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I think OA qualifies as a "splat book" - it offers a ton of new player-facing crunch clustered around a flimsy theme (in it's case, as the title implies, blatant orientalism). It revels in power inflation in lieu of interesting design (every OA class was a Classic D&D class, ratchetted up a bit in power, and with a Ki Power slapped on it like a hello kitty decal).Wait, why do I think that this marks the end? It's a stylistic thing. (the beginning of the "splat books" we would see in 2e).
Wouldn't disagree with any of that. But, frankly, OA was just as bad, just a more focused bad that you could ignore by lopping off any eastern-themed section you'd already placed in your campaign world. Possibly with a large comet or an enormous mutant star-goat. Because that wouldn't be any sillier than adopting OA.UA was a massive optional expansion of the classes and core mechanics with severely unbalanced effects throughout. And, as Shadow Demon just noted in agreement, it was bad game design. Other than the Pole Arm section, it needed to be burnt.
Meh, you're just ignoring everything I say and repeating your pet theory like it's fact. ;PI'd disagree with that; again, IMO context is everything.*
If the classes had been fairly well balanced against eachother, that'd've been another strike against it being an "OD&D" style book. I'm not knocking that it was borked in the balance sense, it was 1e, that'd be like shooting dead fish in a barrel. No, I'm saying the designs were desultory and whacked in the design sense, not the balance sense - like UA's "hastily-re-written dragon articles," only hastily-written but once.The actual play between the various classes and races was fairly well balanced, it was very much an "OD&D" style book.
Shouldn't you be cooking with Mr.Fusion?I think we are moving from half-baked to AT LEAST three-fifths baked.
WE ARE COOKING WITH GAS NOW!
Seems pretty setting-specific, to me - all orientalism aside. Still first added player stuff in an official hardcover since the PH1.At the time of the release, it wasn't "Setting Specific." Read the forwards and introductions; it was about filling out the non-western sections.
"Others will think of things I didn't, and devise things beyond my capability." EGG, DMG Preface.I would agree that starting with UA that there were a lot of poorly thought ideas for options. Gary Gygax had reached his nadir in game design. He was never going to be able to make anything better that what had come before. The game wasn't going to move forward without the involvement of others.
I liked the options of Zebulon's Guide, hated the resolution system. Preferred the original way of resolution in Star Frontiers. When I use Zebulon's guide it's always with a backwards conversion to the Alpha Dawn Rules.My biggest disappointment? That Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space (A GREAT BOOK! Which goes to show that the TSR Cosmic Rift that destroyed D&D in 1985 DID NOT EXTEND TO STAR FRONTIERS!) was not written by David Cook.