Thursday, September 5, 2013

Old School Systems Questions

One of the things the OSR was supposed to do (at least in my mind) was free us from the necessity of rules fundamentalism.  Making products for OSRIC for example was allow publishers to make "1st Edition" compatible products without saying "Compatible with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons".
Basic Fantasy seemed close to this as well, but more of a melding of the "Basic" and "Advanced" ideas.

At the end of the day though a product that is compatible for one game should work with another.

In a couple of recent posts from Billy Goes to Mordor (love that blog name) suggests that there is still some form of system adherence in the OSR crowd.

His numbers, based on his survey came out like this:
  1. DCC RPG 32%
  2. Labyrinth Lord 31%
  3. Swords and Wizardry 28%
  4. LotFP 24%
  5. ACKS 10%
  6. OSRIC 8%
Granted this is limited to people that visit his blog, so not a random sample.  He is very open about his methods of data collection, so I am good with this.

He compares this to relative Google+ groups sizes as an index of popularity.
  1. Swords &Wizardry 826
  2. DCC RPG 776
  3. Lamentations of the Flame Princess 498
  4. Basic Fantasy 387
  5. Labyrinth Lord 382
  6. Adventurer Conquerer King 347
  7. Castles & Crusades 303
  8. OSRIC 110
Pretty good alignment there I agree.

But this brings up the larger question again.  Are eliminating the necessity of a certain rules system (D&D Basic, Advanced, 2nd ed) just to exchange it for another (Basic Fantasy, ACKS, DCC)?

So when looking for a OSR supplement, adventure or add-on do the clone rules matter to you?

Back in the day we used pretty much everything with everything else.  Still do in fact.

For example I mentioned a while back how you can use ACKS with the B/X Companion or even B/X Companion with Labyrinth Lord or Basic Fantasy.  Those are easy though due to their relationship back to Basic D&D.

What are your experiences? Do you ignore S&W's single save when using the Tome of Horrors with Basic Fantasy?   Do you convert on the fly?


David Macauley said...

I'll use anything that's compatible with TSR D&D, from 0e to 2e, but the more I have to muck around with things to make it compatible, the less likely I'll use it. So for me an OSR product with a single saving throw and ascending AC is less likely to get used in my games than one I don't have to convert.

Anthony Simeone said...

I haven't actually run any games with S&W, and my hesitation comes partially from a lack of desire to do more conversion work than, say, if I was using Labyrinth Lord (which, incidentally, I have used at the game table). In other words, the materials I've gravitated towards-modules and other accessories-seem a better fit for use with Labyrinth Lord, due to the differences such as S&W's single save, etc. You CAN do the conversions, but it takes more time, so it's up to each individual's amount of time they have to do such conversions, the individual's desire/willingness to spend that conversion time, etc. These days, I find I have a fairly low tolerance for time spent converting. I'd rather spend the precious free time working on prep for campaign sessions rather than futzing with rules conversions, house rules, etc. So I prefer more self-contained systems that I can use pretty much RAW (rules as written). I've gone the path of house rules over the last couple years (albeit the most I've given players is two pages worth of house rules), and I find I would rather find a system I'm comfortable with using RAW.

Charlie Warren said...

System does NOT matter to me at all.

Nigel Ray said...

I'm three sessions into my AKS campaign, so my conclusions are tentative. I'm using the Palace of the Vampire Queen as my tent pole, since I have wanted to run it for 35 years and never got around to it till now. I'm able to do conversion on the fly with no trouble, but prefer to have time to prepare an area before the party gets to it, so that I can fiddle with things. I currently feel that which version prior to 3rd ed something is for doesn't really matter, with the caveat that more feel-heavy modules would need more adaptation to fit into my sketchy campaign world.

Joseph Bloch said...

If I may, Adventures Dark and Deep has 172 members in its G+ community, but got no responses on the survey. So I'm not sure there's a useful correspondence there.

That said, aside from DCC (and to a lesser extent C&C), the other games mentioned are almost entirely cross-compatible. The specific game system is almost entirely irrelevant. When playing an adventure written for one, using the rules of another, I just convert on the fly. Supplemental material (A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore, Realms of Crawling Chaos, etc.) might need a half page of paper to note all the mechanical differences. If that.

faoladh said...

I don't have a problem converting S&W, LL, or even ACKS to TSR editions. I haven't read DCC or Basic Fantasy, so I don't know about them. Adventures Dark & Deep is pretty much AD&D 1E streamlined, so it is not a problem (and I intend to use some of the new classes in my own game of 1E).

Konsumterra said...

i rarely run any product as given - just use for ideas - like old 80s white dwarf era when fans would convert traveller stuff to dnd because they were starved for any gamer stuff - my own rules a mash of bx + NWP and like castles and crusades i prefer using stat rolls as often as possibe for saves, skills, etc

Konsumterra said...

reason i returned to dnd after 20 years - only need hp and ac for most encounters can do rest on fly - while RQ requires character sheet and maths for every enemy

dragolite said...

I gave an answer on my blog, if you wish to read it...

Fumblefail said...

I borrow anything as long as it's good material. Drag-and-drop compatibility is huge for me. Beginning with the 2nd wave of OSR games that came out, rules started to become tweaked more and more to resemble the author's favorite or house-ruled set of D&D mechanics. If we'd kept it to basic compatibility I don't think this would even be a talked-about issue, but with all the different and new ideas floating around it takes a little more work to drop something in on the fly. That being said, I don't have a problem doing it. The nature of these old rules is such that you can jack with it on the go, instead of being held hostage by integration.

David Brawley said...

I haven't had much of an issue with converting OSR to TSR, or the reverse. If given a choice, I'd like everything to be written for LL, but whatever. It really doesn't make much difference unless there's some out there house rule involved.

If we get into 3.x, then I just treat it like M20, and I'm good to go. 4e takes a little more work, but there I'd just ignore the stats.

I'll convert on the fly if it's simple, like S&W to RC, or AD&D1e to LL. If it's more involved I'll do a little work ahead of time.

faoladh said...

David Brawley: "If given a choice, I'd like everything to be written for LL"

There's a lot to be said for that idea, since pretty much the only important thing that isn't already included in other games' charts is the Morale rating. You can get a single save from S&W's chart of monster saves, it's trivial to decide on a "% Liar" (or Lair, whichever), especially one that explicitly suits the Referee's particular setting, and all the rest is usually incorporated into the description.

I'm not sure, is there a monster statistic that is used in some other game that needs thought to generate and that isn't included in the LL monster stat block? I think that Morale is the only non-universal one, but I could be wrong.

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