Thursday, 3 May 2012
H is for Hardcore
As in, the classic "Meat Grinder" style of D&D - Tomb of Horrors being the ur-example. Your characters are expected to die, horribly, frequently, and entertainingly.
I find it makes it hard to actually care about your character - after all, they will die, maybe not in the fights with Kobolds and Goblins, but certainly when the touch a doorknob only to find out it's a miniaturised Sphere of Annihilation, or when they fight the Tarrasque at 5th-level. You'll have a backup folio of characters to choose from (though, in true Gygaxian style, you should roll to see which you'll play next!), none of whom are too fleshed out (after all, if Hollywood taught us anyhting, it's always the guy who's three days from retirement who gets shot first).
It's certainly an entertaining concept - surviving purely by wits, luck, and out-of-character knowledge - but it strikes me as a little bit too gamey for my tastes. Like, it's not a test of your character - it's a test of your system-fu, and how well you remember the previous traps you fell to. It's less a story, and far more like a boardgame - which is fine, in its place.
In fact, I have a feeling that I could have a lot fo fun puzzling my way through a Hardcore Dungeon Crawl, should I get myself into the mindset before it. But it's not something I would want to run - not right now, at least.
Maybe when the irst o the Delraith players get to a Dragon's Lair, however...