Poll -- Best Retro, Old School (OSR) Rule Set
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Poll: What is the Best Old School (OSRIC) Rule Set?

Basic Fantasy RPG 9%       9%  [ 4 ]
Castles & Crusades 28%       28%  [ 12 ]
Swords & Wizardry 23%       23%  [ 10 ]
Labyrinth Lord 12%       12%  [ 5 ]
White Box RPG 5%       5%  [ 2 ]
I want my, I want my, I want my B/X/C 23%       23%  [ 10 ]
Total votes : 43

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:20 am 
 

I'd like feedback from those of you who've read or played (or both :) the old school (OSR) retro D&D clones.  

What's your favorite?

What did you like about it?

What do you dislike about it or the others?

EDIT: Topic title is now a little more accurate, FWIW
akp


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Last edited by Keith the Thief on Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:28 am 
 

BFRPG is my favorite so far, although C&C (which I've owned for a while now), comes in a close second.  The two sets are probably even, in fact.

I like the fact that both systems use AAC, simple combat, and have a great selection of monsters (if you include BFRPG's Field Guide to Monsters).  Spells seem pretty consistent between the two.  

In fact, I might have given C&C the nod if I could actually find it at a store.  But BFRPG is readily accessible ... and free, of course.

Just my two cents'


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:34 am 
 

From what I've read, they're all rip-offs with everyone jumping on the bandwagon to bang out their own version of the same rip-off. Like everyone who jumps on an artist's style and bangs out images 'in the style of... (add your artist of choice here)'. I'm sure some people made themselves some money, but of the one's I've read, they were all pretty much the same old sh!te. There was no need or demand for any of them, and the only real successes have come down to both talented writers writing adventures, and/or the younger gamers liking the pretty packaging.

It'll be interesting to see how these rank between themselves, and I'm curious to find out why someone would play say Lab Lord over say D&D.

Good Poll, Keith. :D


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:09 pm 
 

OSRIC is one of these rules-sets, not an overarching term for all of them ("clones" or "simulacra" would be that term).

mbassoc2003 wrote:From what I've read, they're all rip-offs with everyone jumping on the bandwagon to bang out their own version of the same rip-off.


That is the entire point and the publishers don't claim them to be original ideas at all.



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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:27 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:From what I've read, they're all rip-offs with everyone jumping on the bandwagon to bang out their own version of the same rip-off.

You're always so positive about everything. I find that very refreshing.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:31 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:I'm curious to find out why someone would play say Lab Lord over say D&D.


I guess I can answer this one since I've got my own rip-off coming out in the next couple of weeks (and I do believe you're on the list to get free copies if I'm matching names and handles up correctly).

1: Some of the old books are not very well organized. That's hell on new players. These are better for reference at the table.

2. In-print and on store shelves makes a difference to a lot of people in gaming. WotC isn't about to release "D&D Classic" but with the OGL they gave people the tools to do it themselves, and it works. Labyrinth Lord is on its third printing through distribution now. That these are new and now and happening, and not a game abandoned by its publishers, helps people take the game seriously.

3. Related to #2: New players can have new books. Telling players that to have their own books they have to go buy 20+ year old used books off Ebay or whatever is not a great way to recruit people, and definitely not a great way to hope that people just start playing on their own without one of us older players directly recruiting them to play in our group.

4. The games play identically to their source material anyway. There's no functional difference between playing Labyrinth Lord and B/X.



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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:42 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:You're always so positive about everything. I find that very refreshing.

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:
Yeah, I'm a cynic.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:54 pm 
 

JimLotFP wrote:
I guess I can answer this one since I've got my own rip-off coming out in the next couple of weeks (and I do believe you're on the list to get free copies if I'm matching names and handles up correctly).

1: Some of the old books are not very well organized. That's hell on new players. These are better for reference at the table.

2. In-print and on store shelves makes a difference to a lot of people in gaming. WotC isn't about to release "D&D Classic" but with the OGL they gave people the tools to do it themselves, and it works. Labyrinth Lord is on its third printing through distribution now. That these are new and now and happening, and not a game abandoned by its publishers, helps people take the game seriously.

3. Related to #2: New players can have new books. Telling players that to have their own books they have to go buy 20+ year old used books off Ebay or whatever is not a great way to recruit people, and definitely not a great way to hope that people just start playing on their own without one of us older players directly recruiting them to play in our group.

4. The games play identically to their source material anyway. There's no functional difference between playing Labyrinth Lord and B/X.

I do realise there is a gap for new players, as they cannot access the games we played. Like why would a kid go and buy a Commodore 64 or Spectrum and some tapes, when they can get an Xbox? And how can they know the history upon which Playstation and Xbox are built upon, and why in hell would they want to play them anyways.

So we all try to reprint the rules as far as the OGL permits without treating on anyone's IP, and make it look all shiney for the kids. They have mony. They may buy. But I can't help feel it's an alsoran game now with WoTC dominating the market by a hige margin, Pathfinder fighting a sterling battle and C&C falling far behind.

Surely if you're gonna enter the market with what essentially is a set of House Rules For The World of Jim, you'd be better off in terms of saleability, and the prospect of contributing to posterity, by writing and publishing adventures. I can't help seeing the list you gave above, for the most part, being about gamers massaging their own egos.

I doff my hat to creators and publishers of good adventures more so than I do those who copy other people's works, albeit having been retypeset and wordprocessed differently.

It may be cynical, but I'm not really a follower of those on bandwagons. I prefer to watch and invest in trailblazers, and they are few and offen come out of the blue.


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Last edited by mbassoc2003 on Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:55 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Yeah, I'm a cynic.


Not the word I'd use but whatever.  :?

JimLotFP wrote:I guess I can answer this one since I've got my own rip-off coming out in the next couple of weeks


Looking forward to this.  I've bought all your other offerings and have been very pleased with all of them.  Good luck with WFRP!


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:07 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Surely if you're gonna enter the market with what essentially is a set of House Rules For The World of Jim, you'd be better off in terms of saleability, and the prospect of contributing to posterity, by writing and publishing adventures. I can't help seeing the list you gave above, for the most part, being about gamers massaging their own egos.


I'm not giving up on adventures (two new ones come in the box and another new one is being released simultaneously with the box) and I don't plan on making another game after this one.

But I can't get the modules into stores if the games they support aren't there. By making my own game I don't have to rely on the market created by the other publishers (who are US-based, while I'm trying to make headway in Europe), I can try to forge my own.

Kingofpain89 wrote:Good luck with WFRP!


Thanks! But I do prefer the LotFP: RPG abbreviation to prevent confusion with Warhammer. :)



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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:16 pm 
 

I didn't realize OSRIC was a rule set.
Old dogs can learn :-)

There are some subtle differences among the sets I've been reading (those above) and they are indeed clones of OD&D, but I thought it might be an interesting topic. The differences, though, may not be extensive enough for a detailed discussion. <shrug>


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:29 pm 
 

JimLotFP wrote:
the list to get free copies if I'm matching names and handles up correctly)..


Did someone say 'free'....?  :lol:  :lol:


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:31 pm 
 

I picked up a couple of these rule sets some time back but haven't had chance to read them properly yet (damn pdfs!)  8)

But I think they are generally ok from what I've heard and some members here wax lyrical over some of the rulesets  :)


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:31 pm 
 

ashmire13 wrote:
Did someone say 'free'....?  :lol:  :lol:


Making good on a messed up preorder I did some time back for what is up to this point vaporware. Some people are going to get 50€ boxes for what was a 10€ order.

I hope the rest of you here will consider this a prime candidate for a future collector's item though. ;) I'll start taking orders only when all the parts are printed, and I expect that to be at the end of this coming week.



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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:00 pm 
 

JimLotFP wrote:But I can't get the modules into stores if the games they support aren't there. By making my own game I don't have to rely on the market created by the other publishers (who are US-based, while I'm trying to make headway in Europe), I can try to forge my own.

Good luck!

Or you could write for a game system that's already on the market and forge yourself a name like Monte Cook or Bill Webb or any of the other heavy weights in the market. Good writers will succeed in any market in any environment. Pinning your success to the requirement of people adopting a particular game system (yours) is like setting conditions and barriers to your success.

If you want to make a future collectable....

Print BW with a card cover.
Do not choose an unconventional font. Stick with one of the big five.
Invest and commission good artwork. This is not something you or your mate's brother can do (unless you happen to be very lucky in who you know.) Right now, I'd go to Peter Bradley. He's the best there is on the market today at a decent price point.
Typeset proffessionally, and get it criticised by both an editor (typesetting) and a pair of proofreaders (you'd be surprised how badly some stuff is presented to the market today). On the whole, you should be able to get this sort of thing done for free.
If you're gonna present it in a box, make it a good quality box. This is where NG succeed and TLG fail. Consistemtly, with every single product. They never learnt from their mistakes.
That said, there are many alternatives and it's worth thinking 'outside the box'. Sorry of the pun. In today's market, I'd consider reviving the 'foldered' edition product (but not the folio - size is the important thing here.) Like the Role Aids big five.
Presentation is king. Every single detail of it.

If it stands out on the shelf because it's obviously the best presented and most well thought out product on display, you'll have a collectable. If it's pretty and shiney, cartoony, or just the same as all the other stuff on the shelf, it'll be a lemon.

Sincerely, I wish you luck. I'm always on the look out for the next big winner. The last one was CZ:UW and that was a given. There have been a few little gems sneeking through from small presses, but nothing I've thought, "I gotta get me a box of those" about. As an investor, for me that's telling of the way the market's going.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:32 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:If you want to make a future collectable....


http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2010/06/futur ... -here.html

That qualify for having good art on a quality box?



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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:13 pm 
 

As a former wannabe novelist I agree with bassoc's suggestions about how to market, although selling a novel does not put the burden of appearance on the novelist (or at least it didn't 10 years ago).

But this raises interesting questions:
If you create your own RPG, how do you get your foot in the door at the big booksellers?
Do you have to develop an online/gamebox version first?
How do you break Hasbro's stranglehold on the D&D market?

But I'm not an investor, nor do I plan to be, so my questions are probably simplistic.

BTW, why wouldn't Hasbro re-release original D&D?  
Might make them even more money (??)


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:08 pm 
 

JimLotFP wrote:
http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2010/06/futur ... -here.html

That qualify for having good art on a quality box?


Yeah, I'd say so, but I've been following along, so no big surprise there :).

If the writing and other aspects of the presentation live up to that box, you're gonna do all right.

EDIT: But to answer the poll question, none of the above. I like my old time AD&D, and see no need to switch. New players, if I were to find some, could buy the PHB off of eBay for less than they would have to spend for one of the retroclones. Of the clones I own (I still like to "represent"...) I like Swords and Wizardry the best, I think.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:17 pm 
 

Now I can put a name to you. :D
I'm guessing you recognised me and knew I hadn't recognised you. :lol:
I hadn't put two and two together, but you probably know me. I signed up for 10 copies of something you were planning many years back on account of what I'd read and heard, and that something was picked up in a later incarnation by Goodman Games.
Good to see you on the board.

My honest evaluation....

The artwork is striking and the packaging (if that's the real thing) looks distinctive. Remember that quality is about how it feels in the hand, it is tactile, as well as how it impacts the eye.

That said, the artwork is a little gothic for the general genre of fantasy, if you know what I mean, but it is in keeping with how the UK certainly is viewing the arts coming out of your area of the world. So it is not incongruous with you as a writer, even if it doesn't quite sit right with fantasy. It marks the product as your own. Interior art and the quality of the cartography are equally as important. They also need to follow the same theme.

I see you've learnt from your dealings with Goodman Games, and unlike many small press people, you seem to see the difference between a 'quality product' and 'a product'. This is something GG and PPP get down to a tee (although there were weeknesses in PPPs typesetting), and something so many enterprises do not get. Hell, most of them see no real difference between what they produce and what Goodman Games turns out, and it's that ignorance that dooms them to failure.

Well, James. Not having recognised you from your handle, welcome aboard. If ou recall the occasional e-mails of yesteryear, and the shelf full of your past works you've mailed out to me over the years, you already know I already consider you one of the small presses that have been sneaking through collectable gems for the collectors who picked them up along the way.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:33 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:If you create your own RPG, how do you get your foot in the door at the big booksellers?
Do you have to develop an online/gamebox version first?
How do you break Hasbro's stranglehold on the D&D market?

But I'm not an investor, nor do I plan to be, so my questions are probably simplistic.

BTW, why wouldn't Hasbro re-release original D&D?  
Might make them even more money (??)

Your in into the retail chain is through the distributor who holds the keys to the door. You either need to be persuasive enough to convince them to carry your product and rich enough to put the money down upfront, or you need a publisher to back you right off the bat. Remember, the distributor is not interested in less than 500 untis, and he's also not interested in a company that can't back up a product with further supproting wares. That's the issue TLG had getting from online clique website sales to mass market.

Your best in is to get a company like GG to market your 'brand' for a slice of the profit. You also the get access to experience and professional expertise you may otherwise pay more for. You also get your product on the big stands at GenCon and into the press.

Hasbro - You can't break D&D's hold on the market. Pure and simple, it is the biggest player in the market, with access to somr of the best writers and artists, and thirty years worth of IP behind it. The company may change, the product may change, but the name Dungeons & Dragons and it's legacy IP with forever dominate the FRP market.

I have no idea why they don't republish any of the original D&D stuff verbatim, but there are a few reasons that might contribute.... a) The market is tiny in comparison to the D&D merket, and WoTC/Hasbro are not a niche market player. b) I don't think Hasbro hold the copyright to everything in it's entirity, so republishing could be a minefield. c) They already tried it with all the 25th Anniversary stuff, and while the stuff make nice collectables, the whole 25th Anniversary range and hype was a major flop everywhere.


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