Mi suegra just got in from Mexico tonight, so I was up talking to her a bit. Now I'm just cooking up some pacifiers. And reading the forums over at Dragonsfoot.
Dammit...I refuse to be sucked into them!
And yet they have so many interesting topics...blog posts for days! It's been a while since I was hot on forums (I prefer to prowl the blog-o-sphere for my sordid gratifications) so I don't really remember proper forum etiquette. Is it considered necromancy to post on a 2 week old thread? Man, they seem fairly active over there.
Of course, there's "active" and there's active. Topics seem a little scattered, though that appears to be due in part to MY favorite edition being lumped together with Holmes and BECMI and the RC, etc. Still, there are definitely some useful threads/food for thought.
The guys playing Basic without ability scores...wow, it's not often I hear something new that blows my mind (understand I think about this D&D stuff an awful lot), but it makes quite a bit of sense in light of my more recent musings (not posted here...sorry), about ability scores NOT needing to describe characters. Consider instead that they are simply random customizations of varying in-game effectiveness whose names are nothing more than a short-hand for the arenas of customization.
You grok what I'm saying? FOR EXAMPLE, "Strength" is a misleading term...it conjures to mind muscles and fitness and size and physique. What if instead we just called it:
"melee hit/damage bonus"
Then, all of a sudden it could represent a lot more than "just muscles." Maybe your character is just lucky when it comes to bashing people. Maybe you're super-fast and skilled in hand-to-hand. Maybe you've got a giant frigging hook where your left arm used to be and you've taught yourself to use it as a 2nd weapon, giving you a fat bonus when fighting in melee.
Who knows? It can be ANYTHING. Conversely, your character with a Strength of 5 may be incredibly muscled and fit...but be completely untrained and hopeless in a stand-up fight.
I really like the idea that ability scores describe nothing more than "in-game" effectiveness. It leaves so much more open to the imagination. Your character might be missing an eye and have a speech impediment but you rolled a high DEX and CHA...how do you explain that? Well, he's learned to COMPENSATE for his impairments. Just imagine how good he'd be if he had BOTH eyes! Likewise, the guy with the CHA of 3 may be incredibly suave, smooth-talking, and attractive, but something about him just rubs people the wrong way (he's too perfect) AND he has a tendency to pick terrible hirelings (what with their low-low-low Morale score).
Anyway, just some things to think about. I'm going to consider getting rid of ability scores in a future B/X game. Are they really necessary? Really?