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View Poll Results - Are you open to going backwards and playing retro old school rpg?

Hell no. Been there, done that. I dont want to do it again. 2 15.38%
Roleplaying games need to keep evolving. Newer is better. 1 7.69%
Hell yeah, save me a spot at the table! 10 76.92%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

Default Are you open to retro tabletop gaming?

June 9th, 2011, 06:02
After a particularly tedious year-long foray into 4E (hey, we tried), we went back to 3.5 and are having fun again w/ D&D. I'm pretty dead-set on 3.5, and not ever buying another D&D product past that again. 3.5 4 life. I dont want my tabletop RPG to "evolve" into what 4E has become, and I shudder to think what horrors 5E will unleash upon the world.

That said, i just got the Pathfinder core rulebook, since all the cool kids are doing it and it's heavily 3.5'ish I had to do it. ='.'=

But anyway, the point of this thread is that my disdain for "new and improved" D&D has actually traumatized us so, that I've went and picked up the original D&D game. Or rather a retro-clone thereof, "Labyrinth Lord". The core rules are a free download. We rolled up a few characters in about 15 mins, and I ran the group thru a small adventure that I made using a lot of wonderfully random stuff (love this book by the way). We laughed, we cried, they died. Not all of them, just a couple!

an example some things that were different:
-fantasy races are classes alongside the traditional classes
-initiative is rolled every round, therefore lending some much needed chaos to the battle as one side can potentially go twice in a row.
-there's an order to combatants: missle/spell/melee
-no attacks of opportunity
-wandering type/number of creatures are rolled per level of the labyrinth youre on. Things can get crazy quick when you simply go down to the next level of a dungeon, and roll enemies one level above the crew to encounter.

It was weird, but it I must admit that it was cool. It was a little more work for the DM, but overall it was a good time. There's a lot of this retro-stuff out there, and we're just digging into it now. I'm in the process of collecting the original D&D books, partly to fill in a new niche in my collection, but also because I'm considering making at least one week a month "retro-night". We roll with first edition characters and see what happens.

btw - I cant recommend enough that "Dungeon Alphabet" book that i referenced above in a link, it really has the art and spirit of the old D&D books, and has random content galore. And it's like 10 bucks!
Last edited by xSamhainx; June 9th, 2011 at 06:19.
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June 9th, 2011, 07:39
As all 'my' RPGs might be considered 'retro' (the main host is from the 80s, the last one I ever bought was Fading Suns in 1998), I said Hell yeah! . Stopped buying AD&D after the second edition, and while I bought Traveller up to and including T4, I must say that MegaTraveller of 1986 was still the best. Don't know about the newer versions, but when I saw the D20 version, I said 'no thank you'. The D20 sytem was what finally turned me off newer RPGs/versions.
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June 9th, 2011, 09:53
Well, we found something to agree on

I loathe what 4th Edition represents - and I fought an uphill battle in many places, trying to explain why it might not be a good upgrade. Lots of people seem to have changed their minds about it, though, so I guess I wasn't entirely wrong.

About the retro-stuff, I don't really have a reason to go way back. I think D&D 3rd Edition was the best compromise between playability and flexibility. 3.5 further refined it, and I suppose Pathfinder refines it even more - though I didn't care for some of the changes I read about.

I gave up trying to get D&D to be a sensible or balanced experience long ago. I realised that if companies like Blizzard can spend endless resources trying to fix balance in an MMO with comparitively few class/power combinations - and after so many years STILL have trouble doing it - then how on earth would 2-3 incremental upgrades to a PnP game that couldn't have an ongoing test-environment anywhere near that - ever be balanced?

Nah, all we need is a reasonable semi-balanced system - and we can adjust according to our own needs. House-rules work fine for that purpose.

But I must have an entertaining and, above all, FREE system. D&D 4th Edition went directly against that concept - with rigid class roles and pre-determined powers.

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June 9th, 2011, 11:09
I never played table top games - but I'd like to try to - one day, if someone is ac tually explain everything to me.
It's because in some things where numbers play a huge role, my slight inability to work with numbers kicks in.
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June 9th, 2011, 11:26
Haven't played any table top RPGs since my early 20s. I have very fond memories of it. D&D was never our game though we tried it (the original AD&D, I believe). We mostly played, DSA (das Schwarze Auge), RoleMaster, MERP, Shadowrun. I'm afraid I can't imagine getting back into it now. It seems very unlikely to find a group of likeminded people now that I would not feel embarrassed by, and equally unlikely that I would even find enough time before I'm retired. With CRPGs I can at least get right to it whenever I have an hour or two.
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June 9th, 2011, 11:53
I quit my ad&d pathfinder game last year because it simply took too much time. 7-8 hours per one session and somtimes we didnt even get anywhere because people were more interested of talking about min maxing the rules than actually playing the game. Also I liked the battles and there were sessions where we had none. Imagine playing 8 hours without single battle.

Before pathfinder I actually had som fun playing 4.0 as mage but others liked 3.5 more so we quit it.
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June 9th, 2011, 12:23
We have many sessions without battles

I don't really like it that way, but that's just how we work as a group apparently.

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June 9th, 2011, 12:23
I haven't played a great deal of 3.5 - although I would love to. I simply don't have that much time any more, which is sad, because the characters and stories that I played through with my friends were the best RPG experiences I've ever had. I can clearly remember sitting around an old oak table with a handful of dice, being introduced to my first D&D experience by a friend's father - who looked a lot like Robert Jordan, complete with pipe.
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June 9th, 2011, 13:15
Whether or not a system is worthwhile isn't really up to age as far as I concern. Some old games have not aged well at all.

I GM Star Wars SAGA Edition, which is now a dead system. Yet it's fairly recent considering it was the testing platform for 4E. Me and my players agree, even those who loathe levelbased systems, that this is one of the best RPG's ever made. It's simple to grasp, very dynamic, perfectly captures the Star Wars feel and allows a character to grow.

It was also a fairly complete system. Save for the missing New Republic/New Jedi Order era and perhaps an extra book with the Clone Wars series stuff, the system really had it all. And it's really fun.
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June 9th, 2011, 14:18
I could never get into d20 and couldn't get into D&D 3.0 & 3.5. To me it just seemed to be about min maxing, plus I couldn't get over it breaking some of the 1st edition rules (unlimited levels for demi-humans in all classes? For shame! ). Then the feats just seemed to get out of control-- but perhaps that was sour grapes because I could never keep track of mine.

I had planned on playing in some 1st edition AD&D events at Gen Con this year, but I can't go as it turns out

Count me in for retro tabletop gaming (both RPGs and wargaming)
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June 9th, 2011, 14:40
Original D&D: simple, workable, but lethal and limiting, and balanced by brute force (level caps for nonhumans etc). Good for straightforward hack-and-slash, not so good for long campaigns, or campaigns involving non-combat stuff.

AD&D1-2: unholy mess of ever-increasing complexity, chock-full of exploits, and insane number of rules governing just about every possible situation. I DM'ed it for fifteen years or so and still didn't get comfortable calculating to-hit in my head.

D&D3 to 3.5: simple, clean, lightweight, powerful, flexible. The mechanics cover just about everything, when patched with a bit of imagination. Most everything resolves with a die roll. House rules dead easy to plug in.

(I use house rules for interesting scars and embarrassing fumbles, and especially enjoy breaking the rules when things go wrong. Last time around, someone got to roleplay a crap golem after he got the runs from some bad food bought from the market, tried to resolve the problem by polymorphing into an elemental, and failed his Concentration check. There was poop *everywhere.*)

Along with Call of Cthulhu, my favorite tabletop RPG system. Core rules balanced kind of OK, although they have a few too many opportunities for exploits and min-maxing; especially some class combinations are overpowered. Has some really nice additional sourcebooks. Oriental Adventures is great, for example.

D&D 4.0: Please, God, no.

Also, what DArtagnan said.
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June 9th, 2011, 14:53
I'm too antisocial to play with other humans, but I remember D&D fondly. I live close enough to Lake Geneva, Wis., that I got started very early in the D&D phenomenon. At first, there were no dice, just paper chits that you cut out of the rulebook I'll never forget buying my first bag of dice at the U of I in Champaign-Urbana Illinois. It was a brown cloth bag, with 2d6, 2d4, 2d20, 2d12, and 2d8 sided dice. I was in heaven. I think I was 14 at the time.
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June 9th, 2011, 16:17
I find that really old RPGs (the very first generation) are stuck in a bit of an awkward phase, they don't really know what to do with all that they present to you, rules are often very wargameing "inspired" (which is easily explained by the fact that RPGs grew out of wargames). It was not until smoother systems like BRP came into play that I find RPGs to really be worthwhile.

So I'll retrogame, but usually no further than games released during the early 80's.

Are newer games better? Well, they are quite often a bit smoother at least. Less work for the same effect seem to be the norm. And newer games also seem to have a smoother progression curve, you don't have (as many) skills/abilities/classes that spikes at some point, or that are next to useless at some other point. All players are allowed to feel valuable all the time.

At the moment most of the games that I play are from the late 90's, early 00's (Shadowrun 3rd ed, Fading Suns 2nd ed, Blue planet 2nd ed, Vampire 2nd ed, Mutant Undergångens Arvtagare 1st ed), though some are older (Mutant 2, Drakar och Demoner "something") and one is newer (Dark Heresy).
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June 9th, 2011, 16:43
interesting comments, finally something me and Dart could probably drink a beer and discuss like old pals!

Along those lines - I have always known that D&D has become about making money for WOTC, but at least w/ the 3-3.5'ish edition products I felt like it was at least worth my money. Sure there are a hundred supplemental books, but some of the Complete books, and Book of Exalted Deeds are really good. And theyre beautiful books as well, from a collector's point of view the artwork and format of the books is great. It gets me excited about making characters, and playing in that universe. Player's Handbook 3.5 is comprehensive & well laid out, as opposed to flipping around the 4E PHB trying to make a character. The artwork of 4E is dull and uninspiring. It takes you 3 players handbooks to finally get to the Monk in 4e, and by that time you have bullshit races like… "Shardminds", and not a whole lot else in the book. Really, the "cash grab" nature of 4E is insulting.

But we tried, I like to think that the DM is the final arbiter and can make the best of any system. Unfortunately, you can only house rule so much until you break the game.

The quasi-older systems like Labyrinth Lord may be tough to navigate as well, and the artwork is pretty hilarious, but it's a dirt cheap (artwork edition) or free product (just rules). And there's a heart and soul to their work as well, in my opinion. That counts for something. As low-tech and quite frankly lowbrow as it may be at times, it's just easy and fun to play.
Last edited by xSamhainx; June 9th, 2011 at 17:01.
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June 9th, 2011, 18:43
D&D 4 feels like it is aimed at the MMO/CRPG crowd with little or no pen & paper RPG experience. The rule system is rather stripped down and focused on combat, which makes it suitable for people who enjoy dungeon crawlers/instances in MMOs.

I for one stopped thinking of D&D 4th ed as an RPG after my first session, and started treating it like a tactical board game, and from that point of view, it is not a horrible game. It has a robust combat system, and its reliance on grids makes it easy for the GM to setup a scenario where the players have to fight their way through several interesting encounters, in a tactical way.

But then again, I have always found D&D to be a bit too combat focused in its tone, with too many odd rulings, that makes sense from a balance point of view, but that makes you go *what the heck* when you try to apply them in an in-universe way. Because of this, I prefer more flexible RPG systems, that don't require a lot of rule bending/breaking to logically work.

Oh, and when we are on the subject of retro RPing, does anyone know where my avatar is from? Hint: Your security clearance might not be high enough for you to be allowed to display it.
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June 9th, 2011, 18:56
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I never played table top games - but I'd like to try to - one day, if someone is ac tually explain everything to me.
It's because in some things where numbers play a huge role, my slight inability to work with numbers kicks in.
Vhoa, you possibly missed out on a great experience!
It's not necessarily about numbers. I hate stat crunching with a passion, but I GMed for roughly 20 years. And my players? Well, in Traveller it was (basically) enough to know the rule of 8 during play (8+ = success, everything else = miss) to get by, and the rules of my all-time favorite system - West End Games' D6 Star Wars RPG - were so simple that I could create characters off the top of my head without having a rule book nearby.
So if you find a 'pleasant' GM whose focus is on adventure, story, ambience instead of numbers (and a well-disciplined group of players), you probably won't have to suffer from number crunching. Just steer clear of systems like Rolemaster … but even there a focussed GM might help you enjoy the experience.
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June 9th, 2011, 20:47
I had a (relatively short) Star Wars WEG gaming session, yes. I even still have the short story (kind of) that I made out of it, written from the perspective of my character, an Ithorian called Wrw Dungon.

My dream is still to attain a TDE group, but I have never had much success - and partially was too lazy for that …

At the RPC in Münster, Germany, I think in 2009, I took part in a TDE adventure "competition" - we weren't told what the goal was a group had to achieve in order to win.

We won (because we had been the fastest and most thorough group) - and since then ' an owner of a green edition of the TDE rule book "Wege der Götter" (English : "Ways of the Gods"). The green edition cannot be bought.
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June 10th, 2011, 11:10
I would have loved to get into this, unfortunately, I never have had friends who liked these kinds of things …
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June 10th, 2011, 12:46
In some pen & paper role-playing forums you can ask around for groups in your area.
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June 14th, 2011, 00:50
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
West End Games' D6 Star Wars RPG
EASILY my favorite system. So sad when the whole thing went tits-up and converted to D20.
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