19 Feb 2011 06:51:30
I've spent the last couple of months running AD&D (1E) sessions at a monthly local gaming group. I started out trying to conqueror authentic rules outlined by Gary Gygax. As I chronicled here, I spent considerable time studying the rules and trying to understand them. While I now have a much tighter understanding of the rules than when I began, it hasn't been easy and in no way have I mastered the rules. Today I was still referencing my crib notes. In fact, even while playing with others who played this game in it's heyday, no one really knew the rules and as referee I found myself often correcting or explaining. Bottom line, I soooo prefer the OD&D rules of Arneson/Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer/Proctor. Given these games are out-of-print and effectively dead, I'd role with Labyrinth Lord over anything else I've tried. Why? Because the rules are simple enough that I, the referee, can focus on the game, the players, the events, and role play rather than game mechanics.
When there is no rule for a given situation, it is so much easier for the referee to adjucate the situation and create a fair ruling on the fly than try to explain or worse debate rules with a player. The referee just simply says, "Here's how we're going to resolve this." In the absence of a catalog of rules, players are much more willing to accept rulings. A good referee should have no problem being consistent over the course of a session.
I can understand why referee's and players would be tempted to throw in more rules into these basic OD&D rules to create more options at the combat table. But is the game really about killing things and taking their stuff? Na, there is really much more to a good old school game than dice and mechanics. For now, I'm going to remain a fan of the KISS principal, Keep It Simple Stupid.
I'm headed to GaryCon and will be playing plenty of 1E there. Hoping to see a wizard roll through these rules.