Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just One Little Heretical Note

I love the Dungeoneer and Wilderness Survival Guides.

In theory.

The "you are there" qualities found in those rules are awesome. This is what it would be like to be in an underground labyrinth or lost in the trackless wastes!

But all these rules are a humongous pain in the ass with way too much crap to keep track of. They are useless in practice, and the non-weapon proficiency system should be taken out and shot.

But if I could keep all that stuff straight in my head and memorize it all to apply it without having to look anything up or worrying about remembering to use the rules sometimes while forgetting to use them at other times... I would. Unquestionably.


  1. Watch out! The game police will pull your license. :)

    Seriously. Good to hear that I'm not all alone feeling inspired by thumbing through those books. Sure, I never used them in play, but I never needed to.

  2. I passed on buying both of these books at the used bookstore a few weeks ago... largely for the same reason you never used them in play. I thought a lot of that information would be very cool, but I know myself as a DM and there's no way I'd keep on top of that stuff enough to make it useful or without having to break the flow of game play in order to look up minutiae. If I had a better memory, or less things which currently demand slices of my memory, I might have tried them.

    As for NWPs, I used that system back in high school when I ran 2nd edition, and from what I remember the proficiencies were sort of a non-issue... nobody ever used them much, if at all.

  3. I own the books and have enjoyed reading a bit here and a bit there, but can't really imagine using them in play.
    Non-weapon proficiencies never really came into play when we were playing AD&D (and, if I could get my wish and get a steady AD&D game going, I doubt they would again either) although I remeber rolling on a table in the DMG to see if our characters had some sort of secondary skill (like farrier or basket weaving). I can remember actually every USING this skill (i.e.: I use my basketweaving skill to make baskets to carry all of the treasure away!).

  4. How is that controversial? I thought everyone in old school-land disliked it.

  5. I said:
    "I can remember actually every USING this skill..."
    When I should have said:
    "I CANNOT remember actually EVER USING this skill (i.e.: I use my basketweaving skill to make baskets to carry all of the treasure away!)."
    I remember rolling on the table and discovering that my character might have previously been employed as a cook or a hat maker --- I just can't remember 'cooking' or 'hatmaking' comming up in any meaningful way during a game --- other than to get some guffaws and chuckles out of the players when you rolled and discovered some bizzare combination ("My illiterate barbarian has the bookbinding skill?").
    I think that Raggi is trying to be outre by saying that he LIKED the survival guides... but then he does an editorial dodge by saying he didn't like them enough to use them.

  6. great illustrations in those books. I never use them in play either, but had a lot of fun reading them. They are sort of useful as a reference before a session if the players are going on an expedition to the frozen north or a blazing desert, for instance.

  7. >>How is that controversial? I thought everyone in old school-land disliked it.

    The usual old-school land view seems to be that they are just crap and damaged in their very concept.

    I find their problem to be in my limitations, rather than their concept...