The D&D-esque game I was excited to play at Camp Nerdly was 13th Age, but the D&D-esque game I actually enjoyed most was Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
I guess I hadn't actually played a genuine old-school game since the Red Box era. I play Dungeon World and Storming the Wizard's Tower, but it's not the same sort of thing, as it turns out.
Some of the fun of the game came from the outstanding players and GM, of course, and some from the Nordic-death-metal-themed dungeon ("Hammers of the God"
), which was filled with corpses and blood and assorted creepy shit. But a lot of the fun came from the constant threat of death
The game was straight from the books - ability scores rolled in order (no adjustments), roll for hit point and take what you get, 1st level characters with one spell each. Our entire party only had one character with an ability score above 13. My character had 2 hit points, a club and one healing spell. She was totally unsuited for dungeon adventuring. A single blow had the chance to take her out.
Which turned out to be super fun. Because all the creepy shit in the dungeon really felt dangerous
. A pair of zombie dwarves? Ahh, get out of here! They're gonna KILL US! Just like in Robert Howard and Fritz Leiber books. If a couple zombies come at you, you run. But in most later editions of D&D, if a couple zombies come at you, it's a minor irritant.
Also, my character died. I can't remember how. Zombie dwarf, maybe.