Simple vs advanced D&D-ish games: Part 1 – Background

Classic from the 1e DMG

This post is really more of a discourse statement, trying to explain why I reason like I do when it comes to D&D style RPGs. Some of you might read it as an explanation of what went wrong with this DM 😉

Back in the 80’s we ground our teeth on first b/x, then moved over to AD&D. The other DM in the group went with what would become BECMI.

We played a bunch of modules as well as home brew stuff, and had great fun. In parallell, another guy we knew ran Traveller (CT) and I ran some RuneQuest (RQ2) on the side.

I guess that playing and reading games other than D&D helped shaping my gamer and GM preferences at an early stage. Most importantly – I came to like skills quite early.

Many an old school DM get that upper lip sweat and an unilateral eyetwitch when skills are mentioned, but to me they always felt more natural than AD&Ds bazillion sub-systems for resolution of non-dungeoneering tasks. Nevertheless, I trudged on and in the end, we used systems from all the non-core books: UA, OA, DSG and WSG.

Our simple adventure game had become a total mess and when 2e was announced I had had enough and swore to never play D&D again. My main hates were the abscence of non-dungeoneering skills and the level system. We ported over the PCs to the then very new and popular GURPS and continued the campaign using that system instead.

During the next six years or so we tried a lot of new games and genres: Call of Cthulhu, Palladium, WFRP 1e, Twilight: 2000, 2300 AD, CyberPunk 2013 and Kult among others, until life’s great bananapeel slowly drifted us apart to other hobbies (in my case playing music), girlfriends, wives, kids, careers, studies and other adult stuff. In 1994-95 the attrition had taken a great toll on our game group and it was basically down to me and 2 other guys. When I moved to another city for a job, the game group finally died.

Table top RPGs had become a thing of the past. The books ended up in boxes in the attic. Thanks to my gamer OCD, I never threw away my old adventures or maps, a fact I’m very thankful for these days.

END Part 1


Part 2 will discuss our 20-year game re-boot and some things I learned in that process. 

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