I was going to do Bunnies and Burrows today, but I wanted to stick a little closer to my home turf for this one.
BTW if you like, check out Bunnies and Burrows. It really is a classic and a piece of RPG history.
But today I want to talk about Basic Clones.
In the OSR (Old School Renascence) a Basic Clone is a game that emulates the rules of Basic D&D, or about the time frame of 1978 to 1984. I talked about the D&D Basic Game last year and ACKS yesterday. In fact I talk so much about it here it has it's own label, Basic.
D&D Basic was always my favorite system for quick and fast play. D&D Basic has been long out of print and usually can only be found at places like Noble Knight Games or Ebay. So I was thrilled when the Basic clones began to come out.
Basic Fantasy is one of my favorites. It is a simple game that covers the Basic D&D feel, but incorporates ideas from the later Advanced D&D game. Namely is splits up race (elf, human, dwarf) and class (fighter, cleric, magic-user). In other words it was D&D like how I used to play Basic D&D anyway. It is flexible, easy to use and totally free.
Labyrinth Lord is the biggest and arguably the most popular Basic clone. It is closer to Basic D&D than BFRPG is, but for me it lacks a little of the charm. Not to say that LL isn't great, it is and both lovingly sits on my shelf.
Dark Dungeons is another Basic clone aimed at emulating the old Rules Cyclopedia. It is a good effort but feels a bit off to me. Can't quite figure out why though.
Last year I also talked about the Companion rules. When the B/X version of Basic came out we were promised a book called the Companion rules that would take characters from 14th level to 36th level. We did get one, but is was part of the BECMI version of Basic and thus not 100% compatible and you would have to be a HUGE D&D geek like me to even care about the differences. Or you have to be these guys, since they wrote their own.
B/X Blackrazor came out with his B/X Companion which I have talked about extensively here and is currently sold out. But it is a great book.
Another book is called the Companion Expansion by Barrataria Games. It didn't get the same level of hype as the B/X Companion, but it covers much of the same ground. I have not looked at them together to see how they cover similar topics, but they seem very compatible. You can get the PDF of Companion Expansion for free at DriveThruRPG and a print copy for 16 bucks at Lulu.
My love for Basic D&D and the Basic clones is what prompted me to make my new witch book, The Witch, for Basic Era Games. Look for that later this month!