You Are Never A Clone
I'm finding some great inspiration in the Old School Renaissance (OSR) movement. A few things I've seen stressed here and there that are great include:
- Kludge it until it's right - Don't just stick with the rules as written if the don't get what you're going for, mess with it a bit.
- World first, mechanics later (if necessary) - The mechanics provided are just to give a
- Player creativity first, character skills later (if necessary) - If the players have interesting ideas, don't force them to be constrained to their character's mental stats and training. If it seems remotely plausible, let it happen. If they're looking for something in a reasonable manner, let them find it. Let them solve puzzles rather than rolling to overcome them. A roll might notice something, but thorough searching can do the same, and actual thought will be necessary to overcome the problem.
- Skills later (if necessary) - Skill rolls can be saved for dramatically appropriate times: combat, contests, saving throws, deciding between consequences, deciding how badly or well something important turned out.
- DM: Don't be a jerk - Don't pixelbitch or railroad. Give PCs plenty of info on a subject if they ask. Let them come up with their own solutions to an issue and give them the benefit of the doubt on effectiveness of those solutions. Trust their expertise.
This is not to say that OSR has a monopoly on these things, nor that all OSR proponents would even get behind every point stated without some qualifications. But they are something I've drawn from the movement.
Another word that gets tossed around a lot is "clone". Plenty of folks really like the simplicity or elegance of some of the old rules, or just have a nostalgia for various aspects. Recently of course a rash of clones of the old versions of D&D have sprung up. And they're pretty neat games.
But as much as I'm intrigued by the old games, I'm really not in the market for yet another game along the lines of the original D&D rules. The Crude Simulation Engine might draw a few bits here and there from these games, but it is certainly a separate beast in many ways.
Not so much a "clone", more of a "fork", and not so much old school renaissance, as old school inspired.
To coin a phrase CSE is an "OSI fork".