Thursday, February 8, 2018

For Love of Basic D&D

I'm a Swords & Wizardry White Box guy. That's pretty obvious. I love to design using that set of core mechanics, as is evident from Barrel Rider Games' White Box line of products and the creation of White Star. I think it's a system with infinite possibilities due to its simplicity and the cleaner, more modern design brought to it by current OSR creations like White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game. In short, it fits like a glove. It just clicks in my mind.
    

 

But believe it or not, it's not my favorite D&D-style system to play. My favorite system to play is Rules Cyclopedia. It's a big, bold book chock full of clunky, archaic rules. From the perpetually confusing Weapon Mastery rules, to the never-once-in-my-life-have I used Seige Warfare rules, to the "who the hell ever reaches 36th level?" Immortal rules. But, by God is that book full of potential. I believe it's the greatest single-volume fantasy RPG ever published. In that tiny font, 3 column layout, my imagination (both as a young boy and as an old grog) soars. Maybe it was because it came out when I was just the right age. Maybe it was the art. Maybe it was hiding away in those pages after a bad day at school. Hell, I don't know. But I know that the Rules Cyclopedia is when I realized I was going to play RPGs for the rest of my life.
  

  

As most reading this blog know, Wizards of the Coast has made the Rules Cyclopedia available in both softcover and hardcover print-on-demand formats now. I'll get my hell mittens. But here's the real kicker: There's some seriously awesome print on demand support for Basic D&D these days. In addition to the RC, they've got the DMR2 Creature Catalogue, B1: In Search of the Unknown, B2: Keep on the Borderlands, and the Hollow World Box set (along with a few other more obscure products and a few of the Known World Gazatteers) available as print-on-demand. Never did I ever think I'd see the day.

That means the Rules Cyclopedia and Basic D&D will be around as long as print-on-demand is around. I guess the game itself finally reached 36th level and ascended to Immortality.

8 comments:

  1. It's not unusual for people to prefer RC. It's a good book. It is a product of its time and maybe your time was its time?

    I remember it coming out. I was too cool for baby D&D so I stupidly passed on it. In my old age, I admire the pre-Mentzer versions most, but I'll play anything. My own Mythical Journeys clone is more like Basic than Advanced.

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  2. I've just ordered a copy of the Rules Cylcopedia POD, can't wait to get my mitts on it :)

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    1. Let me know what the quality's like. I'm pretty interested in grabbing it and a copy of the DMR2 Creature Catalogue.

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    2. In general the quality is extremely good, although the text is a little less than crisp in certain areas, this is particularly noticeable in some of the tables throughout the book. Overall the quality is very good though, I've been having great fun reading it and am definitely thinking about picking up some future D&D POD releases :)

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  3. I ordered my POD of the Rules Cyclopedia as well.
    Great fun. But I am a Basic guy through and through.

    And my Cleric, Johan Werper, DID get to 36th level. He became a saint in my games. Well he is now an official Saint in the Dolmvay setting too. ;)

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    1. That's really impressive! It's hard to stick to one character, and have him stay alive, for so long.

      This is not to diminish your accomplishment, but rather a comment on the 36 levels of Basic: the higher levels tend to come more rapidly in Basic than in Advanced. 36 levels of Basic is like 20 levels of Advanced. Again, no disrespect meant. Capping out is a huge achievement.

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    2. I'm a Dolmvay Saint too! Saint James the Black!

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