|Geomorph by Fighting Fantasist|
Many, many games were played with this mechanistic, 8-bit digital method. Many more would be played using the more sophisticated rules that interacted with character skills and eventually turned into Spot checks. What almost nobody was doing was the "player skill" method that's seized the Old School mantle. Next to no space in Dragon magazine was dedicated to elaborate analog mechanical trap descriptions in the manner of Courtney's Hack & Slash blog. What you saw instead was rules, charts, tables.
So does your Old School Reenactment involve tooling around a graph paper funhouse just rolling for pits and doors? And if your Old School Rejuvenation involves tapping ahead with a pole, what effect does that have? Is the pit lid heavy or light? Might it tip open or echo with a tap? These are questions that need analog solutions, immediately bypassing the "roll 1 or 2" crudity of the Old School Rules.
Tomb of the Iron God is the dungeon we have been playing in since January. It's by Matt Finch, who also authored the 95 Theses of player skill, the Quick Primer. By the Primer, using player skill for pits and secret doors requires analog descriptions of their mechanisms. But in the module, recreating the more usual form of Old School play (or perhaps just out of reflex), you have oodles of un-detailed pit traps and secret doors. Bam! Contradiction. Yes, the module notes tell you to ad-lib ... and ad-lib I did. But I would have appreciated being tossed at least a bone or two for such frequent, important, and eventually unexplained features of the catacombs.
Next time ... my solutions and the players', an in-play review.