Thursday, May 17, 2012

R is for Resources

I'll just say it: I think I hate resource management. Seriously.

(Before I go any further, I want to tell any of my current players reading this that I'm not making an attack on them, because they have all made an effort to keep track of stuff. But I'm worrying about any "newbs" that might join the game in the future, as I'm running an "open" game at a FLGS and I want to encourage new players to join.)

I know, this is another instance where yours truly is being blasphemous when it comes to Old School Roleplaying doctrine (dogma)? I definitely think this is a failing on my part, a failing of my unmathematical mind. I can't say that age is an issue, because even as a kid I didn't want to bother with resource management.

But now that I'm running a Labyrinth Lord game, I want to delve into resource management because it is part of the old school style of gaming, and I want to really immerse myself and my players in that style. To try it out, give it a fair shake. But I'm not sure how long I'm going to last!

How do you make sure players use up their torches, lantern oil, arrows/crossbow bolts/sling pellets, rations, and other consumables, without having to keep track of all that yourself/"babysit" players to make sure they keep track properly?

Heck, I am even starting to get upset at the whole concept of magic-using classes, for the fact that players sometimes don't keep track of spells used in a day.

How do you keep track of it all as a GM? Do you even keep track as a GM, and if so, why not? Do you depend on players to keep track? And if so, how do you know they aren't slacking on that tracking (either though cheating or unconscious neglect)?

An extension to all this is how much I hate keeping track of encumbrance. I just usually "eyeball" encumbrance so that things in my games don't become totally "Monty Haul" (but MY definition of Monty Haul refers to characters unrestricted by encumbrance who carry way too much equipment, not the fact that I give magic items away like candy, which I don't). I usually let players get to a common sense point where I feel forced to say "okay guys, the dwarf hireling can't have a chest strapped to his back, ok?"

Another potential extension of this is time keeping. I see this as another "resource" to manage, one that should actually rest on the GM's shoulders (unlike the consumables mentioned above). But what's an easy way to do that?

I think all of the above are reasons why I like to run "story-based" or "heroic" games that don't bother with resource management. In the epic sagas of the real world from ancient days, how often do you see heroes agonizing over gear, right?

What I keep thinking about is this: I think you can have old-school-style play without having ALL the supposed trappings of the style. I think if you have a sandbox game with lots of player agency, rulings and not rules, etc. but skip the resource management, I think you still have an old school game.

Anyway, I would love to hear from you because ANY ADVICE IS WELCOME!!!

1 comment:

  1. Check out how wealth is handled in the d20 Modern SRD. You may find it to your liking.