I’ve tried to go back to 1st Edition before. The experience was anything but pleasant. At the time, I thought I would use everything: Proficiencies, classes from Oriental Adventures, the Unearthed Arcana, and, of course, the rules as written, which includes Pummeling, Grappling, Overbearing, and Psionics. We made characters (a process taking over an hour) and promptly blew all four tires when we rolled initiative. See, through the filter of years and four editions, we all had different takes on how to play the game, different house rules that created significant static in how to play. The next session, we switched to 2nd Edition. And the session after that, we went back to 4th Edition.
Last night, though, I was committed to trying it again. We steered clear of the Unearthed Arcana, non-weapon proficiencies, and anything else I knew would wreck the game. The only mishap during character creation were the unarmed combat rules, which merely succeeded in ensuring no one would dare try to throw a punch.
Party composition included a human monk, human magic-user, half-elf fighter/cleric, human fighter, half-orc fighter/assassin, and human ranger. For most of the night, we didn’t roll a single die. Pure, solid, awesome roleplaying in the city of Verbobonc. As the night came to a close, the adventurers on the road to Hommlet to find the missing Bezul, I rolled for random encounters, resulting in a pack of 8 wolves. Everything was fine and then it wasn’t. Initiative, surprise, casting times, speed factors, referencing charts and tables brought back a lot of unpleasant memories. Add to this the slaughter that ensued–the adventurers did not fare well against the starving wolves, and the night ended on a slightly sour note. So this morning, I’ve started cobbling together some house rules to speed up play. I’m attaching them here (ADD_House) in case you want a look. These are a work in progress and I imagine I’ll be tweaking the mechanics bit by bit until the game play reaches a point I can be happy to run it every two weeks.
I’ll keep you posted on how this experiment unfolds.