Monday, September 22, 2014

Old D&D editions and clones - OD&D

I posted the question a while ago "how many clones do you need" when I realized I really didn't feel like buying two new old school games. This is my series of taking down those things off the shelf and reconsidering them. First out, OD&D.

I have pdf copies of this game, since it always costs far more than I think it is worth for a hard copy. Browsing through it, the first things that strikes me is that compared to AD&D, it's not terribly organized! When you read closer you will find odd things missing, and terms and procedures undefined, but it's sorted out in a way that makes sense. Somewhat.

My first impressions is that this is a game you could probably pick up and play. I do find the class list a bit limiting, and I would probably take out the cleric and put in some sort of rouge since the MU is played defensively and the Fighting Man offensively. Something in between and maybe with just a smattering of magic feels better than the odd Hammer Horror Cleric. Perceptive readers may note this sounds a lot like T&T...

I actually like the weird mix of the table top miniatures campaign and the focus on individuals trekking around underground. The game feels more wide open than later editions, which kind of bog down into the dungeon. But, I must say the rules for aerial combat and naval combat reads a bit less than smoothly for me. I wonder why this game was not including more stuff from Chainmail? There are so much references to Chainmail that it's clear it was intended to be used together. Why not package it as 4  books, or include more of that in the 3 booklets?

Do it make me feel like running a game? Yes and no. It's written in a way that feels quite a lot like "this is how we do it", which is I guess the precursor to all those games which state "change that which not suits you". Still, it's not trying to sell me on the idea, and for me there's something lacking.

Would I ever run something like this game, I would probably run it with multiple groups and baronies and stuff. It is a bit enticing looking at it from that viewpoint, as a larger game than just a dungeon slog.

In summary, it is the first and maybe its biggest impact on me now is how little there is in there.

Let's see how the next game fares, what my impressions are and if it makes me want to run a game of that.

2 comments:

  1. When we ran back in '75 we included the Greyhawk supplement which gave us a thief. One guy had a copy of Chainmail, but it wasn't used much. Except for that day when he pointed out that Dragons can see invisible creatures.

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  2. I guess that means you used the "alternative" combat system?

    I bet 90% of all groups did, since it was in the book, and the "standard" combat system was in a book many didn't own...

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