Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Swords & Wizardry with Weapon Mastery?

I've got a game brewing and I think that I'm going to use Swords & Wizardry Complete as the base but sprinkle in some spice. The most potent being Mentzer Weapon Mastery.

It looks like the first thing to do would be to re-scope Weapon Mastery from 36 character levels to 20. Other than that, it looks straight forward.

Heck, in a way, S&W Complete's Fighter sort of provides a hook to WM's enumerated abilities through the parry maneuver.

I also think that a character sheet update is in order.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finished Reading The Rules Cyclopedia


While I didn't originally have the book back in my fist go-round with D&D, I did have the series of boxed sets, I'm reminded of why we had the approach to the game that we did. Compressing the expansiveness of basic into your head all at once is quite a task.

Even though I found some of the sections a slog, underneath things like where we're told about the correctness of having a certain amount of magic items by so-and-so level and what-not, there lies a really small and malleable core -  Red Box!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Surprised by the D&D Rules Cyclopedia

By the time that the D&D Rules Cyclopedia hit the streets in 1991, I was drifting away from the hobby and completely missed its release. Besides, late in my first gaming epoch, I was playing very little D&D and was mostly focusing on other "more advanced" games.

Being curious, a few years ago, I bought the Rules Cyclopedia PDF when it was first put online by Wizards. It had a technical glitch that prevented it from rendering correctly in my PDF viewer. That, unfortunately, likely colored my perception of the book itself. After giving it a few quick flip-throughs, I just wasn't impressed by what I saw. What was all the hubbub about, bub?

Fast-forward a few years. I've churned through as many different retro-clones as I could get my hands on; settling on Swords & Wizardry. It's a fantastic game. Beyond the nostalgia, I've come to really appreciate D&D.

Spurred on by (re) discovering AD&D 1st edition through the reprints, I couldn't contain my curiosity when the Rules Cyclopedia showed up over at D&D Classics.

I'm only about half way through reading the book but, already, I've been struck by how modern (and complete) it feels. It seems that a lot of the things seen in the OSR have been touched upon in the Rules Cyclopedia in some shape or form. That speaks to its comprehensiveness.

Weapon Mastery reminds me of the special maneuvers found in newer games like RuneQuest 6. Okay, RuneQuest isn't exactly game nouveau but that specific treatment is a modern twist.

Even if one doesn't feel that 'deflect' is an example of cutting edge game design, it's easy to see that it branches from the tradition that is "sword +1." I can see why some people think that Weapon Mastery shifts the feel of D&D too much but, I find weapon mastery pretty interesting; not only for the options presented but also because it gives the fighter some oomph on the level-up power curve.

Domains and mass combat are en vogue again in the hobby while they've been right there the whole time. Now, I'm not knocking anyone's project or calling them redundant but, they're right there! Yeah, the rules were in a boxed set prior to 1991 but, I was completely dependent on the various sets showing up at Walden books. It was definitely easier to miss than to find them.

(I'll be picking up Autarch's Domains at War, by the way. And I'm already a big fan of Troll Lord's Fields of Battle.)

As far as the general skills go, I'm not so sure. This is one spot in the rules that doesn't feel all that robust. I'll likely give the approach a little more time just to see.

While reading, it's difficult not to get the sense that the RC is a conceptual bridge between AD&D and 3rd Edition. Pretty far out considering that it's Basic.

So far, I really like what I'm seeing and would love to see the Rules Cyclopedia as a premium reprint.

Well, time to keep on reading...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Heroes Companion

The other day I picked up the Advanced Fighting Fantasy Heroes Companion.

The new types of magic, spells, talents, and so on are top notch but, it's the company rules, domain management, and mass battles that really grab my attention. With these bits, Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2 can easily hang with D&D when it comes to comprehensiveness in one fantasy game package. You really get the sense that long campaigns are possible with AFF.

In short, it is absolutely excellent and packed full of value.

I'm not sure when we'll get a chance to play since my core rulebook is still in storage since the fire but, I'm itching to play. I've got a hunch that I can wing it from the reference charts. Until then, I'm using the companion's Wilderness Map Generator for our upcoming Rules Cylopedia game.