Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

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Cthulhudrew
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Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:20 am

So, I've been looking over the Rules Cyclopedia and the boxed sets a lot recently for various reasons, and I kind of found myself wondering- as much as I love the Cyclopedia and how it condensed it all into one volume, I kind of wonder if I wouldn't like it better if it had kept a similar sort of organization to the various boxed sets. IE, separate the book into "chapters" of a sort, organized around the levels. Group together the information for classes and such for Basic levels (1-3), then Expert (4-14), etc. That way, DMs and Players could just focus on the chapters that were relevant to them, expanding onwards if they decided to keep running with a campaign.

You could perhaps keep certain sections grouped together, like monsters and spells. Either by just keeping them wholesale as is, with all "levels" mixed together, or you could even organize them like the class sections ("Basic" monsters, etc.). Maybe color code the sections, so it is easy to see which go together (Red for Basic, etc.)

(To go one step further, I'd probably be inclined to revisit the idea of Expert being levels 4-14 and Companion being 15-25. Given that so many of the Companion level options really can be explored at "Name"/9th level, I'd probably make Basic 1-3, then Expert 4-9, then Companion and then Master.)

What do the rest of you think? Perfectly fine as is, or any suggestions on how you might tweak the presentation if redoing it today?
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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by agathokles » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:31 am

BECMI was a good presentation for players, adding more rules and options as the players grew more experienced. However, for expert players it does not make much sense, e.g., to have Weapon Mastery only in the Master set.
The real boundaries from the character’s perspective are at level 9 (dominion rulership and advanced class options) and 30 (quest for Immortality).
So I think the later organisation (introductory box, Rules Cyclopedia, Woti rules book) is easier to use.

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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by RobJN » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:45 pm

Elmore/Easley art. The B-E-C-M-I level tiers could easily be summed up in an introductory chapter. General Skills and Weapon Mastery rules are already noted as being optional.

The "Wandering Monsters by level" tables pretty much serve the purpose of "eyeballing" which beasties to throw at a party at a given level, and the optional "Balancing encounters" formula allows for finer tuning. ("Sure, there were signs saying "DANGER: HERE BE DRAGONS" all over the place, but c'mon... the DM would never put us up against something we had absolutely no chance of beating, right? I mean, we're second level now!")

The RC was intended as a rules reference, and does a masterful job. An introductory adventure at the beginning or end of the book could possibly make it a bit more "introductory friendly," but really, a loss-leading Basic set (even if it is in a Big Black Box) is better suited for that purpose, I think.
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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:03 pm

Personally, I would go for a set of five hardbacks, with a slipcase if you buy the set.

But I think that 10 softback books would work just as well (especially as players could just buy a set of five player books).
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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by Havard » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:58 pm

I don't know, but I do like the separation into tiers with different types of adventures and character activities tied to the different levels along with different types of abilities becoming available to the player characters.

I also like how BECMI had different treasure tables in the Expert and Companion Set. The RC uses the Companion Set treasure table and this risks more ppwerful items becoming available at an earlier level compared to those using one boxed set at a time.

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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:37 am

Havard wrote:II also like how BECMI had different treasure tables in the Expert and Companion Set. The RC uses the Companion Set treasure table and this risks more ppwerful items becoming available at an earlier level compared to those using one boxed set at a time.
:o

I didn't even notice that! I tend to only look at the main treasure table (the Treasure by Alphabet table) and never paid that close attention to the individual magic item tables.
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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by RobJN » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:07 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Havard wrote:II also like how BECMI had different treasure tables in the Expert and Companion Set. The RC uses the Companion Set treasure table and this risks more ppwerful items becoming available at an earlier level compared to those using one boxed set at a time.
:o

I didn't even notice that! I tend to only look at the main treasure table (the Treasure by Alphabet table) and never paid that close attention to the individual magic item tables.
As I was typing my post above, the thought crept through my mind that the treasure tables might be skewed heavily on the upper-level-stuff-side in the RC, as compared to the steady progression of treasure tables from Basic to Expert to Companion....

Has anyone done a fine-toothed comparison of the Basic-to-Expert tables, to see if there was any fine tuning done during the development, or if they were simply direct ports...?
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Re: Hypothetical BECMI reprint: How would you do it?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:27 pm

RobJN wrote:Has anyone done a fine-toothed comparison of the Basic-to-Expert tables, to see if there was any fine tuning done during the development, or if they were simply direct ports...?
I did a quick once over last night after reading this thread; the Expert set tweaks the percentage chances, ostensibly to include the new magic items introduced in that set. I didn't make any more detailed comparisons than that, though. From a quick glance, it looked like all the Basic items were included, precisely as presented before (ie, sword +1, +x vs x appeared to be all the same as on the prior table.)
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