Simplified Old-School Play Instructions

In Gygax Magazine #2, Vincent Florio tries to teach people how to play old school style RPGs. His advice consists of 1) "First pick up A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming by Matthew Finch," 2) "Decide if you want to go further," 3) "Preparing Phase," 4) "Its game night, play the game!", and 5) "Remember you are playing the old-school style."

I think its easier than this. If people really want to know how we played in the old days, don't send them to a primer or a website. Tell them to buy an RPG, read it, and play it. That's it. That's all we did.

If you want to recreate how we played, just pick up the game and play it.


Charles Akins said…
I love this.

I've added this to my Best Reads of the Week series I've been doing to help draw attention to some of the best stuff I've run across. You're welcome to check it out at the following link:
Roger said…
Thanks, Charles! I couldn't believe it when I read the introduction to the article and then saw that it went on for three pages with 5 steps. Seems like a much more simple plan should be suggested.
mikemonaco said…
Hah! It's funny how some people think that there was one style of "old school" play. I do think that there is a bit that needs to be unlearned by people indoctrinated by WotC era stuff -- I'm always a little put off by all the "broken rules" and "iconic" and "balance" and "RAW" talk.
Brett Elliott said…
I'm tempted to get the magazine, just to read this article. Simply picking up the game and playing is on the right track but I think it's a little more complicated than that. Yes, that's what we did back in those days, but it's a different world out there now and I think anyone interested in the OSR can use some guidance. I really like the Old School Primer but it might be a little off-putting to some people, and for various reasons. To that end, I've been working on a much more concise document of OSR principles to distribute to my current players. I use Roll20 to run two 1st edition AD&D campaigns and some of my players kind of need to temporarily "unlearn" (as mikemonaco says) some things when they log into my game.
Roger said…
I think the less you read about it beforehand, the more "old school" you end up playing. I don't downplay all the guides and helpful tips out there. My only point is that we didn't have them back in the least I didn't. The sky was the limit!
Brett Elliott said…
I agree that less is more in this case. Which is a main reason why I decided to create a "tighten-up" version of the Primer, and in my own words, for my players. In Roll20, people post in the forums all the time that they're new to RPGs and want to break into the hobby but have no idea how to play. Some people direct them to link after link of articles about how to play RPGs. To me, that's like giving them a homework assignment and is as likely to drive them off as to help bring them into the hobby. My advice to them would be, "Pick a game system you're interested in, read the rulebook, find a game and jump in. The rest will come with time and experience."
Roger said…
Excellent advice

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