Friday, June 14, 2013

End-of-Week Elmore (6/14/13)

"Oh my god! He killed Aleena!" "You bastard!"
I think I'm shallow. At least, when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons. Or maybe I'm not.
Perhaps I'm just nostalgic. Or maybe I'm not. Or maybe I am, and that's just friggin' fine.
You may be wondering what in the world I'm talking about here. Well, I know I've talked on this blog before about a yearning to run some Basic D&D action using the original rule books, specifically the Mentzer version of the game. At the moment, I'm running the Moldvay/Cook/Marsh analogue that is Labyrinth Lord. And while I'm having a good time, there's still something missing.
Once again, I'm thinking that I have a nagging, internal insistence that I use the Mentzer-era books I own to run/play Basic D&D. Note: when I talk about my Mentzer books, I'm referring to spiral-bound print-outs of the Basic and Expert books, and my old cherished copy of the Rules Cyclopedia.
You know, for a little while I was feeling sorta ashamed to say that my yearning is perhaps born, at least in part, from nostalgia. We all know that the n-word is indeed a dirty word to some members of the OSR community. But you know what? I don't give a damn. Who the hell am I trying to impress? I'm not trying to win a popularity contest here. I'm trying to play some f-ing Dungeons & Dragons (and who plays D&D to be popular, anyway)?
Why do I want to use the original rules, Mentzer in particular? Here's why:
  • I want to see Elmore's art while I'm flipping through the books (unless I'm using my copy of the Rules Cyclopedia, which means I'll be seeing Terry Dykstra's art, which is also just fine by me). His art is closely tied to my gaming origins, and I get a deep-seated, positive visceral feeling when I see his work. Nostalgia, perhaps, but I don't really care.
  • I want to read the game in Mentzer's vernacular, and experience the "archaic" layout (and damn the vaunted streamlined organization of retroclones!). Nostalgia, perhaps, but I don't really care.
  • I have the old books (or printed PDF versions, at least) and want to use them.

Ok, so there, alright? Screw it, I want to use the old books and it's probably from some sort of nostalgia as well as a bit of practicality, since I want to use what I own.

The only real reason I'm not running a game with the old books right now is the fact that I'm running games at my FLGS, and the proprietors want people to run games that are in print (and therefore can be purchased from the store). I respect this requirement entirely, but it doesn't mitigate my desire!

I want the "gravitas" and the "warm and fuzzies" that come from playing Classic Dungeons & Dragons with the actual books from days of yore! And I don't care who knows!


  1. Do your thing and don't worry about what others say or think.

    I play it my way and have house rules for almost any edition, simply because none of them are quite what I like.

    Go for it and enjoy yourself.

  2. I think nostalgia plays a role to an extent, sure. But there's a lot to be said for how a book's aesthetic look (art, layout, etc.) influence the feel of the game. Moldvay and Mentzer are basically the same game, rules-wise, but they feel very different thanks to their differing art direction. I'm currently reading the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and loving it thanks in large part to the art. It's the first 2nd-generation "clone" game to really grab my interest and imagination, and I think that has to have a lot to do with the way the book looks.

    The Mentzer books, thanks in large part to Elmore and Easley, present a very particular shade of the D&D experience. The '83 red box was my first RPG but I never played it. (I started on AD&D instead.) Yet I'd play or run it in a heartbeat nowadays thanks to the strong impression it left on me.

    I mused a bit on the Mentzer box (and showed off my custom "Kill Bargle" t-shirt) in a couple posts a few years ago:

  3. Don't let other people tell you what's a good reason for you to have fun. Or a bad reason.

    A good part of the reason I play the way I'm playing right now is nostalgia, and everyone who has a problem with that is simply not invited to play with me. You want Mentzer and you have a group to play it with, go for it for any reason at all. That's what I say!

  4. Yes, this exactly! It's been 30 years, and I still hate Bargle for killing Aleena.