Tuesday, August 03, 2010

follow up to a serious question

I have been informed that some people I respect are quietly putting together a Holmes retroclone, expected to be out this fall.  (BTW I expected Ye Olde Book of Spells to be out almost three months earlier and that was about the world's easiest gamebook to make.  So who really knows when stuff like this will be done?  It comes out when it comes out.  No big whoop.)  I don't really see the need for there to be two blue book clones and they've already put some work into it, so I'll pass on writing a Holmes emulator.  Hopefully, those nice folks will announce their project soon rather than leave all you all hanging.

That being said, it's neat to see I'm on the same wavelength as the commenters in the previous post.  A digest-sized 32-page self-contained pick-up D&D was a big part of my thinking on the externals of a Holmes clone.  Grodd bless the cool people making elaborate new boxed sets of old school games, but I really just want something quick and easy that I can crumple up and jam into the pocket of my jacket when needed.  So I got to ask, if I tossed out the idea of a strict clone and just whipped up Jeff's Stupid Rules would folks be interested?

38 comments:

  1. Jeff's Stupid Rules? I'd be very interested. In fact, I think I'd be more interested in that than a completely faithful retro-clone at this point.

    Especially if you can get it all to fit into a single 32-page digest. That sounds ambitious.

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  2. I'd be interested. Strongly pained by a reminder of the "Basic Set" I was planning and then fled from, but definitely interested :3;;

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  3. I definitely would be interested. A 32 page, digest-sized, self-contained pick-up D&D? That's a version of D&D I can use. I don't personally use any retro-clones because I have the originals (though I do get why they're worth making).

    But this I can see myself actually using.

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  4. Though I don't know that I'd play "Jeff's Stupid Rules," I'd certainly look at it and I think the idea of a quick and easy version is a good one.

    We're currently working on a quick and easy book of our own game.

    As more and more clones and homebrews get published, I wonder how much actual interest there is, though.

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  5. I'd be interested in Jeff's Stupid Rules, particularly as a 32-page-ish body of work.

    What I would not be interested in is yet another retroclone. With all due respect, I'm disappointed that people appear to be jockeying for first dibs on slapping an OGL on Holmes and sucking it into the OSR Collective.

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  6. Actually, what I'd love to see, rather than just another retro-clone, would be a more comprehensive work detailing your unique observations, recommendations and advice on what makes a great, memorable, and fun campaign.

    "Stupid Arcana", with all sorts of neat stuff the reader could either use or something like that. Sort of like a bizarre Encounter Critical/Mutant Future Hitch-hiker's Handbook to Jeff's D&D Universe or something. Something that transcends editions and genres, but is decidedly and eclectically old school -- something Dave Hargrave might endorse. This seems to be the hole that needs stuffing around the blog-o-sphere these days, and though Planet Algol is a notable exception, in some ways it seems so contained unto itself ...

    At the very least, it might be entertaining, even to those not so into RPGs.

    JM.

    (Verification Word=bichin)

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  7. May I commit an act of heresy?

    I'd much rather see more NEW material created to work with "retro clones" than Yet Another set of "core" rules that is 95% compatible with the other dozen sets of retro-clone core rules. I mean, the Holmes Blue Book (which I started with, when it had "B1" and cheap soft plastic dice, which was BEFORE the chits, BTW), was basically "Intro to AD&D", never intended to be expanded beyond levels 1-3 or serve as the basis for an ongoing campaign once you for the "real" rules. Do we need a "retro clone" of it, when we have both OSRIC and clones of various flavors of BD&D?

    I am much more interested in seeing new material built on the base of the retro-cores. Where are the Greyhawks, the Arduin Grimoires, the All The Worlds Monsters, the Unearthed Arcanas? Mutant Future is a standout exception here, with even the core having many times more material than the GW1 core it "clones". And there's Carcosa, of course. But I don't know of any other stuff in that vein -- perhaps someone could point me to it?

    (Before someone says "Write it yourself!", I've got my "Futro Clone", Earth Delta, obsessing me now. When that's done...well, I might be doing the ultimate in quixotic retro, new material for Star Rovers. :) )

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  8. Yes indeed. The stupider the better.

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  9. As long as Jeff's Stupid Rules isn't just another retro-clone ruleset, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.

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  10. I would definitely be interested in a 32 page Holmes like introductory d&d book if it were written in my own language, which is not english... But the idea is great!

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  11. Only if you promised to throw out the race as class nonsense, I know lots of people like it and I expect to be harshly thrashed for saying it, but it really was not one of Gary's better ideas.

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  12. Anonymous12:54 PM

    32-page Jeff Rients-authored ruleset. Yes, I'd give it a shot.

    All the Holmes retroclone stuff I've seen is about giving it more Levels and bits of OD&D or 1e.

    Bland. And JEH was never bland - weresharks fighting alien insect-men, hobbit samurai and psionic pteradons at the centre of the earth.

    JSR though - I'd buy two !

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  13. Race as Class is not really "Gary's idea" and while it was suggested in the less-than-clear Elf rules in OD&D, in Holmes it's pretty explicit that a Dwarf or Halfling can be a Thief. It wasn't codified that way until Moldvay Basic in 1981, and appeared in B/X, BECMI and Rules Cyclopedia. A number of BECMI era expansions had alternate takes as well.

    As far as whether I want a "short D&D"... to be honest, not so much really. The thing that bugs me is that they're close to each other and the original, but no cigar. Now if "Jeff's Stupid Rules" included some true retro-stupid tropes I think we would be in totally different territory here.

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  14. There's an emulator for every freakin' Commodore 64, Atari 2600, etc. I fail to see why people get cranky about doing a clone. People always want one so it's accessible, for historical context, and to create their own material. Oh, and to actually play.

    I've got zero experience playing or even reading Holmes rules--and will likely never have the opportunity if a PDF isn't published.

    I'll always sign on for more clones. Plus, 32 pages is exactly my attention span's limit. :)

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  15. But if there's already a really good emulator (or 12) for the C64, does anyone need ANOTHER one? As opposed to, say, someone firing up a macro assembler and writing a NEW game that RUNS on a C64 emulator?

    And while my memory of fine details is fuzzy, if you've played AD&D 1e... you've played Holmes Basic. Many of the things which made BD&D/OD&D different from AD&D were not in Holmes. Holmes had "pick race and class" not "race is class", Holmes had nine alignments, not 3, Holmes had Clerics casting spells from 1st level and used AD&D style spell lists, etc. Holmes was to AD&D 1e what the forthcoming "Red Box" will be to AD&D 4e -- a light intro, not a truly different version. To my mind, it's like saying GURPS Lite is a different game than GURPS. (There were differences, of course, between Holmes and AD&D, some due to simplification, some due to the fact Holmes was written while AD&D 1e was still in development and was used as a stopgap while we waited for the DMG to come out. In a lot of ways, it's both a "light" AD&D and a "prototype" AD&D. It's very interesting from a historical perspective and as a marker on the transitional road from OD&D to AD&D 1e, but I remain unconvinced it differs sufficiently in playstyle/tone to need its own retroclone when clones of OD&D, BECMI, and AD&D already exist. I am happy to hear other arguments. What's unique about it? What mechanics/playstyles does it present or encourage which aren't covered by existing systems?)

    (Holmes also had lists of 3rd level MU spells... but not any descriptions of them. They were there to "show the possibilities of magic", as I recall. If the 1e PHB hadn't been published, it would have been horribly frustrating.)

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  16. Jeff's Stupid Rules?

    Absolutely.

    I'd pay good money for that. Probably even buy more than one, so I could share them.

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  17. Add me to the list of curious.

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  18. Yes to disjointed rules, thoughts, charts and how-tos organized like your Tables, but not as a clones, just as a philosophy or "Here's my gaming brain dump".

    I'm done with buying rules, RPGs, box sets and shit. The Whitebox set was my last. I have all the D&D I need, now I just enjoy the freebies and the various odd bits.

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  19. The more stupid rules the better IMO

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  20. I think there's room for a clone of the Holmes set, but yes, I think Arcana Stoopid is an even better idea.

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  21. Lizard said: And while my memory of fine details is fuzzy, if you've played AD&D 1e... you've played Holmes Basic. Many of the things which made BD&D/OD&D different from AD&D were not in Holmes. Holmes had "pick race and class" not "race is class", Holmes had nine alignments, not 3, Holmes had Clerics casting spells from 1st level and used AD&D style spell lists, etc

    I disagree with your basic premise. I started w/Mentzer in the 80's and soon graduated to AD&D. I only recently picked up Holmes and the flavor and feel is entirely different than AD&D.

    Also, Holmes Clerics cast one spell at 2nd level and aligments offered were lawful (good/evil), neutral, and chaotic (good/evil), so no nine alignment system.

    But to answer your question Jeff: I would buy/download/read/play a copy of your stoopit rules. In an instant.

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  22. Let me second Arcana Stoopid. :)

    @JJ: Thank you for correcting my misremembering of the details. It's been a long time. I'm still not sure of the utility of a rules set which never got beyond third level, but that's a different issue.

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  23. Lizard, it's not so much a question of utility, but of playing style. I've not played it myself, but many have said that there's quite a thrill in playing this unique, low-powered form of D&D.

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  24. I suppose it's that, when I played it, I never played it "pure"... Our "game" back then was Holmes, the GH/BM supplements, and the AD&D MM1 and PHB, along with random Dragon articles, all tossed in a big blender. When the DMG finally came out, we mostly forgot Holmes and had no interest in the Red/Blue box set or the later BECMI set.

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  25. @ Lizard - Not to mention the various Holmes expansions, which have been made. I would assume that a clone would expand things as well, but even if it didn't there are options. There's also the whole "gimme something to tinker with," thing.

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  26. Can you link me to some of these expansions, please? Thanks!

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  27. Anonymous6:16 PM

    The Cinder house rules you posted here were delightful and that's the sort of crunch I'd buy into. Include a mini-Cinder sandbox also = another sale.

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  28. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Can you link me to some of these expansions, please?

    @Lizard - try here:

    http://odd74.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=holmes&thread=2279&page=1

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  29. @David: Thank you, that's an excellent set of links. D'led and moved to my laptop for Gencon reading.

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  30. giantbat7:56 PM

    I'd be more interested in a digest-sized 32-page pick-up D&D "Jeff's Stupid Rules" than any of the available or announced clones. I am interested in your perspective, not your commenters', so please make it your game and disregard the "do this don't do that" input. Other people can make the game they want. I want your game and there is plenty of audience for it.

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  31. Having immersed myself in the Cinder houserules and other miscellany for the past few weeks, I'd LOVE to see Jeff's Stupid Rules.

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  32. Anonymous10:17 PM

    I'd be even MORE interested in something that isn't a clone, but is in the same spirit of a short concise set of rules. I would have mentioned it before, but it sounded like you were interested in Holmes specifically. Again, I'd love to see a game written in your voice, Jeff... I like your take on things, otherwise I wouldn't read the blog! 32 pages, digest size is all I'd want, if it feels like a solid little set of rules.

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  33. Sounds fun to me. I'd be interested if only to see more people's perspectives on their games. It's like having a textbook with somebody else's notes already in it.

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  34. Just please, PLEASE make sure to actually call it "Jeff's Stupid Rules". That's even better than Encounter Critical! AND, it acronymizes well:

    "Hey, wanna play some JSR?"

    "HELL YEAH!"

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  35. I'd be very, very interested in JSR. Ditto what giantbat said.

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  36. Anonymous2:30 AM

    I'm down for some Jeff's Stupid Holmes. Cheap and 32 pages = hand them out to anyone half interested.

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  37. Anonymous7:54 AM

    Bring on the clones, the more the merrier! I, mean, I'm doing one, so why not?

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