Recently an old groupmate of mine has just returned from his studies in England and has shown an interest to start DMing again. Back then we used to play 3.5 but he's eager to try his hand at 4E this time. So he's been gathering up some players to run a one-shot this week.
One of the players that will be playing in the game is a friend of mine who has observed us play 4E on many occasions before but this would be his first try at any form of RPG.
While I think this is a great thing since a potential new player is entering into the fold but I do have some little qualms. Mainly because I have played under my old groupmate as a DM before and he has an....'unorthodox' way of running his games.
What concerns me the most is that my DM groupmate is a real rules hacker. I remember when we played in one of his 3.5 campaigns, he had hacked the rules with his own houserules that it felt like we were playing a different game altogether.
I know every DM is bound to have their own houserules and it wouldn't really bother me if it was minor rule changes for the sake of running the game smoothly. But I'm starting to worry what sort of effect this would have on the new player, seeing that this will be his first impression of the game where he gets his hands dirty with the mechanics.
If his first impression is wrapped into something that doesn't have any resemblance to what is being played by RAW, he might fall into the trap of 'one wayism' and it would be harder to 'undo' the damage rather than preventing it in the first place.
So my real question is, is there really such a thing as an authentic gaming experience that should be introduced to new players? Should there be some kind of 'base model' of gaming, so that new players will eventually learn what he likes and dislikes about each DM's style that he plays under and will choose accordingly? For the benefit of the greater gaming community?
Another question would be what makes an authentic experience of gaming (or in this case, 4E)? Do you think it's possible to run any RPG system without any houserules, whether from the trivial to the outrageous? Or there's another way to teach RPGs to a new player where he learns to tell the difference earlier on?
Tell me what you think in the comments.