Last month, I ended up running an OD&D game for my weekly group that was very enlightening. We’ve been playing 4E weekly for a while now, and while I’ve enjoyed it-the combats do take quite a while. I’ve likely mentioned this before but here’s our situation: the group meets for around three to four hours and in that time it’s difficult to get through more than two encounters. Sometimes we only get through one! That said, the combats are quite nice in that the monsters create different tactical situations based on their particular abilities. This aspect of 4E’s monsters is one of the best innovations to the game. Combat is fun and is really the primary focus of the game.
One of my regular players wasn’t able to attend, so I thought we’d try a one-shot of OD&D as a change of pace. After having played in some great games at the So-Cal Mini-Con III, I was inspired to let the players have a free hand in making stuff up. I explained as per the OD&D rules you could play a fighter, a magic-user, a cleric, or anything else that you wanted to play. I was determined to let them play whatever they wanted.
I had them roll 4D6 in order (AD&D style drop the lowest) as I was feeling generous. I probable didn’t have to do that because my first player right out of the gate rolled some of the best stats I’ve ever seen on a character. AD&D style stat rolling certainly makes a big difference!
I also started them at third level as per Gygax’s OD&D house rules which were floating around in various places on the web a few years ago (I think I first saw them was at the Knights & Knaves Alehouse). Weapon damage was 1D6 with an additional +1 for two handed weapons.
One of the players arrived before the others and so we were discussing what he might like to play when he asked, “Can I be somebody from Earth who’s trapped in this world. What if he’s a gamer. He’s survived because he knows quite a bit about D&D monsters from his gaming days.”
“Okay. That’s fine. What sort of abilities do you think he might have—is he more of a Magic-User type?”
“No, I want him to be more of a regular guy. So I’ll basically make him a fighter.”
“But he’s from another world and he’s got this fantasy gamer knowledge?”
Thus was born Tom Prosec. Trapped in a world he never made! His special ability was eventually settled on as “Planar Weirdness”, and we were off. Tom also acquired a few henchmen. He asked at the last minute if one of them could be an Ewok.
“Fine, one of your henchmen is an Ewok. He’s got leather armor and a spear.”
Another player rolled up a Chaotic Elven cleric named Darkwood Fiddlestix who was a worshipper of Gozer the Gozarian (“The Destructor”). I only gave him some of the Elven abilities as he was varying from the typical model of the Fighter/Magic-User Elf character. His henchmen were two dwarves named Tomax and Zamot.
Rounding out the group was a Dwarf Wizard. Okay, so I decided she must be from an offshoot mutant race of magical using Dwarves rather than one of OD&D’s “true” Dwarves. Her name was Kore, and she had high charisma and five henchmen including a Lizardman who was named “Bob”.
With all that they were ready to descend into the dungeons of Castle Dragonscar.
Part II coming soon.