Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another D&D clone available? Sure, why not?

I just stumbled upon Paige Oliver's Red Box Fantasy rpg (Player's guide here for free), a game that is described as "the new face of Retrogaming." A more in depth description can be found here.

Jim Raggi is kicking around the idea of a LotFP traditional rpg in order to market his games under his own brand.

With S&W, LL, OSRIC, BFRPG, M&M, etc., as well as similar themed companions from Barrataria and Blackrazor, do you think this fragments or waters down the OSR, or do you find more options to be healthy for gaming references/growth.

I mentioned before that I think that most old-school gamers love to draw ideas from various sources. As a young roleplayer, I used to mix B/X with a fat dose of 1e and a dash of the ol' Arduin Grimoire. That being said, I am all for more ideas based on the old game we know and love to be written and available for public consumption. For I shall consume, see?

I would like to believe that someone who mainly plays Labyrinth Lord or BFRPG would have no problem utilizing other retro-sources into their game if they wish. If not, for those who use a set of their choice rules as a strict source for play, why would/should it bother them that other retro rules exist?

To ask if more and more retro-clones are necessary is moot. That opinion is up to the one who might want to use additional rule sets for inspiration. For those playing strict B/X D&D by the book (and with the originals no less), of course new sets of retro rules are unnecessary...for them.

For me, I like a variety of ideas on my favorite game, whether it comes from the 0e or the 1e spectrum of play. So I read through and utilize bits from most of the clones, as well as the supplements and magazines. If Raggi publishes the LotFP rpg, I'll read it and possibly use it for inspiration in my LL campaign. What I won't do is roll my eyes and say, "ANOTHER one?!" The quality and love put into the available clones (as well as the wealth of ideas) are seriously not that off-putting. :)


  1. I must admit I'm biased as a collector and will grab anything new just to feed the habit, but more and more these days, I find myself using bits and pieces from all different versions of the game and the various clones.

    While I don't think there is a need for more clones, I'm more than happy to see more produced and don't think it damages the OSR. There is more than enough information of the net for people to work out which clones are true to their version (and thus "core" perhaps), and which are simply variants.

  2. I think that it is fine, but I do worry a bit about how compatible the adventure modules will end up, as I am most likely to gravitate towards the ones that require least conversion.

  3. Red Box is not exactly a clone. It draws inspiration from all versions of the game, but favors different versions in different areas.

    The character generation system favors BECMI largely because it combines races and classes. However unlike BECMI there are multiple archetypes for each race, and each race has a unique feel (the gnomes really seem to favor the "tinker" variety).

    Task resolution and combat rules favor 3rd edition, although they are really stripped down.

    Monsters lean more towards the first edition rules. although with more variety than the first edition monsters actually had.

    The monsters and rules systems were specifically designed in such a manner that the stat blocks from all versions of D&D and similar games can be used. However like Castles and Crusades you do have to flip the armor class on pre 3rd edition stat blocks (or you can also use the Stats out of the Big Book of Baddies, as entries are available for most monsters you would encounter).

  4. Thanks for the input, Paige. Redbox sounds fun and I especially find the multiple archetypes for each race interesting (for those of us who like to combine class and race).