Tuesday, August 23, 2011

critiquing the comfort zone of gaming habit

Some well received and inspiring lessons;  
The process of learning to DM/story-telling is best discovered in the trenches by  creating our own dungeons/locales.  This personalizes the experience 100% and builds in layers of confidence, objectivity and other enhancements of a greater type not found in running  pre-made adventures. The difference between creating your own story and reading it aloud rather than reading aloud another's.
For the most part many of us were weaned  in "Fun House" climes; but whatever the "adventure"  environment, one learns rudiments and essentials and these thereafter take root and grow according to the prevailing creative force in every individual as expressed through personal understanding and application, and in differing degrees.
Robert J. Kuntz, Aug 2011 http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.com/ (Rob has a lot more to say on the subject - have a look)

I distinctly remember Dave and Gary in early 1974 reacting with astonishment to the relative avalanche of letters asking for settings, backgrounds, and "how do I do this in the game." For them, coming up with those things WAS the fun part. They couldn't understand why people wanted to pay somebody else to have the fun for them.
Michael Mornard
ODD74 Forum: Re: More thoughts on how D&D has changed, « Reply #8 on Jul 23, 2011, 1:14pm »   http://odd74.proboards.com/index.cgi

When Dragonlance DL1 is held up as the module that heralded beginning of the end by OD&Ders there is something they are not making clear enough. If you are producing adventures like that yourself, terrific, but to use such a well-knit published module is a dead end because there is no room for personal touches and what do you do when you've finished it? Try to mimic the designer's style from then on? Bad idea. These modules influence how you think as a DM, as did the classics from the old days (if you used them) even if they allowed each DM more autonomy.
I say 'why use published modules at all?' At intermediate level as a DM your sources should be fiction, literary as well as straight fantasy, so READ widely…  At beginning levels use your imagination and look for artwork, ruined abbey by a river, witch's house in a small wood, stone circle on a barren coast, and use the monster manual. It takes so long to play a game, have confidence (if you have talent) that plenty of ideas will come to you so you can grow from the simplest start. Think of the cliche and discard it. Now think of something that needs explaining or investigation; a handsome young knight is seen leaving the witch's hovel; on a stormy night a tentacle reaches up over the clifftop, rights a toppled stone from the ring and touches each other stone in turn before disappearing; a terrified but determined painter is discovered near the ruined abbey spending many hours trying to capture the evening light...
Kent, January 2009.

...there are only three OD&D bonuses, when not using Greyhawk: missile bonus, hp bonus, reaction bonus.  And the first two are pretty limited.  And I'm struggling to think of non-ability bonuses in the LBBs.  There are some percentile bonuses for the evasion rules, and bonuses from magic, but I don't remember seeing any codified bonuses or penalties for combat situations (attack from behind, darkness penalties, etc.) Bonuses seem to be impromptu for the most part, and few and far between. … I think impromptu bonuses versus codified bonuses is just another example of the DIY vs. official support split in the way the game changed.  Just as in the past you played in the DM's world, you played in the DM's ideas about who had the advantage in a situation, so you got a +/- 1 or 2 as the DM saw fit, and really not much else.  But that changed to playing in an official setting, with official rules, and thus the DM becomes not someone with a good idea, but someone willing to be tricked into mastering all the minutiae of both the setting and the rules.

 Referring to using the AD&D monster manual with it’s added statistics and monster details in an OD&D game Dave Arneson wrote, “As I have said many times before. Work with what works for you. But be very aware that this adds complications and draws you and your players away from the real treasure, THE STORY.”


  1. I know this a very old post.

    But age does NOT diminish value. This is possibly the single best collection of advice to gaming I've read... Ever. Thank you for this post...it's at once enlightening and deeply profound... And practical!!

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