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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Why do you Prefer the OSR Clone that you Do?



Simple question on the surface, right?

It's a bit harder when you get down to the brass tacks, as the answer may be elusive, rational, emotional, unknown.

For me, Swords & Wizardry Complete is my OSR clone of choice. As I've said elsewhere, and on this very blog, it plays very close to AD&D 1e as we played it, not how the AD&D 1e rules were written.

Now, with that being said, Labyrinth Lord was the first OSR clone I considered running. It just didn't hit the sweet note for me that S&W does. Maybe it's because it draws inspiration from the B/X releases in visual presentation and my entry drug edition was 1e.

See, even for me the answer isn't fully clear why, as it seems more of an emotional choice than a strictly logical one.

So, why do you prefer the OSR clone that you do?

39 comments:

  1. For me it's Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, because of its loose design. That allows me to add or remove any any aspects I wish to create just the game I want. Also the game runs almost competely on a d20 and d6, making things quick and clean. This coupled with broad descriptions of abilities, items and other aspects of the game makes it easy for the referee to use that framework to set the tones and focuses of their campaign very quickly.

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  2. For simplicity and old-school flavor it's Immersive Ink's Delving Deeper; so very close to the LBBs but well-organized and streamlined. Otherwise it's probably ACKS because it's darn slick and sophisticated. Note, also, that Sine Nomine's supplements are high on the list; maybe not a complete game, but certainly an interesting approach to things.

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  3. Delving Deeper-it has a competent thief class, more likely to succeed than get killed. Stripped down version of OD&D, so that my house-rules are additions to the rules and not changes to the rules. i.e. nothing written in the book is invalidated by the house-rules, there is just more to it, at some points.

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  4. I picked up Labyrinth Lord first and it immediately "felt" right. Gave me the old red box Mentzer vibe. I've been looking at S&W Whitebox lately, however, and I'm kicking around the idea of publishing a short adventure or two for it. Two Spahns are always better than one. . .

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  5. I really really want to say Swords & Wizardry Complete, but Delving Deeper is my favorite.

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  6. I've picked up Labyrinth Lord, but Adventurer, Conqueror, King gives me the feel I'm looking for. It's probably the world creation rules that pique my interest the most.

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  7. I've picked up Labyrinth Lord, but Adventurer, Conqueror, King gives me the feel I'm looking for. It's probably the world creation rules that pique my interest the most.

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  8. Scarlet Heroes. It hits the sweet spot for me on complexity while allowing players who prefer a little more mechanical input into their characters an easy way to have that. It's also REALLY easy to hack.

    BLUEHOLME gets similar love, because it's so darn hackable. That and you can fit a lot of adventure into 3 levels.

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  9. I personally use SimpleDnD. It's completely open source, has solid, easy rules and I can publish my own stuff without have to worry about someones stupid license. It can be a meat grinder, but with 10-20 minutes to make a character, it's not a big deal.

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  10. Basic Fantasy. It is the game we played back in the day, more or less. Its a nice combo of Basic and Advanced D&D.

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  11. Adventurer Conqueror King, because the campaign/domain side of it just made me want to be a long-term GM again after a decade away from pen and paper RPGs.

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  12. Labyrinth Lord for several reasons.

    1. Has the most 3rd party support
    2. A lot of the material is easily interchangeable with other B/X clones, with dominate the OSR
    3. It's a fun rules-lite alternative to heavier games such as Pathfinder. Only problem is that a lot of the tables I need tend to be scattered all over the place.
    4. Solo Heroes is an amazing supplement. I'm a GM and player in 2 games for it.

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  13. The problem with OSR clones is that I need one which doesn't quite offer the same thing that I already have with AD&D 1 E, 2E and B/X. The only game so far which really does that (that I like) is Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is sort of what I'd call "D&D in the Lava Lamp World."

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  14. I'm a 1E player myself, and OSRIC involves the least conversion, so that's my favourite. That said, most of of the clones are close enough to be useful to me.

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  15. Castles & Crusades. After a decade and half absence from RPGs. C&C was the 1st to get me back in the fold. Like many here, I've got a good selection of RPG stuff including various OSR adventures, supplements, and rules, but C&C is my go to game. Ascending AC, presentation of rules, SEIGE engine, ability as Saves, etc. nothing new or what other OSR rules do I one form or another. When I ran C&C with l friends from back in the day one said, "This is just like we use to play." So yeah C&C

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  16. Adventurer, Conquerer, King System is mine. After 152 sessions playing it, I can't think of using another for my standard games.

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  17. With the caveat that I've never run it, and only played it once, my favorite is _Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures_. The character lifepath method of generating characters, gives your group connections to each other, and they all get to create the village they come from. Also, the magic system stays Vancian, but adds cantrips and rituals, which solves my issues with Vancian magic. The simple skill system works well.

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  18. Labyrinth Lord because... well... because I don't play a clone at home, I play 1981 B/X D&D. And LL has the fewest house rules changes from that core system as I can find.

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  19. I'm a fan of ACKS the system is built from the top down so playing a Lord and having a domain makes sense.

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  20. Lamentations of the Flame Princess, because fuck you.

    ( no offence :-) )

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  21. swords & Wizardry because it's clear and concise and has nice layout and art and is basically AD&D without a thousand extra rules I'll never use.

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  22. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea was my first OSR ruleset. It comes in a box with dice, character sheets, and a map. It presents a unified vision of a swords & sorcery world with basically one artist and one writer. It doesn't have demihumans, which makes it easier to add them if I want. There are tons of classes to choose from and feels like 1e with B/X rules.

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    1. Curious: how is it easier to add demihumans than it is to remove them? Adding means you need to create their attributes and abilities, whereas removing them just means not using them.

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    2. I think he means it's easier to add demihumans to a setting / ruleset that by default lacks them, then to remove them from a ruleset / default fantasy setting assumptions.

      It's less about the stats and more about players. expectations.

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  23. Of the various clones, the one I most admire is Delving Deeper. It takes a toolkit/game that's not easy to assimilate and makes it easily understood while minimizing the number of changes it introduces.

    Even though I actually play other OSR games (C&C, DCC, ACKS, etc.) more often, I don't really consider those to be clones.

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  24. For me it's between AS&SH and Mutant Future. MF is ridiculous fun and also the first game I ever ran, and I love Swordsmen's setting, classes and complete lack of Tolkien.

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  25. None of them are 100% correct. That is why I write my own! Not for making money or earning glory. They're all not quite right.

    now I am seriously considering not writing whole games at all but rather supplements.

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  26. If it had the tools for DIY that Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox has, I would say Delving Deeper. Since it lacks the .rtf version and other developers' tools that let people make their own versions (public or private) or even an online SRD, though, it means that S&W:WB has the advantage for me.

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  27. For me it is Adventures Dark and Deep for 1e, and the internet as a whole for B/X -- I just print out a web page, hand it to a player, and they use it, be it a new class, or Dyson Logos 2d6 Thief Skills (which a thief in my Friday game just opted to use). Note that neither is a *clone* per se... just add ons to the existing D&D, but I hope it answers the spirit of the question.

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  28. Lamentations for the Encumbrance system, the Specialist class, clear delineation between classes, and the very clean rules with ascending AC. Small stuff: the summoning spell at level 1 (awesome). Also-- the adventures and focus on the Early Modern period. It's tough to get excited about fighting dinosaurs or goblins or kobolds, but figuring out why a witch lady spends 100% of her time completely naked wearing only a red sash or why crystals grow out of some kids heads or what to do with jars of the minotaur's excrement or what is that whistling sound or how did these trees turn to stone or why are these kids in this pit and others are in the fields... and on and on. Finding out what the deal with these things is usually so unexpected and original and so much worse that my players get fired up before every session. Runequest 6 too, for the combat.

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  29. OSIRIC, 'cause it's basically a better organized AD&D as far as I can tell, and a fair price printed at Lulu - I prefer my rules printed out.

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  30. DCC for me. Oddly though not because it resembles my OD&D experiences from decades past, which were excellent and epic, but not in the Fritz Leiber way I always craved.

    OSR always seemed to be a bit pointless to me, especially since I still had my1st ed stuff in a box in the basement. But then I picked up DCC in the geek shop and started leafing through it and then suddenly I was shoving people out of the way to get the cash counter. It's got that perfect storm of art, writing style and mechanics (and adventures - I never used published adventures until DCC) that perfectly summons the vibe that I've always wanted to play.

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    1. Yeah, I just recently picked up Tales from the Fallen Empire because I liked the setting concept. Now, I realize that I need DCC to scratch a particular itch.

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  31. I own about 20 of the clone systems and, to be fair, I haven't been able to give many of them a thorough enough read. The one I have played the most is S&W and I found it to be very fun and reminiscent of the 'old days' of playing D&D. I write for LL for Lesser Gnome's releases since I find it (with the AEC) very useful in making 'system neutral' OSR adventures. However, the most fun I had at a Convention was in a game of AS&SH which played way smoother than my reading of the rules lead me to believe it would.

    Ah hell, after thinking about it for this post I have even less of an answer than when I started typing it. I am glad they all get made really.

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  32. S&W 3rd printing is my system of choice but I develop with Complete/4th Printing.

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  33. Like many of you, I've collected as many of the different systems as I can get my (digital) hands on. I'm busy with job and family and volunteer work, so my face-to-face opportunities for gaming are almost non-existent in the rural area I live in. So I've been able to scratch the itch with the various online platforms. So far, my favorite system for online play is Basic Fantasy RPG.

    There are several reasons: 1) It is free! which means I can spend my hard-earned cash on pizza instead of game books. 2) I can pull up the free pdf on my phone during breaks at work to plan for my games. 3) There are tons of great bolt-on supplements to allow my players to get just the tweaks they are looking for. 4) The system is streamlined and straight forward and can easily adapt to other OSR and more modern game materials. 5) It's easy to run and teach others to play. I've got several people who've never played an OSR game (too young, the missed it the first go around). 6) The community is awesome and supportive.

    My other favorite for online (read Play by Post) gaming is Warrior, Rogue & Mage. Some will argue that WR&M isn't exactly Old-School, but it's such a light system that it easily becomes whatever you want it to be. I've run several old D&D modules with it, and it's worked great.

    I've also played a little on Roll20 with the Basic Fantasy RPG system which was run by other GMs and it stays out of the way while providing everything you really need. There is now an unofficial BFRPG SRD in the works, which is just one more way to use the system by having it loaded in a separate browser tab for easy reference.

    I'm thrilled to be able to game again. I took a looooong forced break after college in the early nineties until about five years ago. During that time I played in a few free-form games on Yahoo Groups (painful). Now I'm able to play again with platforms such as rpol.net, obsidian portal and roll20 which are designed for gamers. It's like having the cyber version of one of those long handled bamboo backscratchers that gets to that spot I could never reach before!

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  34. Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry. Lab Lord feels close to Basic D&D so there's nostalgia and S&W is just very utilitarian and fun to tinker with.

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  35. S&W Whitebox! It makes the game super easy and fun to play, plus you can add in anything you want with ease.

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  36. I love Basic Fantasy. It's really simple to dive into, and the books are incredibly affordable. It no including thac0 was nice to us younger guys who didn't want to mess with it. The constant flow of free modules, classes, and extras make it super easy to find support for it.

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