New player getting a group; asking for tips

Hey guys, I hope your day is going well.  I picked up a couple of ACKS books during the GM sale and have been enjoying the system.  I recently decided I wanted to go ahead and try and get a group together on Roll20 online for a few games.  Those of you who have played the system, are there any tips or things that you recommend for new DMs? 

I mostly have experience with DMing Pathfinder/DnD 5E, and my only real experience with an OSR style of system was the 90s cRPGs(Baldur's Gate).  Also, don't know if this is allowed or not, but I'll plug my Roll20 thingy.  I'm basically looking for players for a twice a month game from about 1930 - 2200 Eastern time.  The only day I am not able to work into the schedule is Fridays and every other Sundays (I have a live 5E group on Fridays and I play Cryptomancer every other Sunday).  I'm looking to use the Dwimmermount campaign setting (I'm still reading through it currently).  If you guys are interested, let me know. The roll 20 thingy is:


ACKs was the first really old school game I tried to run, it can definitely be intimidating because it's not quite as rules light as other games like LotFP or Labyrinth Lord.  I had a similar background to yours except 4e, but with plenty of 3.5 and pathfinder.

My biggest suggestion is to try to get an understand of what a dungeon crawl is supposed to be like in old-school rather than new-school play.  You want to be aware of why things like carefully tracking turns, torchlight, and wandering monsters is done.  but also be prepared to tweak the results of what the rules say as what is unfolding dictates.  Doing things by the book will create the kind of interesting and challenging situations of danger and scarce resources that OSR players love, but it's up to the judge to bring the actual situation to life through descriptions, and in reacting believably to what players think up.


Your first instinct, coming from PF/5e, when someone tries to do something, is to come up with a roll for them to make.  You definitely want to resist that.  Be prepared to let things just happen because a player described a solution cleverly enough, even if it short circuits a challenge you had planned.  Also be willing to tell them something won't work, but when you're in that nebulous middle ground where you're not sure if something will work, even before I let them reach for the dice, I like to try "Yes, but..." and offer them a tradeoff before putting it to a roll.

I grew up with 3.x, played a bunch of other games when 4e happened, and settled on ACKS. I started writing a series of blog posts aimed at DMs new to the old-school style. The posts I completed are here: 1 and 2.

I might also be interested in playing; five hours a month seems like a manageable commitment, and I’m probably one of about three people on this forum who hasn’t read Dwimmermount d: