Lauren over here mentioned her fondness for the Old School D&D puzzle solving method which is simply, you the player, who were assumed to be of above average smarts would solve the puzzle yourself or not and the game would progress from there.
There are a lot of good things to say for this method.
#1 It take emphasis off combat and on to other aspects of the game
#2 It make players and GM's think
#3 It negates the need for a thief class and instead just lets stat rolls handle challenges like lock-picking and lifting a purse and the player, the surprise system handle stealth and the players handle being clever
#4 With the right kind of group its very fun.
However there are downsides.
#1 Its slow and some people may want to get onto the next part of a story or something more interesting and less frustrating
#2 Lots of groups don't like puzzles and/or really just want combat.
#3 It requires a longer attention span and more time at the table than some players these days can manage. Remember OD&D was originally created and played by middle aged men in a world with much less distractions and spending time there was much easier without the web or face book or any of that . Sure it lead to mediocre research and bad rules, such as the lock-picking rules or the thief class in general but it lead to a much richer game and a bit of politics here, a better hobby.
#4 Pigeonholing. Simply, the old school method tended to pigeonhole players into playing certain classes.
Let me explain this. One core idea I think that has been forgotten in D&D is the idea that not every class was for every person
It was kind of assumed the tricky guy would play the Magic user, the supportive guy would probably play the Cleric and the straightforward guy would play the Fighter. Yes sometimes everybody played the Fighter, support fighters, tricky "thief" fighters and such were common but generally the MU and Cleric were played by certain type of people .
We assume this was a bad thing and I think we were wrong on this. People generally are happier playing to type, still are.
Now I suppose folks wonder where this idea was lost, well it started to fade in actual play, probably back in Lake Geneva .
As the game went on, new classes got introduced and from what I can figure from my research, this was to address in game reissues and player demand, The Thief since people wanted to systematize the role, the Cleric (though it proved to be a solid roll in itself) to defeat a PC vampire (Sir Fang ) Monk beaus people wanted to play Kwai Chang Kane from Kung Fu The Ranger to sub in for Aragorn and so on .
This muddied the waters a bit and in time it became assumed that the class would provide the bulk of the abilities not the players choices.
Now that wasn't all bad, it did open D&D to a broader audience and made the game more approachable as well but maybe the assumed high level creativity was lost.
Still that creativity is inherent in nature of the game and if it something you want, its not hard to make it happen. After a bit of adjustment, you may find you players love it.
Or not and if Roll DC17 Disable Device to defeat the traps suits you better, go for it.
As always the #1 rule is "if you are having fun, you are doing it right."
A nice tribute to the art of David Trampier - I’ve mentioned my longstanding adoration for the art of David A. Trampier (‘DAT’) in this blog a few times. One early post features the iconic ‘Emirikol th...
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