Once I got this Retro-Stupid Dungeons & Dragons ball rolling, it picked up a lot of momentum. A quick poll of my friends via Facebook netted enough interest that I had to cap the number of players at SEVEN.
Seven assorted dudes with experience in a wide variety of gaming and role playing environments. Eight dudes (counting me) who have absolutely NO experience with Basic style D&D and all born after the release of the Mentzer Basic and Expert sets in 1983.
With that in mind, here are some of the ground rules that I'm following in the development of this game:
1) A Cut Above the Ordinary
I'm not super interested in running a meat grinder campaign. Though PCs may die or be horribly disfigured over the course of the campaign, they're still assumed to be a cut above the average spear carrier or pig farmer. That's not to say that humble beginnings aren't allowed, but there should be the spark of greatness in them.
2) A Whole Different Appendix N
None of us really grew up reading the sword & sorcery pulp stories that inspired so much of old-school Dungeons & Dragons. To the best of my knowledge, everyone has read Tolkein, but a lot of our gaming inspiration comes from sources from the last two decades. Common denominators include Magic: the Gathering, console and computer RPGs and adventure gamebooks, which I'll probably be talking about at greater length in the future.
3) History Is Written By The Players
There's not going to be a thousand-year history or intricate political alliances; the stuff that the PCs accomplish will help shape the world that they live in. If someone dies defending a village from some vicious wereboars, the villagers will remember their valiant struggle and returning adventurers who were present will laud their accomplishments.
4) Stick With The Core, Bolt On Some More
I want to try and run the game as close to Rules As Written Basic D&D as I can, with a couple of tweaks from Swords & Wizardry to speed things up at the table. I am going to try and make any house rules that I put into effect additions on to the base as opposed to wholesale modifications to the core mechanics.
5) Relax and Have Fun
This is not going to be a serious game. If I feel or the group feels like something is fun, we're going to do it, especially if it's stupid or anachronistic. Ultimately, we're all looking to kill some monsters, find some treasure and maybe save the world this summer.