Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Laying Down the Rules: In All Their Various Forms

As I mentioned, I've been collecting the rules for how we're going to play on the Portal Page itself, rather then just having people refer to Labyrinth Lord and a house rules document/page. The interesting side effect to that is the ability to "clean up" the rules and present them in a way that's easy to reference and recheck. Yes, I know that sucks some of the charm out of Old School products, were rules were often woven into exposition and descriptions were enough to get your started. However, we're playing online, so beyond the distance between us making it harder to quickly compare notes, I have no clue how distracted the players are while we play (if they're listening to music, if they have several web tabs up and browse things while we play, etc.), something that isn't an issue when at an actual table. Because of that, I think calling out each rule for ease of finding (and linking) helps keep the game flowing.

Another interesting side effect is that, in an effort to keep the rules as "proper" as possible I've been looking at the multiple versions of Basic Dungeons and Dragons to see each one's wording on a particular rule or class ability, from Labyrinth Lord to B/X to BECMI to the Rules Cyclopedia.I still use LL as the default, but I may take a description from B/X as a basis for my own flavor or a sentence from the Rules Cyclopedia if it clarifies how something works (getting both the flavor and gameplay rules for the cleric's Turn Undead ability is a good example of this). There are some very interesting differences between editions (which could have its own blog just to point out) and melding them into a set of rules I like and thinks works best will make for a version of the game that is not exactly like any one edition but still true to all of them. So, it's pretty much how everyone who sits down to play does it, we all have our own take on game or opinion on an official ruling, and I think that looseness to the rules is what makes Basic D&D great, this is not for tournament play, this is so you can sit down with your friends and have a good time.

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