Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I Playing A Published Game & Don't Know It?

Jeff lists some charateristics of Goodman's upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics game.

-Roll 3d6 in order for six stats: Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intelligence, Personality, Luck
-Stat bonuses work as in 3.x: +1 for 12-13, +2 for 14-15, +3 for 16-17, etc.
-Strength modifies melee attacks and damage.
-Agility modifies missile attacks (and damage? I'm not sure), intiative, Armor Class and Reflex saves
-Stamina modifies hit points and Fort saves
-Intelligence modifies spell casting rolls and Will saves
-Most operations are d20 throws.
-AC is ascending, base 10. Scale mail is +4 AC, chain +5.
-Weapon damage seems pretty much like you'd expect. A battleaxe does d8, a spear does d6, etc.
-Not much of a skill system. Your class and/or occupation broadly cover what you can do.

Aside from luck and the lack of a wisdom stat it sounds a lot like our DIY game. That is: AD&D's relatively rules-light class-based system slightly "rationalized" by the 3.5 bonus system.

Jeff then goes on to say: "...this game is clearly in the same Old School/d20 Hybrid camp as both C&C and Basic Fantasy..."

I don't know much about the retro-clones, but I'm wondering if we've been playing C&C or Basic Fantasy or Dungeon Crawl Classics all along.

So, I'm curious. I don't know anything about the retro-clones but you (collectively) do. So can you tell me--which of those systems looks most like mine?

(Quickly reviewing Basic Fantasy now, since it's free)

To recap, my rules are as above, with the following additions:

-Skills for thieves.

-You can be whatever basic class or race from whatever type D&D you want. (Obviously there are no Tieflings in the clones, but the point is a race/class system.)

-Levelling-up will be as 3.5 (I notice that's identical to a Basic Fantasy fighter). No x.p. for traps.

-A 1 HD monster killed is 50 x.p. (That's 300--as 3.5--divided by 6 players = 50). I notice in Basic Fantasy, it's half that. (I figure the girls are going to level up faster than in AD&D in the televised campaign, for reasons discussed earlier.)

Anyway, am I playing Dungeon Crawl Classics, Basic Fantasy or Castles and Crusades?

If you're familiar with any of those games, let me know.


p.s.--Not trying to convert--why bother? Just curious.


  1. Good question. I'd say you are playing the best version of all: The game you enjoy playing.

  2. I think you're closest to C&C. It in itself isn't all that far from Basic Fantasy. Kind of like Basic D&D to AD&D.

    C&C does have a universal resolution mechanic (SIEGE) for Saving Throws, Abilities attribute checks. Basically, roll a D20+modifiers vs. TN (12 or 18+modifiers).

    Really, if you are thinking of swithching to something "in print", C&C does seem to be closest to what your current D&D system seems to be. And it should be dead easy to convert all the stuff in your 3.5 collection, that Mandy is ashamed of, to C&C.

  3. You know...I stopped differentiating between them a while back. In my head, they're all just plug-and-play variations on the same game.

    I mean that not in a bad way but in an excellent way. To me, it means that I can pick and choose whatever rules and tweaks i want and rarely have to worry about compatibility and such. 'Cause, you know, screw that.

    Ostensibly, Castles & Crusades is my game, not just because it gives me most of what I want and/or need in one place, but also because I like it; the SIEGE Engine works for me and mine, so that's what I call my starting place. In the end, though, I'm gonna end up with bits and pieces from all over the place when I feel like it.

    Jim Henson once said, "Take what you've got and fly with it." To me, that's the heart of Old School: Grab something, tweak, go forth and game. That's what you're doing, that's what I'm doing, and if anyone tells you your game is not Old School, they should remember their manners and pull up their pants -- it's impolite to speak out of one's ass.

  4. Oops. Probably shouldn't have made the Basic D&D to AD&D comparison. If that is fodder for a thread hijack I don't know what is. So ignore that.

  5. I always find it odd to be put into my position in history-- when I read, for instance, some stuff Paizo published about the planets in their fictional solar system, & we had many traits randomly in common. I mean, we're drawing from a lot of the same places for inspiration, but it is just odd.

    Also, the skill = reroll is very elegant.

  6. Just a heads up, the quick start rules for C&C are free:


    I think you might like the SIEGE mechanic which is basically a very simple skill system. You just roll a d20 for any challenge the DM thinks warrants a roll. If your class and/or ability scores indicate you should be good at the challenge (e.g., climbing, breaking open a door, etc.), then you don't have to roll as high. That's about it.

    If you think it's worth checking out, now is the time to by. They have a sale going on and you can get entire C&C rules for $15 + S&H in the flip book.


  7. Damn, that should be "... time to buy."

  8. You've mentioned a couple of times the "Levelling-up will be as 3.5" thing. Could you unpack that for someone not at all familiar with 3.anything? Does that mean XP/Level?

  9. @bradiation
    look at the Basic Roleplaying fighter xp/level chart. It's just like that. I think...

  10. I wonder if all the recent fuss would have happened if you were playing 'BFRPG' instead of '3.5'.

    From my take of your rules, you are playing AD&D!

    Honestly, if you juggle the xp numbers (which all DMs do for experience; just read Dragonsfoot) and remove race/class restrictions (which many "old school" DMs do, again RE: Dragonsfoot) and allow Tieflings (which appeared in second edition, which is still considered "old school") your game IS AD&D.

  11. @Zak: From what you've told us about Type Mongrel it sounds like you're playing a folkart version of Microlite 20, or Delta's Diminutive d20. There'll probably be family resemblance between all these games and Goodman Games' DCC.

    bradiation: WOTC d20: 1,000 x current level to advance. What monsters are worth varies depending on relative threat level in an overcomplex version of OD&D's old "divide their HD by your level, multiply XP by that" rule.

  12. Okay, cool. Thanks. C&C (the system I take more mechanics from than any other) uses a class-specific leveling system. Personally, I'm a fan of that, partially because it takes into account some potential imbalance between the classes (yeah, I know, I'm mentioning the b-word on an old school blog), but mostly because I like a diverse party.

  13. I find this statement by Dr-Rotwang to be one of the most poignant in regards to editions...

    "You know...I stopped differentiating between them a while back. In my head, they're all just plug-and-play variations on the same game."

    From the perspective of someone like me, you're all playing the same game. Back in the days when there was only AD&D 1st Ed. you could randomly gather together ten GMs and their gaming groups from all over the U.S. and I would bet good money they weren't playing identical games system wise.

    All I see as an observer 'on the outside' is that Basic Fantasy, C&C, Labyrinth Lord, S&W, Pathfinder, etc. are all variant house rules of the same Dungeons & Dragons. Its not like one OSR game is Champions and the other is Toon. To put it another way I don't see these games as Apples and Oranges but lots of different Apples. And honestly, I can't tell a Red Delicous from a McIntosh without biting into it and even then its no all that different.

  14. What Barking Alien said.

    I played DCC, OD&D, AD&Dv1, AD&Dv2, ASS (no, really, Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcery), and Basic D&D (Cyclopedia) this weekend.

    OK, so, AC goes up in the first and down in the rest, and everyone uses a different initiative system, but, seriously, it's the difference between a Midwestern and a California accent. Maybe AD&D v2 is New York, 'cause it's a little hard to understand if you're from one of the other places, and Basic is a Southern accent, and OD&D is, I dunno, some weird-looking Amish dialect that says "thee" and "thou" a lot, but, you know, it's all pretty much the same game.

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  16. Im two days late to the party, but DIY games are punk and cooler than anything published, naturally.

    On a more related note, I totally vote for you or anyone to check out Basic Fantasy. It was an earlier entry to what is now the OSR, and no one speaks much of it since it uses d20 bastard mechanics and its developer (Chris Gonnerman) doesn't try to monetize it (not that I'm against making money.)

  17. C&C isn't a retro-clone. It's main claim to fame is SIEGE and you're not using it. It's skills and saves are per ability, it uses different level progression per class. So, I don't think your close to C&C, not that your far either. Not far from any of the D&Ds. Like others said, They're all the same game just houseruleled.