Since many of the people who will be playing my old-school game at the FLGS are "new" gamers (i.e. either started with 3e or 4e), I have decided to provide a short "how to" guide for old-school styled play. Now, I realize many of these tips are standard guidelines for basic role-playing, but I feel they will be useful as an "overview" of old-school styled play.
1. Think before fighting and exploring.
The adventurer’s life is a difficult one. Not only are the monsters difficult, but the dungeons themselves can be death traps.
Tips on how to evade fights:
a. Sneak. If you can sneak around a monster or group of monsters, do it!
b. Negotiate. If you are dealing with an intelligent (or semi-intelligent monster), negotiate with it. If you are dealing with an unintelligent monster (animal), throw food at it. You’ll be surprised at the results of a good attempt at negotiation.
c. Run. When all else fails: run! Remember, XP is gained more from acquiring treasure than killing monsters!
-Tips on how to evade traps and other hazards:
a. Investigate. If you think something may be trapped, then it probably is! Investigate it thoroughly!
b. Test. Always test a suspected trapped object or surface. Remember to stand some distance away when testing! …use your 10’ pole!
c. Avoid. If you lack the skill to effectively spring or remove a trap, avoid it!
2. Explore everything in detail.
a. While in a dungeon, or the wild, take time to explore every little thing.
b. Imagine the room as if it were a real room. If your DM doesn’t give you many details about the room, ask! Ask what type of furniture is in the room, what the room smells like, what sounds are in the room, what is the lighting like, etc.
c. Explore every detail of a wilderness setting. What type of landscape is it? Are there any landmarks? Are there any hidden caves or other adventure sites?
3. Imagine the campaign world or adventure site as a living, breathing environment.
a. What would you do if you actually lived in this world?
b. The key to great role-playing is to imagine yourself as an actual person living in the campaign world. If you can do something in the real world, you can also do it in the campaign world your character lives in.