Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Day Five – Most Old School RPG Owned – Labyrinth Lord



Now at this point in the questions, there’s a quandary, after all if you’re looking at the most Old School RPG that you own and you’ve got any of the first edition D&D stuff, it’s automatically going to be that, because you can’t get more old school than the first teacher through the door.

The question also asks what it is to be an Old School Game, which for me is simple, an old school game is something that gave you mechanics for dealing with anything that might kill you, E.G. (and that clearly stands for Ernest Gary and not Exempli Gratia) the number of hit points on your latest belt notch and the amount of damage being done by your magic weapon of many pluses, but no mechanics for anything that did not involve the mechanical dismembering of other things.


However…

If we amend this slightly and ask what game in recent times most embodies the nature of old school playing and GMing in attitude and mechanics, then it’s got to be Labyrinth Lord, and forgive me the images, because the only copy I’ve got is a PDF and all these are from the copy I printed out J

I didn’t notice Labyrinth Lord when it first came out, just another game that dropped past the radar when it came out, it was only when I started seeing it coming up on the games being offered at various conventions that I decided to take a look at it.  Labyrinth Lord is, for all intents and purposes, Basic D&D, minus the artwork and layout, but essentially with the same rules.


Does this mean that you can still play races as classes?

I believe you can…

The difference between this and Basic D&D is that it contains the full details needed to get the characters all the way along their adventuring career, the creatures section isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to give you enough variety without needing anything further.  The key here is that the people who made the game unashamedly loved basic D&D, so much so that they indicate in the front of the book that it’s nothing new, and that more importantly, they don’t want anything new, what they want is the old D&D and all the fun that went with it, you get experience for two things.


Bashing things…

Getting treasure…

And nothing else, no additional skill checks, everything else you make up as you go along, just like Basic used to be, and there’s no apologies for that , you’re not down here to expand your consciousness, you’re down here to expand your backpack…

Now my own thoughts on the matter are well known and oft lamented, it’s fun to do dungeon crawls once in a while, but I’ve often found them more fun online (as indeed many do with the meteoric rise of a variety of dungeon bashing games), and so I don’t look for them when it comes to tabletop…

But this was where we started, this got us on the road to doing what we’re doing now, and while we may look for more things now, without games like this, there would never have been games like FATE and Cthulhu, and in this matter, a debt of gratitude is owed…



And this game is a good step towards recognising that debt…

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