Update 9/13/09: As noted by Mr. Kinsman, ROLPUNK is not part of the retro/old school movement.  Rather, it has been noted in the context of retro/old school gaming by many fans.  It is certainly relevant to all kinds of gaming (since one of the bits of the manifesto is all about shucking game and system prejudices) but I think that it is worth mentioning in my discussion here.  As always, reader input is appreciated.  Keep the discussion coming!

Update 9/14/09: I have corrected some errors I made when writing this post.  Later I shall post a follow-up with a bit more editing.  I will also stop trying to please everyone.

I have never had the opportunity to try old school or retro gaming.  To be honest, I’d never heard of it until just a few months ago.  I’d heard of a few holdouts who had yet to convert to the glory of 3.5 or 4E, but I had no idea that they’d made their own systems! I mean, really!  They make their own systems and call them Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry.  Bizarre, man.

My one experience with what was most likely a precursor to most of the retro clones occurred about seven years ago at my FLGS.  It was Worldwide D&D Day, though one of the older GMs thought it was Worldwide AD&D Day.  Naturally, he prepared a homebrew semi-AD&D adventure for us, and I got stuck in it.  To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it very much.  I didn’t know the system and I took some cues from the other players that turned out to be dead wrong.  When my paladin had an Intelligence of eight they expected me to play him according to their understanding of Int 8.  Needless to say I did not seek to repeat the experience.

I have still not returned to the land of retro clones, but I draw steadily ever closer.  The system seems much simpler now that they let you use an ascending Armor Class.  I doubt I will like S&W better than Savage Worlds or any of the other non-D&D games that I have been exploring of late, but I am more than willing to give it a try.  Gaming is all about trying new things, and why let retro clones be any different?