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I'd like to clarify Glenn Blacow's "Story Telling" mode. I have his original article posted here:


As he describes it, "In a story telling world, the non-player characters are alive offstage. History is a continuing and developing process, with the actions of both player and non-player characters affecting the course of events. Moreover, the GM has usually a very good idea of how the general trend of events is going. Also, of how the actions of the adventurers can affect things."

However, you describe it by saying that "in a story-telling campaign, the GM has worked out a story in advance and the player characters are the protagonists." I think there's an important distinction. When Blacow talks about the GM having a plan – it isn't a plan for what the PCs are supposed to do as protagonists. Rather, it is a plan for how the world will progress without their actions.


Excellent synopsis of 'Old School' Style Gaming and its Ideals. I dunno if I could've said it as well as you did, but I'd like to think so! 😀

Your Beyond Primer will be very useful as a quick read for people who may not be aware of 'Old School' and what it stands for, but who have expressed interest in RPGs.

This should be printed up and included with every Tunnels and Trolls 5.5 Rulebook/Box Set, Labyrinth Lord Rulebook, and BRP Big Gold Book/Gamebook, imo.. Swords & Wizardry Core and Basic Fantasy RPG, too. And a few more besides. 🙂 I'll be the first: I'm printing out some copies(with appropriate credit given, of course :-)) to include in my game folder for potential players of my homebrew game.

With this in hand, a hearty dose of imagination, a good rules set, some dice, pencils and paper(or a laptop, if you must…), and a little friendly encouragement and guidance, a 'new' Old School group could easily flourish.

Thanx for this excellent update to the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming.

Jenna Elf

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have read a couple other similar write-ups that were downright insulting to anything but the "old school" rulesets. Truth is – I enjoy newer rulesets but play with an old-school mentality. If a rule doesn't make sense (like the Cube example), then I don't use it. The rules aren't rules. They are guidelines, regardless of what system or edition is used – at least when I DM.

I really enjoyed this.


Great job, this was perfect.


I love Matt's Primer. It is clear from your writing that you've put a lot of thought into yours. Very nicely done. I started with D&D in late '76 and I still learn things about it. Great job. Thanks for putting it together.


Excellent Post!

Aaron E. Steele

Nice summary. I wonder if Matt shouldn't update his primer, based on the sort of remarks and feedback provided here and by other old-school bloggers. I find his primer to be an excellent introduction.