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Sunday, June 30, 2013

AD&D is Like The Amber Series - All Games Exist as Shadows of the "One"

Last night I had a fucking blast playing AD&D. We started with G1 and it was probably the most fun I've had as a player in ages. AD&D is like an old glove. Still, I don't think I've ever played it exactly the same way with any two different groups over the last 30+ years. If AD&D is the definition of the OSR as some may say, apparently we still can't agree on the particulars.

Why do I say that? Because most house rulings remove rules from the game and others add new ones, and it's been so since I first encountered AD&D back in the early 80's.

This is what was removed from the rules / added to the rules:

Spell components - ignored
Segments - for spells - ignored
Tied initiative (this would lead to a reroll) - new rule
Weapon Speed Factor - ignored
Weapon Armor Class Adjustment - ignored
Character / Opponents with multi attacks rolled all their attacks on their initiative - new rule
The whole initiative chart on page 61 of the DMG was pretty much hand waved

I'm sure there are other aspects that I've hand waved for decades and didn't notice were removed / added. Most of what I listed above is how I run my games for the most part, so it seems very familiar.

Actually, the above comes pretty close to the restating of AD&D via the OSRIC rules. Does that make OSRIC the definition of the OSR?

I think at times we fail to see the bigger picture. The OSR isn't a set of rules or multiple sets of rules. It's a style of play that harkens back to the early days of D&D and AD&D. Even back then, the particulars of that play varied from table to table, house rules to house rules, but they were all playing "D&D". Truth to tell, I have never played in a session of AD&D that was "by the book", not even at Gen Con in the early 90's in tournament play.

If you are playing "D&D" in a manner that evokes the same response and memories of gaming in the early days of the hobby, I suspect you are gaming in the OSR.


  1. then what does that make ADRPG? :)

    1. Amber Diceless is a unique system.

      Looking forward to the Lords of Gossamer Kickstarter to ship :)

  2. So is there a difference between OSRIC and 1st ed AD&D?

    1. OSRIC virtually mirrors how I (and most AD&D players I know) actually played AD&D, but it leaves out most of the same rules we left out back in the day.

      So, OSRIC plays pretty much exactly as the AD&D of my youth. It just avoids the same crap we did ;)

  3. Would Labyrinth Lord + AEC also qualify as the creamy nougat center?

  4. What you said is OSR to the core. There are really no rules, just rulings, as Matt Finch would say. Even the rulebooks themselves back then touted that philosophy which basically said: "Here's a bunch of options, but go ahead and change them or use what you want."

    It's very liberating to run games that way again after running 3.x edition for 10+ years.

    1. Consider this: since D&D included a statement that put forth the notion that the "rules" were really "guidelines" or "suggestions," lots of dumb rules arguments could have been avoided. And no one has ever really played "actual D&D"...put another way: If the creator himself expected players to take what they wanted and leave the rest ("just like your salad bar") right from the start, then all those rules lawyers over the years were even more idiotic than we thought they were...

  5. Have to agree, yup. Of course it's actually BX D&D that gets the most love, I think because it gives the best basic framework to build new games on, as opposed to the stripping-down (elimination of subsystems) I associate with AD&D.