Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kit Bashing Your Own Game

I absolutely love all the retro clones, semi-clones, simulacra and related games. They a ll produce little bits and pieces I can use. The profusion of choices and expression of similar rules and themes gives me lot's of fodder to play FRP the way I awlays have. I've always been what I would call and omnivorous DM taking a bit from here and a bit from there and making a game of my own in essence.
I'm sure I played a "pure" version of a rule set now and again over the years but in the main I've never been a purist. Sometimes it's been adapting a feature of another game system (or a related setting), other times I grafted on a segment of rules perhaps replacing a related rule in the main game and finally there were times when I took two or more games and bashed them together into a new game for my group to play. I've played AD&D with RuneQuest-2 strike ranks, D&D with TFT talents, curiously enough D&D has always been the core.

I'll admit it here for a time I loved the D20 days, there was a delightful smorgasbord of rules to grab from. At one point I shoved together Arcana Unearthed, Conan and Everquest d20 into the D20 game I played for about a year. I did however feel the weight of the rules and the damaging inertia of players not willing to read a few hundred page rulebook in order to learn how to play well. I whipped up my own D20-lite and it was good.

The OSR games drew me back...sort of, I never really left and I played BFRPG for a while in one of the few campaigns where I used a tone of modules. An old school system and a few other compatible rule systems were all that was required to run a fun campaign using Wilderlands (necro-d20 and original JG), B2 (old D&D), Castyle Zagyg (cnc).Temple of Elemental Evil (AD&D), Castle Greyhawk(AD&D2), Undermountain(AD&D2),Whiterock(d20) and Rappan Athuak(d20) which required constant rules adaptation. The rules were never stale.

So I'm clearly rambling here but I just love the current environment with a multitude of compatible rule systems out there and lot's to pillage so as to play the game at my table the way I want to play the game at the moment.

Too many OSR/ retro-clones....nay say I, bring them on I can always use a few new paragraphs of genius to "borrow" for my games.


  1. Here, here!

    How do the Necromancer Wilderlands books compare to the originals, BTW? Given the poor scan quality of the JG PDF's, I've been eyeing the the $70 Necromancer pack at RPGNow.

  2. I really like the Necromancer Wilderlands the D20ness of it wasn't so bad, only very unique characters and monsters get stats. It is cleaner, easier to read and huge. The hex-listings are larger and more comprehensive then they are in the older booklets. I had no issue of note using it along with the Witches Court Marshes and a couple of the old city books.

  3. Thanks, I'll have to grap those.

  4. I mostly kit bash because I'm rarely content with one system. Usually I find a game with a cool rule or concept I like, or a setting that is awesome, save for some background elements I don't care for. Much of my old game books I had from the 90s are covered in a lot of crossed-out texts and cliff-notes. I eventually found a way to keep it all in note books, as it became a cluster-fuck of scribble and hard-to-reference data.

    Right now, I'm divided between running a Cyberpunk 2020 meets Call of Cthulhu setting (for once, a reason for me to use Humanity Lose in a CP game), or a Heavy Metal the movie-styled Swords & Sorcery & Super-Science super-setting, but it any case, I'll have to figure-out the setting details and what system I will have to cobble together. Lots and lots of work for the DM. Huzzah. XP