A rant on retro clones...

Wik

First Post
Okay. This is a bit of a rant, and I apologize in advance, but I really just feel like sharing one of my ENWorld Pet Peeves.

Namely, when a poster starts talking about playing a previous edition (OD&D, 1e, BECMI, 2e, whatever) and is asking for help getting started. Quite often, this poster has the books, has at least a few splats, and is just asking for feedback on the game in general.

And then, inevitably, someone will mention the corresponding retro-clone. A sort of "Hey, you play 1e? Pick up this retro clone instead! It's the exact same game, except the terms are a bit different and it's not the art you remember!".

I get that retro clones are useful. I understand their purpose, and they're amazing for people that lack the original source material, allowing them to play these great classics.

But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?

And I get that these games might get recommended for some of the newer expansions/adventures that are being released, but most of the time, that's not how these name drops go about. Instead, it's a matter of "Ditch that old game, get this new version of that old game that's exactly the same!".

And yeah, it bugs me.

Bah humbug.
 

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kitsune9

Adventurer
Roleplaying games does different things for different people. The exact same game provides a bajillion different experiences for us. It's one of the reasons that trying to find any consensus among us is like herding cats. The other thing is that just about everyone has their own idea of what the perfect OD&D, 1e, 2e, whatever is and some have taken that idea and created the retro-clone.

Now we have 1) their creator suggesting to other readers their hard work, or 2) their fans.

For some, the retroclone is the game that made a player/fan or its creator go "WOW!" and while the rest of us pretty much go "meh".

So in short, ditch whatever you're playing and play my kewl rpg instead...due in 2018.....I think. ;)
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
I feel the same way about weekly recommendations to try DDI I am subjected to on the 4E forum.

Yeah, sometimes Enworld is like a broken record, to be honest. It gets with some topics I can guess the second or third post word for word, and the retro clones is one of the topics.
 


A

amerigoV

Guest
I do not use the retros, but I was under the impression that they had cleaned up a few things. So if someone was interested in 1e, the retroclone would be 1e with some improvements (ascending AC for example). Thus, it might be an easier place to start/transition for your players.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Namely, when a poster starts talking about playing a previous edition (OD&D, 1e, BECMI, 2e, whatever) and is asking for help getting started. (. . .)

And then, inevitably, someone will mention the corresponding retro-clone. (. . .)

I get that retro clones are useful. I understand their purpose, and they're amazing for people that lack the original source material, allowing them to play these great classics.

(. . .)

And I get that these games might get recommended for some of the newer expansions/adventures that are being released, (. . .)


I suppose that while the thread starter might have the materials, his players might be lacking them. It's good to know which retro-clone corresponds for that reason as well as the ones you mention. Of course there might be specific times when such a suggestion is either less than useful or even intrusive, so I understand your point to your rant but you might want to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


(. . .) Quite often, this poster has the books, has at least a few splats, and is just asking for feedback on the game in general.

(. . .) A sort of "Hey, you play 1e? Pick up this retro clone instead! It's the exact same game, except the terms are a bit different and it's not the art you remember!".

But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?

(. . . ), but most of the time, that's not how these name drops go about. Instead, it's a matter of "Ditch that old game, get this new version of that old game that's exactly the same!".


These parts of the rant seem to deal with specific bathwater-posts that aren't linked so I won't post to them.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
Okay. This is a bit of a rant, and I apologize in advance, but I really just feel like sharing one of my ENWorld Pet Peeves.

Namely, when a poster starts talking about playing a previous edition (OD&D, 1e, BECMI, 2e, whatever) and is asking for help getting started. Quite often, this poster has the books, has at least a few splats, and is just asking for feedback on the game in general.

And then, inevitably, someone will mention the corresponding retro-clone. A sort of "Hey, you play 1e? Pick up this retro clone instead! It's the exact same game, except the terms are a bit different and it's not the art you remember!".

I get that retro clones are useful. I understand their purpose, and they're amazing for people that lack the original source material, allowing them to play these great classics.

But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?

And I get that these games might get recommended for some of the newer expansions/adventures that are being released, but most of the time, that's not how these name drops go about. Instead, it's a matter of "Ditch that old game, get this new version of that old game that's exactly the same!".

And yeah, it bugs me.

Bah humbug.

I find this usiually happens when the OP points out a perceived lack in the chosen game or starts asking for house rules to use.

That trips people's "this isn't what he wants" switch and they respond with alternatives that might be more palatable to the OP.

I know if I'm thinking about applying house rules to more than cultural enforcement, I look around for a game that more closely matches the genre/play style I'm looking to play.

Let's see if my hypothesis holds up:

From the OP in the thread in question said:
My question is, what sort of rules changes should I make to really give the game its best sheen?

Yep.
 

nedjer

Adventurer
TRPGs are quite heavily weighted against change:

a new system means persuading yourself and others to learn the new setup and integrate it alongside the group's style

players take 'ownership' of games, brands, styles of play and settings, because of the time and commitment to the hobby. It's not so much moving on as divorcing your system and the community that shares that system

a new system often involves GMing a few awkward games in unfamiliar territory risking GM hero to zero

the grass isn't always greener and after three months of persuading everyone to switch it's hard to shrug your shoulders and ditch the new baby with its bathwater

These hurdles, and more, seem to form a bit of DeLorean loop.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Okay. This is a bit of a rant, and I apologize in advance, but I really just feel like sharing one of my ENWorld Pet Peeves.

Namely, when a poster starts talking about playing a previous edition (OD&D, 1e, BECMI, 2e, whatever) and is asking for help getting started. Quite often, this poster has the books, has at least a few splats, and is just asking for feedback on the game in general.

And then, inevitably, someone will mention the corresponding retro-clone. A sort of "Hey, you play 1e? Pick up this retro clone instead! It's the exact same game, except the terms are a bit different and it's not the art you remember!".

I get that retro clones are useful. I understand their purpose, and they're amazing for people that lack the original source material, allowing them to play these great classics.

But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?

And I get that these games might get recommended for some of the newer expansions/adventures that are being released, but most of the time, that's not how these name drops go about. Instead, it's a matter of "Ditch that old game, get this new version of that old game that's exactly the same!".

And yeah, it bugs me.

Bah humbug.

Specifically, such as in a thread you started previously, if they want to CHANGE RULES AROUND THAT ARE THE SAME as already done in a retro...and are asking advice on how to integrate those rules...

Well the Retro already did it for them. Much easier to say...hey, what you want is already done in the retro clone...or other system.

I'm not about to give advice on something already covered IN DEPTH by something else.

In fact, one could call it a pet peeve if someone says...I want to do ascending to Hit values...and a lot of things from 3.X that were integrated into some retroclone...

But then states that retroclones are useless.

Why expect ME to do all the work someone else has already done for you?

Now if it's covering something NOT covered, or that I do differently, I'll give you all the advice in the world. I've played a LOONG time with a LOT Of systems, and had experience integrating, changing, and doing a ton of houserules.

So, normally I don't simply suggest a retroclone or something that integrates 3.X concepts with older game systems (such as what I did in a previous thread you started).

However, when someone specifies almost precisely the exact things covered in a game system (such as change in how skills are done and ascending Armor/BAB) and those changes were already done by someone else in an easy to access item which is free...my advice is to look at the document which covers the exact thing you are asking.

So...normally I'd give advice on something (personally, I don't like retroclones...I play C&C, but it's not so much a retroclone as a way that integrates different versions of D&D together, and I can stand the S&W whitebox, but all other retros are poor copycats of the original...IMO...and I'd rather play 3.X, 4e, or any other RPG besides them...or simply play the originals as THEY ARE WRITTEN or WITH HOUSERULES NOT COVERED BY RETROCLONES), but if asking for retroclone ideas (normally 3.X ideas integrated with the older D&D or AD&D game systems) then that's what I'll give as advice.

PS: Hence, I really don't play any retros (as stated previously, C&C isn't a retro...as in Gygax's and Trolllord's own game system...or can be used to houserule all the D&D editions (OD&D, 1e-4e) together into one game system). If playing older systems by themselves I'll play them as is with their own houserules that are NOT carry overs from 3.X (if I wanted to play 3.X I'd play 3.X in those cases) rules. Things like Grandfathered 1e rules into 2e, and things like that are more pertinent to REAL houserules for the older systems in my books. I prefer their THAC0, combat tables, saving throws, powerful spells, etc. as they are rather than the 3.X or 4e take and renditions on such things.
 
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grodog

Adventurer
In general, when I see folks getting curious about older editions, it's usually when they have some books or modules but not necessarily enough to run a game using them. In those instances, adding a retro-clone into the mix makes sense, to supplement what they already have. (And, as amerigoV mentions, some of the clones are very useful in trying to better understand rules nuances that aren't clearly-stated in the original editions).
 

JeffB

Legend
I realize this is the internet, and a rant, but I feel you are being a bit overly dramatic about the whole thing.

You asked for some suggestions that one or more of the RetroClones already tackle quite readily. In addition, the books are easier on the wallet and easier to procure for the rest of your players than OOP materials.

Also many posts in this thread are spot-on.

Next time perhaps post on the Legacy D&D House Rules forum, so there is no confusion on exactly what you are looking to do/looking for?
 

Wik

First Post
Ha, ths is what happens when you post late at night and are just a bit grumpy that you can't go to sleep. :)

For the record, this is something that bugs me just a bit, but not really as much as I may have implied on last night's post. It's up there with the whole "Oh, you really like [game that is not Savage Worlds]? You should try Savage Worlds" bit that always seems to pop up on this thread.

And while I realize that in my OP I asked for house rules feedback, only one of the house rules I mentioned appeared in a retro clone, and it was a very simple house rule - so, again, why the pushing for the new yet very similar game.

But, whatever. I was just a grumpy Wik last night. :)
 

It's not just retro-clones, it's a general rule of RPG messageboard behaviour.

The rule is:-

Q: "I like game X, but there's a problem because..." (insert reason here). "Can anyone recommend a similar game I might like?"
A: "Try game Y! I like game X too, and when I tried game Y I had a lot of fun!"

This is a cool answer.

Q: "How should I handle situation Z in game X?"
A: "Play game Y instead! I used to play game X, but when I tried game Y, I found it's much better."

This is not a cool answer.
 

Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
I'd also bet that a fair number of commenters don't actually read (or incorrectly read) the post they're responding to. They might honestly believe they're giving relevant info, just because they misread the OP. Same could be said for responders who simply failed to look at all the other responses and get a sense of the direction of the conversation and its (attempted) course corrections.

This is the internet after all, not a world renowned for coherent thought and rationality. :)
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
Q: "How should I handle situation Z in game X?"
A: "Play game Y instead! I used to play game X, but when I tried game Y, I found it's much better."

This is not a cool answer.

When you're talking certain situations in very similar games, that's about all you can do. If your problem with GURPS 3rd Ed is that you have to tweak IQ & DX to optimize points versus skills, and the Compendium I set of skills and advantages is inconsistently specific and redundant at points, there's one reasonable answer: go to GURPS 4. There are certainly problems with any game where the best answer is "You're using the wrong set of rules if that's bothering you."

Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the programming language C, allegedly once said in response to a feature request, “If you want PL/I, you know where to find it.”.
 

Ariosto

First Post
"Use this published rules set instead."
"Add house rules changing X, Y, and Z thus and so."
Etc.

That's groovy if it's what the OP is asking for, naturally!

Otherwise, it's like the people at RPG.net who reply to anything by suggesting a switch to Savage Worlds (or Spirit of the X brand F.A.T.E., or whatever hobby horse they happen to be riding).
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Namely, when a poster starts talking about playing a previous edition (OD&D, 1e, BECMI, 2e, whatever) and is asking for help getting started. Quite often, this poster has the books, has at least a few splats, and is just asking for feedback on the game in general.

And then, inevitably, someone will mention the corresponding retro-clone. A sort of "Hey, you play 1e? Pick up this retro clone instead! It's the exact same game, except the terms are a bit different and it's not the art you remember!".

I get that retro clones are useful. I understand their purpose, and they're amazing for people that lack the original source material, allowing them to play these great classics.

But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?
Not that I ever do this, but I can think of a few reasons why someone would:

1. To fill gaps. Missing a key book, or need some adventures? Clones are easy to obtain and can fill a gap in one's collection of the original system, e.g. instead of sourcing a 2e Monstrous Compendium just use the MM for Clone-J instead as it's probably close enough for rock and roll.

2. To provide ideas for houserules and tweaks. Looking to change or fix feature X? If there's a clone out there that's already done a decent job with it, might as well check it out before doing all the heavy lifting yourself. Doesn't mean you have to completely adopt the clone's entire system.

3. Because the suggestor honestly feels the clone is better than the original. They rarely if ever are, of course, and I can see how these suggestions would become annoying over time; but I'll cut 'em some slack until-unless I figure they're trying to stealth me into a new-style system - at which point I'm done. :)

Lan-"and if it's not the same, how can it be a clone anyway"-efan
 

The Green Adam

First Post
I'll agree with the original poster's observation, see your annoyance and raise you one.

So, essentially, all the originals and the retro-clones are variations of the same game. With a few tweaks here and some minor adjustments there, these are all some version of pre-2nd Edition AD&D or D&D.

So, if someone asks for help with a system question and can't just make it up themselves for some reason :-S , why not point out the rule from the retro-clone your so fond of that helps answer the query. Note what the source of the help was. Maybe, just maybe, the people asking will find that interesting and seek to know more about the retro-clone.

But in the end - you're all playing the same game. Make it up. Darn game has too many useless rules anyway.

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Treebore

First Post
But why do people have to start recommending the retro-cloneversion of a game that someone already has?

Personally? I recommend them because they are much better laid out, much more clearly written, and just much better presented and easier to understand and play.

Still, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the originals and will never part with them, but that is my honest opinion as to why I recommend the new clones over the originals.

Which I think is important because I think such things will be highly effective in helping new people actually like the game easier.

Of course I have also had a lot of more hard core fans than I am get deeply offended over my opinion, but that is gamers for you.

Now if you aren't interested in spending money getting these clones and are perfectly happy sticking with the originals, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either. HOWEVER, if you have the money I think it will be a big help getting new people into liking it a good bit easier.

That is why I do it, and is strictly my opinion, so if you don't like it, thats fine. Just don't get bent out of shape over it (ie I don't want this to turn into another edition board war). Its simply my opinion.
 

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