Thursday, February 4, 2010

WotC does Retro? Clones go Advanced? Up is Down!

Well a few things going on have the OSR on notice and many are ready with the "I told you so!"s.

The big one of course is the new Dungeons & Dragons Essentials,  which is everything you need to play the D&D 4th Ed game in a basic, condensed form, with counters and dice all in a red box.  So. A Basic Set in a Red Box.  Sound familiar?

or even,

More about that can also be read here,

That and a new Gamma World game is coming out, Castle Ravenloft gets the board game treatment that sounds almost like it is solo-D&D, and even D&D 4 evangelist (and I mean that in a good way) Mike Mearls is going on about how the best way to write a D&D 4 adventure is do it in OD&D or BD&D first.

What is cool about all of this is that Wizard's sees that the OSR is a vital community and has their finger, well maybe not the pulse, but a pulse of the gamer community as well.  Call it what you like, I call it cool.

And moving at least into the 80's, the one of the OSR darlings, Goblinoid Games, has released their expansions to Labyrinth Lord, the Advanced Edition companion. A game that bridges the gap between the "Basic" and "Advanced" games of the Golden Age.

I grabbed the "artless" version since I am not sure what I doing in or with the OSR "Basic" scene these days, but this book is really cool.  I am reminded of the old days of sitting in my bed room roughly age 11 and trying to figure out why my Expert Set Cleric was not the same as the one I was reading in the Player's Handbook and not figuring out why.  This is not a D&D Rosetta Stone by any means, but it is a good translator.  I would have loved this game back then and today, well I still think it is pretty damn awesome.
I like it much more than OSRIC and it might even replace Basic Fantasy RPG as my Basic go-to-game-clone. Which, oddly enough had replaced LL in the same context.

Now of course I am itching to write up a witch for Basic and Advanced versions of the "Greatest Fantasy Roleplaying Game of all Time"


Aaron E. Steele said...

What next, Dogs and Cats living together?


Sadly, while many of us were cautiously optimistic about the Boxed Sets and Gamma World, my enthusiasm has waned sharply at the news that (1) the boxed set will be levels 1-2 only and (2) Gamma World will have a collectible card component.

The question is, does WOTC have their finger sufficiently on the pulse that they will hear to those concerns and adjust accordingly?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I am less thrilled about the collectible content as well, but Aug/Sept is still a long way away.

Anonymous said...

I think saying they are going retro is setting yourself up for disappointment. The art is inspired by the old red box, obviously, but in the end the point isn't to appeal to OSR folk. The point is to provide a gateway game that has everything you need to get started.

The box set provides an easy item for someone to pick up (or just point a new person at) and say that this is all they need to get started. Dice, rules, adventure, tokens... all in one place. It can easily be sold in a regular book (or toy) store and will likely provide at least a month or two of gaming in which time the person can evaluate if they want to move on to the rest of the system or just move on.

As for gamaworld. Well, I dunno. GW is a weird game to begin with. Maybe the daily random mutation makes sense, maybe it doesn't. But as was pointed out you don't /have/ to have your own decks. Pooling them is easy enough... heck, don't even need a real deck... just power lists.