Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Back to the Basics

B is for Back to the Basics
When I say "basics" I am referring to Basic Dungeons & Dragons but, more specifically, I am referring to the B/X iteration of the D&D rules and why I chose to convert my campaign - Toldara - to this older version. 
 
The campaign world of Toldara was originally conceived soon after I purchased the core 3E books after a 10 year absence from the hobby.  My cousin Alex and I began work on this campaign world and started coming up with all sorts of additions and customizations we wanted to make.  We would eventually upgrade to the 3.5E version of the rules a few years later. 
 
I was a little excited by the fact that 4E would include the option of Dragonborn player characters because we had a lizard man race for Toldara.  That did not go as well as we had hoped but then Pathfinder came along and it solved our issues.  We could just upgrade to that set of rules much like the jump we made from 3E to 3.5E.  In fact, we did just that and have been happy ever since.
 
What led to the decision to switch the campaign over to B/X D&D?  Well, the entire campaign is not getting switched.  Alex is taking full control of the reigns for the Pathfinder game while I decided to convert all of the information over to B/X D&D for several reasons.
 
B/X D&D is my own personal favorite iteration of the rules.  All you have to do is look at the cover
  to see that this is a game of fantasy adventure with warriors, mages, and fearsome dragons to battle.  None of the other covers has caught my attention like this one.  The artwork inside the book further captures my imagination.  Even the choice of something simple like the font used in the rules reinforces the tone and feel of the game.  B/X is still the version of the game that I have gotten the most use out of in play time and enjoyment. 
 
Another thing that drew me back to the B/X rules is that there are less of them.  Nothing against 3E or Pathfinder - or anything other "modern" set of rules - but I like the fact that there are less rules to manage.  That means that there is less preparation time and more play time.  I am 40 years old with 2 young children so gaming time is pretty sparse these days.  I would rather play than argue over the rules or spend gaming time trying to look up rules in the manuals.  As much as I enjoy the newer rules sets, there have been several times that play has been halted for several minutes to look something up and then maybe cross reference a few other areas to double check.  B/X is a lot more free wheeling in nature and does not try to have a rule for everything.
 
Those are the main two reasons that I am using the B/X rules to power my next campaign.  It should be interesting to get everything up and running in this older system.  There are many similarities between the systems but there are also some big differences.  I think the differences will prove the most interesting. 
 
  
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
     

13 comments:

  1. Certainly a blog from the A to Z Challenge I will be coming back to... surely arguing over rules is more than half of the fun? Oh no, that's right. It's not.

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    1. Thanks! I hear you. Don't get me wrong - I think Pathfinder is great but I just want something with less stuff to track and stay on top of.

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  2. Awesome! I did Basic D&D last year (and Basic clones the year before that)!

    It's great we can now get it on PDF.

    Keep up the great posts!

    Tim
    The Other Side
    Red Sonja: She-devil with a Sword

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    1. Cool. I will check your archive.

      Yeah, the pdf being brought back is great!

      Thanks!

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  3. I love basic dnd and the basic retroclones. I know what you mean about pictures and font. I find the old style stuff very comforting. Looking forward to hearing more about your campaign.

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    1. "Comforting" is a great label for them. Thanks!

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  4. oh... the d&d memories... i want to find my stats notebook... right now. though it would be me playing with myself...

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host
    Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

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    1. The stats notebook would be a very cool find!

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  5. I'll be touching on B/X on me "E" post ("E is for editions"). B/X is my 2nd favorite iteration of the Dungeons adn Dragons rules. Yopu might want to check out http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/ and his B/X Companion and B/X Adventurer.

    So, I'm assuming your making a "lizard-man" race-as-class? :)

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    1. Looking forward to your E post. BX BlackRazor is very cool. I have been tempted to pick up the Companion & Adventurer but have never bit the bullet. I will soon, though. Yes, I am working on a lizard man race-as-class.

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  6. I never played first edition D&D. My first encounter was with second. But I do like the idea of fewer rules. I imagine that there is much more focus on game play rather than special moves and conditions. As awesome as Pathfinder is - and I am a total fan - sometimes I really don't care about the rules!

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    1. Pre-WotC products did tend to focus on game play rather than special moves. It was less of a computer simulation experience. Previous incarnations focused often on survival. The goal was to see if you could become a great hero. I assume you might be confusing D&D with AD&D. As you go backwards in edition, there tends to be fewer rules:

      D&D (White Box) - First printed rpg. Fewest rules.

      Basic D&D (what this post is about). Continued with the early tradition of races being classes. Different versions have slightly different rules. These came in box sets commonly referred to as BECMI. Basic was like lvl 1-3, Expert, 4-6, etc.

      AD&D - Separated races and classes. Added more classes and subclasses. Added in multi-classing and dual-classing. More spells. Lots of rules in the DMG to handle all sorts of situations (water combat, sieges, hand-to-hand.) Basic was often meant to be an introduction to the concepts that were used in AD&D.

      AD&D 2E - Added non-weapon proficiencies. Then kits, optional rules, etc. It removed some of the AD&D content. Added in a lot of moralizing. Took AD&D in a high fantasy direction with lots of magic and away from the sword and sorcery rules.

      AD&D 3E, just referred to as 3E. WotC dropped Advanced from the name because they got rid of the basic versions. After this you are familiar with how things go, 3.5E, 3.75E (Pathfinder), 4E, 5E.

      I wish I could run an experiment. Could modern D&D players even think Basic D&D was "D&D" if they played Basic and were never told it was a D&D product?

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    2. Good breakdown of the editions.

      That would be a very interesting experiment!

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