Friday, June 22, 2018

Six More Ways To Get The Most Out of David A. Hargrave's Arduin Grimoires For Your Old School Games

So the usual controversies have been brewing in OSR land & pretty much I'm getting back into reading through the original Dungeons & Dragons along side David A. Hargrave's  Arduin Grimoires again. This is going to be about the fifth or sixth time I've tripped through The Arduin Grimoire, Welcome to Skull Tower, and The Runes Of Doom.

The best way of handling this material is to look at the modularity Arduin systems. Then decide what your players want & need for the campaign setting. The rules set has a certain familiarity to those gamers who have delved into Arduin at their leisure. Gamers & dungeon masters know that a  complete, viable, and playable Old School game system is found in the original Arduin books. Accessing that system can seem daunting at times.


Don't get intimidated by the Arduin books or material, deciding what to use is the key to bringing the old school flavor into the game for the players.

So here are six ways of bringing more Arduin into your adventures;

  1. You are not David A. Hargrave & you don't have to run Arudin as he would. Gasp, yes that's right you don't have to bend over backwards to try & fill the shoes of another dungeon master. One of the keys to Arduin or even Gary Gygax's material is the accessibility of it. Find your rhythm & flow as a dungeon master when reading Arduin & then apply it as necessary. The players will often without realizing it give you the yard stick needed during conversation & play. 
  2. Adjust the weirdness & gonzo level as the game dictates. I can't stress this enough. There's a solid set of actual playable races, PC classes, etc. within these systems. Let the players guide the game through actual play & not 'adventure' script writing. 
  3. There's a lot of give & take within the Arduin magic systems so apply it as it comes when the wizard players start delving into it. Don't get discouraged & there's nothing wrong with going back to D&D's Vancian  spell system. 
  4. Monsters can be extremely lethal from Arduin because this system was from a time when it was players vs dungeon master. If the players want to play this way & I've been in a few of these games then more power too them. 
  5. Arduin systems are best used before & during actual play. The Arduin system & books are fun. They can & should be shared with players to get the most fun & utility out of them. 
  6. Arduin dungeons have a lot to offer but take them sparingly when mixing them with published TSR modules. There are two different approaches to game design when looking at the Arduin dungeons vs the classic TSR modules. The modules are formulaic in some regards & the Arduin dungeons are competition convention  modules unto themselves.In fact in many ways they form the basis for the competition or tournament style adventures. I've learned a lot from reading, studying, going through tournament modules. There's a lot of good stuff hiding within the Arduin adventures & dungeons.

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