Saturday, March 5, 2011

Some thoughts on character empowerment house rules

Today I read this blog post, about Gary Gygax's house rules for D&D. Reading that I was thinking back to how the rules for T&T have changed over the years.

For those of you who have read 5th ed. T&T and then compared it to the latest edition, the reaction might have been negative. It's not like the later editions of D&D, but even though the rules have stayed mostly the same there have been a shift in tone. Just looking at the list of 1st level spells known to a newly rolled up delver makes that clear.

Just like the rules Gary used, linked to above, the latest T&T edition is empowering characters, especially at lower levels. I think this is a sign that the old style long term campaign play have fallen out of favour. I know that Ken no longer have a regular group. Do anyone of you know if Gary had one during the later years? When you mostly play at conventions, you don't slog through from level 1 to name level, it just makes sense e.g. to start at level three with max hit points.

Now, would anyone claim that this is not old school enough? I know that some people have argued for long campaigns to get a proper feel for "the old ways". While I can appreciate that, I want to emphasize that two founders of the hobby apparently play differently.

Yeah, I know. It's silly, isn't it? I don't know if this is just me trying to somehow make myself feel better about the fact that I don't seem to be able to get a group to commit to long term play. At least I'm in good company.


  1. I don't think you need to make yourself feel better. From my experience, not just my own games but gamers I have met and talked with over the years, long term campaigns appear to be in the extreme minority. The only time I had relatively long term campaigns was when I was in middle/high school. We had lots of free time, relatively few obligations, and entire summers off. We didn't have careers, people rarely moved, etc, etc.

    Once we hit college: highly varied schedules that changed every few months, people going home for the summer, jobs, difficult to predict workloads, etc... now there are families, careers, and obligations. I consider it a minor miracle that I was able to wrangle a group of five guys in their late twenties/early thirties into playing AD&D1 with me for a year.

    My current Sunday group is pretty stable, but we change games every few months or alternate games every other week. There are just too many cool games to settle on one and play it for years to the exclusion of everything else.

  2. As I understand it, Gary still had a weekly game in his latter years. Many of those house rules of his I collected were from an oD&D campaign he ran in 2005. It seemed that they mostly played LA and oD&D. (Some C&C too, but--in my experience--C&C tends to be more like whatever edition of D&D the CK prefers than its own thing. I suspect that may have been even more true with Gary as CK.)

    I'd also say that I saw Gary express a number of opinions that some grognards would probably see as decidedly not old school.


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