Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Not the myths you're thinking of.

The Flintlocks and Witchery blog had this post up and I just read it. I have to say I agree completely with the sentiment here. As I was telling the author, the concept of the highly-lethal D&D experience that has been so widely disseminated through the OSR scene was absolutely not how we (me and my gaming cohorts) played the game back in the day. I can't remember a single character death that was the result of the kinds of things you see in, for example, DCC RPG. We were nerdy drama queens. We did stories. We had epics. We had characters.

Not that I'm opposed to the DCC RPG style of brutality. I love that shit. But that's not how we played D&D in 1984, 1985, or any year through 1990 when I more-or-less abandoned the game.

The insta-kill traps and PCs with 1 hit point were not part of my entry experience to this wonderful hobby. Those ideas didn't filter into my experience at all until the OSR.


  1. Same here. There are segments of the OSR community that seem to be quite unaware that there was and always has been a wide variety of play styles since the beginning. Character death rarely occurred in my D&D/AD&D group, and when it did it was usually the result of player character versus player character shenanigans. (We occasionally allowed a player in our games who turned out to be an inveterate troublemaker.)

  2. I agree, I only used an insta-kill trap once (when I was really new to DMing) and had a player strike as a result. Things have to be fair. Grimtooths's traps was made for humor, not as the way things were.

    I prefer to have tricks rather than traps. Things the party needs to think there way around are better than Save or die.

    1. Insta-kill traps are the WORST. I never use them. But I do use save or die effects in BX. The trick is to make sure the players understand the stakes. If you waltz into a save or die with no foreplay it'll feel pretty damn rough. People who sit down to play DCC should already be aware of the lethality. People who sit down to play BX should be too, but it never hurts to remind them BEFORE you pull a save or die.