Differences between BECMI/RC

Sorry for the OD&D tag, there is no tag for BECMI (need to fix that Morrus) :)

Simple question, what are the FUNCTIONAL differences between BECMI (Mentzer) and Rules Cyclopedia, if any?

After some reviewing I can't notice anything too far afield, and the reason for the question thanks to Wik, I'm switching back to Basic D&D. I'm done with complex, complicated or confusing editions. I have the chance to get either the RC or the BECMI editions, the problem is that even though the RC has a higher price tag, the combined set of BECMI is just as, if not more expensive and I am a cheapskate. (read unemployed and not likely to be employed anytime in the near future).

My concern is if I use the RC and the players use the BECMI books (or vice-versa) as a reference will there be an hiccups? It's not a real issue, I just hate walking into a situation blind.

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The RC contains the skills rules from one of the Gazeteers, as well as the Mystic class. The RC contains a somewhat streamlined version of becoming an Immortal, and does not contain the Immortals or Wrath of the Immortals rules for Immortal-level play. The RC has some additional optional rules. And that's about it. There should be no problem at all mixing the sets. Pre-Mentzer, there are some slight differences.


I'd suggest going for option c: Dark Dungeons. It's basically a retclone of BECMI and RC that irons out the differences and standardises some of the optional extras that came in the various gazetteers.


One thing about Dark Dungeons is the art is not all that exciting. It's sparse, and it appears to be all tinted public domain images with a medieval look. It's an okay look but doesn't have the same mystique for me. However, Dark Dungeons is free in electronic form, and POD copies can be had cheap.


Pretty much everything in the RC is sourced from a BECM product. As already noted, the non-weapon skills are from the GAZ series. Another example is the more complicated magical research rules, which come from the Dawn of Empires boxed set.

There are some condensation and omissions from the BECM rules, but nothing major. BECM and RC were designed to be fully compatible, and by and large, they are. Where there are incompatibilities, I think it can usually be chalked up to editing errors. (There is, for example, a passage in the RC combat section where the word "melee" was changed to "combat," which significantly changes how movement works in combat.)

Personally, I've come to prefer the individual boxes. As mentioned, editing is much tighter, and it's nice to see the context in which the rules were originally introduced. You also get more in depth treatment of some of the ancillary rules (dominion management, artifacts, quests for immortality, and so on). That said, the RC is a nice, handy compilation for reference.

Thanks all, that was what I need. RA very concise and well put, if I can get my hands on both I will but I may well be looking for the boxed sets.

Deuce Traveler

A minor quibble with what has already been said. The mystic class was in BECMI; the Master Rules Boxed Set to be precise. I prefer BECMI for the organization of certain rules, but also like the RC for covering character class progression, spells, and monsters in compiled sections rather than spread out through sets. I think the RC didn't get as in depth with example artifacts like BECMI did. I honestly lean on electronic versions of both, though the PDFs that WoTC used to sell of them were of questionable quality.

Death to Bargle

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