Originals vs. Clones

Discuss old-school games that don't have their own sub-forum here
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merias
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by merias »

FaerieGodfather wrote:I really like Old School Essentials for its pure, clean presentation-- even though I normally vastly prefer BECMI to B/X.

Whatever my preferences for old-school playstyles, I find that I just can't use the old-school books anymore.
That's interesting. I was just mentioning with my group using Greyharp's single-volume edition of OD&D at the table - the presentation is so much nicer than the original booklets. That said, I still love reading the originals for the inspirational language and art.

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badams30
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by badams30 »

FaerieGodfather wrote:I really like Old School Essentials for its pure, clean presentation-- even though I normally vastly prefer BECMI to B/X.

Whatever my preferences for old-school playstyles, I find that I just can't use the old-school books anymore.
YES. Love OSE for the exact same reason. I've just gotten into a B/X kick over the past year, not sure why, as I spent very little time back in the day playing B/X or BECMI, but most of it 1st Ed and some 2nd Ed. I keep trying to find the easiest to learn, simplest, rules-light game that I can find (WITHOUT a learning curve, as I'm kind of grumpy about learning whole new systems)

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AmpleFramework
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by AmpleFramework »

The utility or downright urgency of the clones has diminished from the earliest days of the OSR for sure. When I discovered Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox over a decade ago, for instance, the legal pdfs of OD&D weren't an option. You could get a low quality pirated pdf, an html website's version of the rules, or pay out your rear end for an original white or brown box set on ebay. Therefore, the clones were a godsend for getting the word out about old school procedures. They were an affordable thing you could actually buy and use at the table. Nowadays with the pdfs and especially POD options for multiple classic rules sets, I've noticed the OSR has moved into new directions. Clones that are successful now put a slightly different spin on the old rules, like AS&SoH or pride themselves on their organization and presentation like OSE. There are also many hacks and "artpunk" systems touting old school procedures in new contexts, and wonderful systems like Stars Without Number that use old school mechanics as a core for a completely new style of game.

My two cents is that in 2021, I would recommend someone buy and peruse the original booklets for the authentic OD&D experience, or at least something like Delving Deeper or Full Metal Platemail, although I still own and love my Whitebox copy and plan on using it many times in the future for the rest of my life (including, hopefully, a pbp game here at some point). I would strongly caution those same people to join an online community where they can discuss the original rules with people who have ran and played them, of course, and I would encourage them to read something like the Principia Apocrypha or Matt Finch's Primer.
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merias
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by merias »

AmpleFramework wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:51 pm
The utility or downright urgency of the clones has diminished from the earliest days of the OSR for sure. When I discovered Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox over a decade ago, for instance, the legal pdfs of OD&D weren't an option. You could get a low quality pirated pdf, an html website's version of the rules, or pay out your rear end for an original white or brown box set on ebay.
Very true! My own OCE set from childhood is long gone, however I was lucky enough to snag the OD&D collector's edition that WOTC put out c. 2013, now one of the best parts of my collection. I've also made POD copies of Greyharp's single volume edition, this is what I recommend now for people who need a printed reference, since it uses mostly the original text.
My two cents is that in 2021, I would recommend someone buy and peruse the original booklets for the authentic OD&D experience, or at least something like Delving Deeper or Full Metal Platemail, although I still own and love my Whitebox copy and plan on using it many times in the future for the rest of my life (including, hopefully, a pbp game here at some point). I would strongly caution those same people to join an online community where they can discuss the original rules with people who have ran and played them, of course, and I would encourage them to read something like the Principia Apocrypha or Matt Finch's Primer.
I think the main difference between S&W WB and the other clones like Delving Deeper is that WB is not a complete game (even less complete than the original in some ways). You have to houserule it (and of course that is encouraged in the early printings with the sidebars), so at least in intent it's closer to the original.

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AmpleFramework
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by AmpleFramework »

merias wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:19 pm


I think the main difference between S&W WB and the other clones like Delving Deeper is that WB is not a complete game (even less complete than the original in some ways). You have to houserule it (and of course that is encouraged in the early printings with the sidebars), so at least in intent it's closer to the original.
I think S&W Whitebox is great. It's perfect for the types of games I want to run, but with the caveat that I'm a very experienced player and referee with 27 years of experience under my belt. Not the most experienced in the hobby by far, but in that middling level of experience where I've picked up enough tricks to wing it. I wouldn't recommend someone entirely new to the hobby or the old school start with something this minimalist, as it's missing information from the third booklet of OD&D that actually lays out how the game is to be run. Vital information on dungeon and wilderness procedures is left entirely up to the referee in this, which is fine, because it ain't my first rodeo, mind you. The Alexandrian rightly pointed out in a series of blog posts on OD&D that the original dungeon-crawling procedures are entirely absent from modern iterations of D&D, too, so there's not many places that players can go to grok how those procedures were conceptualized except for 0e and 1e, where they're detailed.
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LordKilgore
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by LordKilgore »

merias wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:54 pm
Legal PDFs of most games are easy to come by nowadays, so why not just play the original games?
I originally got involved in the OSR movement because PDFs of B/X were unavailable at that time and I discovered Labyrinth Lord and S&W. Spent a lot of time playing both of them, but eventually came around to using the original B/X rules via eBay and PDF when they were finally released. For many years I've agreed with the "why not just play the original games?" position.

Lately, however, I've decided that I have an answer for that question: Because there is a newer presentation of the same rules that is superior. Sure, OSE doesn't have the charm and nostalgia of the original, but it's a great product that is 99.5% identical to B/X. Now with the Advanced Fantasy available at the same time my players are clamoring for more character options, it's a no-brainer for me. My B/X game is shifting to Advanced OSE. I couldn't ever quite love Advanced LL because of the changes LL made to the game (very understandable at that time) but Advanced OSE is exactly what I've wanted all this time so it's the way we're gonna go, even though I still have a huge soft spot in my heart for the B/X books.
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merias
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Re: Originals vs. Clones

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LordKilgore wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:14 pm
Lately, however, I've decided that I have an answer for that question: Because there is a newer presentation of the same rules that is superior. Sure, OSE doesn't have the charm and nostalgia of the original, but it's a great product that is 99.5% identical to B/X. Now with the Advanced Fantasy available at the same time my players are clamoring for more character options, it's a no-brainer for me. My B/X game is shifting to Advanced OSE. I couldn't ever quite love Advanced LL because of the changes LL made to the game (very understandable at that time) but Advanced OSE is exactly what I've wanted all this time so it's the way we're gonna go, even though I still have a huge soft spot in my heart for the B/X books.
When OSE first came out (as B/X Essentials), I was a bit surprised at how closely it tracked B/X. But after years of clones and no action by WOTC I guess it's not surprising any more, the perceived risk as a creator is much lower than it was back in 2006-2009 when LL, S&W and the other early clones were created.

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Re: Originals vs. Clones

Post by jcftao »

Yeah, I purchased OSE and was very happy with the layout. I started with Moldvay redbox when I was a young 'un and always will have a soft spot in my heart ...and head...for that version.

Even though I have OSE and the advanced fantasy options, I still am looking to pare the rules down to a simpler game...so at the moment I am running an even simpler version of Whitebox, adapting and changing a few things here and there with rules from other versions, even OSE.

But Old School Essentials is really, really great and I'm glad I have it on the shelf. :)

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