I've been having an interesting conversation online about XP, leveling, and new mechanics / dice rolling conventions.
What I proposed a few days ago right over here, basically took the place of the math heavy calculations that went into doling out XP per character. I remember playing in the 80's and sometimes it would take the DM up to an hour after a session to get the final numbers (we were all about 12 at the time).
That seems like a lot - and it was - but that was the way it was, and I do not believe that's an exaggeration.
Anyways, the old school purist I was engaging with said something about all these newfangled rules and ways of doing things diluted the purity of the game, making it harder to find a game or made the available gaming pool for old school D&D more shallow.
To that, I suggested that game mechanics will always play second fiddle to the really important factors that go into an RPG campaign...
- The GM (is he GMing like a fucking boss or is he just an asshole who doesn't care and loves his precious NPCs way too much?)
- The Players (I want to game with people who love the game - they don't have to know a lot about it, just be enthusiastic and willing to immerse themselves in the fantasy world we're collectively making).
- The food/drink available (Sure, I can eat before and after the game, but sharing delicious food and beverages makes the experience that much better).
- Comfortable and quiet place to play (if your cat's dingle-berries are "x" amount of inches from my dice and I'm sitting in a metal grade school cafeteria chair, I'm out).
- Close to home
- Convenient day/time
- The game's setting, flavor, theme, mood, aesthetic, etc. (Several days ago, some awesome dude was talking about mixing Planet of the Apes with Carcosa... hell yeah!)
- Style of play (don't play my character for me and don't railroad me. I want some agency, bitch!)
I could think of others, I'm sure, if I sat here for another hour or two. But that's enough to get the idea across - who you play with and where is so much more important than 90% of the game's overall functionality.
Yes, I maintain that all of those things, individually, are more important than playing Moldvay vs. Holmes, or Mentzer vs. AD&D, or 2nd edition vs. 5th edition, or S&W vs. LL, or Crimson Dragon Slayer vs. DCC.
If I had the time, liked the people involved, and what the game was about, I wouldn't care if the GM used ascending AC, descending, or some weird random d12 mechanic he pulled out of his ass. Bring on the pizza, mountain dew, and let the good times roll!
p.s. Please check out and back my latest Alpha Blue kickstarter - Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free!