveling was pretty slow unless you ran with a Monty Hall group. Yes, I miss some of them, but by and large, I like the direction that WotC has directed 5th Edition D&D.
 
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I can remember that first we had the 0-9 twice dice that you had to color one set differently and note that they were the 'higher numbers'... then they had the D20 with the 0-9 twice, but one set had a + next to them to mark the higher numbers... and finally, an actual D20 that was 1-20.... come to think of it, for a while, they didn't have actual D10s, and the 0-9 D20 did double duty as both...
Yup marking your die with a crayon was a right of passage...The die 20 was so versatile. It was used as 1d10/ 1d20/1d100. If you didn't have a d8 or d12 it could substitute for them by rerolling higher rolls. You only really needed was a d20 and a handful of d6's.
 


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