Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Don't I Play Labyrinth Lord

Don't get me wrong, I think LL and LL AEC are great. Some really fine old school gamers are embracing them. I just write this entry in response to some who read my entry on "What D&D Do I Play" and wondered why I don't play LL+AEC. Seeing as how the LL+AEC game was designed to fit that niche between Basic and AD&D, or as they say it "AD&D the way most of us played it." Which was exactly the point of my last entry.

So they naturally wonder, why not just play the LL AEC variant? And my answer is simple -- I like the feel of the old books. Not just the feel, but the the look, the tone, the humor, the well, yeah the nostalgia. I like the way they are written, the pictures, the examples, the--everything about them. I just like the feel of knowing I'm using the old books. They are magical in their own way.

I know, I know, that's kind of a lame explanation. But it is what it is. I have played LL+AEC and it plays alot like I was used to playing. The writing there is good and the art is mighty fine indeed. I like all that too, and truly respect what Goblinoid Games is doing; but it just doesn't have the history with me. In the same way that playing D&D with new people is cool and good, but playing with my old friends would hold a special sort of magic. Same thing with my old books. They hold a special sort of magic.

I really liked some of the new games out as variants on D&D rules Most recently is ACKS whih I am still in the process of reviewing; but none quite do it for me like the old books of yore. I know it's a bit silly. And moreover, some say, it makes little sense to use them when noone else at the table has them, as is the case in my current game. But that's fine by me too. I can live with the inconvenience. If I'm DMing we use my game, my books--I'll share, just treat them with the respect they are due. They are mine; they have absorbed the power of hundreds of play sessions; they are magical; and if you look at them at just the right angle when the light hits them just right, you can see the faint glow of eldritch power they contain. I wouldn;t give that up for all the clones and variants, no matter how excellent, in all the world.

So, that's why I don't play LL.


Digital Orc said...

In regards to the system, I supose it's just semantics.

In regards to your subjective associations, your comments are understandable.

I'd be with you if it weren't for the fact that I publish my own stuff and can't say "DM" or "D&D", etc.

Anthony Simeone said...

Agreed. There is something, well, like you said, MAGICAL about the old D&D books. Playing with a retroclone just doesn't-for me and you and others like us-have that spark, that certain something. The feeling is a summation of the things you mention-the illos, the writing, etc.-and so many more subtle aspects. The retroclones have served a great purpose, however: to bring the old D&D style back into print, back into the limelight. Even WotC has been unable to ignore the retroclone-led OSR charge!

Anthony Simeone said...

P.S. I own both the original D&D books (PDFs of B/X and Mentzer by way of an old copy of the Rules Cyclopedia) and Labyrinth Lord.

burnedfx said...

When I accidentally started playing RPGs with my two girls and their mom, I too used my old books and shared with them. I honestly thought we were just killing a weekend of free time and that they really wouldn't be interested in continuing.

It took me a year to realize, "Wait, they like playing more than I anticipated" (I'm slow).

In light of that, I switched to Labyrinth Lord. It's not a dead system. It's free. They don't have to throw their money at WotC, Paizo or other "big companies," if they choose to continue playing with their friends at school or just later in life.

While I'm more than willing to share my old books, I want them to play in a game they could take with them, so to speak.

Because I'm not giving them my books! ;]

Chris said...

Oh yes, there is no judgment against LL on my account in any way. I think LL is great, and as a part of getting old school D&D revived and matieral in print again I will forever bless its name. No, I was just trying to explain in my own naive way why I choose to not play LL when I have the original books. Some people ask, and I thought I would turn it into a post.

And thank you all for chiming in. The OSR crowd rocks!

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