As I peruse various articles on old school gaming I come across a certain thread from time to time. Old school dungeon crawling and hex crawling campaign rules had a definite resource management side of them. Players and DM alike were supposed to carefully account for every potion, torch, ration, arrow, coil of rope, etc. acquired and expended. This, allegedly, provided a challenging mini-game within the larger game.
Frankly, I hate having to keep track of stuff whether as player or GM. It's just a annoying, boring distraction from the fun stuff.
I prefer games which either hand-wave resource management or build it smoothly into the rules. For instance, in Dungeon World you have the option of losing one "ammo" if you fail a shooting roll. Outside of that you just assume the character is being careful shooting and scavenging arrows along the way. The character does need to possess at least one notional "ammo load", but that's it. Delightfully simple.
This also goes for keeping track of various conditions or effects, particularly spell effects. In a lot of games when battle is joined you will likely have multiple spells functioning at one time to either buff the PCs or hinder their opposition. Each spell has a different duration, may allow/require saves each turn, etc. That's just more crap to have to keep track of--and who really wants to waste mental energy on that? I'm thinking it would be much better to frame durations in a way which eliminates that sort of micro-managing. A suggested set of duration frames, which I'm using in my Neo School Hack rules, is:
- Instantaneous (same round as initiated)
- One round (lasts into the round after the round initiated)
- Until end of action scene (some GM judgement on when to call it off)
- Set number of hours/days/weeks/etc. (okay a bit of tracking, but low granularity)