29 January 2012

New Products on the Old School Horizon

If you want more Old School commercial products, dinner is prepared.

On the horizon is new OSR content from both Goodman Games and Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast. There is a lot of talk on the Internets about both.

First up, Wizards of the Coast is re-releasing the big three hardcover manuals of AD&D (1e): The Player's Handbook, The Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual. My original copies are in very usable shape as yours may be. However, the re-releases will feature new covers (boo) and a portion of the profits go to fund the Gygax memorial. This more than anything would lead me to buy the re-issues. I would be more tempted to send $100 directly to the fund.

I should explain that I am not now nor have I been partial to the game of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I appreciate that I may be in the minority in a small niche.

The other big D&D news is that Wizards is gearing up for a fifth edition of D&D. Again, I wish them great success with their efforts, but frankly I am uninterested in that product.

Goodman games is launching a OSR retro-clone (sort of) called Dungeon Crawl Classics. From the beta rules, the game seems to have some interesting twists on 1e. Although I am unlikely to run a DCC campaign, I may buy the rule books (because I have a problem). Goodman grabbed a bunch of illustrators (those that remain with us anyway) to illuminate the manuscript, including Jeff Dee, Erol Otis and the recently departed Jim Roslof.

From the "what's in it for me" department, none of these products are on my critical path for gaming. The B/X rules are done, stable and available today. This idea that the RPGs need new editions of the rules is frankly off-putting to me. Does chess need new rules? How about dominoes? I appreciate new variants, but I often stick with what hooked me in the first place.