You can call me Moth and this blog will focus on pre-AD&D versions of TSR's Dungeons & Dragons, mostly from my own POV and experience. Though I have played every version of the game up to 3.5/Pathfinder, I find myself drawn back to the earlier editions and days of the game as opposed to continuing further forward.
This is not to say I do not enjoy more recent editions of the game (though I do not intend to support 4E or any version that follows), but this blog is about what I like to call OD&D. When I use the term OD&D, I am essentially referring to everything from the little brown books up to Rules Cyclopedia.
My personal favorite among the various OD&D
editions and releases has to be the Moldvay Basic Set and the Cook-Marsh Expert Set. My preference is probably based largely upon nostalgia as these are the editions of the games I started with...back in those misty days of yore when gaming was new and every session was an adventure. Remember - this is as seen through my eyes.
Someone asked me recently what I thought was a defining difference between OD&D and the later editions and, after a moment's consideration, I replied, "Running away." I say this because that's what I remember as the most exciting part of the early game - the genuine possibility and fear of death. What is heroic fantasy adventure without that visceral thrill of danger? Why - it is the D20 system.
Maybe it is my general dislike of math that turns me off to the more recent editions of the D&D game. It could be that I am just lazy. Maybe I've gotten old. Whatever the case, I find 21st Century D&D to be less and less about adventure and more about planning for the future. I understand it's a long way from jotting down a character on an index card that has a life expectancy of a few hours to taking an entire afternoon to craft and cherry-pick a four-page hero where every skill point and feat selection will have a bearing on the future career options of the character - but:
Heroes are made to face death. To me, that is the core of adventure. Not that I am in the habit of, as a DM, killing characters. PCs in my game enjoy a rather favorable survival rate, actually - but there has to be the genuine fear of failure to forge a hero. I've yet to see a D20 game where running away was considered an option.
I'm here to tell you - it is okay to run away.