There’s a shelf full of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventures in my home that are begging me to run them. Among them are classics like The Village of Hommlet, The Tomb of Horrors, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. The Slaver Series. And so on.

For something like the last three months I’ve been perusing them individually. I’d take one off the shelf, look at it, and think: “This would be fun to run. I’ve always wanted to run this.”

Then that little nagging voice (“Resistance” as the autheor Steven Pressfield might put it) kicks in: “You don’t have time. Remember, you’ve got wargaming stuff to finish up.”

Or: “Nobody plays AD&D–first or second edition–anymore. How do you think you’re going to explain THAC0 or those combat charts to people who are used to Pathfinder or D&D Fifth Edition?”

But I’ve always wanted to run these adventures, and I don’t really feel like converting them to a more modern version of D&D. 

Or one of the many retroclones out there–or Dungeon Crawl Classics (gasp! DCC RPG will come later).

The question is now:

“How does a DM explain the ‘old school editions’ to new players and what house rules should he or she create to make the transition easier for these players?”


Update:  I first published that blog entry on January 15, 2015 on the old website. I still haven’t gotten around to running those modules. It turns out that people do still play those older versions of D&D, but they can be hard to find. 

In the meantime, I’ve made a ton of progress on all that wargaming stuff. I did try to run a DCC RPG campaign but it fell apart. 

So those old classic adventures are calling again. I’ve been taking them off the shelf, looking at them, and thinking: “This would be fun to run.” 

And once again, the question remains: “How does one explain ‘old school editions’ to new players?”

A Quick Primer to Old School Gaming, by Matt Finch, might be good start.