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  1. #1

    Interest Check for Old School D&D ruleset

    I would be interested in seeing how much interest there really would be in seeing a new working ruleset created for old school D&D.

    I'm always seeing posts asking about it and the response is always that there isn't enough interest to make it viable to devote official resources to it, and that's totally understandable, of course. It is something that has to come from the community, but there doesn't seem to be anyone willing or able to step up and do it, which also is understandable.

    I look at the numbers of games played chart and I wonder if there would be more games played of old school D&D if there was a good ruleset. Maybe, maybe not. I'll get to the point though.

    I have no programming experience at all. Well, not since I learned BASIC back in the 1980's anyway (if you don't know what Basic is, well, that's my point), but year after year, I keep waiting for someone else to step up and do it and it doesn't happen, so it looks like I'm going to have to take a try at it if it is going to get done. I don't know how long or how hard it will be or even if I will be successful at it. But, I have a 15 year old that says he wants to be a computer programmer when he grows up and this sounds like a perfect father/son learning project, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

    I have two questions though. 1) Will this actually get used? Be a real shame to put that much effort into something that no one actually wants. and 2) What game would you like to see made?

    I'll qualify that second question. Here are the choices, filtered through my own interests, because obviously I want to create something I would use. I personally consider old school as being 0e, Basic and 1e or any of the retro-clones of those. I don't personally consider 2e as old school. I never played it. I have never even read the books. So, that is off the table.

    So, what I would consider would be: a) Labrynth Lords b) Swords and Wizardry or c) AD&D 1e

    Those three choices bear some discussion, unless you are totally familiar with them already.

    Labrynth Lord comes in two flavors, as I understand it. The core game, which is like 0e (or basic, not really sure) and the AEC which adds in rules which make it more like 1e. It's been a couple years since I've read the ruleset, so things are a bit fuzzy. One benefit to having a new Labrynth Lord ruleset would be that it opens up the possibility of games such as Mutant Future and Apes Victorius, which are based on it.

    Swords and Wizardry is 0e. It comes in 3 versions, "White Box", "Core" and "Complete". They differ in how many supplemental rules are included. Complete is basically 0e as it was at the release of AD&D. One plus of S&W is that it has been greatly embraced by the OSR movement and there have been a great many games based off of the rules, such as Xplorers RPG, White Star and Stars Without Number. So, the possibility of those and others come with that ruleset. Another advantage is that S&W actually has the ascending AC system included as an option in the rules, so that makes it more approachable to newer folks.

    AD&D, of course, is what a lot of people know and love. But, AD&D is out of print. Sure, some of us still have our old books or were lucky enough to snag a set of the new ones when they got reprinted for the Gygax memorial a few years ago, but technically, it's still an out of print and totally unsupported game. Meaning to say that it might not be too inclusive to make a ruleset for a game that only us old grognards have books for. At least with LL or S&W, they are living and breathing games. Also, as so many have pointed out, C&C actually does a pretty good job of handling the 1e feel. So, maybe what we really need is some coverage of the rest of the OSR movement. There are a tremendous amount of new material coming out for the OSR retro-clones, so that is something to consider.

    In an ideal world, what I would want to do is a ruleset that is flexible enough to handle most of the needs of the DM in the form of options. For example, being able to select to use either descending or ascending AC by selecting the appropriate option. I really don't know what's possible and I especially don't know what I can learn how to do. I just know that having options is good.

    Please step up and give your opinions on the subject. If you need to peruse the rules, LL and S&W are both free or very low cost on rpgnow.com. And if there is someone that can help, I wouldn't turn that down.
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  2. #2
    damned's Avatar
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    Hola vodokar

    Quote Originally Posted by vodokar View Post
    I would be interested in seeing how much interest there really would be in seeing a new working ruleset created for old school D&D.

    I'm always seeing posts asking about it and the response is always that there isn't enough interest to make it viable to devote official resources to it, and that's totally understandable, of course. It is something that has to come from the community, but there doesn't seem to be anyone willing or able to step up and do it, which also is understandable.

    I look at the numbers of games played chart and I wonder if there would be more games played of old school D&D if there was a good ruleset. Maybe, maybe not. I'll get to the point though.
    Id buy a $10 or $20 D&D1e ruleset. Would I play it... dunno... 5e is pretty good and C&C smooths out a lot of the bumps of 1e. And when I want to try something different it will usually be Dungeon World, Call of Cthulhu or Trail of Cthulhu etc... but thats dissembling...

    I have no programming experience at all. Well, not since I learned BASIC back in the 1980's anyway (if you don't know what Basic is, well, that's my point), but year after year, I keep waiting for someone else to step up and do it and it doesn't happen, so it looks like I'm going to have to take a try at it if it is going to get done. I don't know how long or how hard it will be or even if I will be successful at it. But, I have a 15 year old that says he wants to be a computer programmer when he grows up and this sounds like a perfect father/son learning project, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

    I have two questions though. 1) Will this actually get used? Be a real shame to put that much effort into something that no one actually wants. and 2) What game would you like to see made?
    That would be an AWESOME father and son project. Do consider it just for that alone! Setup a bitbucket/github and learn some collaborative techniques and butt heads often.
    I have no coding experience and very little skill. I cannot grasp many coding principles.
    I did (with some help from two awesome members of this community) build a ruleset for another old school game Malestrom RPG from 1984. I have run 2 or 3 one shots with it. Possibly the guy who has the publishing rights to it may have run a session or two with it. I daresay that might be all that used my (estimated) 150hrs work. Personal desire to do this is required. It doest matter how much other people want it - if you are doing it for love and you dont love it enough...

    I'll qualify that second question. Here are the choices, filtered through my own interests, because obviously I want to create something I would use. I personally consider old school as being 0e, Basic and 1e or any of the retro-clones of those. I don't personally consider 2e as old school. I never played it. I have never even read the books. So, that is off the table.

    So, what I would consider would be: a) Labrynth Lords b) Swords and Wizardry or c) AD&D 1e
    A lot of people mean 2e when they refer to Advanced D&D (I dont but a lot do).

    I want to throw one more option in here... bear with me... BX or BECMI (but really who is gonna play it long enough to get all the way through so maybe BE is enough) would be another great option. Its got less rules, its got less permutations, its light and fast and fun. And it so definitely is old school.

    Those three choices bear some discussion, unless you are totally familiar with them already.

    Labrynth Lord comes in two flavors, as I understand it. The core game, which is like 0e (or basic, not really sure) and the AEC which adds in rules which make it more like 1e. It's been a couple years since I've read the ruleset, so things are a bit fuzzy. One benefit to having a new Labrynth Lord ruleset would be that it opens up the possibility of games such as Mutant Future and Apes Victorius, which are based on it.

    Swords and Wizardry is 0e. It comes in 3 versions, "White Box", "Core" and "Complete". They differ in how many supplemental rules are included. Complete is basically 0e as it was at the release of AD&D. One plus of S&W is that it has been greatly embraced by the OSR movement and there have been a great many games based off of the rules, such as Xplorers RPG, White Star and Stars Without Number. So, the possibility of those and others come with that ruleset. Another advantage is that S&W actually has the ascending AC system included as an option in the rules, so that makes it more approachable to newer folks.

    AD&D, of course, is what a lot of people know and love. But, AD&D is out of print. Sure, some of us still have our old books or were lucky enough to snag a set of the new ones when they got reprinted for the Gygax memorial a few years ago, but technically, it's still an out of print and totally unsupported game. Meaning to say that it might not be too inclusive to make a ruleset for a game that only us old grognards have books for. At least with LL or S&W, they are living and breathing games. Also, as so many have pointed out, C&C actually does a pretty good job of handling the 1e feel. So, maybe what we really need is some coverage of the rest of the OSR movement. There are a tremendous amount of new material coming out for the OSR retro-clones, so that is something to consider.
    You can buy the 1e books in PDF format.
    http://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?f..._0_0_45346_0_0
    I do still have my 1e books happily.
    Ive also got 2e, 3e, 3.5e and 4e books that Ive never read.

    In an ideal world, what I would want to do is a ruleset that is flexible enough to handle most of the needs of the DM in the form of options. For example, being able to select to use either descending or ascending AC by selecting the appropriate option. I really don't know what's possible and I especially don't know what I can learn how to do. I just know that having options is good.
    In an ideal world you would have options for ASC and DESC AC. In the real world I think you add too much complication for (you) the coder.

    Please step up and give your opinions on the subject. If you need to peruse the rules, LL and S&W are both free or very low cost on rpgnow.com. And if there is someone that can help, I wouldn't turn that down.
    However my final point (for now) on this topic is to consider this option..

    C&C's main differences are ASC AC and Siege Checks and BtH instead of THAC0.
    Build an extension (or a layered ruleset) on top of Castles&Crusades.
    1. new theme - mostly the charaater sheet
    2. implement ASC AC and have it automatically convert Monsters AC when you drag them into the CT (holy crap - you have most of the 1e monsters!)
    3. Work out a conversion process for BtH and THAC0 and how to show it on the Character Sheet and NPC sheet and do an automatic conversion of NPCs.
    4. Change Saving Throws to not use Siege Engine rules - and use 1e rules instead

    I reckon you are now a long way there and you have done a fraction of the work and you have access (at the princely cost of $10) to a swag of spells and monsters and equipment and stuff.

    I would encourage you to do this - its a very interesting (and challenging) process/journey.
    Last edited by damned; October 18th, 2016 at 09:29.

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  3. #3
    GunnarGreybeard's Avatar
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    I am not sure how close it is to 1e (the only real AD&D version ) but what about reverse engineering something like OSRIC and then building a new ruleset based on the coding in there?
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  4. #4
    Myrdin Potter's Avatar
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    From the new S&W Kickstarter, there is someone that will be starting a S&W ruleset project. I would suggest that you get in touch with him. You lose efficiency at a certain point when too many programmers work in a project, but 2-3 should be ok.

    S&W is actually pre-AD&D rules, trying to recreate the original booklet rules that came from Chainmail. Most of the clones aimed at the original ruleset are, by definition, highly compatible. I think a lot of LL and S&W content can be used in either system with little work.

    Looking over the rules sets and with my very beginner Lua knowledge, I think a generic 0e ruleset based on Core RPG seems decent to start with. Then style sheet/extension of S&W or LL for the slight differences for the character sheets.

    From what the S&W ruleset comment says (and I am in touch with that person and he is in these forums), he has been given permission to include the free content as well, so it can go beyond just the rules and include the text as well which makes a huge difference.

    I would play early D&D rules a couple of times a year and in one-shots like conventions. I play 5e now and it is the closest in spirit to the AD&D I started with that Wizards has done in decades.

  5. #5
    Disclaimer:
    I do not speak for Frog God Games and do not make any decisions related to what content they have available in Fantasy Grounds. My interest in creating the S&W ruleset is to help others experience something that I personally love. The community-use ruleset that I work on will be free and there is no intent of charging for it.

    -------------------------

    Howdy - I'm the one that Myrdin references with regards to Swords & Wizardry. I've gotten permission from Bill Webb & Matt Finch (Frog God Games/Mythmere Games) to work on a full ruleset for Fantasy Grounds. I would definitely be willing to work with others too but I'll be doing this in my spare time (work, grad school, family) and can't necessarily commit to a certain timeline. Also, this is intended to be a free, community-use ruleset. I've started looking through the existing rulesets to get an idea of what I need to do in order to create the ruleset with as much ease of use support as possible (drag and drop, etc). I do have to agree that too many cooks in the kitchen impedes progress. If there is desire for more OSR support it would probably be best to divide and conquer.

    I noticed out on the wiki that there is a rudimentary Labyrinth Lord module and also an OSRIC module. The date stamp on those pages are from 2014, though, and I'm not sure if they work with the current version of FG. It shouldn't be hard to refactor those to make them work, though.

    I write code for a living so am not worried about being able to get the work done - I just need the time to do read through the FG developer guide and to figure out how I want to break up the work. The biggest impediment is time.

    If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to ping me on here.

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  6. #6
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    The OSRIC ruleset is badly outdated, and the code is very messy. I would recommend layering on CoreRPG with something new. If we had a S&W ruleset, an extension could probably get you to AD&D. Maybe.

  7. #7
    Yeah, I need to take a look into the CoreRPG files and see what is available to build off of. I'll fire up FG when I get home and see what the CoreRPG offers in the way of functionality and then start looking through the unzipped files.

    As far as AD&D goes, are people referencing the hardbacks published between 1977 and 1985 (the Trampier cover PHB and the Sutherland cover MM/DMG for the first printings, the Easley covers w/orange spines for the next printings)? I saw mention that a lot of people refer to 2E as AD&D in the post by damned. I wanted to make sure I was thinking of the right "version." The hardcover books from 77-85 are what I think of as 1E AD&D - that is what I cut my teeth on. If that is the version that people are wanting a fresh ruleset on then, as leozelig said, just extend the CoreRPG to for a new iteration of OSRIC. Apparently there is an AD&D 2E retro-clone too, For Gold & Glory, but I don't know anything about it.

    Any other feedback or suggestions are welcome - I don't want to reinvent the wheel if I don't have to.

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  8. #8
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    I'd recommend you look at layering any ruleset developed on top of CoreRPG - so that your ruleset will take advantage of future CoreRPG developments. This does add a bit of maintenance over the years (ensuring compatibility when there are big changes in CoreRPG), but it makes for more closer aligned FG functionality.

    See the 3.5E, 4E or 5E rulesets (or C&C if you have it) for examples of d20 rulesets layered on top of CoreRPG. One of the reasons why those older rulesets mentioned look old is because they weren't built on a common platform of CoreRPG (mostly because it wasn't available then).

    EDIT: guidelines on modifying rulesets here: https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...-PFRPG-ruleset It's written for 3.5E but is completely relevant to most other CoreRPG layered rulesets. Ignore the bold comment regarding making any changes into an extension, you'd want to make this a layered ruleset (like 3.5e.pak, for example).
    Last edited by Trenloe; October 18th, 2016 at 21:52.
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  9. #9
    Myrdin Potter's Avatar
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    AD&D is always the original edition. I started playing in 1980 or 1981 and that was the set out then.

    My first DM started playing with the original D&D booklets and Chaimail and I owned the original blue book basic set. I bought the AD&D books slowly and never played any D&D past a few games I DMed using the blue book.

    I get confused by people calling 2e AD&D without the 2e specifying it.

    There is a decent amount of content still being created for original D&D (mainly S&W and LL) and some for AD&D. I never see anything new for 2e. 3e and 3.5 is basically Pathfinder. The paid 5e rule set is very good and getting even better with the 3.20 version.

  10. #10
    Thanks, Trenloe. I will do that. I would rather it be more maintenance if it better aligns with FG functionality. I also appreciate the link to the post about modification of existing rulesets. The info you have provided in those posts (and quite a few others I've read on the forums) really help - thanks again.

    Same here, Myrdin - that is why I was confused. I've never referred to AD&D 2E as anything but that and AD&D has always been the original hardcovers.

    Yeah, the amount of content being put out for S&W and LL is very steady. A lot of the stuff for those two can easily be adapted for AD&D. I do like the 5E ruleset and that is what I mostly run for my gaming group (most of them are new to RPGs and that was a natural start for them). I will say that I really do loathe the 5E WotC adventures that have been released thus far (with the exception of Strahd, somewhat). A lot of it stems from my hatred of the Forgotten Realms from the time of 3.x forward. I've mostly run 5E homebrew and will likely continue to do that. I have convinced the group to try S&W and we are currently playing a stripped down, rules light Pathfinder campaign.

    Anyway, thanks for the input.

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