Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Source Materials and Appendix "X" Inspirational Reading

   At the very end of the first volume will be some credits, spell indices, and a parody of the "Appendix "N" Inspirational Reading sections. The Source Materials is straight forward and serious, but the Appendix "X" is a list of famous, and not-so-famous fictitious books. I add to it occasionally, and if you can see where this list is going, I invite you to add some to it. Here is what I have so far:

Source Materials

Holmes'” Basic D&D Rules
0e” OD&D rules, either from the lbb's, or the “Single Volume” edition
Chainmail Rules – Specifically the “Man-to-Man Combat” and “The Fantasy Supplement” rules
Supplement I: Greyhawk
Supplement II: Blackmoor
Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry
Swords & Spells

Inspirational Appendix "X” Reading

Harry Potter and the Dingus of Upper Whinging by JR Kowling
Harry Potter and Mistress McGonacall's Spell of Bondage by AL Franken
Harry Potter and the Balance of Earth by Al Gore
From Outer Space by Jose Chung
My Other Car is a Time Machine by Dr. Rick Marshall
Matt Lauer Can Suck It by Dr. Rick Marshall
GilbertGottfried reads “50 Shades of Gray” (audio book) (link NSFW) by Gilbert Gottfried
Edmund Blackadder Conquers the Klingon Empire by Rowan Robinson
Lord Flashheart and the Queen of Spain's Erotic Holiday in the Scottish Highlands by Tony Atkinson
Jenny Starpepper and the Great White Gibbon by Adam Shadowchild 
Jenny Starpepper and the Spitting Worm by Adam Shadowchild
Jenny Starpepper and the Great Brass Hen by Adam Shadowchild
Fluxing Uranus by Adam Shadowchild
Jupiter Praxis by Adam Shadowchild
Prisonhulk 441 by Adam Shadowchild
The Robot's Mistress by Adam Shadowchild
Pop Up Kama Sutra: Zero-Gravity Edition by author unknown
The Amazing Adventures of Captain Gladys Stoat-Pamphlet and her Intrepid Spaniel Stig amongst the Giant Pygmies of Beccles, Volume Eight by Capt. Gladys Stoat-Pamphlet
Origins of a World War by Rossignol

Some of these were invented by me, with the author's names changed or invented to avoid confusion of actual books by the real authors. Other books are indeed fictitious, having been invented for TV or film. Some are obvious to our generation of gamers and genre, some are less obvious. I'd like to think of this as an in-joke. Some of you might submit fake books that I may or may not get, and some may be made up by you; either is fine.

Redefining and Clarifying the 0e Rules

   Without a doubt, I consider the "Single Volume" edition of 0e to be the single most indispensable book at the table for running any 0e, or even a Holmes Basic game.

   No, its not 'legal' in the strictest sense of OGL and copyright compatibility, but it is free, and in its favor is that it keeps a lot of the 0e text intact, only changing it when it vastly improves the rules. In fact, I'd say that it is this simple bit of clarity and unchanged text is the reason why its not legal: its so damn useful, and it really makes the creation of 0e retro-clones unnecessary.

   Yes, retro-clones are nice when WotC wouldn't release the PDFs of any of the original D&D game versions, and new players needed an actual set of compatible rules to play with; not to mention that new modules need a published set of rules to be published in the first place. So, I think everyone who still focuses on the original versions of D&D really needs a PDF copy of the clone that mimics their chosen game, just in case someone gets the urge to write up a campaign or module, the cloned rules are there to base your game product on.

   A lot of times however, a clone gets produced to wide acclaim and sales, but picks up a segment of the gaming population as detractors of the game, claiming that a favorite rule of theirs wasn't included, changed, or other rules they don't care to see was included, making the game nearly unrecognizable, and plays quite different than the original version played.

   Now, i don't know a whole lot about any clone, but I know which ones I like and would buy in print, and others I wouldn't take a free PDF of if it was offered. There comes a point when a clone must be published with a discernible difference to be published legally, and that difference is the difference between a great original version of the game, and a collection of house rules tacked onto a rather wordy interpretation of what used to be considered a good game. And why is this necessary? So a publisher can make a few bucks, or to truly enhance everyone's understanding and clarity of the original rules?

   I'll say this up front: I've been working on my own retro-clone for years now, but long ago I decided that it wasn't a retro-clone or a revision; it is a set of house rules that I will eventually be playing with (someday, hopefully) and base all of my future campaign material and modules on.

   It does three things that other retro-clones cannot, or will not do: It will not be OGL compliant, nor will it avoid any copyright issues; it will not pretend to be 'faithful' to the original it attempts to mimic, when enough is changed to make it no longer so; it will never be released to the public at large, and it will never cost anyone one red dime to get a PDF copy of it.

   It will, however: Use original version text, sections, numbers, formulae and terms that the original version used so there is no confusion as to what, exactly the rules are about; it will obviously offer "house rules" based on any number of sources to make it a more rounded, well traveled game; once it is complete, I will most likely print a copy for myself, and if it isn't cost prohibitive, I'll print up extra copies for players and friends. Whether they pitch in to help cover the cost of printing is up to them. Eventually, I have to receive a decent enough paycheck to afford printing up a copy every once in a while.

   Here at Prime Requisite, rules will be mended, broken, modified, fractured, opened, sealed, forgotten and invented from whole cloth. New classes, races, equipment, descriptions, monsters, magic items, charts, graphs, tables, spells, worlds, dungeons, and reasons to adventure will eventually be covered, discovered, recovered, visited, revisited, and discarded, and in no particular order.

    I'll post more about my "house rules" in my next post.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Finally Created a Blog

   Well, this is it. Time to show a little professionalism and start putting forth a few things about all those 'dated' D&D games I love so much. What things? Well... I have a few rule ideas of my own. I mean, everyone else is creating clones and copies of the game, and nearly every edition is getting cloned, why don't I give it a stab?

   That may actually be a problem, because unlike a lot of other clone publishers, I am not interested in publishing anything that isn't my own baby, and I cannot consider a clone to be anything original by me, thus, unpublishable. Yes, I know there are guidelines and criteria to follow that will still allow me to publish a clone of D&D by following the OGL, but that isn't what I mean; I'm not here to publish. I'm here to post a few things.

   Now, if I get a good response to what I post, I may continue. Then again, if I wind up with NO followers, I may still continue, if only to immortalize my not-so-noteworthy rules scribbling in a faceless blogosphere that no-one but me will ever read!

   From what I understand, anyone can make a blog and be edgy, snarky, sarcastic, caustic, or down-right nasty towards any number of pet peeves and other perceived slights one might experience whilst perusing favorite sites and forums. I really don't want to do that. I simply want to put a piece up for view, and then explain to the best of my ability why I think it is or isn't good, bad, or forgettable. Opinion, yes, but hopefully always in a constructive way. Occasionally I may ask for other opinions, but I suppose that some snark or rudeness is to be expected. There are a lot of different versions of D&D out there, original - and 'clone'.

   I hope to make this blog mainly about the original D&D versions, whether it be 0e, Holmes, BX, or AD&D. However, I expect that there will be well intentioned replies that may direct the blog reader to one or other of the decades of clones that are freely available. Now, please don't take this the wrong way; I do not hate retro-clones, but I do actively avoid using them as the base set of rules for my own campaigns. Why? It is simple really: I still have all the original games, in one form or another, and I would hate to put them on a shelf when there is still so much life and imagination left in them.

   Anything else wrong with the clones, Bob? Re-writing them to mold them into a form for new gamers is fine, or even a common 'house rule' now made canon is also fine. We all house rule, even if our house rule is to stick as closely "by the book" as possible - and not to add one other single house rule. Now, there is also a difference in adding house rule as canon to a new clone, and a different interpretation of the rules that not everyone will agree with.

   Now, my first rule of D&D is to make sure everyone is having fun, and if a rule isn't working as you thought it should, change it. I change things every session if I or my players really think its necessary. My campaign has evolved from a simple series of BX rules related dungeons to a fully integrated BX/AD&D World of Greyhawk campaign. I would expect no other treatment from, or to, a clone.

   That may be my only consistent ruling on the game, but I have friends who would argue that you can only change 25% of the rules in D&D before it can no longer be considered to be "D&D".

   About change: If you think a rule doesn't work because it seems to be broken, examine every aspect of that rule and the context it provides within the game. If it really does not fit your concept of a campaign, it might be tossed, changed, or adjusted. I would also advise to test this rule fully before changing it, discover all the factors that are involved with the rule's affect on the game.

The DM's Toolkit:
    There are a lot of things in D&D that we, as players and DMs take for granted, but strive to be interactive as well as storyteller, narrator, scene director/choreographer during combat, and provide challenges for the players, but in practice, I hardly ever think of a lot of things ahead of time, things that 4 or 5 players can think of all at once - once we are going full speed in the dungeon. On-the-spot ad-libbing and extemporization must also be in the DM's toolkit.

   Remember the difference between a rule and a ruling. Rules are fairly permanent, and they allow the DM to operate the campaign world as the players' journey through it. A ruling is a very temporary, possibly only a situational result made on the spot in the thick of battle or other highly stressful part of the journey, and it may be reversed or nullified in later sessions because a clear meaning of an overlooked rule had been subsequently found.

   But I am getting ahead of myself. This is my first post, and I have a lot of things to consider posting here, and I have a lot more composing to accomplish before actually posting anything with real substance, and I hope that I'm not boring you with a philosophy you already know and master.

Next up: Sleep! and designing the look of this blog, and arranging what, if any different topics I'd love to share eventually.