D&D General Younger Players Telling Us how Old School Gamers Played

You do know that successful Youtubers routinely use this clickbait technique to drive traffic? I guess I'm just inured to it by now, to the extent I didn't even notice.
Doesn't mean I have to like the hyping of society. In fact I think it is a pernicious element in our whole society today! Not that it is actually a new trend, I can recall it seems to have begun in the late '70s or early '80s. In fact, in the earlier days of this trend I can recall teachers and parents trying to discourage the habit. The entertainment industry though went full on no holds barred with the idea though. I guess it is like excessive salt in food, it may not be good for us, but it sells.
 

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Doesn't mean I have to like the hyping of society. In fact I think it is a pernicious element in our whole society today! Not that it is actually a new trend, I can recall it seems to have begun in the late '70s or early '80s. In fact, in the earlier days of this trend I can recall teachers and parents trying to discourage the habit. The entertainment industry though went full on no holds barred with the idea though. I guess it is like excessive salt in food, it may not be good for us, but it sells.

I have plenty of complaints about stuff like this as well. Maybe I am just getting old. But I just think in this case, his video and the title are pretty mild for youtube, and he seems like a decent enough person who is just expression interest in an old rule. Certainly there is room to discuss how much he got right about the history and how accurately he presented things. But I don't see the value in tearing him a new one over it. Also it isn't an unreasonable position to take about this rule. It is in the book. There were people who used it, even if it really wasn't that common. It is a tool some people might be interested in hearing about.

Also with you on the salt. I pretty much stopped eating sugar and stopped using salt in my food. Made a big difference.
 

Just watch practically any movie made in the 1960s and compare it to almost any movie made in the 2020s. The difference is quite apparent.

I prefer older movies myself. On any given day I'd probably prefer a film from the 70s over something made in the past few years. Every once in a while, a post 2010 film catches my interest but they are clearly made for audiences with different expectations than what I have (I like slower paced movies, practical effects, etc).
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
I don't think that would have been a problem. Training time, spell research, etc.

People can be contrary. That only works as long as everyone doesn't decide they wanted to hare off on week two.

(Now, mind you, if I was going to use such a rule I'd just tell them to get over it, but with some groups that wouldn't fly.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think you could make a training rule that would function in the context of 'troupe play', yes. It is not any good for serial party play though, as it just becomes a bunch of hand-wavy book keeping. I mean, if you want training montages and a slower pace of adventure with long hiatus between them, just describe play that way, it doesn't really need mechanics! OTOH the version in the 1e DMG is just borked. I assume it was intended to suck up excessive quantities of cash that PCs were assumed to be accumulating in most games. If you took the 1-4 RP rating seriously and the average was 2.5, then you had to get almost 3x more gold than XP to advance due to training fees, which basically means you'd always be at level+1 -1XP blocked on training at all times and losing 2/3 of your potential XP. It just didn't work at all! Even if you assume all PCs earn an RP rating of 1.0 all the time, you are most often blocked by unavailability of a trainer, and at high level this becomes basically an impossible situation.
I’ve read that EGG never actually used the training rules himself.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I’ve read that EGG never actually used the training rules himself.
It's hard to say what he did in his own games, but he must have realized pretty fast that having the DM rate each player's roleplaying in order to set each PC's training costs was an idea born in the depths of dumbness.

That level-up training carries a cost is, in principle, perfectly fine in itself. The rating idea, however, just screams out for DM favouritism when giving ratings and-or table arguments about the ratings players get.
 

pemerton

Legend
It's hard to say what he did in his own games, but he must have realized pretty fast that having the DM rate each player's roleplaying in order to set each PC's training costs was an idea born in the depths of dumbness.
Well, it was clearly an important idea for Gygax.

From his PHB, p 106:

clerics' major aims are to use their spell abilities to aid during any given encounter, fighters aim to engage in combat, magic-users aim to cast spells, thieves aim to make gain by stealth, and monks aim to use their unusual talents to come to successful ends. If characters gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims, then they are generally entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM.​

This discussion of the "major aims" of character classes is more-or-less a summary of the following on p 18:

The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class (or multi-class). Clerics principally function as supportive, although they have some offensive spell power and are able to use armor and weapons effectively. Druids are a sub-class of cleric who operate much as do other clerics, but they are less able in combat and more effective in wilderness situations. Fighters generally seek to engage in hand-to-hand combat, for they have more hit points and better weaponry in general than do other classes. Paladins are fighters who are lawful good (see ALIGNMENT). At higher levels they gain limited clerical powers as well. Rangers are another sub-class of fighter. They are quite powerful in combat, and at upper levels gain druidic and magic spell usage of a limited sort. Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game. Illusionists are a sub-class of magic-user, and they are different primarily because of the kinds of spells they use. Thieves use cunning, nimbleness, and stealth. Assassins, a sub-class of thief, are quiet killers of evil nature. Monks are aesthetic disciples of bodily training and combat with bare hands.​

In his DMG the connection to a "full share of earned experience points" has been replaced by the training rules, but the concept of "major aims" remains the same. From p 86:

Consider the natural functions of each class of character. Consider also the professed alignment of each character. Briefly assess the performance of each character after an adventure. Did he or she perform basically in the character of his or her class? Were his or her actions in keeping with his or her professed alignment? Mentally classify the overall performance as:

E - Excellent, few deviations from norm = 1
S- Superior, deviations minimal but noted =2
F - Fair performance, more norm than deviations =3
P- Poor showing with aberrant behavior =4​

Clerics who refuse to help and heal or do not remain faithful to their deity, fighters who hang bock from combat or attempt to steal, or fail to boldly lead, magic-users who seek to engage in melee or ignore magic items they could employ in crucial situations, thieves who boldly engage in frontal attacks or refrain from acquisition of an extra bit of treasure when the opportunity presents itself, "cautious" characters who do not pull their own weight - these are all clear examples of a POOR rating.​

These examples of "POOR" play of a character follow completely naturally from the PHB's descriptions of the various classes' major aims and functions. And it's clear that these "natural functions" or "major aims" of each character class were closely associated, by Gygax, with character progression. Poor play in relation to these functions/aims (and also in relation to alignment, in the DMG formulation of the idea) is meant to be a burden on the rate of PC progression.
 

It's hard to say what he did in his own games, but he must have realized pretty fast that having the DM rate each player's roleplaying in order to set each PC's training costs was an idea born in the depths of dumbness.
All I can think of was how we had a WoD DM (storyteller) that outsourced XP to us... at the end of each chapter we would be given an index card, had to write down 1-3 things we learned, and for each one he agreed would award 1xp... then he would ask us to rate how each other roleplayed... after a game or two we started taking notes of things we thought each other did that were cool...
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
All I can think of was how we had a WoD DM (storyteller) that outsourced XP to us... at the end of each chapter we would be given an index card, had to write down 1-3 things we learned, and for each one he agreed would award 1xp... then he would ask us to rate how each other roleplayed... after a game or two we started taking notes of things we thought each other did that were cool...
I think this kind of thing was popular with WoD STs. My Requiem group in college always had a post-game wrap-up where each player could award up to one other player with 1XP for something they did that improved the game for them - most often it was a particularly cool or funny interaction. We called in “noms” because we were “nominating” other players for an XP award.
 

I think this kind of thing was popular with WoD STs. My Requiem group in college always had a post-game wrap-up where each player could award up to one other player with 1XP for something they did that improved the game for them - most often it was a particularly cool or funny interaction. We called in “noms” because we were “nominating” other players for an XP award.
yeah almost every WoD game suggest to do this somewhat... but like we never got ANY xp from him for anything... it was all just what we learned (1-3) and then up to 1 from each player... but he did approve or disapprove them.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, it was clearly an important idea for Gygax.

From his PHB, p 106:

clerics' major aims are to use their spell abilities to aid during any given encounter, fighters aim to engage in combat, magic-users aim to cast spells, thieves aim to make gain by stealth, and monks aim to use their unusual talents to come to successful ends. If characters gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims, then they are generally entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM.​
I always took that PHB passage as nothing more than a quick summary of how each class group might normally approach challenges; and as I've never used xp-for-gp I could safely ignore the second sentence. :)
This discussion of the "major aims" of character classes is more-or-less a summary of the following on p 18:

The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class (or multi-class). Clerics principally function as supportive, although they have some offensive spell power and are able to use armor and weapons effectively. Druids are a sub-class of cleric who operate much as do other clerics, but they are less able in combat and more effective in wilderness situations. Fighters generally seek to engage in hand-to-hand combat, for they have more hit points and better weaponry in general than do other classes. Paladins are fighters who are lawful good (see ALIGNMENT). At higher levels they gain limited clerical powers as well. Rangers are another sub-class of fighter. They are quite powerful in combat, and at upper levels gain druidic and magic spell usage of a limited sort. Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game. Illusionists are a sub-class of magic-user, and they are different primarily because of the kinds of spells they use. Thieves use cunning, nimbleness, and stealth. Assassins, a sub-class of thief, are quiet killers of evil nature. Monks are aesthetic disciples of bodily training and combat with bare hands.​
A decent summary of what each class has going for it and how best it might be utilized, though the word "dictated" is a bit harsh. There's nothing here, however, saying or even suggesting these are the only approaches a given character (or even class) can use; and - worse - nothing at all indicating or warning there's a reward-punishment system lurking behind these suggestions.
In his DMG the connection to a "full share of earned experience points" has been replaced by the training rules, but the concept of "major aims" remains the same. From p 86:

Consider the natural functions of each class of character. Consider also the professed alignment of each character. Briefly assess the performance of each character after an adventure. Did he or she perform basically in the character of his or her class? Were his or her actions in keeping with his or her professed alignment? Mentally classify the overall performance as:​
E - Excellent, few deviations from norm = 1​
S- Superior, deviations minimal but noted =2​
F - Fair performance, more norm than deviations =3​
P- Poor showing with aberrant behavior =4​
Clerics who refuse to help and heal or do not remain faithful to their deity, fighters who hang bock from combat or attempt to steal, or fail to boldly lead, magic-users who seek to engage in melee or ignore magic items they could employ in crucial situations, thieves who boldly engage in frontal attacks or refrain from acquisition of an extra bit of treasure when the opportunity presents itself, "cautious" characters who do not pull their own weight - these are all clear examples of a POOR rating.​

These examples of "POOR" play of a character follow completely naturally from the PHB's descriptions of the various classes' major aims and functions. And it's clear that these "natural functions" or "major aims" of each character class were closely associated, by Gygax, with character progression. Poor play in relation to these functions/aims (and also in relation to alignment, in the DMG formulation of the idea) is meant to be a burden on the rate of PC progression.
One can only assume his line hardened on this matter during the year between his writing the PH and writing the DMG; as what was suggestion in the PH has become dictates here, with associated rewards and-or punishments. It puts the DM in a hole: how on earth do you assign these ratings without any appearance of favouritism. It also squashes player creativity with regard to how they play their PCs.

IMO this is one of the worst passages in the whole 1e DMG in terms of guiding a DM how to run a game. That said, there is one small bit with which I agree completely: overly-cautious characters who hang back and do nothing should receive less reward than characters who step up and get things done despite the risks.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
That said, there is one small bit with which I agree completely: overly-cautious characters who hang back and do nothing should receive less reward than characters who step up and get things done despite the risks.
Absolutely. Trouble is, the second most players realize there’s even a chance their PC could be harmed or lost, they turn into turtles cowering in their shells. I think it’s something we’ve collectively lost over the years. Taking things back to the hobby’s wargaming roots can sometimes help. But not always.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, it was clearly an important idea for Gygax.

From his PHB, p 106:

clerics' major aims are to use their spell abilities to aid during any given encounter, fighters aim to engage in combat, magic-users aim to cast spells, thieves aim to make gain by stealth, and monks aim to use their unusual talents to come to successful ends. If characters gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims, then they are generally entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM.​

This discussion of the "major aims" of character classes is more-or-less a summary of the following on p 18:

The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class (or multi-class). Clerics principally function as supportive, although they have some offensive spell power and are able to use armor and weapons effectively. Druids are a sub-class of cleric who operate much as do other clerics, but they are less able in combat and more effective in wilderness situations. Fighters generally seek to engage in hand-to-hand combat, for they have more hit points and better weaponry in general than do other classes. Paladins are fighters who are lawful good (see ALIGNMENT). At higher levels they gain limited clerical powers as well. Rangers are another sub-class of fighter. They are quite powerful in combat, and at upper levels gain druidic and magic spell usage of a limited sort. Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game. Illusionists are a sub-class of magic-user, and they are different primarily because of the kinds of spells they use. Thieves use cunning, nimbleness, and stealth. Assassins, a sub-class of thief, are quiet killers of evil nature. Monks are aesthetic disciples of bodily training and combat with bare hands.​

In his DMG the connection to a "full share of earned experience points" has been replaced by the training rules, but the concept of "major aims" remains the same. From p 86:

Consider the natural functions of each class of character. Consider also the professed alignment of each character. Briefly assess the performance of each character after an adventure. Did he or she perform basically in the character of his or her class? Were his or her actions in keeping with his or her professed alignment? Mentally classify the overall performance as:​
E - Excellent, few deviations from norm = 1​
S- Superior, deviations minimal but noted =2​
F - Fair performance, more norm than deviations =3​
P- Poor showing with aberrant behavior =4​

Clerics who refuse to help and heal or do not remain faithful to their deity, fighters who hang bock from combat or attempt to steal, or fail to boldly lead, magic-users who seek to engage in melee or ignore magic items they could employ in crucial situations, thieves who boldly engage in frontal attacks or refrain from acquisition of an extra bit of treasure when the opportunity presents itself, "cautious" characters who do not pull their own weight - these are all clear examples of a POOR rating.​

These examples of "POOR" play of a character follow completely naturally from the PHB's descriptions of the various classes' major aims and functions. And it's clear that these "natural functions" or "major aims" of each character class were closely associated, by Gygax, with character progression. Poor play in relation to these functions/aims (and also in relation to alignment, in the DMG formulation of the idea) is meant to be a burden on the rate of PC progression.
Being in the books doesn't mean important to him. These are his own words on how he runs his games.

"Whoa, and I have to think hard about those questions. Generally, I just DMed on the fly, so to speak, and didn't use the rules books except for random encounters, monster stats, and treasure.

when hand-to-hand fighting occurred I usually did that seat-of-the-pants rules--asking what the character was doing and deciding on the chance for success based on the circumstances.

I did not use psionics, generally ignored weapons vs. armor type and weapon speed.

When an opponent was helpless I always allowed an immediate kill if of lower level; otherwise a successful hit killed, a "miss" doing double damage anyway.

That's about all I can think of

Cheers,
Gary"

"To clarify, as the DM I would allow the spell caster to select one specific target, and by so doing nerrow the scope of a sleep sopell to that individual. If ut were used as an area spell, then all characters in the area would be affected up to the spell's maximum, and that includes PCs associated with the casting magic-user. In the example you give, the sleep spell would get the five goblins first, then the three 1st level PCs, and if more than eight could be affected, then the two bugbears.

Cheers,
Gary

Happy to be of service!"

"We sometimes used the SR system in grappling melees, but most often the Dm simply weighed the situation and ajudicated without all that dice rolling. thus, eight orcs getting the jump on a 4th level fighter would be assumed to overpower him with some loss to themselves--d6 and another die rolll for each KOed in the struggle, a score of 6 indicating killed in action.

The more complex system in AD&D was my error, mainly that of listening to those who wanted combat to be very detailed.

You are on target in regards the examples of low-level monsters seeking to come to grips with a strong PC. Eight orcs will likely be slain by a well-armored 4th level fighter unless they use their sheer numbers to overwhelm him."

As you can see, he changed a lot of stuff when he ran his games. Further, I bolded where he admitted that a system he included was a mistake to put into the books.

Assuming that something in the books was important to him just because it was put into the books would be a mistake.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Being in the books doesn't mean important to him. These are his own words on how he runs his games.

Assuming that something in the books was important to him just because it was put into the books would be a mistake.
As someone who grew up playing B/X, AD&D, and BECMI it's weird to me that people actually think all the rules in the books were actually used or were equally important. These games are toolboxes. You need a rule, you pick it up and use it if the rule pleases you, then you set it back down. You need a rule and something in the book exists but it seems badly written, like nonsense, of you can think of a dozen better ways to do it, then go ahead. The rules are simply guidelines, not holy writ. You don't need to use any of the rules. With AD&D especially, you're far better off ignoring more of what's printed than using what's printed.
 

Well, it was clearly an important idea for Gygax.

From his PHB, p 106:

clerics' major aims are to use their spell abilities to aid during any given encounter, fighters aim to engage in combat, magic-users aim to cast spells, thieves aim to make gain by stealth, and monks aim to use their unusual talents to come to successful ends. If characters gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims, then they are generally entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM.​

This discussion of the "major aims" of character classes is more-or-less a summary of the following on p 18:

The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class (or multi-class). Clerics principally function as supportive, although they have some offensive spell power and are able to use armor and weapons effectively. Druids are a sub-class of cleric who operate much as do other clerics, but they are less able in combat and more effective in wilderness situations. Fighters generally seek to engage in hand-to-hand combat, for they have more hit points and better weaponry in general than do other classes. Paladins are fighters who are lawful good (see ALIGNMENT). At higher levels they gain limited clerical powers as well. Rangers are another sub-class of fighter. They are quite powerful in combat, and at upper levels gain druidic and magic spell usage of a limited sort. Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game. Illusionists are a sub-class of magic-user, and they are different primarily because of the kinds of spells they use. Thieves use cunning, nimbleness, and stealth. Assassins, a sub-class of thief, are quiet killers of evil nature. Monks are aesthetic disciples of bodily training and combat with bare hands.​

In his DMG the connection to a "full share of earned experience points" has been replaced by the training rules, but the concept of "major aims" remains the same. From p 86:

Consider the natural functions of each class of character. Consider also the professed alignment of each character. Briefly assess the performance of each character after an adventure. Did he or she perform basically in the character of his or her class? Were his or her actions in keeping with his or her professed alignment? Mentally classify the overall performance as:​
E - Excellent, few deviations from norm = 1​
S- Superior, deviations minimal but noted =2​
F - Fair performance, more norm than deviations =3​
P- Poor showing with aberrant behavior =4​

Clerics who refuse to help and heal or do not remain faithful to their deity, fighters who hang bock from combat or attempt to steal, or fail to boldly lead, magic-users who seek to engage in melee or ignore magic items they could employ in crucial situations, thieves who boldly engage in frontal attacks or refrain from acquisition of an extra bit of treasure when the opportunity presents itself, "cautious" characters who do not pull their own weight - these are all clear examples of a POOR rating.​

These examples of "POOR" play of a character follow completely naturally from the PHB's descriptions of the various classes' major aims and functions. And it's clear that these "natural functions" or "major aims" of each character class were closely associated, by Gygax, with character progression. Poor play in relation to these functions/aims (and also in relation to alignment, in the DMG formulation of the idea) is meant to be a burden on the rate of PC progression.
Sure, there are other examples of similar statements as well. However, Gygax didn't use the training rules, he didn't even write it until he was working on the DMG. I know this, Mike Mornard told us flat out when we talked to him (I mean, its possible they were tested at some point, but Mike played with them a good bit). The IDEA of 'how to play well' certainly was there. In the 2e rules this is kind of reformulated into the "give XP for character's aims" rule, which if you think about it is accomplishing a pretty similar aim in a simpler more direct way. The 1e version however is really not that practical, using the ratings as a multiplier to time/cost of training. Its just fraught. I mean, try it and then see how well the players are likely to tolerate it. I mean, I work in Software Engineering, people constantly try to institute code review rules, it always turns pear shaped. Nobody likes to be critiqued in that way and rated. Especially not when it then punishes your character's wealth, AND LEVEL, both major play goals. lol. It might work better in more narrative focus games, maybe, but I doubt it would be really the best way.
 

pemerton

Legend
It puts the DM in a hole: how on earth do you assign these ratings without any appearance of favouritism.
Ask the players to judge? Perhaps reduce the number of ratings?

It also squashes player creativity with regard to how they play their PCs.

IMO this is one of the worst passages in the whole 1e DMG in terms of guiding a DM how to run a game.
I've got some sympathy for the idea that in a class-based game, with class-based differentiation of character functions, that rewards in the game should be related to performing those functions well.
 

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