thread: 2009-06-09 : Adequacy, Cause and Effect

On 2009-06-09, Simon C wrote:

I've been playing a little bit of Basic D&D recently, and since I never played it very much as a kid, it's been an interesting experiment in discovering a way to make this game work, rather than trying to recapture what made it fun the first time.

It's been especially interesting in terms of this whole clouds and arrows issue, because Basic D&D has a very unusual approach to it, I think.

The rules absolutely support the "I attack" "You miss" "I attack" "You hit! Roll damage." mode of play.

The thing is, as players, if you try that, your character will get murdered.  The vast majority of stuff in the world is WAY more dangerous than a first level player character is prepared for, and the only way to give yourself even a slight chance of survival is to avoid using the rules for fighting as much as possible.  The result is lots of "Ok, we position by the door.  I've got my spear out ready for if it charges, and the elf is gonna shoot it with his bow.  If he misses, we're all ready to run."

Of course, the game never actually TELLS you that this is how things should go down.  It hands you a character, promises twenty levels of advancement and tells you to go forth and slay.  I'm not even sure that the deadlyness of the game is by accident or design.  The Metzner edition of the rules explicitly tells the GM to cheat at dice to keep the characters alive, implying that character death was a bug, not a feature of the rules.  So I'm not exactly going to call this GOOD game design at all, but it's definitely making for fun play at the moment.


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