My birthday is next week and, as anyone who reaches a certain age knows, there's increasingly less enthusiasm about celebrating the occasion of one's birth as the years wear on. However, I have a longstanding tradition of getting together with friends for dinner to celebrate and I am loath to break with tradition, when possible. So, after some thought, I concluded that, instead of going out for dinner, we'd meet at my place, order in a lot of food, and spend the evening playing a one-shot old school adventure.
I'm pretty keen to do this, because it'll be the first time in years that I'll have a large party of adventurers and I think the one-shot is a lost art form. As I've lamented many times in the past, RPGs have become too focused on story for my tastes. "Campaign" has become synonymous with "story arc" and it's made self-contained one-shot adventures with a bunch of random characters a thing of the past. I miss them and I figured here's my chance to give it a whirl again.
For simplicity's sake, I'm using the Moldvay/Cook rules. They're straightforward, accessible, and everyone knows them, including my nearly 9 year-old daughter, who's expressed an interest in joining in on the fun. I've been spending the last little while randomly generating PCs to use as both starting characters and replacements for the inevitable deaths. It's been a very eye-opening exercise, not least of all because I'm finding that, far from generating poor characters, rolling 3D6 in order is generating very average characters, often with one stand-out ability score -- "stand-out" being 14 or 15 usually, with a rare one being 16+. I can't help but like that. Not only do I see how easy it would be to "get into" these characters, but it makes me realize that a truly high ability score is a rarity that sets that character apart. If your Fighter has a 17 or 18 Strength, he's a veritable Hercules as far as the setting goes, because the odds of his encountering another Fighter equally strong is small. Personally, I find that really cool.
Anyway, I'll be sure to post about how this experiment turns out. I think it's going to be a blast, but we shall see.