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[Classic DnD]Das Olden Skoolz - And We Don't Mean 3e Either! (OP Update 8/24)

ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Critical Failures
Come, come into my dungeon...yes, you've come looking for information, haven't you?

Oh, I know - you "roleplay". Your precious "eladrin" and his "dragonborn" buddies run around getting "challenged" by "monsters". Pah. Like you know monsters. Back in my day, Tucker's Kobolds were enough to be frightened by...but even they are forgotten, like so many others.

You have come, intrigued by my posts in the blasphemous 4e thread, my whispers of things like the White Box, or BECMI, or the Rules Cyclopedia. You're curious about the names Planescape, Dark Sun...Spelljammer, and seek more. Those cursed fools from Wizards of the Coast tease you with them, so softly, so softly, but what they release are hideous and malformed in the eyes of those that knew them once.

Witness now the discussion of the Old School - the editions before Third Edition! Before the Wizards of the Coast! Back when Dungeons and Dragons was published by Gary Gygax and a little company known as Tactical Studies Rules...


Welcome to the thread that talks about Dungeons and Dragons before they were owned by Wizards of the Coast, when men were fighting men and wizards got a d4 worth of HPs and a dagger.

What are we going to discuss here? Lots of interesting things. For a supposedly "dead" set of systems, there's enough here to keep both the crusty old grognard happy and the bright eye'd, bushy tailed newbie begging for more.

Like what, you ask? Well, there's an Old School Renaissance going on right now, if you haven't heard - utilizing 3e's d20 system license to harness the power of the old editions and revamp them with new school design philosophy. The movement has spread from forum to blog roll to email news groups and brought myriad grognards together to retemper the old days of breaking out the dice, the pencil, and the hex paper and heading out for adventure.

Maybe you're a newbie to the Dungeons and Dragons scene. You've hung around on the Critical Failures 4e thread and you've heard a few of us talking about the great campaign settings of the day - Greyhawk, Mystara, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and others. Or maybe you've caught wind of some of the other stuff - like, what does Chainmail have to do with anything? What's the difference between White Box and Brown Box DnD? Isn't Unearthed Arcana a book that Monte Cook wrote? Maybe you know the name Gygax and you're familiar with DiTerlizzi (he did work for DnD???), but who's Arneson, Mentzer, and Cook? Since when has it been called "the" Dragon?

Don't panic. You're among friends. This first post will be the clearing house for links to everything we talk about, with a full on glossary of terms to keep you up with everything that we're talking about. And feel free to ask questions - among geeks, its a sign of respect to ask for more information. We won't bite you here.

So relax, put your feet up, and get to reading. You won't be able to tell your Snail Flail from your Tanar'ri until you do. And always remember to bring your 10' pole.

What The Hell Does That Mean? (A Glossary of Terms)
0e DnD: Before Gygax formalized the rules into what we know as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, this is the version of DnD that people played back in the 70s. It spans from Chainmail to the "White Box" to the Supplements, eventually culminating in the "Brown Box" DnD. After that, the DnD line was split into the Advanced and Basic lines and 1e was published.

BECMI - "Basic" version of DnD (compared to "Advanced" Dungeons and Dragons) that was meant as a stepping stone for newer and less experienced players to learn the ropes of pretending to be an elf and stabbing orcs without dealing with the complexity of the AD&D rules set. BECMI stands for Basic Expert Champion Master and Immortal - five books, each representing the next step in both level and rules complexity and eventually rolled into one big compendium, the Rules Cyclopedia.

Classic DnD - The editions published prior to Third Edition. Simpler than typing out "pre-3e" all the damn time.

The Golden Age of Campaign Settings, aka the Golden Age: the time that material was being published for six different campaign settings for 2e DnD - Planescape, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Birthright. This was the cream of the crop for everything from writing to illustration but also lead to the death of TSR.

Old School Renaissance - AKA "The OSR": A resurging of interest in the classic systems, generally from the 70s and 80s, a fusion of old school mentality and classic rule sets. The original, grand daddy of them all was OSRIC, a re-imagining of 0e DnD using the d20 SRD document. The movement has moved beyond DnD and is starting to stretch out to encompass other games from this era.

Tactical Studies Rules, aka TSR: The publishing company that Gary Gygax created to manage DnD. Was bought out from him by the Williams family, who kicked him out and started The Dark Days of DnD, usually abbreviated to T$R. If you're catching a M$ vibe, you're in the right.

Das Old School Renaissance

Games - These are the current biggies, but definitely not the only ones out there...
OSRIC <---Free Game Behind This Link!
OSRIC, short for Old School Reference and Index Compilation, describes itself as "a compilation of rules for old school-style fantasy gaming...intended to reproduce underlying rules used in the late 1970s to early 1980s" [1]. It is a role-playing game. Although OSRIC never refers to this directly for legal reasons, it is intended to reproduce the rules of the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.
This is pretty much the beginning of the old school movement. By combining the rules for 1e DnD and the d20 SRD, old school fans were able to produce a "new" version of the original 1e system and publish new material for it while skirting the copyrights held by WotC. That opened the flood gates to...


Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game <---- Free Game Behind This Link!
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game (BFRPG) is "(a)n old-school roleplaying game in the style of Moldvay and Cook", written by Chris Gonnerman and many other contributors. It is freely available in PDF and OpenDocument formats, along with numerous supplements, from the game's website. BFRPG is stylistically similar to, and largely compatible with, the 1981 D&D Basic and Expert sets ("B/X D&D") edited by Tom Moldvay and Zeb Cook respectively. Its differences from B/X D&D include d20-style ascending armor class and separation of character race and class.


Labyrinth Lord <---- Free Game Behind This Link!
Labyrinth Lord (LL) is a fantasy role-playing game written and edited by Daniel Proctor and published by Goblinoid Games, which attempts to recreate the "look and feel" of classic era Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) using the Open Game License (OGL) from Wizards of the Coast. LL borrows its inspiration from the 1981 D&D ruleset revision edited by Tom Moldvay. This version, referred to as "B/X" (for Basic/Expert Set) or simply "Moldvay" by its fans, is considered by many old-school gamers to be the most coherent and well written version of the D&D game.

Any adventure written to be played with Moldvay's D&D can be run using LL with little or no adjustment to the presentation. The entire rulebook is organized in a logical manner, building from the low level introductory material dealing with beginning adventurers all the way to 20th level. In between are monsters from A to Z, advice for designing and stocking labyrinths, magic items and spells, and more.


Swords and Wizardry <--- Free Game Behind This Link!
There are two versions of Swords and Wizardry: "Core" and "White Box." Core is currently available in Word DOC format, and will be available as a PDF or POD very soon. White Box is still being worked on, but is nearing completion.

S&W:Core is similar to the 1974 "0e" rules with some additions from later rules supplements. Hit dice are slightly different, but remain d6 based. Monster hit dice are d8. Other differences include saving throws (S&W uses a "single category saving throw"), slightly different prime requisite bonuses, different XP charts (although they're similar), different (but low-powered) attribute bonuses, and a "flip-AC" system (you choose which approach you prefer: high=good or low=good). It has expanded spell lists and monsters (i.e. includes material from the supplemental rules), and uses the supplemental rules for XP awards. Weapons do variable amounts of damage. Monsters do too, and may have multiple attacks (e.g. claw/claw/bite).

S&W:White Box is similar to the 1974 rules without additions from later supplements. All hit dice (monsters and PCs) are d6-based. It, too, uses the "single category saving throw." XP progression is slightly different. Ability bonuses are closer to the original 0e rules. Spell lists are similar to the 0e rules, without some of the spells from later supplements. Monsters typically have a single attack and do d6 damage, with a few exceptions. The "flip-AC" system is used.


Castles and Crusades
Castles & Crusades is a role-playing game published by Troll Lord Games in 2004. It was conceived as a reimagining of classic Dungeons & Dragons using streamlined mechanics from third edition Dungeons & Dragons. The game uses many of the d20 System mechanics, but eliminates skills and feats and expands the number of character classes to 13. Another feature is the reversion of some rules to the original versions seen in original Dungeons & Dragons (often referred to as "OD&D") or first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D).

The system that Castles & Crusades uses is called the SIEGE Engine. A significant new mechanic is the notion of "Primes," often referred to by gamers as the 12/18 system.[citation needed] Through selection of character class and race, players designate some of their character's attributes as "Prime." These Prime attributes use a challenge base of 12, while non-Prime attributes use a challenge base of 18. Tasks based on the Prime attribute are therefore much easier to accomplish than those based on non-Primes. Primes allow a wider variety of characters to be created because characters of same class may excel at different types of tasks.

This one is especially interesting, because it's who Gary Gygax was working with before his untimely death. For that reason, a lot of people see it as kind of a spiritual successor to Dungeons and Dragons.

Old School Communities
Dragonsfoot - Way, way old school gaming. We're talking people resistant to 2e here people! However, tons of good resources, from new old school adventures to having such old school luminaries as Gary Gygax, Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer and others from the original TSR / Dragon / Dungeon days, each with their own individual Q & A threads. Just mind the insane amount of hatred towards anyone playing WotC DnD editions.


Knights and Knaves Alehouse
This board is for the discussion of OLD SCHOOL style games and gaming, specifically: Original Dungeons and Dragons (the little books), 1e Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Judges Guild Products for OD&D and AD&D, special projects for board members that want to create adventures for OD&D AD&D and a misc. game area that will cover a few other games (Boot Hill, non-clicky miniatures [Battletech, 40k, Historicals], Travellers, Call of Cthulhu and other BRP system games, Tunnels and Trolls Adventures, Holmes Basic D&D).


OD&D Discussion - Pretty much exactly as it says on the tin.


Swords & Wizardry Forums - Official S&W forum


Troll Lords Game Forums - Official Castles & Crusades and other Troll Lord Game stuff forums

Old School Renassaince Resources
Knockspell Magazine
Knockspell is the magazine of fantasy retro-clone gaming and the original editions: 0e, 1e, and Moldvay Basic. If you play Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, or Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game, this is the place for you to find resources like modules, new character classes, monsters, spells, and articles on all things old-school fantasy!


Fight On! Magazine
Fight On! is a journal of shared fantasy. We who read and write for this magazine are a community of role-playing enthusiasts unified by our love of the freewheeling, do-it-yourself approach that birthed this hobby back in the 1970's. We are wargamers who write our own rules and fantasists who build our own worlds, weekend warriors sharing dreams of glory and authors collaborating on tales of heroism and valor. We talk, paint, draw, write, act, costume, build, and roll dice in service of our visions.


Places to Go, More Things To Read
Blogs
Grognardia - Written by James Maliz-I-Couldn't-For-The-Life-Of-Me-Spell-The-Rest-Of-His-Name, a blog focused around early classic DnD editions, stopping right around the beginning to mid-1980s - essentially when Gary left. Has some interesting thoughts about post-Gary TSR, but a wealth of information on classic DnD gaming.


Jeff's Game Blog - Simple name, right? Coined the name "retro-stupid" for old school games that pretty much just follow the Rule of Cool. Has interesting thoughts on all sorts of old school topics, system discussion, gaming philosophy, and gave us Shatnerdays! He's also a contributor to the OSR and to Fight On! magazine (which is where I found it in the first place).

Golden Age Campaign Settings
Discussion Forums
The Piazza - I hang out with these guys. This is a group split off from the Original Worlds forum on the WotC boards when they got a little frustrated with WotC shutting down their hang out spot (it happens). Discussion revolves around Golden Age settings like Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Dragonlance but with a strong focus on Mystara and Spelljammer. Many of the members are part of groups either collecting, creating or converting settings, so you'll find information galore. There is a very strong bias towards fluff over crunch (which has lead to some minor fights between myself and a member or two) but the reading here is amazing.

READ MY BLOG - Web Serial Fantasy - Tabletop Gaming Snips & Reviews - Flea Market Hunting
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Posts

  • AriviaArivia I Like A Challenge Earth-1Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I have to say, for all 3e's various quirks, at no stage in character creation was it as confusing as trying to roll a specialty priest.

    Arivia on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    So has anyone played any of the various retroclones out there - OSRIC, Labyrinth Lords, Swords and Wizardry, etc? I'm curious what each of their shticks is and what, if any, significant differences exist between them.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Goddammit guys, I've got a 2E Player's Handbook. Someone run something so I can see what all the fuss is about.
    I used to have two of the little brown class books--one was for mages and I think the other one was for bards? They are lost somewhere in my attic.

    edit: I'm kind of interested to hear about the retroclones myself.

    Mike Danger on
    Steam: Mike Danger | PSN/NNID: remadeking | 3DS: 2079-9204-4075
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  • WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    What what Mystara represent

    Wildcat on
  • AriviaArivia I Like A Challenge Earth-1Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I can add 2e FR/old gray boxiness in as an option in my game thread, if people would like.

    Arivia on
    huntresssig.jpg
  • WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Yesyes

    Wildcat on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I've got a pdf of the Rules Cyclopedia. It's pretty fun reading in parts but I don't think I'd ever want to run it. Maybe play it with a good DM.

    That's about the extent of my old school cred.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think I'm going to be the "purist" in here. I don't think the OSR includes 2E. 2E is when all the design philosophy changed. The OSR isn't about glorifying the old, so much as identifying why people like it better.

    The retroclones came about to create a legal way to release new modules for old systems. The old systems are also kind of poorly written/amalgamated, so it was a way to get someone the OD&D rules in one package.

    A brief survey:

    OSRIC: This is a AD&D 1E clone.
    Swords & Wizardry: The original OD&D rules. This includes the 3 "core" brown books as well as a couple of the supplements. There's a "white box" version as well that just apes the rules of the 3 books.
    Castles & Crusades: One of the proto-OSR games, this is actually based on d20. Not very popular at the moment.
    Labyrinth Lord: Another OD&D clone (I think). I know next to nothing about this one.

    One of the best summaries of the OSR and its play and design philosophies that I've read is the Old School Primer by Mythmere Game's Matthew Finch (the people who do Swords and Wizardry). It's a free PDF download here: http://www.lulu.com/content/3019374

    Praised be the name of Gygax, we roll polyhedrals in his honor.

    zenpotato on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I started with AD&D and worked my way backwards from there.

    Well, that's not strictly true. I started with Palladium Fantasy RPG, then Rifts, THEN AD&D.

    I have run at least a short campaign in every edition of D&D to date. Used bookstores are a godsend for anyone jonesing for some old school action.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    The first edition Fiend Folio needs to be seen to be believed.
    And I mean that with all affection.

    Hachface on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    The first edition Fiend Folio needs to be seen to be believed.
    And I mean that with all affection.

    Was that the one where they statted out the Gazebo?

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    The first edition Fiend Folio needs to be seen to be believed.
    And I mean that with all affection.

    Was that the one where they statted out the Gazebo?

    No.
    But it gave us the flail snail, the berbalang, and the ssussuruss.

    Hachface on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    The first edition Fiend Folio needs to be seen to be believed.
    And I mean that with all affection.

    Was that the one where they statted out the Gazebo?

    No.
    But it gave us the flail snail, the berbalang, and the ssussuruss.
    Oh man, the Flail Snail.

    Such wonderfully disturbing memories of dropping that one on my PCs.

    That and rooms where the furniture, walls, ceiling and floor were all trying to eat them. The best rooms are carnivorous rooms.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Bros before Does Rollin' in the thlayRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    What I've been finding fascinating recently is just how differently people learned to play old-school RPGs from each other. I'm not talking about the amount of homebrewing needed back in 2e/3e or intrigue/mystery style adventures without combat, but the utterly hodge-podge assimilation of system and self-taught 'found gameplay' that originated from the use of loosely divided rule books and newsletter expansions.

    Both 4th ed designers in Wizard's Divine Power podcast admitted they began playing D&D without using a tabletop or dice. One of them learned from gradeschool friends whose only books owned were the adventure modules; they just roleplayed responses based on the sort of fantasy stuff outlined in the adventure. He didn't even know there were 'rule books' with charts and numbers until middleschool.

    I recall a blogger recently played a game of 0e with one of the original players of the '74 midwest RPG scene, who finally got a look at the Chainmail rules and saw just all the detailed stuff the original D&D game was referring to when it said 'see Chainmail'. His reaction was "holy shit, we never played with any of this stuff."

    It sort of begs the question what 'old school' even was but a bunch of heavily personailized views and interpretations of acting out elves and dungeon-crawling with a wargame framework, if even that.

    Utsanomiko on
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  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Utsanomiko wrote: »
    Both 4th ed designers in Wizard's Divine Power podcast admitted they began playing D&D without using a tabletop or dice. One of them learned from gradeschool friends whose only books owned were the adventure modules; they just roleplayed responses based on the sort of fantasy stuff outlined in the adventure. He didn't even know there were 'rule books' with charts and numbers until middleschool.

    I did this from ages 9 to 11. I became aware of the Player's Handbook at age 10, but didn't get it for Christmas until a year later.

    Edit: First module was Dragon Mountain. Good times, good times.

    Hachface on
  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Old school doesn't have anything to do with how people used to play games; it's about how people now play games using aspects of stuff they think was phased out of the current rule systems.

    It's kind of alike a "what if" alternate history kind of thing. What if instead of Dragonlance and Complete handbooks, the game evolved in this other direction?

    zenpotato on
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    zenpotato wrote: »
    Old school doesn't have anything to do with how people used to play games; it's about how people now play games using aspects of stuff they think was phased out of the current rule systems.

    It's kind of alike a "what if" alternate history kind of thing. What if instead of Dragonlance and Complete handbooks, the game evolved in this other direction?

    This part here seems to conflate narrative and mechanical departures, which are I think distinct. 2e changed the way published adventures are played (lots of novelistic epics, with metaplot!) but it wasn't until 3e that we got a shiny new (semi-)functional skill system.

    Hachface on
  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    There were the first pieces of a skill system in 2E. But I think it's really more the explosion of player's option style books that marks the mechanical differences. The difference between 2E and OD&D, for instance, is pretty staggering.

    zenpotato on
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    zenpotato wrote: »
    There were the first pieces of a skill system in 2E. But I think it's really more the explosion of player's option style books that marks the mechanical differences. The difference between 2E and OD&D, for instance, is pretty staggering.

    Oh right Player's Option.
    I am always surprised people actually used that system.

    Hachface on
  • AriviaArivia I Like A Challenge Earth-1Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    zenpotato wrote: »
    There were the first pieces of a skill system in 2E. But I think it's really more the explosion of player's option style books that marks the mechanical differences. The difference between 2E and OD&D, for instance, is pretty staggering.

    Agreed. The Complete X series books and White Wolf's splatbooks were a big sea change for the industry in the 90s.

    Arivia on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    I'm really uncomfortable with drawing lines in the sand and declaring this over here old-school and this other thing over there not-old-school.

    I mean, for one thing, it is very D&D-centric. What about something like Traveller? It's been around almost as long, at this point. And on the one hand, it had a lot of detailed and interlocking rules systems (zomg new school!) but on the other hand you could die during character creation (zomg hardcore!).

    The old-school movement I can get behind is about people not being satisfied with received systems (of any type) and kitbashing their own rules together to do what they think is fun. That attitude of healthy experimentation is something I never mind encouraging, since that is where the new innovations come from. But the instant someone says "those rules you kitbashed aren't old school enough - they have skill checks in them!" then I am off the love boat.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Would it be weird to say that if I'd been able to wean my friends back off of White Wolf, I'd have used Player's Option? Especially the magic book.

    I mean, I'm sorry and I know that Vancian magic is people's thing, but shoot. I wanted anything but Vancian magic.

    ravensmuse on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    zenpotato wrote: »
    There were the first pieces of a skill system in 2E. But I think it's really more the explosion of player's option style books that marks the mechanical differences. The difference between 2E and OD&D, for instance, is pretty staggering.

    Oh right Player's Option.
    I am always surprised people actually used that system.
    I loved it.

    On the other hand, I had no idea kits existed until about 4 months before I dropped AD&D altogether.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think it has more to do with identifying aspects of those games which characterize that old school vibe. Treasure for XP, no skill system, freeform combat, etc. They could belong to any game, but it's mostly about the big boy in the room: OD&D.

    zenpotato on
  • ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Jesus guys, stop posting so fast! It's making it hard to keep up :)

    ravensmuse on
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  • AriviaArivia I Like A Challenge Earth-1Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    ravensmuse wrote: »
    Would it be weird to say that if I'd been able to wean my friends back off of White Wolf, I'd have used Player's Option? Especially the magic book.

    I mean, I'm sorry and I know that Vancian magic is people's thing, but shoot. I wanted anything but Vancian magic.

    I like player's option. Actually, if we do that 2e PBP game, I might use it. It was just a really big switch and no one was really ready for it.

    Arivia on
    huntresssig.jpg
  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    SUPERSUGA wrote: »

    There is nothing bad about it!

    Hachface on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Arivia wrote: »
    ravensmuse wrote: »
    Would it be weird to say that if I'd been able to wean my friends back off of White Wolf, I'd have used Player's Option? Especially the magic book.

    I mean, I'm sorry and I know that Vancian magic is people's thing, but shoot. I wanted anything but Vancian magic.

    I like player's option. Actually, if we do that 2e PBP game, I might use it. It was just a really big switch and no one was really ready for it.
    Players Option was great. Then again, it was exactly the move that made AD&D stop pretending to be "Old School," so there are a lot of people who don't like it.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Oh, Rules Cyclopedia has a skill system. A really cool skills system. They also have weapon mastery, which I have to say I whistled at and wanted to give a go sometime.

    I should really use this "free time" I've got at work to start writing up the rest of my OP, shouldn't I? :)

    ravensmuse on
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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    Man, we played Traveller back in the day. And Rolemaster and it's never-ending critical tables. And Golden Heroes, which I'd put money on being the best superhero RPG ever made.

    Oh, memories.

    Bogart on
  • ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    OP half-assedly updated.

    Also, I'm pulling this from another forum and will probably put it in the OP...

    Old School Gaming Games:
    Benoist wrote:
    Alright. I'm quoting from there on ENWorld:
    There are two versions of Swords and Wizardry: "Core" and "White Box." Core is currently available in Word DOC format, and will be available as a PDF or POD very soon. White Box is still being worked on, but is nearing completion.

    S&W:Core is similar to the 1974 "0e" rules with some additions from later rules supplements. Hit dice are slightly different, but remain d6 based. Monster hit dice are d8. Other differences include saving throws (S&W uses a "single category saving throw"), slightly different prime requisite bonuses, different XP charts (although they're similar), different (but low-powered) attribute bonuses, and a "flip-AC" system (you choose which approach you prefer: high=good or low=good). It has expanded spell lists and monsters (i.e. includes material from the supplemental rules), and uses the supplemental rules for XP awards. Weapons do variable amounts of damage. Monsters do too, and may have multiple attacks (e.g. claw/claw/bite).

    S&W:White Box is similar to the 1974 rules without additions from later supplements. All hit dice (monsters and PCs) are d6-based. It, too, uses the "single category saving throw." XP progression is slightly different. Ability bonuses are closer to the original 0e rules. Spell lists are similar to the 0e rules, without some of the spells from later supplements. Monsters typically have a single attack and do d6 damage, with a few exceptions. The "flip-AC" system is used.

    Spellcraft & Swordplay is less of a retro-clone than Swords & Wizardry; it's more like a "inspired by, but expanded and re-imagined" set of rules. It starts with an OD&Dish foundation, but instead of using a d20-based combat system, Spellcraft & Swordplay adopts a combat system inspired by (but not a duplicate of) d6 miniatures combat rules (thus, similar to OD&D using Chainmail combat rules, rather than the d20-based "Alternate" system).

    These two above are my favorites. By far.

    Then you've got OSRIC, the AD&D retroclone, which is free as PDF, and can get in print from Lulu. I'm assuming you know about this one.

    There's also Labyrinth Lord which is B/X's retroclone, which I do not own (I have the PDFs, but haven't read through them).

    Epées & Sorcellerie in French, which is also very cool (I own it, and I'm a Frenchman). It's comparable to S&S in tone and feel.

    Basic Fantasy RPG is to B/X D&D what C&C is to AD&D First Ed. Many people like this one. I never tried it, personally.

    Old School Gaming Links:

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  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    ravensmuse wrote: »
    Oh, Rules Cyclopedia has a skill system. A really cool skills system. They also have weapon mastery, which I have to say I whistled at and wanted to give a go sometime.

    I should really use this "free time" I've got at work to start writing up the rest of my OP, shouldn't I? :)

    Here's me being a dick again, but I don't think Rules Cyclopedia counts as old school. It's basic D&D, but the later Holmes and Mentzer editions of the game catch a lot of shit from OSR folks. I'm not familiar with them, so I can't comment, but just being basic isn't enough to make it old school. :)

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  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Here's an OSR blog with some grognard anthropology: http://kellri.blogspot.com/2009/08/old-school-sociology.html

    zenpotato on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    zenpotato wrote: »
    ravensmuse wrote: »
    Oh, Rules Cyclopedia has a skill system. A really cool skills system. They also have weapon mastery, which I have to say I whistled at and wanted to give a go sometime.

    I should really use this "free time" I've got at work to start writing up the rest of my OP, shouldn't I? :)

    Here's me being a dick again, but I don't think Rules Cyclopedia counts as old school. It's basic D&D, but the later Holmes and Mentzer editions of the game catch a lot of shit from OSR folks. I'm not familiar with them, so I can't comment, but just being basic isn't enough to make it old school. :)
    Sweet Zombie Jebus.

    Is cutoff for oldschool tied up in the invention of the written word?

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  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    zenpotato wrote: »
    ravensmuse wrote: »
    Oh, Rules Cyclopedia has a skill system. A really cool skills system. They also have weapon mastery, which I have to say I whistled at and wanted to give a go sometime.

    I should really use this "free time" I've got at work to start writing up the rest of my OP, shouldn't I? :)

    Here's me being a dick again, but I don't think Rules Cyclopedia counts as old school. It's basic D&D, but the later Holmes and Mentzer editions of the game catch a lot of shit from OSR folks. I'm not familiar with them, so I can't comment, but just being basic isn't enough to make it old school. :)
    Sweet Zombie Jebus.

    Is cutoff for oldschool tied up in the invention of the written word?

    Not at all. But the concept that define it disappeared from most of TSR's work about 1983, midway through the life of 1E.

    zenpotato on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    RC is pretty damn oldschool. Let's argue this!
    • Harsh random rolling of characters and stupid classes prereqs
    • Rules for strongholds, hirelings, fighting god, all that old school crap
    • No unified mechanic, lots of little subsystems
    • Dozens of types of polearm
    • Seeming to be aiming for sandbox play
    Of course these are all traits of "old school D&D" which might not be the same as old school gaming to everyone. Naturally, 99% of it is D&D but there's the likes of the Fighting Fantasy books, which led into an RPG or sorts, to consider. Frankly I think FF has a whole lot of great stuff we can learn from in designing modern games.

    I think if the whole internet used the phrase "Classic D&D" instead of "Old School" it would be a happier place. The latter is such a loaded term these days.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Man I did not realize that the 1E Fiend Folio was largely developed by GW in the 70s. Suddenly that book makes a lot more sense.

    Salvation122 on
  • zenpotatozenpotato Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    From Grognardia, on the OD&D "endgame":
    The Expert Rules offer up new options of play, things that characters could take up in order both to expand the scope of the game and to ensure that beloved characters can continue to be played even after it no longer makes much sense for them to continue adventuring. These are the rules for King Conan of Aquilonia, as opposed to Conan the wandering Cimmerian.

    http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-loss-of-d-endgame.html

    Between the lines you can read quite a bit about what the essence of the old school game is (according to James M.).

    zenpotato on
  • ravensmuseravensmuse Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I found my post giving a basic run down of DnD history.

    Parts of it are wrong, now that I look at it in retrospect, but oh well.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showpost.php?p=10143430&postcount=1212

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