So I'm finally getting a new game started. I originally wanted to try out my SKaLD rules, but since I don't know any of the players, or what their tastes are, I decided to stick to something closer to published rules. I was going to use Labyrinth Lord, but decided instead to use the latest draft of the 52 pages, which I think just amazing. It's filled with wonderful little inovations that set it apart from other rulesets. Sure, most good retro-clones come up with some good ideas, but the 52 pages seems to have something new that just works on every single page. Some favorite ideas of mine: Separate attack modifier advancement for melee and missile attacks, the Abjure Evil mechanic in place of Turn Undead, Maximum ability scores to qualify for a class (if every score is <13, the player can be a gnome, which has inate spell abilities), the encumberance system, combat sequence (very similar to the Holmes sequence),and the death and dismemberment rules for when characters reach 0 HP or lower. The only section of the rules I'm a little hesitant about is the skills section, but we'll see how that goes. It might work very well, but if it doesn't it's the type of system that can be easily and quickly adjusted or replaced. The real deciding factor for this game is that the rules are very well laid out and easy to follow. Each concept tends to be explained completely in one page, in as few words as possible.
I've met some of the players, but I've never played tabletop games with them, so I really don't know what their experience is like or how they play. The only hint I have is that most of them asked about bringing premade characters so that they wouldn't have to take the time to role them up at the game. They were all sceptical about my promises that character creation would only take about 10 minutes with this system. Based on this I'm assuming that they've never played anything older than 2e.
It's been ages since I've run any "classic" modules, so I've decided to start with one I haven't used before: B1-In Search of the Unknown. The plan is to run through this adventure, and possibly some of B2, and then throw the party at Caverns of Thracia. I originally wanted to start with CoT, but since I don't know how good my players are yet, I decided to start with something simpler. CoT can be fairly rough on inexperienced players, but once they get a few characters to 2nd or 3rd level it should provide a fair challenge. B1 seems fairly tame (though not Castle Caldwell tame) except for the one pit trap. Dropping 40' into a pool of frigid water is bad enough, but then climbing out of the water, quite possibly in complete darkness and unarmed, to come face to stinky face with a pair of troglodytes is going to be a real challenge.
I've been thinking of developing a whole campaign area based on the wilderness map from Keep on the Borderlands, or possibly the wilderness map from the original version of Palace of the Silver Princess, but i want to keep the focus on the dungeon, rather than wilderness and city adventures.