Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tim Kask Video Interview

Markus Siebler was kind enough to pass along a link to this video interview with Tim Kask by Fear the Boot. It's a very interesting, if brief, interview that includes a mention of the company that he, Jim Ward, and Frank Mentzer are in the midst of founding. From my perspective, I found the fact that he was running an adventure for a proper old school party of 12+ participants. I remember fondly the days when my friends and I, along with guys we barely knew, used to plunge headlong into dungeons. Half the fun of those days was getting the party to work well together. Sometimes I can't help but feel that the ever-shrinking number of participants in most campaigns is another contributing factor to the death of the Old Ways.


  1. I've ran a few games with 7+ players lately and I have to say the results were not always pretty. It is hard to get that many people to work together (and hard to keep everyone's attention on the game). But it can be pretty exciting at times and I never feel to bad about throwing a lot of stuff at the party.

  2. Eli Elder: "It is hard to get that many people to work together (and hard to keep everyone's attention on the game)."

    On the subject of keeping everyone in a big group engaged even when it isn't their turn, I had some success using the "players roll all dice" approach. Basically, in that system the DM doesn't roll if she can avoid it. Instead of monsters rolling to hit, the players roll to defend against the monster's static attack value. Depending on which version of D&D you run you do something similar for attacks against their other defenses or what have you.

    The psychology of this works wonders. In the one game I've tried this in so far I really felt that the players were paying more attention to the sequence of events outside of their turn, since they felt (however delusionally) that they had more control over the situation. It doesn't take much effort to set up either, just a little mental reverse engineering that you can scribble into the margin of your combat notes if need be.

  3. I want to see those SOPs.

  4. It would be great to somehow get some actual play recordings from a group like this. I'd love to be able to study the GM techniques.

  5. This has nothing to do with the video. I just noticed that you changed your,"about me" profile, and, dang it James! I want gaming houris too!
    It's not fair! I never even played 2e, I'm far more hidebound and curmudgeonly than you! Oh, you pretend to disparage the new school, but I know better. You, you'!

  6. Open-minded? Me? Why, if you poke around the Internet a bit, you'll quickly learn that I'm a thoughtless, brain-addled old fogey, seething with rage and resentment of my betters and my own creeping senescence. I am Hate and Envy personified.

  7. my Mutant Future campaign has been drawing a rotating cast of between 6 and 10 people a session, and while it is a little challenging I am having WAY more fun than the 3-4 player games I am used to running. Part of it is that the system is rules light and fun heavy, which is a good thing.

    I did steal a page from Delta's playbook; I make sure everyone acts QUICKLY on their turn in combat or they lose it. This helps a lot.

    @Auatic Environment: Good idea on having the players roll a defense roll against the monsters static attack, I will probably implement that even though everyone seems to be engaged and having a good time anyway. I seem to have an uncanny nack for rolling 20's at an obscene rate when I DM, and as I roll everything in the open I have already dropped four PCs in the last three sessions. Of course, they got themselves into the mess each time, but still, I think if they were rolling it would be a little easier to take (not that anyone has complained about dying, on the contrary, it only seems to make them more engaged in the life and death struggle they find themselves in!).

  8. Most telling was the presence of the white boxes around the table. Is one's ownership of a set of LBBs the key to initiation into the inner circle?

    I wonder what ancient mysteries will be revealed once the doors are tiled.

    Don't get me wrong, i'm not knocking the LBBs. While arcane, they are a wonderful resource. But why are the players not wearing gloves when they handle them.

  9. Is one's ownership of a set of LBBs the key to initiation into the inner circle?

    By no means, but possession of a set is as close to a status symbol as there is in many corners of the old school movement.

    But why are the players not wearing gloves when they handle them.

    Speaking as someone who uses his LBBs + Supplements each week when we play, I don't consider them to be religious artifacts; they're game books and, as such, meant to be used in play. My attitude isn't unique and many old schoolers use the same dog-eared copies of the LBBs they've had since 1974. What's the point in having them if you're not going to use them?