I have to tell you, the thing about real AD&D that is so astonishing is that once you get it, you end up having to beat players off with a stick. The “real time” campaign combined with player run domains/patrons actually makes this work. There’s something compelling about an authentic old school campaign that just plain captivates people.
Before we move on to what I wanted to tell you, let me point out that there is a legitimate reason for why you see this weird jargon in all of my tweets and posts. It’s because the BrOSR has uncovered a way to play rpgs that is unlike anything anyone has done over the past 40 years. We honestly need new terminology such as “Jeffrogaxian timekeeping” and “Chantisonian patrons” in order to talk about it. Words fail to get the sense of what this new gameplay feels like because everything about it runs counter to rpg conventional wisdom. NO FOOLING, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DO THIS IF YOU ARE GOING TO UNDERSTAND IT.
Now, we have already described how real AD&D does not need Dungeon Masters that carefully accommodate each conceivable player type. In the first place, initiative by side forces the players cooperate and act as a team. Total autonomy for the players in a wide open campaign means they must form a consensus of even what type of adventure they want to have. Further, party composition changes significantly from week to week in real AD&D. The players will have to figure out which adventure options best suit the party they have, causing them to explore many more approaches to the game. Finally, AD&D is comprised of many different modes of play– dungeon delving, large miniatures battles, wilderness travel, urban adventures, freeform scenarios, and so on. Gygax’s rules create a game where every group can eventually find the precise sweet spot for them. AD&D produces long-running campaigns because it is the most anti-fragile form of role-playing ever conceived.
So, the conventional method of running rpgs which caused countless theorists to have to juggle and break down and analyze various player types? It’s all bunk. It’s all a product of trying to prop up what is clearly D&D played wrong. All these guys have been barking up the wrong tree for decades.
But it gets worse.
The AD&D domain game which hardly anyone talks bout… yes it is a sort of grand strategic wargame played by the graduates of hilariously successful adventuring careers. But it is also something more than that.
Hand over a patron or a domain to somebody and I don’t think their first reflex is going to be to wreck everyone else in the game. There are games you can do that in, sure. And yeah, there are sharks out their that would maybe run the table. But AD&D is different. People come into this wanting to play a world. And the funny thing is, you don’t have to twist their arm to get them to flesh out the game world for you. IT JUST HAPPENS.
One more reason why adventure modules and game supplements are a complete waste! The stuff your players do is better. (Besides, the domain-level players don’t need a module per the BECMI line. Those guys play against each other in a game that’s on an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LEVEL.)
But here’s the kicker. I haven’t even officially turned the campaign on and players are hassling me to get in the game. One of them wanted to take his half-elf fighter/cleric to visit the cave men because he knew the guy running them. I let it go after checking for wilderness encounters as he made the journey there. The interactions from then on were all 100% handled between the patron player and the player-character player. (Spoiler: the guy died.)
So not only does “1:1” time create a campaign that is always on. But player run patrons and domains create players that blur the lines between dungeon master and player. That last bit is something that rpg theorists and story gamers have tinkered with mightily without a whole lot to show for it. But I’m here to tell you that AD&D not only has always done that, but AD&D has always done it better.
Suck it, egg heads.