Why do we love to play AD&D 1E [OSRIC]?


Today, a friend of mine asked me, why do you like playing AD&D so much? Everytime we want to play a game, you said 1E [OSRIC]?

I've included OSRIC, because I like playing it as well.


My answer is, that AD&D brings me back to a time of gaming, where it was fun. Where I remember my biggest worry in the world was, "Can I stay up late tonight?".

OK, well that is great, so it brings back memories for me, but that isn't it. The game is simple, and gives players and dungeon masters the room to think, branch out, and imagine. Its a game where, just because its not written in the book, doesn't mean you can't do it.

On the latest recording of RFI Podcast (it is still being edited), we talked about Non Weapon Prof's and Skills. A listener wrote in saying how he liked it and it helped guide players to what their character's background is, and what they can do.

This caused me to go on a small rant, because why does a player need it outline for him, what he can and can't do. Just ask the DM! Why does a character need a set of skills a sheet of paper to say he is good at this or that?

Skills on a piece of paper do not encourage role playing, it only encourages a player to do only what's listed there. So if a player does not have a cook skill, does it mean he can not cook? OF COURSE he can, you are an adventurer, you've been out in the world, you know how to cook. You food may not be the quality of the local tavern or inn, but you know how to cook.

My final thought here, is, If its not on the sheet or in the book, make it up, try it. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back, not some silly written rule or skill saying you can or can't do it.

Comments

  1. Well if you don't have the cook skill then you could still cook, according to the rules back then anyways. What you could not do was work in a royal court as a chef for very long before they would bust you. So that is kind of a bad example,

    A better example would be say "Weaponsmithing" or "Herbalism". That is not something everyone should be able to do.

    Everyone can climb a rocky crag, but only a thief could scale smooth walls.

    I am not saying its the best system ever (or even a good one), but it is really continuing what made AD&D different from D&D.

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  2. Sorry what you said does not make sense. I wasn't talking about being a chef, I said cooking in the wild, and that you'd be able to cook that rabbit or whatever you catch. You'd be able to cook it, but it wouldn't be Gordon Ramsey standards. So you would not need a skill.

    Weapon smithing, you do not think, in adventuring and being on your own, a character could not figure out how to mend his own weapons? Sure he could, it might not be the best mend or he might not have the tools, but he could do it.

    The point is, you don't need a stupid skill on the sheet to tell you, you can adapt and do these things.

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  3. But what if you DO want your character to be a Gordon Ramsey chef? What if you DO want your character to be a master weaponsmith and not "I can whittle a spear hilt".

    Yes you don't need a skill, but you already started down that road with a class (which if you think about, telling a wizard they just can't swing a sword is far more of a straight jacket). Why can a wizard never pick up how to wield a sword if he can pick up how to smith one? Why can a fighter not pickup magic use if he can pick up astronomy and alchemy?

    D&D uses class above all else, to limit what you can do, not grant you abilities. It is that limitation that leads to challenge and creativity. Being unable to cook can lead to more creativity and force you take action. Maybe you hire a cook for your adventuring party (or a cook/quartermaster) rather than not having one.

    Yes skills limit things, but limits are fun to work with. What fun would Tetris be if you could just choose the next piece to drop?

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    1. A medievel chef or smith has spent, what we would consider, the later half of their childhood learning those skills simply to progress to professional competency. An adventurer has probably spent that and a year or two of his ealy adulthood doing the same for his given character class. A wizard CAN swing a sword. He just takes a hefty non-proficency penalty to do so because he didn't train with one since he was 14.
      If you really want your character to be Gordon Ramsey I'll get right to work on that Hell's Kitchen RPG.

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  4. [rant]Why do you need details for different damage on your sheet then? Maybe ditch the spell lists too, they can be a bit of a crutch. Give the DM a description of the spell you'd like to cast and its level (and be creative with the description or else!) and he'll decide what the actual effect is.

    I'm getting really tired of this faux-iconoclastic know-nothing asceticism that is setting in as dogma... One page B2! We didn't need room descriptions (yeah, good job reinventing WoTC's asinine delve format there Zak)! No more NWPs! We didn't need any system to define character abilities! Drop the thief from your OD&D game, or else nobody else can look for traps! Details are dumb, systems are dumb, modern tech is only there to make things look artificially dated. Screw it, EGG and company were spoiled by technology. They're gonna need an Old School 12th Century Renaissance for me, cause I'm doing it with woodcuts in blue ink! Can't read it? You must be a 3ETARD![/rant]

    Ahhhhh. Breathe.

    It's not like someone is breaking AD&D by adding more detail, or that somehow AD&D is at the perfect spot along the detail continuum.

    Detailing skills helps some people enjoy the game more. Why is it any different than detailing that a sword does a d8 and a dagger does a d4? Or that alignments can have a good or evil component as well as the L-N-C one?

    Anyways, skills are an official add-on for AD&D. Whether they are background skills from the DMG or NWPs from the Survival guides. They have been every version of AD&D and D&D (except the Holmes/B/X/BECMI/RC line), and every single RPG written by EGG since OD&D. Even though they were new once, after twenty-five years it seems strange to me to claw them back out of the system. It's a reaction I'd expect from a born-again or new player to AD&D who is trying to gain some OSR "cred". There's a version of D&D well suited to basic play with very few detailed subsystems, and AD&D ain't it.

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    Replies
    1. Most antagonism to the 2e skill system is not due to the fact that it gives players more detail to their character or that it gives them something else that they can do and a means of resolving it. It is due to the many DMs that use it to put a noose around your character. "If you don't have the skill, you can't do it". I once told a DM that My character was going to climb a tree to get a better lokk into a fortress. He asked what skill or class ability I was going to use to do that. Oh, I don't know, how about the character's genetic heritage as a primate?
      Yes, When used properly, skill systems enhance the game. Unfortunately my experience with them has left a bad taste in my mouth.

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    2. Thread necromancy here, but skills were added into BECMI with the Gazetteer line, and codified into the core rules with the RC, and the Masters set added a fairly detailed weapon mastery system - so every version of D&D since 1985 has had skills. I started in 85 with Mentzer Red Box, added skills in a year or two later, and haven't had an issue feeling constrained - but then again I didn't have to play with anyone who was such an enemy of fun that they'd disallow anything not specifically enumerated on the character sheet.

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    3. Thread necromancy here, but skills were added into BECMI with the Gazetteer line, and codified into the core rules with the RC, and the Masters set added a fairly detailed weapon mastery system - so every version of D&D since 1985 has had skills. I started in 85 with Mentzer Red Box, added skills in a year or two later, and haven't had an issue feeling constrained - but then again I didn't have to play with anyone who was such an enemy of fun that they'd disallow anything not specifically enumerated on the character sheet.

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  5. I've been playing ADnD for 21 years now. I love the system. It has just enough complexity for me, and enough open space for us to float in to imagine are worlds. I Love this game. Now as far as skills and such, I never really used them. If a player wanted to do something and it was in there class/background than good enough for me.

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  6. What I do is have the characters make up a background story. From that story they get skills.

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