Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Perfect "Retroclone"?

Jimm Johnson, propietor of the Contemptible Cube of Quazar, passed along a copy of his home campaign D&D rulebook to me:

This thing is beautiful. It's exactly what I wish I had the time to do for my own game. It is a lovely single-booklet distillation of classic D&D. It has everything players need to know, all tailored specifically for Jimm's Planet Eris campaign setting. I wish I had the same thing to hand out to players in my own games. It's a perfect way to summarize core rules, house rules, and lay out new campaign-specific classes, spells, items, etc. It's also great if, like me, most of your players aren't gamers who own their own rulebooks.

Best of all, the cover doesn't beat around the bush. It's DUNGEONS & DRAGONS dude!

I love the idea of personalized "retroclones" at every table. We all make our own houserules no matter what edition or clone we play, so why use a retroclone that is simply a collection of some other DM's houserules? DIY like Jimm. Each gaming group could have its own perfect "retroclone".


The art in Jimm's book is fantastic. It is reminiscent of OD&D and just oozes fear, whimsey, and pure dungeon mojo. Yes, I love the OD&D art style - it looks exactly like something you'd see scrawled in an explorer's notebook. It's as far away from Final Fantasy and Easley as you can get while still being representational.


You can download a PDF of Jimm's rules HERE.

26 comments:

  1. This is really cool! I wanted to do something like this as well but I thought there were enough retro-clones out there. Obviously I was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well done!
    And a fine example of what to handout to new players of your game table.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Everyone with an active campaign should aspire to this model.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beauteous! This has me thinking on one for X-Plorers....

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've just ordered the proof copy from Lulu, of my own houserule doc. From now to Dec. 13. Lulu will send you a free proof copy, up to $25 value, of any book you publish. You have to order it before you make any sort of revisions, though.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, that is what I want to do with my own setting...very kewl...I love living in the "future".

    Eric

    ReplyDelete
  7. Neato! I'm trying to do just about the the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If I could just ignore the internet enough to actually write, layout, illustrate, and proofread my stuff, that's what it would look like. If I had talent that is.

    Freakin' sweet, as Peter Griffin would say.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This gets me thinking. Perhaps the perfect OD&D retroclone would be some kind of umbrella software package that would allow you to produce your own customized rulebook for your campaign. You could pick and choose the rules and options you wanted to include, as well as the artwork, and it would generate a printable rulebook that you could give out to your players. It would even allow you type in your own house rules that it would insert in the text where you wanted them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Perhaps the perfect OD&D retroclone would be some kind of umbrella software package that would allow you to produce your own customized rulebook for your campaign.

    This concept is quite appealing. It's basically how we play anyway, huh? D&D is a simple, modular game. All options open... if you want...

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Rainforest Giant: That's my problem too! I have one in progress and douse a draft at the table for my players, but I still have so much to add and get distracted by the blogs and forums far too easily...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the idea and the presentation, and I certainly can see the appeal of a customized game book including all of the rules, whether for an ongoing campaign or even for con games (I think Xylbocx star-cult or your Heavy Metal-esque Gamma World games would be great in this format, Bob - add Otus-inspired art for the win!). What a terrific idea this is!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Soooo cool. Have to do this myself now. I love the art...wtf is going on on page 4, the wizard and fighter watching a gnome do the hand jive - I wish I had been there for that game.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wish either myself or my players had the talent/inclination to make our own art. If you're interested, here is a link to the draft of my house rules doc.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hrmmm... I'll take a look at this. One of my problems with the very old school (i.e. First Edition Stuff) is how obtuse it is, and I hope does a better job of making things clear.

    ReplyDelete
  16. How do I get a hard copy? It's awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the review, Cyclopeatron! It was awesome to play in Erol Otus' game with you.

    ReplyDelete