Originals vs. Clones

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Originals vs. Clones

Postby merias » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:54 pm

This came out of an interesting conversation with a reader on my blog. Basically, he asked what I preferred - B/X or White Box FMAG. it's a hard question for sure (for me anyway), but it made me think that a better question was "Which do you prefer to play or run - original games or clones, and why?". Lately my sweet spot is OD&D as presented in the three little brown books (3LBB). What I realized is that when I was running games I tended to add house rules to make them more OD&D-ish. Legal PDFs of most games are easy to come by nowadays, so why not just play the original games? I'm interested to hear other's opinions.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby The Wanderer » Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:37 pm

I came to OD&D via S&W WB. I love WB which is why I made FMAG. A couple years ago, I finally made a print copy of OD&D and that really got me more into the original. I tend to only read books in physical format. So now when I read FMAG, the differences between it and the original are more pronounced. And the more I wish it was closer to the source material. So I think I can say I prefer the original. But I still play FMAG.

Another reason i think I prefer OD&D even compared to other editions of D&D is the mystery involved with it. How I really have to engage with the text. I constantly read Delta’s blog and forum posts at ODD74 and Philotomys Musings to find insights. It kind of makes reading and researching the original it’s own hobby. Which is very rewarding. I also like the fact that I can look at clones to get further insight into the game. I’m glad we also have S&W, Delving Deeper, Iron Falcon, Seven Voyages, etc.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby merias » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:04 am

The Wanderer wrote:Another reason i think I prefer OD&D even compared to other editions of D&D is the mystery involved with it. How I really have to engage with the text.


That's a good insight. I think OD&D engages your imagination - not that clones don't, but they are typically more structured and there is less room for creativity.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby badams30 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:57 pm

Oddly, I played VERY LITTLE OD&D or Basic. When I was 9 or 10 (can't remember which) a friend of mine came over for a sleepover on Christmas break, he brought a fresh out of the box B/X basic ruleset and those amazing dice, and we started playing - just the two of us. It was totally nuts, campaign would have made Monty Haul wide-eyed, but that was what started it for me. Shortly afterward, I found some new friends who had just picked up 1st Ed., and from then onwards I played it, moving on to 2nd ed. I took a brief break during my time in the Army and for a while after I got married, but soon discovered the joys of PbP gaming, and here I am.

Until about a year ago, I was totally in the 1st Ed and 1st Ed clone camp, because of my experience with it. But then someone was recruiting players for a basic campaign, and I said "why not?" That simple campaign, and the really simple character generation process, coupled with the easy rules, reminded me of the fascination I had with the B/X game, and how the basic simplicity of the game made it move fast, and instead of consulting a myriad of separate rulebooks for this or that, the GM would just wing it or make a roll. Beauty in simplicity.

So I've been experimenting with FMAG, B/X, and now OSE. I'm really liking how OSE bundled everything together and prettied it up, but it's still B/X. I'm sure I'll play more 1st Ed stuff eventually, but I'm totally in the B/X camp at the moment. And to be honest, it seems like a lot of the PbP scene has cooled down somewhat for OSR stuff, so hopefully that will pick up again soon. I'd love to do some Roll20 or something like that, but just don't have the time for it now. Ugh.

So for the time being, I'm running my PbP using a B/X and OSE hybrid, but it probably leans closer to B/X than OSE. FOR NOW...
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby jcftao » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:20 am

badams30 wrote:So for the time being, I'm running my PbP using a B/X and OSE hybrid, but it probably leans closer to B/X than OSE. FOR NOW...


What differences are you seeing between the two? I mean, other than the Advanced Genre classes (acrobat, knight, etc), what do you consider different in the rules?

Btw, I am with you. The OSE rules bring me back to my B/X gaming roots. I started with Moldvay and like you, moved to Adnd. At the time I did what many kids probably did. I stood in the book store looking at the MM1 and thinking, "hmmm...this is ADVANCED...that's what I should be playing!"

As 1st edition grew and bloated into 2nd...3rd...3.5....4th (good grief)...I stopped after buying one book of the 4th edition. I am so very happy to be playing any of the old school editions...Odnd...B/X...Whitebox:FMAG...and now OSE.

It suits my style of play and my age. As an old Fatbeard, I want rulings, not rules, and more fun at the table.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby badams30 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:18 pm

So far I haven't noticed any huge differences in the rules from B/X to OSE. There's optional ascending AC, and the classes, as you'd mentioned. While I love the really short length and overall simplicity of the main B/X rule set, I just like the way OSE puts it all together and it just seems to make it a polished product. When I first saw OSE, I was thinking "Man, not another one that going to reinvent B/X" but I think it just sorts it out and rounds it out well.

But as a marketing guy and a copywriter, I can't help but admire the minimalist bang for the buck of the original B/X books. So brief, yet so packed with everything you needed. And what's not to love about a player asking "Hey, can I do THIS?" And you reply with "Hmm... no rules for this... but yeah, YES you can. Let's roll for it." That's cool. I can remember AD&D games where my DM would be like, "Hmmm... let me check the wilderness survival guide/Unearthed Arcana/Dungeoneers Survival Guide, etc." and 20-30 minutes later we had an answer, but wasted 20-30 min looking for that answer.

I can honestly say though that THESE forums were single-handedly responsible for rekindling my love of BASIC. I honestly don't see myself going back to the "advanced" stuff anytime soon.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby merias » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:25 pm

I remember reading a DM'ing tip somewhere that if you had to look up a rule during a game, if you did not find it immediately - throw the rulebook aside and make it up on the spot. Obviously these simpler games (B/X, OSE, WB, etc.) lend themselves to that really well. It's hard to break a game system with an ad-hoc ruling when there are hardly any rules :lol:
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby badams30 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:28 pm

merias wrote:I remember reading a DM'ing tip somewhere that if you had to look up a rule during a game, if you did not find it immediately - throw the rulebook aside and make it up on the spot. Obviously these simpler games (B/X, OSE, WB, etc.) lend themselves to that really well. It's hard to break a game system with an ad-hoc ruling when there are hardly any rules :lol:



SERIOUSLY. Years ago I played with this great DM. He had been playing for just as long as I'd been. He had every book and whatnot, and I kept finding that we'd spend more and more time consulting rules and less time just playing. I can recall a time when (NOT KIDDING) he was looking for a chart on getting entangled by vines. VINES. Can't remember if he found it, but we were sitting for like 30-40 minutes while he was digging. That's great, but that's not me. KEEP IT MOVING, man.
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Postby jcftao » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:54 pm

I agree that looking up rules at the table can be a momentum killer.

I've done it many times before and nothing good comes of it.

We've recently begun a Roll20 game using OSE and I've slowed the first few combats down in order to do a close read of the rules as written. We're doing this to get familiar with the order of combat, etc. After this, I'll try to run things without delving into the book.

I firmly believe that any ruling can be made with common sense and a single d6. :)
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