Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-25-2021, 06:20 AM   #11
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

I'd add my vote to T&T. We picked it up because some old review or ad said, to paraphrase, "Like D&D, but shorter and faster."
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2021, 10:47 PM   #12
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycaleb View Post
I've been playing some Deluxe Edition T&T recently, and it's a little surprising to me that T&T hasn't gotten more attention from the OSR crowd, since I think it actually embodies a lot of the OSR spirit better than early D&D.
It's even more remarkable that T&T is a reaction to the original D&D -- pre-Greyhawk, even -- and not to the complexification that would define the hobby through the mid-1980's. Very Old School, but more Reformation than Renaissance or Revival.


Having answered my original question, I'd like to ask a follow-up:

Dungeon fantasy requires relatively little preparation, with its implied setting, casual world-building, and acceptance of procedural generators (i.e., random tables). Many early dungeon fantasy rpgs (including, I think, T&T) emphasized the expansive but minutely stocked dungeon anyway.

"Low-prep" and "pick-up-and-play" are more often associated with quasi-roleplaying boardgames,* but at some point that philosophy was applied to straight rpgs. I suspect this occurred as gamers got older and busier with Real Life (tm), with less time to devote to the hobby. "Beer and pretzels" is the corresponding wargamer's term for this type of game. I would be surprised to find that it was not applied to any rpg prior to Kobolds Ate My Baby! ("The Original Beer and Pretzels Role-Playing Game!") in 1999.

So, Tunnel & Trolls is likely the first rpg deliberately offered as simple and rules-light. Is it also the first explicitly low-prep and/or pick-up-and-play rpg, or is that a later innovation?



*For my purposes, I will define the difference between boardgames and roleplaying games as instantiation: in a boardgame, you play "the" barbarian -- the one that is provided in the set -- whereas in a roleplaying game, you play "a" barbarian -- one instance, perhaps, of a type. If you play the boardgame again or another player takes your place, "the" barbarian will remain essentially the same, but one barbarian in a roleplaying game need not be more than superficially like another.
thrash is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2021, 11:25 PM   #13
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

There was a random dungeon generator back in the AD&D DMG (T&T seemed to have a standard-ish dungeon design).
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2021, 07:44 AM   #14
crazycaleb
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kentucky
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Many early dungeon fantasy rpgs (including, I think, T&T) emphasized the expansive but minutely stocked dungeon anyway.
This thread inspired me to get a copy of the First Edition Tunnels & Trolls book so I could see how it all started, and yeah I think that's pretty much right. There's a section on "Digging Your Dungeon," that gives guidelines on how to map out a multi-level dungeon on graph paper, stock it with treasure, traps, and monsters, and make a key to help you easily read it. The GM is instructed to not make the dungeon "dull" and avoid having too many empty rooms.

Character creation is prettty quick in T&T, and monsters are far quicker to stat than most other RPGs (you just assign a single numerical Monster Rating, unless you're really wanting to do something special), but this all still assumes more prep on the GMs behalf than a true "pick up and play" game.

But I think it's worth pointing out that T&T was also the first RPG to have solo books (like The Fantasy Trip would later come out with). Buffalo Castle was published in 1976 as an adventure for people who wanted to play but couldn't find a GM (it even predates the Fighting Fantasy books). If you knew how to make a character and had a copy of that, then I think the level of prep would be equivalent to any pick up and play game. But that's still quite different from the social dynamic of a pick up and play RPG.
crazycaleb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2021, 07:53 AM   #15
Turhan's Bey Company
Aluminated
 
Turhan's Bey Company's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: East of the moon, west of the stars, close to buses and shopping
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Does Paranoia (1984) talk about a rules-light approach, or just make fun of games that tend in the opposite direction?
It's a little weird about that, unsurprisingly. Early Paranoia isn't particularly rules-light. Rather, it advocates an approach to GMing which is comfortable with ignoring the rules where it seems convenient. The point of playing the game is to be fast and funny, and if skipping over the die rolls seems the way to achieve that, go for it. It might be regarded as rules-light in play, but not as written.
__________________
I've been making pointlessly shiny things, and I've got some gaming-related stuff as well as 3d printing designs.

Buy my Warehouse 23 stuff, dammit!
Turhan's Bey Company is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2021, 06:15 AM   #16
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycaleb View Post
. . . it's a little surprising to me that T&T hasn't gotten more attention from the OSR crowd, since I think it actually embodies a lot of the OSR spirit better than early D&D.
I've found it hard to take T&T seriously, although I've enjoyed playing it. It is very camp in style, and the OSR tends to want something that takes itself a little more seriously.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2021, 09:52 AM   #17
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
So, Tunnel & Trolls is likely the first rpg deliberately offered as simple and rules-light. Is it also the first explicitly low-prep and/or pick-up-and-play rpg, or is that a later innovation?
I've already mentioned Kobolds Ate My Baby! (1999). My 1999 copy of Risus: The Anything RPG (v1.4) states,
Quote:
Risus is a complete Role Playing Game (RPG) designed to provide an "RPG Lite" for those nights when the brain is too tired for exacting detail. Risus is especially valuable to GMs assembling a quick convention game, or any late-night beer-and-pretzels outing.
This is pretty unequivocally the kind of thing I'm looking for. Note that the thread of comedy systems continues.

I can get back to a (c) 1998 version with identical text via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Wikipedia entry for Risus states that Risus was first published in 1993, and a precursor (GUCS: The Generic Universal Comedy System) dates from 1989.

Does anyone have earlier versions of Risus (or even GUCS!) to confirm when this text was first introduced?

Does TWERPS have a similar statement?

Last edited by thrash; 02-27-2021 at 04:16 PM.
thrash is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2021, 09:55 PM   #18
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Does TWERPS have a similar statement?
No, it does not. I picked up a reprint from DTRPG. It jumps straight into introducing the rules through a canned scenario, with barely a word on why one would do all this -- and that word is "fun."

We are left with Risus as the earliest documented claim to being a pick-up-and-play ("beer and pretzels") sort of roleplaying game. How early (1998 vs. 1993 vs. 1989) is still to be determined.
thrash is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2021, 11:34 PM   #19
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Nothing like looking through the wikipedia list of tabletop RPGs to realize how many things I never knew about. I'm pretty sure Dinky Dungeons was after that market, but not sure what its actual advertising blurb said.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2021, 06:08 AM   #20
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: First rules-light roleplaying game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Nothing like looking through the wikipedia list of tabletop RPGs to realize how many things I never knew about.
That list is at least easier to navigate than RPGGeek.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure Dinky Dungeons was after that market, but not sure what its actual advertising blurb said.
Agreed. There seems to be a still-active fan community at dinkydungeons.com. Perhaps I can get someone there to comment.
thrash is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.