Wednesday, 26 August 2020

OS Essentials

Simplicity is beauty they say although I have met some fairly simple people in my time so I would't say that this applies across the board but with all the games I have tinkered with over the years I am definitely leaning towards the more streamlined rule set as my preferred experience. What's nice is that the role playing market has definitely come full circle not just with the many re-releases of old classics, Cthulhu being in its seventh incarnation now for example but we are starting to see 'Retro' compilations come to the market.

One that will not to be everyone's taste is Old School Essentials by Necrotic Games but I quite like the look of this one. Touted as a recompiled and faithful reworking of the original 1981 Basic and Deluxe sets the Necrotic release is in modular form with regard to the supplements but for me the no brainier is the black box set with all the releases. Slightly more than slay and hack the approach returns control and much of the interpretation of the rules to the GM. Now the first rule of 5e is that the GM always has the last word under all circumstances but to be honest more that few players end up in some sort of friction with the GM over actions in a game and I find this both jarring and frustrating. I get that a meticulous rule set is supposed to alleviate this but I think it has an opposing gait in that it creates a somewhat meticulous mindset and it can cause bitty exchanges that are not conducive to a healthy game. With a more laid back atmosphere and a more forgiving player base a looser rules based game is much richer in that a GM can focus on narrative despite cutting a few corners with the round to round minutiae. 

Although this is all about reinventing the wheel to a degree it is an opportunity to rethink some of the more neglected dungeon crawling rules such as traps, encumbrance, hunger, rations and the like. There is an excellent set of videos by Questing Beast revisiting some of these mechanics and how to make them fun and exciting - throwing your food to monsters being one way of passifying them or indeed not making them hostile by default but balancing the outcome on the first contact. To be honest I do quite like the presentation of the whole package anyway which is enough of an excuse for me so Amazon will be coming early for Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. The boss at Necrotic Gnome used to live in Brighton and I'm pretty sure he was part of the club at one point.


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