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I just received the print on demand version of the Delving Deeper Reference Rules Compendium in the mail Friday. It is a 130 page digest-sized paperback book for $4.95 plus shipping; product details can be found here if you are interested in obtaining a copy. If you are interested in the free pdfs then you can obtain them at the official forums at the immersive ink site. I have the free pdfs and I will most likely have them printed out and spiral-bound at some point soon just to prevent any undue wear and tear on my copy of the rulebook.
I have not read through this entire book yet but I have read enough to know that I am definitely impressed with the work done to complete this volume. I never played or owned the OD&D rules but I have studied them a bit. I cut my teeth on Holmes and AD&D and later got heavily involved with the B/X rules. Basically, I have a reasonable foundation and experience to comment on the book and its contents. I will not pretend that this post is some sort of quasi-review but merely a recommendation and some first impressions from the reading I have done up to this point.
The DELVING DEEPER manual is divided into three main sections. The first section, HEROES & MAGIC, is where I have committed the most time in reading the contents. This section is equivalent to the Men & Magic booklet from OD&D and the contents should be familiar to the reader. Abilities are generated by rolling 3D6 in order; the order is similar to the old school way by listing them as Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma. There are three classes - cleric, fighter, and magic-user - to choose from with thief being listed as an optional fourth. Each class has a prime requisite that will affect the amount of experience needed to level; standard levels are 1-12 with Humans being allowed to continue on but there are level limits to the Halfling, Dwarf, and Elf. Alignment is reduced to Law, Chaos, and Neutral. There is a small section on hirelings, mercenaries, and retainers. Cleric spells are detailed to 5th level while Magic-User spells are listed and defined to 6th level. Like I mentioned previously, all of this should be really familiar. Granted, there are some differences to avoid any legal entanglements but it is essentially OD&D presented in a clear and organized manner. The rules even have descending AC.
I have not read as much of the remaining two sections of the rules but I have read enough to know the brevity and clarity continue on throughout the book. The second section, DELVING & EXPLORATION, is where the referee's section of the rules begin. It opens with a short section on campaign preparation and then details aspects such as creating the world, creating dungeons, combat, exploration (sections on underworld, wilderness, seafaring, and aerial). The Campaign covers subjects such as strongholds, mass battles, enchanting magic items, and other worlds.
The third section, MONSTERS & TREASURES, is the final section of the rules. This section begins with a list of the monsters followed by a description of every monster. The monster descriptions are brief with most taking up no more space than three to five sentences. This is followed by a similar list and explanation for treasures.
There is a brief look at DELVING DEEPER in this post. It definitely has a lot of appeal for those seeing an old school experience and these rules are going to get a lot of use at my table. If you want more options, there are other classes being developed over at the official forums mentioned above. DELVING DEEPER is a welcome addition to my collection.