Monday, 11 April 2011

There are too many D&Ds

This is just one of those rants where I grunt about my first world RPG problems without really offering anything worthwhile, har har.

For anyone looking for their dungeon fantasy fix there are so many options out there that simply picking one seems like a very hard thing to do.

Just looking at the actual game called Dungeons & Dragons we have
-the original little brown books
-white box
-blue box (Holmes)
-1st red box aka B/X (Moldvay)
-2nd red box aka BECMI (Mentzner)
-rules cyclopedia
-AD&D 2nd Edition
-D&D 3E & 3.5
-D&D 4E, Essentials (and D&D Adventure System, if you can count that)

Then you've got all the retroclones:
-Dragons at Dawn
-Labyrinth Lord
-Swords & Wizardry White Box
-Swords & Wizardry Complete
-Lamentations of the Flame Princess
-Microlite 74
-Basic Fantasy RPG
-Dark Dungeons

The (modern) 2nd party spinoffs, parodies, heartbreakers and hacks:
-Castles & Crusaders
-Dungeon Crawl Classics
-Sancta Vaca

And the "play D&D with another system" variants:
-GURPS dungeon fantasy
-Dungeon World
-Dungeon Squad
-Old School Hack
-Red Box Hack

I'm not even paying attention to all the other billion clones, homebrewn rulesets, Savage Worlds hacks or whatever that you can find on the internet on in your game store. All of these have a lot in common, but they can also be incredibly different. Sometimes they are almost exactly alike except a few small details. So how can one choose? If you have two games that are almost exactly alike but one solves a problem one way and another solves it another and both of those solutions are cool and legit?

At the moment I'm very partial to Dungeon World, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Swords & Wizardry: White Box. All four offer something I like and all four of them are D&D but they're also rather different and incompatible. If someone asked me to run a D&D game right now, I'd find the choice agonizing. I find it impossible to pick one of them over the as far as I'm concerned, there are too many D&Ds.

But I mean that in the sense "there are too many ice cream flavors, why can't I eat them alllll?".

Because really: The more games, the better.

EDIT1: Added Hackmaster. I'm still leaving tons of games out.
EDIT2: I sometimes just post art without attributing it, which is by no means a ill-meaning act, merely a thoughtless one. The picture at the top of the post is from the "Grindhouse Edition" version of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It's by Peter Mullen who does some pretty amazing old-school art. They both deserve exposition.

Thank you commentators.


  1. Where is that piece of art from? "Grindhouse"?

  2. Grindhouse is a product, then?

  3. Yes, it's the revised version of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG linked above. It's called "Grindhouse Edition" because a lot of the art in it is inspired by grindhouse horror movies aesthetic.

    LotFP itself is a quasi-retroclone, a rules variant of old Basic D&D.