Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading Rob Kuntz Part III & How Matt Finch Fits In

So an apology to Matt Finch. Basically I'm slow on the uptake. Well, that really isn't the problem I'm just ignorant. Rob Kuntz has help me discover that lately. And now I can truly appreciate what Matt Finch said about not wanting S&W to be a replacement for Original D&D. I've already commented some about this, but have to apologize for encouraging people to do exactly what Matt says not to do. Matt urged people to not let S&W be your game of choice, but rather to be an intro to original D&D. He recommended they try and secure the originals and play them instead of just continuing with S&W.

After reading Rob Kuntz's comments I think I have yet another reason why this may be; and one in which I now have to agree with Matt. Because if what Rob is saying is true, and I have no reason to really doubt him then the ethos preserved in the original three BB is that emphasis on player driven creativity. As opposed to producer driven creativity apparent in later versions. This original ethos is best absorbed from the source itself. To tell the truth I have never read the original books. Though I vaguely recall handling the copies of one of the guys who introduced me to the game way back when. I promptly judged them inferior to my big shiny hardbacks and gave it not another thought.

Now, I want nothing more than to get my hands on those original books. And that is a desire I have never before fostered. I mean sure I wanted them on my bookshelf to say I had them, but never really felt the need to read them. Much less incorporate them into my play. Since I had the AD&D books written largely by Gary himself, why would I want the obviously imperfect, less than complete originals? Well color me stupid, but now I understand. I want more than ever to read those books. In fact I don't really see myself spending any more money on gaming books until I can get ahold of those books.

Why? Well, if it isn't obvious by now, it's so I can absorb that original vibe. The purpose with which the original game was designed: to spawn creative design in those that played it. To fully expect that the players of the game would create their own world, their own adventures and their own expansions and rule extensions on the game to make it their own. I want to feel that tone and presence in the books. In fact if indeed Gary makes the comment after supplement 1 (I think) to the effect of why have us do any more of the imagining for you; then I've gotta not only get the books, absorb the feel and maybe reassess my whole approach to gaming. That is why you want the originals.

I'm sure, Matt incorporated some of that magic into S&W and I do get some of that reading through his rules. But even more so in his Quick Primer. If the 3 BBs are really as engrossing and colorful as Matt has alluded to then S&W really doesn't have that same magic in a bottle. Or book as the case may be.

Now, let's pause for a moment and consider. This is really just one man's opinion isn't it? Sure Rob Kuntz was there, but he's going on his take of things, and maybe his view isn't the only valid view. Well, it might be true he is the one who has been the most clear about what exactly spawned the transition between Original D&D and AD&D/B/X. But not only do I value his word by the closeness to the source, but in a way he _is_ the source. He actually experienced the shift. And also Matt's words and comments make so much more sense in this light. And the mysterious quotes by Gary about being bewildered someone would want to play in someone else's world instead of one of their own creation and the like. They all make more sense in light of what Rob is saying.

Put all the pieces together and I begin to hear bells. It seems to make sense. Finally it's making sense. It's a little shocking, but it's coming together. The real question is what the heck do I do with it all? Maybe I'll let you know after I get ahold of those 3BBs.


Anonymous said...

I read the Kuntz interview and what I took away from it wasn't as much about which edition is superior as its is about making stuff up for yourself. Its not the rule books but all the other stuff that is the issue- ( for Mr. Kuntz) all the modules and campaign settings and the like- or that how I read it.

ADD Grognard said...

Good God man! You are putting these things up faster than I can read them :)

It is quite a trip isn't it?

As for the bit about starting at the dungeon entrance one example are the rules themselves:

Basic Rules (Moldvay)
Part 8 - Dungeon Master Information- page 51

"Before characters can take their characters on adventures into dungeons, the DM must either create a dungeon or draw the map..."

Read this page sometime if you get a wilderness...just a big ole dangerous hole in the ground! :)

As for the levels of purity I refer to my old group as being 'third wave' over at addgrognard.

Everything was fair game. We rated items on how much we could strip and re-purpose for our games. Books, movies, other game systems, it was all for the taking. With 3 DMs you had to keep mining used book stores and such for unique items you hoped the other guys hadn't seen. I still own many of those books to this day. I had them slated to go on the addgrognard blog but I have decided to do it right in the zine.

I have a feeling you will like the zine. It will have some eye openers. And a lot of cool stuff to use in games, new releases, free stuff...I'm getting psyched about the first issue.

DEEP DELVE is almost ready for a test release. I look forward to your feedback. And I'm trying to keep it at 20 pages or less to make it a fast read and quick play.

(I've been sick the last few days or the thing would be done-if the nausea would just go away...plays hell with looking at the monitors).

ADD Grognard said...

Awe you got me looking. The 2 listed at eBay are pretty sad but did find this:

Listing at

Hell, that's a steal with shipping that low. It might start to run (bid high, sorry, old eBay slang dies hard)but even $5 is still pretty fair to bid up to...and if you look at all boxes...well...I started squealing like a little girl :)

ADD Grognard said...

NOTE: The above listing appears to be paper items only and may be missing parts.

Sorry...I thought I had that in there :(

Chris said...

Thanks again Anonymous. I know the statements in the interview are technically Rob's opinions. But they seemed opinions informed by close experience of the game's initial transitions. And yes, I agree that Rob isn't edition bashing--he's explaining a fundamental shift in focus away from the game's initial creative emphasis to a more commercial one. In my estimation that is much more profound than taking a stand on a mere edition.

And Thanks ADD Grognard. I'll check the zine out. The links were great, but I'm looking for the original rules, and have a found a few connections I'm working right now. And it sounds like your groups was pretty familiar with the creative concept. Cool! Thanks again for all your input. You continue to be a great help in my quest.

ADD Grognard said...


And I have all the material from his blog archived (the short list he started me out with-then a compiled doc of posts of all I could track down on the blog-then the blog archived as html.

If you want any let me know...I'll zip them up and find a way to drop them to you.

Also, that was the point that I had to get away from Alexis over at Tao of D&D. When he said he had never heard of the man until 15 minutes ago that pretty well shocked me considering how 'deep' Alexis is into AD&D. Then he spends posts insulting the man. That was the last straw. You said it best- he was there and I have had the opportunity to exchange emails with him that were lightning bolts.

Oh, and the 'second wave'...this really describes best what it meant. at least to me:

(The whole bit on location-based modules used for more than one run through. Good article.)

Keep us informed on your hunt. It will be an adventure unto itself! :)

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