From my modern, late 2016 perspective, the original 1974 D&D rules are just begging to be altered and house ruled, even though I really want to run the game “as is.” At least for starters.
Yet I can already imagine a player objecting the supposed “limited” options of old D&D. If you have a decent group of players, it shouldn’t too much of a problem to get them to at least try the game. Still, there will be some reservations.
One solution I can think of is to turn player objections into in-game opportunities.
House rules and additions from later supplements can arise from player desires rather than completely from GM fiat.
I’ve used this tactic in other games, and it works (for the most part–there’ll always be players who won’t be interested).
Here’s seven objections and their solutions. Can you think of any more?
1. “The Rules Aren’t Organized”
True. But they were the first. And they worked.
Encourage the player to write down notes from game play. Maybe the player could come up with his or her own reference sheets to aid the GM and the group.
Another solution: If the player really insists, use Greyharp’s “D&D Single Volume Edition” which can be found with a quick Internet search. Thanks to Fuzzy Skinner for pointing this out.
2. “You mean I can only play a fighting-man, magic-user, or a cleric?”
For now. Let’s get acquainted with the original little brown booklets first before adding classes from Greyhawk and Blackmoor.
Maybe the group hasn’t met any thieves, paladins, rangers, and so on. Maybe they need to “unlock” certain parts of the campaign in order for these, and other classes to be available.
This idea partly based on Blog of Holding’s game Dungeon Robber, where you have to retire characters at particularly experience level to unlock benefits within the game itself.
I probably wouldn’t have players retire their characters.
Yet adding these opportunities to find classes add new dimension to the game, going beyond just a hack-and-slash affair looking only treasure and experience points.
3. “All weapons do 1d6 damage. Shouldn’t a two-handed sword do more damage than a dagger?”
Certainly, if your character knows how to properly use a zweihänder. Not all fighter-types are proficient in using two-handed weapons. Maybe your character needs to find an instructor to learn how to deal extra damage.
4. “Where’s Magic Missile? Why can’t my Magic-User learn this basic spell? “
Again, maybe you haven’t encountered somebody who knows magic missile.
And have you looked at the spell description for Sleep? It’s can affect multiple low-level monsters. Some might even argue it has no saving throw.
(Don’t even tell the player Magic Missile is in the Greyhawk supplement).
5. “Clerics get no spells at first level? Really?”
That’s right. Your faith isn’t strong enough. Fortunately, clerics advance quickly at lower levels. Also, who says there aren’t other means out there to enable faster healing.
Maybe that wise woman in the woods knows something about herbalism…
6. “What? Every class gets only 1d6 hit points per level?”
So do most of the monsters. “Would you like me to make the monsters use d8s per hit die, fighters get 1d8 per HD, but clerics get only 1d6, and magic-users 1d4?”
And, no, not every class gets a HD per level. Fighting men get 1+1 at first level. Magic-users get 1+1 at second level. Clerics get 4+1 HD per level until 5th level.
7. Do I have to roll for hit points at first level?
Maximum hit points at first level is a house rule. Maybe if your character comes from nice, clean, house, with a well-stocked larder he or she will get full hit points at first level.
I depends on your character’s background.
Maybe first level characters with less than 6 hit points have begun the campaign starving or wounded?
These are just some ideas. I’m sure others have come up with more. Again, it’s about overcoming objections and getting the players to make the game their own.
What would you do (or have done?) to get a player who hasn’t played original D&D before to try the game?