Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of the things that surprised me the most is the HUGE swathe of RPGS (being retroclones, variant RPGs now (or soon to be) available, that are –in some way, shape or form—Dungeons and Dragons Simulacrums. The concept is common enough now that it has its own wiki entry. I find it hard to try and group the bulk of these under one banner, and I think that describing them as a Simulacrum is possibly the best term I can use: I use it to describe retroclones, reimaginings, revisions, or whatever you wish to call them. So, with apologies to each of them:

  • Swords and Wizardry
  • Labyrinth Lord
  • Castles & Crusades
  • Raven Crowking’s Fantasy Game
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
  • For Gold and Glory
  • Old School Reference and Index Compilation (OSRIC)
  • Dark Dungeons
  • Realm of Geeking (Chris Perkins’) AD&D3
  • Basic Fantasy Roleplay

I am sure there are others. I have spent the last week trying to track down and collate them, so if I have missed yours please let me know and I shall edit this post J

You see, I love old school. Similarly, my mission statement is to bring ‘Old School to a New Edition.’ Pretty corny --I know-- but it is something that means a lot to me, and I don’t mean that in the way being all well and good by slap Benguiat Bold or FritzQuadrata Bold on top of a heading and claim that it is old school; I mean that in design and execution to the nth degree, regardless on how long it takes me (sorry to those waiting on Temple of the Kraken; it will be done soon. Not 2010, but soon).

Getting back to the Dungeons and Dragons Simulacrums, a lot of them appeal to me, especially old school looking/feeling/(however-you-quantify-it) RPGs. The thing is, when I drilled down into a number of them, I found things I didn’t like. These things shall remain nameless, because they range from personal taste to marketing perspectives, nothing more.

So, I even toyed with the idea of making my own.

The thing is, there are so many damn Dungeons & Dragons Simulacrums out there, my audience will be small at best, and were I to release my own RPG --I fear it would be lost among the crowd. Also: The Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is something that I am following with interest; Adventure, Dungeons and Danger was born from Goodman Games leaving for 4thEdition D&D and I am pleased to see that Goodman Games taking back a little ‘old school’ with their DCC line by launching their own RPG. I will have to wait and see what is in store there and I hope that I will like what I see.

As an aside (and to shake you all up), perhaps this dalliance is born from having cold feet with PFRPG? Without trying to scare people; I really don’t know the answer to that. As an adventure writer (and a poor one at that, given the lack of releases over this year), I need to believe in the aspects of the game I am writing for. I’ll be honest and say that I have been dismayed with some of the threads on Paizo’s forums, which has made me sit up and ask a few questions. These threads have ranged from people complaining about key aspects of recent releases, character class makeup and a variety of other things. It is these things that have made me sit up and ask myself:

‘Can I really bring ‘Old School to a New Edition’?

So, yeah; whilst on this sabbatical, working in the SunGold Milk Factory 40 hours a week to pay for the horrors which have made up 2010, I have looked over the fence (long-time readers will note that I have looked farther afield some time ago as a means to expand my audience) to see what is over there. Thing is, the grass might be greener in some places. It is a patchwork farmland.

I got into this game to be an adventure writer. I believe in PFRPG and I will continue to support them and you for some time to come.


Temple of the Kraken is tight. It is not finished, but it is tight. Wait for it. Roll some 4th or 5th level characters and put them aside, just for this. It is good.

I will even let slip here two ideas I have for a next module:

  1. Gothic Horror Supermodule. Whilst I would like to take my time and write an Adventure Path the size of Paizo’s, I need to be realistic. This supermodule follows the discovery of a lost legacy within the demon-haunted forests of Tranfax. I am looking at the size and scope of ‘Scourge of the Slavelords’ as an estimate and will either release the adventure episodically (in standard module sizes) after I write it and/or release the whole ‘A1-4’ (so-to-speak) as an entire book
  2. Continue in the vein of ‘Horror at Dagger Rock’ and ‘Temple of the Kraken’ and write stand-alone adventure set an ancient desert city. This module would feature a ‘game within a game’, tricks, traps and lovecraftian horror amid the shadows of an ancient tower. The PCs (if successful), would become the honored rulers of a city.

Thank you to everyone who has bought Rel-Draxa. I am now the proud owner of Campaign Cartographer 3, Dungeon Designer 3 and various add-ons and annuals. I cannot wait to see how our world turns out.

Thus, here endeth the sabbatical: 2011 is going to be tiring but satisfyingly successful. Happy New Year!

To take you out is the picture attached to this post: The 'Fell Captain' of the Temple of the Kraken. The image is © David Fisher. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew, you might find this list of simulacrums handy and fairly current:



Site Meter