Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Playing (Very!) Old School

As you know, during Lockdown I've been playing online, most games being run by Dave Aldridge from the dPercentile podcast.  In Oct 2019 Dave interviewed Griffith Mon Morgan III, writer and co-director of the 2019 documentary Secrets of Blackmore, which explored the contribution of Dave Arneson to the creation of Dungeons and Dragons.

When Griff offered to referee a one-shot session of Orignal D&D, I was lucky enough to be able to bag a seat at the table.  He presented a delve in the Tonisborg Dungeon, the second-oldest dungeon to come out of the Twins Cities Group, created by Greg Svenson in 1973 and apparently lost for 35 years.  

Well, four hours in and we came to an exciting plot point (and lots of knob jokes), so the one-shot is going to be a two shot...

It was all recorded for posterity (a hell of an editing job for Dave).  I'll keep you up-dated and link to the Actual Play and the podcast episodes that will invariably follow.

But in the meantime, what are my impressions of Very Old School?  Well, not much that will be a surprise.  

  • There were seven players with 12 PCs between us, which at first I thought was a little crowded.  But (V) Old School is quite lethal, so soon enough the seven of us were playing 6 PCs (Barney did one of his virtuoso performances once he'd had two characters shot from under him and was promoted to being the Mule).
  • This was the first occasion that I've met a dragon playing D&D.  Contrary to rumour, a sharp punch on the snout from a Level 1 character is not sufficient to send them packing.
  • Interest in "character story" was minimal.  We were playing pre-gens, so we didn't own the characters as, such.  But even so, I found it hard to differenate between them.  For the first three hours the referee found it easier to use numbers rather than names!  (To be fair, Skype contributed to that, he admitted that he wasn't getting the sense of the table.)
  • It was very low-magic.
  • Dice rolling was minimal, at the ocasional request of the referee.  I think we had three combats in four hours.

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