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D&D Retro-Clones 
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:16 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
I was just popping into the ACKS forums after an extended noticed and saw this:

"However we have an eight page mass combat kernel that we are taking from D@W [Domains at War] to add to the core ACKS rules in response to popular demand, and it would be great to get your playtesting and feedback on that. I'll work on getting it up on the free downloads section soon!

The rules are my slave, not my master. - Old Geezer

I'm reaching out for something, touching nothing's all I ever do.

If you're interested in GaryCon

Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:52 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:50 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC are all excellent IME.

Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:15 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Backswords and Bucklers and Flying Swordsmen both caught my attention.

Le Ballet de l'Acier - my Flashing Blades campaign wiki | Really Bad Eggs - my blog


Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:44 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Black Vulmea wrote:
Backswords and Bucklers and Flying Swordsmen both caught my attention.

Interesting. I wonder what's involved in 'Tavern Trawling' in this context.

THE 13 WIVES OF MAHOUMIK: A 3rd Ed. RuneQuest Campaign.

Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:30 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:52 am
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Actual retro-clones:

Swords & Wizardry. OD&D. White Box is straight-up OD&D; Core and Complete throws in material from supplements, such as variable damage for weapons, the Thief class and other recognizable D&D lore.

Labyrinth Lord. B/X D&D

Dark Dungeons. D&D RC


Myth & Magic. AD&D 2e

Pathfinder. D&D 3.5e (hurr durr)

Derivative games:

Basic Fantasy RPG. Think B/X or BECMI, minus class-as-race. Four classes (fighter, cleric, magic-user, thief) and four races (human, dwarf, elf, halfling). The rest is pretty much standard B/X or BECMI.

Castles & Crusades. Uses d20 roll-high attribute checks for unified resolution (similar to 3e), otherwise emulates AD&D 1e (classes, races, monsters etc.)

Spellcraft & Swordplay. Uses a 2d6 roll-high unified resolution mechanic derived from Chainmail (the miniatures wargame which OD&D referenced as a possible combat system), otherwise emulates B/X and BECMI.

Mutant Future. From the LL guys, builds on LL to emulate gonzo post-apocalyptic SF in the vein of Gamma World.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Aims for a more horrific, "weird tale" experience, up to and including high lethality (e.g. only Fighters see an increase in Attack Bonus), unique monsters (no bestiary included, only guidelines for monster creation) and assorted nastiness. Also lurid, gory art with tits and blood and grime and stuff.

Stars Without Number. Adapts S&W into a surprisingly resilient, Travelleresque SF engine. Has a setting of its own included, but feels easy to adapt for a setting of your own (Pseudo's used it for Warhammer 40,000, IIRC). Since psionics are handled a lot like D&D magic, I'd love to see it used for a Star Wars game. Also gets plenty of PDF support, including some awesome free downloads, from its creator, the gifted Mr. Kevin Crawford. Solid gold.

Crypts & Things. Takes Swords & Wizardry and does away with dragons, elves and other archetypal fantasy cruft, substituting them for all-human PCs, customized Barbarian and Thief classes, a "dying world" setting and a less diluted S&S feel reminiscent of Jack Vance and Clark Ashton Smith. Never read but it looks good.

Flying Swordsmen. Wuxia by way of old school D&D. Never read it but looks good.

Adventurer Conqueror King. My current favorite, builds on LL-B/X and BECMI (specifically BEC) to deliver a fine-tuned endgame, including rules for stronghold building, domain management, mercantile ventures, high-end ritual magic and assorted goodness. Also has new classes (two different classes each for Dwarves and Elves, feat-like Proficiencies, etc.). Of all OSR games, it's one of the less orthodox, more willing to implement modern design sensibilities. I tend to think of it as a spiritual successor to the D&D RC.

Weird Adventures. Uses S&W as the basis for a pulp game. Intriguing, and it's got a couple of people over at theRPGsite swearing by it, but again, I haven't read.

That's all the OSR games I know. Hope that helps.

Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:07 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Labyrinth Lord + LL Advanced Edition Companion makes for a really good game where you have a solid Basic D&D core souped up with "AD&D's Greatest Hits" in a convenient arrangement. Makes, I suspect, for something very similar to AD&D as played in the wild for those thousands of gamers who weren't up to the Full Gary.

Flame Princess is a cool, gritty rework of basic D&D that, I find, plays really well. I am not in love with the author's conception of what "weird fantasy" means or his GM advice, but the rules works really well, especially if you're going for a Ravenloft or Warhammer vibe.

Both these games also, conveniently, have free versions available.


"There is nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight."
--Lon Chaney

Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:55 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
I am a big fan of Barbarians of Lemuria. It is a great rules light fantasy role playing game. You can get the print version for like $10 and the print version is $20. Well worth it.

Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:11 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Thalaba wrote:
I wonder what's involved in 'Tavern Trawling' in this context.

It's pretty similar to searching for a patron in Traveller - the action in B&B is assumed to take place around a tavern where the adventurers are 'based,' with various npc denizens - think the cast of characters surrounding Falstaff - offering mostly disreputable jobs for hire.

Le Ballet de l'Acier - my Flashing Blades campaign wiki | Really Bad Eggs - my blog


Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:37 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:42 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
sean wills wrote:
... the D&D variant that's bringing me the most joy in play is Crypts & Things, (a Swords and Wizardry variant) - just big dumb fun that's modelled on Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, early White Dwarf and the Fiend Folio in the way it's a patchwork of often incongruous but cool/fun ideas.

I'm delighted to discover someone else who shares this view of C&T. :dance:

Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:56 pm
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:16 pm
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Post Re: D&D Retro-Clones
Well there's a good list here

I'm the guy behind Dragons at Dawn (the retro tribute to the pre D&D gaming of Dave Arneson).

As far as 0e retroclones go, there aren't any. Torch and Sword, followed by Big Brown book are the closest, but both diverge mechanically. S&W is its own game, as close in spirit in many ways to B/X as it is to 0e. Delving Deeper is designed as a true retroclone of 0e, but it has yet to be released.

My own Champions of ZED isn't properly a retroclone of 0e either, since it is a re-edit of the souce material rather than a "clone" of the published game.

Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:02 pm
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