Friday, January 21, 2011

Random Musings on RPG Clones vs. Frankensteins

In the world of modern old school gaming, you have your originals (D&D, AD&D, etc), your clones (OSRIC, LL) and your simulacra (LotFP, S&W, BFRPG, C&C, etc). Personally, I love 'em all - for the nostalgia, for the rules lite approach and for the fact that I find something that I like in every one that I read. Which brings to mind something that Jeff Rients once blogged about - wouldn't it be cool if you could go to a website, go through a list of D&D rules, mark check boxes of your preferred version of that rule and then click a button and have your customized D&D rules spit out as a PDF. Of course, the answer is - yes, that would be quite cool. But it also got me thinking about what my customized game might look like. Here goes ...

COVER - Tough choice, but it would either be Erol Otus or Wayne Reynolds. I know, I know ...


RACES - 3rd Edition - I like the way they handle the stats - probably the most rules lite portion of those rules

CLASSES - Either Swords & Wizardry - simple, to the point, very little need to check out the rules during play - or Castles & Crusades - more choices, but still pretty streamlined - love that single saving throw though

EQUIPMENT - Moldvay D&D, including those encumbrance rules (or maybe my own from Pars Fortuna)

COMBAT - BFRPG - really, my answer is Moldvay but with ascending AC and attack bonuses instead of charts, but I think BFRPG gets the closest to that

SPELLS - Moldvay rules with 3rd edition's breadth


So, what would your customized D&D look like?


  1. Attributes -as in D&D 3.5
    Skills- as in D&D 3.5
    Races- as in D&D 3.5
    Classes- as in Swords & Wizardry: White Box
    Equipment- as in Swords & Wizardry: Core Rules
    Combat- as is in Swords & Wizardry: White Box
    Defense and armour as DR- as in Conan
    Spells- as in Swords & Wizardry: White Box
    Monsters- as in AD&D 1ed

  2. Cover - Virgil Finlay or Ken Kelly depending on the game I'm after

    Ability Scores - Moldvay D&D

    Races - None if I could get away with it, otherwise Moldvay

    Classes - LotFP RPG

    Skills - Stars Without Number

    Equipment - LotFP, especially the encumbrance and the upcoming guns supplement

    Combat - 2nd Edition AD&D - I like THAC0 and the individual initiative system

    Spells - D20 but...

    Spell Gathering - Moldvay with the "research lets you exceed the one known per slot rule with the addition of the Netbook Arcana Unearthed rules for magical traditions to get extra slots of your tradition (not specialization...traditions are schools founded by famous mages)

    Monsters - Mazes & Minotaurs

  3. I'll be posting mine in the near future. A site like that would be awesome!

  4. That is something I have been brainstorming about - what would it take to make this a reality? I guess it would depend on how much variability people expected, and how much time/effort they'd be willing to put in to come up with their customized ruleset.

    I think most people are stuck in the old way of thinking - I must choose from one of these existing rulesets. Why not have a ruleset exactly the way you want it?

    I talk about these things in my DF post (which also discusses some clones/simulacrum I am currently working on):

  5. Ability Scores - Moldvay D&D
    Races - AS&SH (human only, cultures defined by flavor rather than rules)
    Classes - ACKS is tempting and lets me customize/build to suit
    Equipment and Encumbrance - LotFP is the most elegant around
    Combat - DCC (ascending AC, 3 saves, varied crits, Mighty Deeds)
    Spells - Jason Vey's "Secrets of Acheron" for OD&D melded with "hp to cast" from Crypts & Things, or possibly DCC
    Monsters - A wide variety from everywhere

    There'd have to be some filing off at the edges to get those pieces to stick together, but I think it could work.


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