Hey all! Great to see a healthy community here! Glad to join it.

Hey all! Great to see a healthy community here! Glad to join it.

Hey all! Great to see a healthy community here! Glad to join it.

I have a pretty open question here, and would appreciate really any discussion on the topic, from anyone.

I started playing RPGs with D&D B/X, and have played tons of different varieties of RPGs since then. I’ve gotten in to very serious, dramatic gaming as of late. However, one thing that will always stick with me is that classic, tropey, hobo-like feel of Moldvay DnD, and I love it like a first-born.

One thing I have noticed, though, with the dozens and dozens of people I have played with is the fact that your first RPG is the one that sticks with you (usually) when you think about what is super fun in this hobby. This isn’t true of everyone, but it’s pretty common.

So, with that in mind, what do you guys consider when pitching this old-school feeling to new-school mindsets? Freebooters doesn’t seem like it would sit well with a lot of people, especially those who are used to that new-school, every-game-feels-like-a-cable-TV-drama.

My gaming group is getting back together, and this old kind of play is what I have been dreaming about for a while. They all like Dungeon World, from what they’ve seen, so selling them on system won’t affect them. But I am worried they won’t love the murder-hobo premise of Freebooters.

Thoughts? How would you pitch it?

10 thoughts on “Hey all! Great to see a healthy community here! Glad to join it.”

  1. Welcome to the community, John!

    I usually am just very up-front with my players about the nature of the game, emphasizing the idea that character death is a very real possibility, and that they’d better play smart and work together in they want to survive. As I’m sure you know from your early gaming days, that kind of high-stakes play can really heighten tension

    We’ve had a lot of fun approaching it as a challenge, with the banking of silver as very much of a “high score list.” It helps to give each character a specific motivation for banking treasure, so that’s a good first-session GM question to ask. Also, the game is at its best when you embrace its randomness; Freebooters is very much about making the most out of what you’re dealt, not “crafting” a character.

    Freebooters is actually much less of a murder-hobo game than B/X because of the way XP is gained–killing lots of monsters won’t earn you more than 1 XP per session (2 if you’re a Fighter and at least one of those monsters was a “worthy foe”). You can mark XP for lots of other reasons, and banking silver is a primary way, so getting in, getting the treasure, and getting out is really the focus. Some of our best sessions have been based around avoiding conflict, and our most epic was one long grueling return to town, where the PCs were being hunted and could have met their end at any turn if they didn’t act smart and roll well.

    All that being said, the game can still handle a degree of the cable-TV-drama stuff. We have found that the personal histories, relationships, and motivations of the characters come into play quite a bit, especially in terms of group dynamics. Some NPCs have become important recurring characters, and with every return to town the place becomes a little more fleshed out.

    One thing your group really does need is a sense of humor. if anyone is really sensitive about character death it may not be a good idea.

    If you do end up getting them on board, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. Welcome to the community, John!

    I usually am just very up-front with my players about the nature of the game, emphasizing the idea that character death is a very real possibility, and that they’d better play smart and work together in they want to survive. As I’m sure you know from your early gaming days, that kind of high-stakes play can really heighten tension

    We’ve had a lot of fun approaching it as a challenge, with the banking of silver as very much of a “high score list.” It helps to give each character a specific motivation for banking treasure, so that’s a good first-session GM question to ask. Also, the game is at its best when you embrace its randomness; Freebooters is very much about making the most out of what you’re dealt, not “crafting” a character.

    Freebooters is actually much less of a murder-hobo game than B/X because of the way XP is gained–killing lots of monsters won’t earn you more than 1 XP per session (2 if you’re a Fighter and at least one of those monsters was a “worthy foe”). You can mark XP for lots of other reasons, and banking silver is a primary way, so getting in, getting the treasure, and getting out is really the focus. Some of our best sessions have been based around avoiding conflict, and our most epic was one long grueling return to town, where the PCs were being hunted and could have met their end at any turn if they didn’t act smart and roll well.

    All that being said, the game can still handle a degree of the cable-TV-drama stuff. We have found that the personal histories, relationships, and motivations of the characters come into play quite a bit, especially in terms of group dynamics. Some NPCs have become important recurring characters, and with every return to town the place becomes a little more fleshed out.

    One thing your group really does need is a sense of humor. if anyone is really sensitive about character death it may not be a good idea.

    If you do end up getting them on board, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. I am so very excited to play Freebooters. I will keep you updated!

    Also, I really appreciate your response!

    I think this is actually the right game for this group, I am just worried about either under- or over-selling it. It’s a bad habit of mine to tell everyone how awesome something is before they try it.

    Fortunately, I have one player in the group who played that old B/X campaign years ago with me. I can perhaps ricochet my love for this style off of him to the rest of the group.

    What would you begin by saying to a new (or old in my case) group what really makes this game so fun? Or should I just roll with it, be assertive, and see what happens?

  4. I am so very excited to play Freebooters. I will keep you updated!

    Also, I really appreciate your response!

    I think this is actually the right game for this group, I am just worried about either under- or over-selling it. It’s a bad habit of mine to tell everyone how awesome something is before they try it.

    Fortunately, I have one player in the group who played that old B/X campaign years ago with me. I can perhaps ricochet my love for this style off of him to the rest of the group.

    What would you begin by saying to a new (or old in my case) group what really makes this game so fun? Or should I just roll with it, be assertive, and see what happens?

  5. I would just make the dangers clear up front, and let the game become whatever it will become at your table. Definitely don’t set up any expectations! The key points to hit are that you have to commit to playing a random character; the goal is to amass as much silver as possible; smart play and teamwork are essential; and character death is a real possibility.

    I also have my players roll all of the dice, all of the time, so there’s no hidden rolling or fudging outcomes behind the scenes.

    Good luck!

  6. I would just make the dangers clear up front, and let the game become whatever it will become at your table. Definitely don’t set up any expectations! The key points to hit are that you have to commit to playing a random character; the goal is to amass as much silver as possible; smart play and teamwork are essential; and character death is a real possibility.

    I also have my players roll all of the dice, all of the time, so there’s no hidden rolling or fudging outcomes behind the scenes.

    Good luck!

  7. Thanks so much for the advice.

    I am kicking myself for not pledging more than 25 to get all the physical artifacts of the books, by the way. They’re SOOO cool. Will Freebooters or Book of Beasts be for sale anywhere?

  8. Thanks so much for the advice.

    I am kicking myself for not pledging more than 25 to get all the physical artifacts of the books, by the way. They’re SOOO cool. Will Freebooters or Book of Beasts be for sale anywhere?

  9. Sorry, John Love, I missed that question when you first posted it. You will receive A Book of Beasts with your copy of TPW, because reaching the $16,000 stretch goal made it possible for me to print and ship that book to everyone who pledged $25 or more.

    I overprinted all 3 books, and will eventually get around to setting up some sort of storefront that will allow people to order hard copies. I’ll announce that storefront here when the time comes.

    You know what, though, I see here among the 60 remaining packages that your name is on one of them, so if you want to email me at [email protected] we can work something out to add a copy of Freebooters to your order.

  10. Sorry, John Love, I missed that question when you first posted it. You will receive A Book of Beasts with your copy of TPW, because reaching the $16,000 stretch goal made it possible for me to print and ship that book to everyone who pledged $25 or more.

    I overprinted all 3 books, and will eventually get around to setting up some sort of storefront that will allow people to order hard copies. I’ll announce that storefront here when the time comes.

    You know what, though, I see here among the 60 remaining packages that your name is on one of them, so if you want to email me at [email protected] we can work something out to add a copy of Freebooters to your order.

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