Sunday, November 27, 2011

re: OSR Community Starter 2

As promised, here are my thoughts on what would go into an OSR Community Starter.

Credit Where Credit Is Due
First things first, this is not my original idea.  The genesis of this product happened at this sub-forum on the OD&D Discussion forums.  I take no credit for this idea.  The following is just my collected thoughts if I were to be involved in this project.

The intent of this product should be to introduce role-playing games to people that are interested but have never played or are now returning to the hobby after an absence.  I think there are two ways to approach this:

  1. Tailor the product to focus on the interested individual.  The only thing a single person would require is the product itself and some dice.
  2. Tailor the product to focus on a small group that shows interest in role-playing games.  
There is merit to both of these ideas.  It would be great to design this for a group but my initial gut reaction is to tailor it towards an individual.  Something like a "more involved version" of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Plus, that would keep the page count lower.

Some would say that a quick start version of an existing game would serve this purpose well.  I am aware of and have some of the quick starts that are available.  They are fine products but I believe they are best used by people that have role-playing experience but just want to try out a different game.  I envision an OSR Community Starter being the product you grab when one of your non-gamer friends asks "What is this D&D stuff anyway?".

Game System
There are several OSR style games that could be trimmed down a little bit for a starter package but I think there is a better option.  I think a minimalist system specifically designed around showing the play options available in the starter package would be best.  There is no need to explain more than what is necessary to play in the adventure included in the starter.

I think it would be best to design the OSR starter system around 2D6 or some other D6 only system.  By keeping with the D6, interested players can just go to a set of Yahtzee, Monopoly, RISK, or some other similar game and grab the dice out of it.  No worries about an interested player needing to scrounge up a D20 to try out some role-playing fun.

Here are a few ideas about organizing this hypothetical starter package:

Of course, there would need to be a short introductory section explaining what role-playing is all about and how to do it.

I think that character creation should be mentioned but not detailed in the starter.  Instead, players should be able to choose from 3 to 5 pre-generated characters that they can play through the adventure; maybe a Dwarf Warrior, Human Mage, Elf Ranger, or some other combination of chooses.  These characters should be presented in a 2 column format with the character information on the left and the some notes on the rules in the right column.  There could be arrows or matching numbers that the player could reference to remember how to perform tasks and other things in the game.

I think the adventure should avoid the wide open freedom involved in full-fledged games and use a setup similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure game books.  Yes, this will be somewhat of a railroad sort of adventure but it will get the point across.  Only the monsters and treasure needed for the adventure will be included in the starter.

What's Next?
For players that enjoyed the experience and want to know about their options.  There are several choices:

  • Further solo adventures for people that want to try it again without worrying about gathering a group for play.  There would need to be new monsters detailed in this product.
  • An adventure designed for group play.  This would basically be like the solo game but would also introduce the role of the game master and the adventure options would be wide open instead of programmed like the solo adventure.  There would be additional monsters and treasures detailed in this product.
  • A website with the complete rules of the system outlined in the solo adventure.
  • A short section detailing other OSR games that are available and their websites. 
There are my ideas for the OSR Community Starter.  What are your ideas?

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