I decided to experiment a little bit tonight and play a bit of old school D&D. I ran a third level Basic D&D game over Skype, using a classic module, “Horror on the Hill”. We used the online whiteboard Scriblink as our game table, and rolled real dice (honor system).
A few things of note… Basic D&D is very simple, and the module is about as railroady as can be. (EDIT: I clarify this in the comments below… ) There’s really no point in not trying to be, just get to where the adventure starts and be on your way. Some of the rules are downright silly, like a character having to rest a full day to get back 1d3 HP, or rolling initiative every round and potentially granting someone the ability to attack twice in a row.
On the other hand, it’s a fast game. Combats are quick and not the focus of the game, at least not up to the point we left off… Let’s see when it turns into a dungeon crawl…
I wasn’t sure how to handle wilderness travel, which is a huge component in the adventure, so I just gave the players the map of the area with the keyed markings erased and took it from there. 10 minutes to move through a square… rolling random encounters every half an hour of travel…. yeah, should be deadly. We actually only had one combat encounter, a random one with an ogre.
Rather than tell you about my experience, I’ll let you listen to it. I split up the session into two MP3’s. Be kind when you listen to me, it’s my first time DMing anyone other than my friends at home, and my first time DMing online.
My wife was 10 feet away from me watching tv, so I couldn’t be too loud… I also barely prepped for the game, I wanted to see how much of 4e’s out-of-the-box-and-run-it exists in this edition.
All in all, it was fairly manageable, although getting back into THACO mode was a little off-putting. Thank god for the charts. 🙂
I hope my PC’s will take the time to comment about their experience, as for one of them it was his first time playing this edition of the game, along with it being only the second time he plays via skype.