Are you currently looking for an alternative the the D&D roleplaying gaming? But still committed to medieval-style fantasy gaming? Dan & Paul review the current top retroclones on the market — and what what the state of affairs going forward may be if the Open Game License is thrown into disarray!
Some D&D fans prefer earlier editions, and new games address the perceived inability of newer editions to preserve the tone of classic D&D while fixing some of the perceived rules issues of older versions. Castles & Crusades is one example, using the unified d20 mechanic from 3rd edition while dropping what the developers perceived as complications (including feats, skills, and prestige classes).
Role-playing game publisher Matthew Finch was involved in the development of Castles & Crusades, serving as editor of the Player’s Handbook, and was the initial author of OSRIC, which was afterward taken up by Stuart Marshall and released to the public in 2006 as a retro-clone of the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1977–1989). The release prompted another game designer, Daniel Proctor, to write and release Labyrinth Lord in 2007, a more complete retro-clone of the 1981 version of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set and its accompanying Expert Set. The following year, Finch announced the release of Swords & Wizardry, a retro-clone of the original Dungeons & Dragons game.
Many variants have appeared since the original release of OSRIC, as well as restatements of other editions of D&D and other adventure role-playing games. The games are fostered and supported online by various forums and blogs, sometimes collectively referred to as the Old School Renaissance (OSR), but are also increasingly finding their way into brick and mortar game stores.
Wandering DMs Paul Siegel and Dan “Delta” Collins host thoughtful discussions on D&D and other TTRPGs every week. Comparing the pros and cons of every edition from the 1974 Original D&D little brown books to cutting-edge releases for 5E D&D today, we broadcast live on YouTube and Twitch so we can take viewer questions and comments on the topic of the day. Live every Sunday at 1 PM Eastern time.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia article “Dungeons & Dragons retro-clones”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
Image by Diacritica, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.