Friday, April 1, 2011

Restore to Factory Settings

Isn't the reason we appreciate old-timey D&D due to the irresistible tool-kit nature of the darned hobby? Why not scrap everything you've bolted on to your games through the years and start over for a change? Expunge every house rule, borrowed rule or later-edition rule that might be ingrained in your current games. Disregard assumptions and disavow accepted theorems; solve problems on your own. This might sound illogical. Why ignore such hard-earned knowledge and know-how? To me the question is really “Why the Hell not?”.

Open your mind by beginning a new campaign with a clean slate. Dispense with the same old, same old. The idea is to reboot the way you currently play by using the Little Brown Books (or whichever particular rule set you prefer) as the only tools at your disposal. Even better use nothing more than Volume I, Men & Magic for your game. Indeed it can be difficult to complete such a mental shift, but the exercise may be both enlightening and gratifying. Some of you are doing this exact activity now, or have rebooted in the recent past. Through play and design you have likely explored new possibilities and realized much greater innovative potential.

The suggestion to restore to factory settings is in fact contrary to the very spirit of our OSR blogosphere and vast light-speed, information sharing network. It invites you to encapsulate yourself and not rely on the experiences of others, to segregate your creativity from outside influences. It's all about challenging yourself “How many brain cells am I willing to commit in order to make this pay-off?”. It might be high time for you to “Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out”. Did Sham just ask me to go away? No, not at all. You should definitely continue to visit this particular blog for more transcendent existentialism from time to time.



Chris said...

I think I get where you're coming from mate.

Hit the re-set button and see what beauty and unexpected wonder the seed throws out this time around.

It keeps you fresh, and reminds you why you love a thing in the first place.

(This Renaissance spirit of inquiry is why I loved OD&D Cover to Cover)

Lord Kilgore said...

I've actually done this a few times over the years. Most recently I did it with a retroclone version of the rules. It IS enlightening and, though I'm a tinkering tinkerer at all times, it's refreshing to sit down with just book or two, a notepad, and some dice.

Aos said...

What I'm doing now is a direct result from such a reboot, and I do segregate my creativity for the most part. I think you are dead on about questioning assumptions, btw.

Taketoshi said...

My new Stonehell game is using nothing but the basic LL revised rules, which is a huge departure from the 3E game I've been playing (lots of new players who had access to that material when we started).

It's a wonderful breath of fresh air, and I think it will quickly become more popular than the 3E game--already before we start that game on Wednesday evenings some of my players are expressing excitement about the LL game the following Monday.

Sham aka Dave said...

Chris: Spot-on.

The rest of you: I am singing to the choir it seems. Carry on!

Good stuff indeed.

Anonymous said...

I've reformatted the 3LB Moldvay style as a single volume for just this purpose, I just haven't found the time yet to run a game for my group.

Now I'm working with the BHP crew to produce a true clone of the 3LB in their entirety, which will give a much greater audience (such as those who don't have copies of the originals) the chance to restore to factory settings.

And I don't believe this is contrary to the spirit of the OSR at all, since a passion for TSR D&D is at the heart of the thing.

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