Favorite D&D Retroclone?

Libertad

Hero
Which one do you find the most enjoyable to read, play, or both?

I'm very fond of Adventurer Conqueror King System. I think its domain management system is detailed enough to encourage the PCs to be warlords/guildmasters/etc, while the the artwork is unorthodox, a cool Middle Eastern vibe in parts. I heard good things about its alterations to the classes, such as granting a cleave-equivalent to Fighters and martial classes.
 

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trancejeremy

Adventurer
Not counting the "pure" retro-clones that just replicating old editions (OSRIC, LL, etc), I'd say Blood & Treasure in my favorite. It's far from perfect (some of the classes kinda suck), but it's a good mix of 3e and OD&D. And as a resource, it's wonderful, converting every SRD monster (and them some) to an old school format.

ACKS was a good idea, but it's too much like BD&D. The domain rules aren't really any different than found there, only it has no mass combat system. They picked a weird way of doing to hit rolls, using neither ascending or descending AC, but their own method, which means it's incompatible with both old and 3.x sources. Okay, it's not that hard to convert, but it just seems pointless. And the proficiency system isn't all that coherent.

Since they use the race as class stuff, the class selection is a bit underwhelming. Want to play an elf? Basically you can be a Ftr/MU or MU/Thief. An improvement over BD&D, but still a downgrade. And yet even though a MU/Thief is a worse class than Ftr/MU, the MU/Thief class advances slower and gets fewer spells.

While it's overall a nice looking PDF, I think they blew almost all the art budget on that fantastic cover. The interior art is kinda cartoonish, strange contrast.

I think AS&SH is probably the best looking retro clone.
 

Serendipity

Explorer
Definitely Swords & Wizardry complete - very modular, no race as class (while allowing that as a plug in for those who like it IMO), and old school multiclassing without an abundance of rules. It's flexible that I can do what I like with it, and it's broadly compatible with most everything else in the OSR. Being, to me, somewhere between 1e AD&D and OD&D (being that Complete incorporates all of the OD&D supplements) it perfectly hits the sweet spot for me.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
ACKS was a good idea, but it's too much like BD&D. The domain rules aren't really any different than found there, only it has no mass combat system. They picked a weird way of doing to hit rolls, using neither ascending or descending AC, but their own method, which means it's incompatible with both old and 3.x sources. Okay, it's not that hard to convert, but it just seems pointless. And the proficiency system isn't all that coherent.

Yes, I think that AC system is rather odd. As for mass combat, I believe that was always planned as a supplement, since they wanted to do a more detailed approach than found in BD&D. I'd also suggest there's more in the domain rules than BD&D provided, though I'd have preferred a system closer to that in Birthright myself.

Since they use the race as class stuff, the class selection is a bit underwhelming. Want to play an elf? Basically you can be a Ftr/MU or MU/Thief. An improvement over BD&D, but still a downgrade. And yet even though a MU/Thief is a worse class than Ftr/MU, the MU/Thief class advances slower and gets fewer spells.

Ah, 2775xp to advance to 2nd level as a Nightblade versus 4000xp as a Spellsword. The MU/Th is definitely advancing faster than the Ftr/MU.

While it's overall a nice looking PDF, I think they blew almost all the art budget on that fantastic cover. The interior art is kinda cartoonish, strange contrast.

I don't see it as particularly cartoonish. Retro, yes, with a lot of similarities to the art from older D&D books. I suspect the art budget is one of the easiest places to save money.
 


Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
Swords & Wizardry Complete.

It's got that OD&D/AD&D feel but it's been polished a bit and it's ready for lots and lots of house-ruling and homebrewed content.
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
S&W is fantastic. That gets my vote outright. (I might also vote for Castles & Crusades, but that would only be to start arguments about whether it's a real retro-clone or not :p). But S&W is the one for me. OSRIC is also cool. I haven't looked at any of the more recent offerings, though.
 

JeffB

Legend
I am partial to S&W. I have run all three versions. House rules are generally used with all 3 in my games. For me it is a nicely cleaned up version of the LBBs I grew up playing. It sacrifices some authenticity for playability, which is fine by me.


I would say White Box is my fave...houseruled or straight out of the book.

I also dig Delving Deeper for an authentic clone. It is also a better read than anything else I have encountered. Very well done.
 
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juboke

Explorer
I enjoy playing Swords & Wizardry White Box. As someone who started playing (AD&D) sometime in 1980-81, I never had the opportunity to pay the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
No love for Labyrinth Lord? that game is very good. And with the optional rules from AEC on it becomes a quite lightweight version of AD&D.
 

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