Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brevity of Writing - Why Moldvay is Awesome

I'm an engineer (engineering supervisor to be more precise so mostly I do powerpoints) - so I am not the best of writers. I tend to talk a lot as well. I noticed that the best written rules are succinct, clear, and tightly edited. I personally think that is what separates Moldvay from the rest*. And probably why he is probably the single most important person to making the hobby what it is. I know we all like to talk about Gary and Dave a lot - and yes they 'invented' the game. But Moldvay made it organized, coherent, tight, and accessible. As many have articulated, even when AD&D came out most of us just bolted on elements from it that we liked to how we have been playing B/X. That probably makes LL AEC the way that most of us played. Personally I like less AEC and AD&D and OSRIC in my games - I can't stand the race/class split personally. I like the simplicity of decision choices for a player in B/X - class, alignment, gear --> go to the dungeon. The fact that Mentzer took two books to do what Tom did with one separates them for me (that plus Otus vs. Elmore).

Moldvay in a few short pages gives an awesome "how to DM" and how to "wing it" when you need to. At the same time some of the basics of the game are covered: light, encounter distance, encounter reactions, retainer reactions, finding and opening doors, attacking, and finding traps. It was a game that explained how to run a game like a game. I think you do have tweak it a bit (but not in a big way probably how you award XP plus add some Deities to the game for the clerics) but can be run almost with the RAW. My D&D mine is more of a vanity project for some specific wackiness I want to add.

My only beef with Moldvay is the Thief class and I blame Gary and Dave for that. My fighter has a better chance to find a trap than the 1st level thief. That plus all the snake spells for Clerics. Rest of it is gold. I think when I get my D&D mine complete there will probably need to be a complete rewrite and tightening process. I am not looking forward to that.

How do others handle their editing? Do you find it tough like I do, or does it come easy. Any quick rules of thumb you use?

*(I can't speak for Holmes - my perception is that it wasn't around that much compared to B/X back in the early 80's which I perceive as the heyday of the hobby none of my friends had Holmes but we all had B/X )

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