As everyone knows, humor is better when you explain it. So just to make sure everyone’s in on the gag, here’s your link to the cover art for Journey to the RockI’m afraid I can’t shed much light on the module’s content, mostly on account of being 0.5 years old in the year of its publication. Happily, a couple of nerds from the long-forgotten epoch of 2010 played it for us. Feel free to share in their journey.

Despite the glib advice of today’s comic, I find that journeying to yesteryear is easier said that done. At this point in my gaming career, I’ve written products for a number of modern systems. I’ve played everything from Fate to Blades in the Dark to Mutants and Masterminds. But despite learning the ropes at the feet of grognards, I’ve never had the chance to game with boxes white, red, or magenta.  I’ve quite literally had more encounters with those systems in museums than in real life.

This mess has bothered me for some time. I remember reading about the 5e design team playing through every previous iteration of the game, seeking to pick and choose and learn from each. As a self-described game designer, that sounded like a great idea.

“Wow,” said I. “We should do that too!” But as I looked towards my grognard pals, I found the hallowed halls of geekdom echoing with silence.

Turning to my contemporaries, I sought for like-minded folk. “Fellow students of gaming history!” said I. “Anybody feel like trying out some OSR titles?”

They eyed me warily. “Are you going to learn ’em and run ’em for us?”

And there’s the trouble. I’d rather pick up the style from experienced gamers than try to parse ye olde rulebooks. Yet within my circle of acquaintance, there’s a general consensus that newer titles are simpler to run, better balanced, and more intuitive. Why go back to what’s old and busted? (Or so the thinking goes.)

There’s a very real chance that I’m a lazy millennial who should simply bite the bullet and put in some hours to RTFM. I have to wonder if it’s worth the effort though? So here’s my question to all you denizens of Handbook-World. What has your experience been like with old school gaming? What parts do you miss, which bits are better off going the way of Thaumaturge, and what’s the best way to pick up hands-on experience with the style? So if you feel like indulging one gamer’s curiosity, climb into the Wayback Machine, fuel up your DeLorean, and meet me down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Thrice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.