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Monday, June 24, 2013

I Love the OSR Extremes - Swords & Wizardry and Dungeon Crawl Classics

I almost went with "like", but I like nearly all of the systems in the OSR realm of gaming. I fucking love S&W and the DCC RPG, and they seem like such polar opposites.

S&W is concise and simple and if it weren't for spells could probably be run with just the adventure in hand after the DM has a few sessions under his belt. It feels very close to AD&D 1e as we played it back in the day, especially when you add in the classes from S&W Complete (and maybe houserule the stat adjustments just a wee bit).

The DCC RPG is almost nothing like my AD&D 1e of old, and yet it evokes much of the same magic and excitement of my early days of roleplaying. Every spell is something new and exciting. Fighters with their Might Deeds can push things beyond anything I could have accomplished in my days of old. Magic-Users are truly magical. The book can be intimidating, but so was the AD&D 1e DMG.

And then there is the DCC RPG art. Holy fucking shit, the only other publisher that even comes close is LotFP. I love the art because it reminds me of the awesome art I saw as a teenager in the Player's Handbook.

So, what do I run on a mostly weekly basis? AD&D 1e / OSRIC. Notice that both of the systems I mentioned evoke feelings of AD&D 1e for me?

Coincidence? I think not :)


  1. I really WANT to like DCC RPG. To be honest, there really isn't anything to DISlike. I just have a hard time making the leap to a newer, more complex system than BX/LL. I am old and lazy, I guess.

    1. Thanx for validating my feelings.. I read the quick start and I thought. MEH..

    2. Yeah, man. I'm with you on that! B/X(LL)/S&W Core 3rd/T&T 5th all the way for me when it comes to playing an Old School, non-homebrew RPG. I purchased DCC to support and encourage Goodman Games mostly. Though I *did* played in a Free RPG Day game I enjoyed quite a lot.(Cuz it was short, and D20-isms were minimized by the GM.) But I don't see running a D20 'Lite' game for very long.(Or at all, really. :-)) I'm a rules-light kinda guy, me.

      Besides, you could just 'bolt-on' the mechanical elements of DCC you like to LL or whatever. It's pretty modular; the crits/fumbles for combat/spells and such are pretty easily adapted to a D&D style game.

      The philosophy of DCC is more useful and entertaining: unique(or at least non-standard)monsters, wild and dangerous sorcery; powerful demons and gods overlooking and influencing the world and its denizens; a sense of mystery and wonder, with exploration brought to the forefront; rare and enignmatic eldritch artifacts, etc...

      The adventures are imaginative and fun; well worth the purchase. They can be pretty easily adapted to OSR systems.(And are being utilized this way from what I've seen.) They validate DCC's existence alone, imo

      But more importantly, bringing the playstyle back to the way many people used to roll in the late 70's/early 80's is a laudable goal and a useful corrective to 'modern' design notions. Vanilla fantasy is ok, but overdone at present. DCC helps restore the balance, and hopefully will inspire more cool adventures and settings across multiple rules sets. Especially since it's in games stores, reaching people who don't look at game blogs!

  2. I suspect that for a great many people "OSRs I like" rarely manages to line up with "what I'm actually running," although there may be a spiritual connection. If I get back to some OSR gaming anytime soon it will be a B/X with LL mashup, but the reality is that it's Pathfinder all the time every time for my regulars...sigh...

  3. I don't know if Hackmaster even counts as OSR, but I would hold that game up as the polar opposite to S&W. As you say, in DCC the complexity is mostly in the magic system; I tend to think of DCC as a sort of S&W on a really bad acid trip.

    Hackmaster, on the other hand, has all the fiddliness of AD&D plus something like 18 new PC races, 29 extra subclasses, incremental ability scores, 16 different versions of fireball, a whacked-out character generation system, the enervating honor system... ok, maybe it isn't OSR at all. But it, like DCC, is a daunting game that, in theory, I would love to play, but when it comes time to roll dice, I stick with the tried and true.