17 March 2018

Rob Kuntz's Next "Old School" Project

On another spot here on the internet Rob Kuntz made the following observation: (quoted with permission)

We were already doing the DIY ethos correctly with the Supplements, Monster and Treasure Assortments, Geomorphs, hex pads. graph paper pads and the variant materials appearing in SR and the Dragon.  If left to its own devices more and different design philosophy routes would have manifested (no doubt including something akin to the main matter in DATG where we, much earlier, would have understood what an RPG derives from, that is its whole and not just  a limited strand plucked from it to promote a very narrowly conceived market/production cycle); instead it got side-tracked by AD^D and the market driven nature of it all through the pm adventures, tournament stuff, etc. and the original path was literally abandoned; and what remains of it today is really a mix between the two extremes in what we would consider our niche; but the mainstay is still the latter-TSR model.  I detailed this in DATG.  I have many workable ideas of what to do with the market if it were to be directed more towards the DIY ethic again than it now portrays. But until the current mindset that predominates this market driven hobby exhausts itself of its own repetitious nature, I'm not talking.

I found the thought of another of the Old Guard leaving us without his insight into OD&D and gaming would be a great loss. When I asked him to please reconsider? He said this.

Thanks for the compliments.

But let me clarify a bit. These working ideas (and modeled prototypes) are an exercise in design thinking that leads to expanding perceptions of design and play and do not represent an original style of play but instead the continuous expansion of our original way of thinking as first prodded along such a path by Arneson.

For instance, going back to Dave Arneson’s design attitude (and I recommend folks who have DATG to reread the second essay contained in it, Dimensionality in Design, where I give it a broad treatment with some specific information related to the formation, description and throttling (stepping) of his systems architecture), one must appeal to the concepts he extolled which was to break from standards. This is the only way to create something original.

In current parlance, that would supposedly mean (to the average designer) to create a new game. That is not my trajectory with the ideas I have hinted at. They are congruous with ideas of expanding thought and their implementation by way of intersecting with Arneson’s design attitude as exampled by the initial condition state of D&D.

This would more likely side, to lesser or greater degrees, with “complexity” as referenced in Gary Gygax’s quote, ‘...create a game of simplicity or ultimate complexity”. This complexity is accomplished not by scaling or additional linear inputs, but iby reorganizing the standard model (and thus realigning the assumed tenses and applications of its information) which dimensionally alters the ancient model still in use to this day while at the same time allowing for the game’s base mechanics and structures to remain in place. IOW, I have rearranged the focus of the (math) sets to function as an appendage to the system, thus creating a sustainable and overlapping model.

Thus we have a dimensional shift which looks like the following (notation) for a premade module (EX1) when compared to my proposed remodeling (EX2):

A0.......... A1 The ellipses repeat A0 as opposing resources which are overcome in game terms until A1 is reached, which is the zero-sum modification of <WIN> (or ending of the math stream), such as in completing the objective. This is the current ancient model, EX1.

Think of the above as a flat, linear plane which I will label as “A”

EX2 proposes that “A” is only a subset of a greater dimensionality (for example, A+B+C+F) which I have modeled and works.

Now, I will not reveal any further information about how I organize EX2, for that would be giving away the game.

What I will propose is this: If the community can get 300 purchasers to pledge to buy what I am proposing (not pledge money, but just to pledge to buy it when it is produced) then I can speculate on this and write it up and invest my funds in having it printed.

  1. It will be a useable adventure.
  2. Moreover, it will contain a design philosophy that is explained and exampled so as to make the expanding ideas and system organization available for others to understand and implement.

The logistics regarding the pledges would have to be nailed down. A campaign would have to be launched (quite beyond my current capabilities considering my over-burdened schedule and the need to possibly add in the crafting of the adventure, etc.). So, word would have to be spread grass-roots style and maintained as TLS collected the names and e-mails of those pledging, for example.

That is the best I can offer. It’s size and price: Not to exceed 48 pages printed and 19.95 in cost. This is the upper limit estimate. Lightly illustrated, maps, some diagrams (for design illustration purposes). So what you have here is an adventure, a new model and the described design philosophy underpinning it all.

So ... how can you express your interest in this product? I don't have to sign up for another service, do I?

No, you don't! Just shoot him an e-mail: (emphasis added, quoted with permission)

...We can use TLS's enquiries address for now: enquiries@threelinestudio.com Topic Field on e-mail: "EX2 Pledge"

The full name and e-mail address must be in the communication


  1. Replies
    1. "Dave Arneson's True Genius"


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  2. I can't see EX1 and EX2 and *not* think of Dungeonland and Land Beyond the Magic Mirror.