Monday, January 2, 2012

Do Adventure Game Systems Matter?

To me they do.  Since I am running a AD&D campaign right now I doubt I would buy a 4E module or 3.5 adventure to use.  Too much conversion.  But what about the retro clones and I am speaking mainly of the big three, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lords.  When someone puts out an adventure of Labyrinth Lords, but you're play OSRIC does that matter? 

Here is why I am asking.  I've been working on some side projects and I am currently stating them for S&W.  It would be very easy for me to release the same product for the other two systems.  I'm just curious how much of a difference this makes to people out there.

16 comments:

  1. None. Any of the TSR era rulesets & clones are close enough that it doesn't matter to me, one whit.

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  2. B/X D&D is a surprisingly different animal from AD&D and OD&D. I realize I am outside of what passes for main stream in the OSR for saying that.

    The OD&D and AD&D communities have no problem adapting Labyrinth Lord material to their game, but I don't think they understand the difficulties in going the other direction.

    Much of this is related to variations in tone and culture, but the OD&D people in Fight On! and Knockspell simply do not care about rules in the same way that later Electrum age gamers do. The inability of these hard core role players to relate to people that had to play games *without* a game master is probably the main culprit here.

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  3. It makes no difference to me... stats, "skill" type tests & saving throws are pretty much all in my head / 2nd nature anyway.

    I only read stats for entirely new creatures, and even for the system in use these always require adaptation to my home campaign.

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  4. I *provisionally* agree. There are differences between old-school rulesets, of course, but also between product expectations. Different people have different thresholds for what they are willing to do to convert, what information they feel they need written down, and what quantity of extra material counts as too much useless clutter. The problem thus becomes "How narrow is the customer's expectations?"

    For example, consider cross-system compatibility of prepped spell lists for cleric NPCs or quickstart characters. Some versions start 1st level clerics with one spell. Some versions give bonus spells for high Wisdom. In theory, anyone could convert a cleric description for any of the systems to one of the other systems on the fly, but some people don't feel comfortable with that; they want as much done for them as possible. The trick would be finding the magic threshold of material that most readers would find acceptable.

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  5. Back in the day we played B/X, but bought and ran any module we liked the look of. Never had any problems running the AD&D modules. These days I can't imagine having a problem running any OSR module with whichever version I'm running.

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  6. It makes no difference to me. I, for one, prefer OSRIC, but translating (or personalizing, if you will) modules from other editions (and other games, even!) is something I find strangely satisfying--only occasionally chore-like.

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  7. It doesn't matter one bit to me. All old school D&D products are completely interchangeable.

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  8. As someone who doesn't play/run old school, I still use my old school D&D and AD&D adventures for ideas and scenarios all the time.

    If an adventure has good writing, a fun idea, and doesn't depend on a specific heavily identified "D&D-ism" (like Githyanki or Beholders) then I'll consider it, no matter the system.

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  9. Any system is okay for me - I'm going to convert after all. The closer the system's language is to D&D, though, the better. So games for LL or S&W seem pretty easy to translate for me. But the further afield it gets, the less like I am to use it.

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  10. They are almost completely interchangable. Stuff like AC starting at 10 vs 9, or # of cleric spells, just ignore. It's NPC's, why do they have to follow all the rules? Who'll know if they don't? Just run with the stats as written and ignore the little things.

    The only tricky part is the amount of treasure in some modules. Review that before handing it out - AD&D has lower XP requirements, and it has XP for magic items.

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  11. Man, I feel like an outsider here. The earliest edition of D&D I've played was 3rd edition (*ducks*) but I can imagine conversions would be a pain. It's bad enough between 3.5 and 4th ed.

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  12. 3e and 4e are based on entirely different assumptions math-wise, so conversion from/to WotC games is a chore (did this recently). But in my current campaign, I find B/X modules just as useful as ones for AD&D. As long as it bears a fair resemblance to the TSR era D&D, I can use it as written.

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  13. No difference at all to me. As James mentioned, all those systems are so very similar that any GM can alter on the fly.

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  14. System matters to me as well. But for me as a DM, i'm used to making modifications and adjusting on-the-fly when utilizing pre-prepared materials. If I know it is developed for B/X but i'm playing AD&D, I simply make minor adjustments to up the threat level of the encounters.

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  15. One of the great things about the "Big Three" are the similarities between them, making adaptation extremely easy. As a child it was annoying and frustrating to try to play an adventure from one edition with another, but as an adult it doesn't bother me much at all.

    That being said, if your publication adheres closely to the specifics of one edition, then it might be problematic: for example, if the main antagonist is an illusionist with a passel of spells (this class not being present in S&W or LL), it can be tough adapting the bad guy to other systems.

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