The Old School Revolution… One Step At A Time!
While waiting while my car was being washed, I decided to amble over to the local game store. In the back, while I looked through the offerings, I overheard one of the staff giving a pitch…
The customer was a dad in his mid-thirties accompanied by what appeared to be his ten year old son. As the clerk detailed all the books in the system he was trying to sell – it was Pathfinder – I could see the poor father’s eyes start to glaze over.
“Of course you need the ‘Players’ Guide,’” the clerk expounded, doing his job. He reached for yet another over-priced hardcover and added, “And some of the best spells are in here” – pointing to another.
The kid was oblivious to the discussion. While his father got the pitch, his eyes were racing around while trying to make sense of all the stuff in the store.
I carefully chose my moment and sidled up behind the clerk where he couldn’t see me. Reaching into a bin, I pulled up a copy of the only OSR clone I could find in the shop – it happened to be Labyrinth Lord – and tapped the cover meaningfully with my index finger so the dad could see it. Deep into his droning presentation, the clerk took no notice. I slid the book back into the bin and returned to my casual browsing.
Carrying all the tomes the nerdy salesperson had laden him with, the dad approached me a few minutes later.
“What was that book you were pointing to?,” he asked me curiously.
I went and found it again.
“You don’t need all that crap,” I told him while motioning to his burden. “You can get everything you need in this book,” I explained. “It’s simple to understand and your kid can learn it himself.”
We talked for awhile and I made my case for the OSR. “The game moves faster and all that stuff is superfluous,” I explained. “Your son will appreciate a fast moving game more anyway.”
“You know, when I used to play in High School and college,” he told me as he considered my argument, “the rules weren’t very important to us after awhile anyway – we made up a lot of stuff and just did what we wanted to.”
“You don’t need anything but a basic framework,” I said. “You know enough already.”
“And I love the old-school style illustrations in this. Look everything we need, all the monsters, is in one book,” he said. I knew he was figuring the costs of all the Pathfinder rules and manuals the clerk had told him he “needed.”
“It’s only twenty bucks,” I pointed out. “If you need more stuff, just look for ideas online.”
“Come on,” he said to his son whole putting down the Pathfinder books. “We’re going to go with Labyrinth Lord – this will be great!”
As they headed for the check out counter I knew my work there was done.
True, Labyrinth Lord is not my favorite clone, but I was happy to see him walking out with it rather than more overpriced, useless junk.