I’ve made a significant decision. Our gaming has been nearly non-existent, and what time I’ve been able to devote to it has been spent tinkering with our custom Wizards & Warriors rules. Though I like the system we’re cooking up, it’s taking forever and I need to shelve it for now and get in some actual playing. So, in order to get at it, I’ve determined that we need to pick a system and go with it more or less by the book.
And I’ve chosen the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.
This isn’t a slap at the products that have been churned out by the retro-clone and old school renaissance movements over the past couple years, and it isn’t even a statement of preference for 1e AD&D over Basic. For what it’s worth, I think that the 1981 B/X set is probably the best single version of the rules ever published, and that the retro-clone Labyrinth Lord with its Advanced Edition Companion is probably the closest-to-perfect that the game has ever been.
But for all of its warts and issues, 1e is the game I’ve played the most and the one that seems most likely to the vehicle to get our gaming back on track. I’ve referred to 1e as a “glorious train wreck,” and using the three core books to roll up some characters and prepare for a session makes me believe that more strongly than ever. In fact, I’ve spent a fair amount of time this evening groaning as I run into things that drive me a little nuts. Despite that, I think AD&D is where it’s going to be at for us. For every bit that makes me grind my teeth, there are two other bits that make me smile.
Next up is the task of NOT giving in to the temptation to tinker and fix and houserule. Though not intending to play completely by the book, we do intend to stick pretty close on almost everything. PCs will start at 3rd level. We’ll re-roll 1s on hit point rolls. Probably won’t use the weapon vs. armor matrix. But nothing all that significant. The point is to PLAY a game, not DESIGN one.
What this decision means for a couple of my ongoing projects, I’m not quite sure. We’ll see. But the key is to get a game going.