[Dark Dungeons] - OGLBECMI?

Old School Revival at its best?

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:07 pm

Big Mac wrote:This is probably about the limit of my usefulness to you, but I really wish your project well and hope that one day a retro-fan puts out a PDF that shows people how to use Dark Dungeon rules to play in the Spelljammer universe. :D
I'd love to see that too - I've never played Spelljammer...
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:24 am

Big Mac wrote:As your website runs on a wiki engine, you might want to register with WikiIndex (the wiki of wikis).
I've stuck up a page for you:

http://www.wikiindex.org/Dark_Dungeons_Wiki

WikiIndex is a wiki, so feel free to update the page if and when things change, but I suggest you sign up for an account if you don't want to advertise your IP address to the world.

I got most of the statistical information up and also put up a copy of your wiki logo. There are a couple of missing stats on the page, but don't worry about it as someone will surf past and fix them.

Good luck building up to the next milestone of 21-50 pages and working towards a wikiFactor of 1. :D
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by chatdemon » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:52 pm

agathokles wrote: People who don't want to switch to 3e simply keep playing earlier editions -- which is why I never considered C&C or other "retro" d20 games.
There's no actual need (or at least, there wasn't when we had ESDs) to have a "reduced 3e", IMO, unless what you want is a "Basic" 3e.
As far as an actual "basic 3e", I think BFRPG fills that niche perfectly. It keeps the essential mechanics of 3e while stripping away a lot of the cumbersome options and manages to still be a totally playable and fun game.

Your comment led me to a thought on the entire retro clone movement, though.

As I understood it, the movement, at its beginning with OSRIC, was intended to allow minor publishers to produce (and, one assumes, sell) products designed for the OOP games. OSRIC allows you to make AD&D 1st edition products, LL allows you to make BX products, etc. I have no real issue with this idea, though I'm still partial to the idea of fan produced "netbook" type stuff like we saw everywhere in the 90s before the OGL.

What I see happening now though is that fans want to elevate these retro clones into full games in the own right. People talk of playing OSRIC, or playing LL, or whatever (don't read anything into me singling out OSRIC and LL in this post, they're just the two most well known of the clone games). This irks me. You don't play OSRIC, you play AD&D and use OSRIC based adventures and sourcebooks just like you'd have used Judge's Guild, Mayfair or Flying Buffalo "approved for use with AD&D" materials 25 years ago.

If we're going to use the OGL to support and keep alive the old school games, I'm all for that. If we're going to use it to steal those games from their creators (may they rest in peace) and replace them, that's where I get off the bandwagon and go back to my tattered old books.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by agathokles » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:00 pm

chatdemon wrote: If we're going to use the OGL to support and keep alive the old school games, I'm all for that. If we're going to use it to steal those games from their creators (may they rest in peace) and replace them, that's where I get off the bandwagon and go back to my tattered old books.
You only need OGL if you want to publish professionally, or if you want something different from the original game.
If I just want to support OD&D, I write and post my adventures and other material using the actual OD&D rules, not a clone -- indeed, that's what most people do over at the Mystara board (see, e.g., the GazF line).

If you want to publish professionally, you need something like OSRIC -- a true clone, rules-wise, that uses OGL only to be able to use standard D&D terms and fragments of text from 3e books (especially spell descriptions).

BFRPG is something very different -- it doesn't aim at compatibility with OD&D, but at simplifying 3e. Unless you're interested in 3e, it is not very useful. So, it is not aimed at supporting OD&D, but at replacing it.

Personally, I'm not against evolution of OD&D -- I'd certainly like to see a streamlined OD&D, which still retained the original game's assets (e.g., ability to play any monster race, weapon masteries, slot-based, open-ended general skills, strongly characterized demihuman races, Secret Crafts and high-level character specializations, specialist clerics, armored and viable fighter/wizards), while pursuing some of the game balance goals of more recent editions (4e, mostly) as well as adding some flexibility (in multiclassing) and removing some irrelevant complexities that confuse newbies (e.g., by adopting a roll-high only action resolution).

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by dulsi » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:24 pm

chatdemon wrote:What I see happening now though is that fans want to elevate these retro clones into full games in the own right. People talk of playing OSRIC, or playing LL, or whatever (don't read anything into me singling out OSRIC and LL in this post, they're just the two most well known of the clone games). This irks me. You don't play OSRIC, you play AD&D and use OSRIC based adventures and sourcebooks just like you'd have used Judge's Guild, Mayfair or Flying Buffalo "approved for use with AD&D" materials 25 years ago.

If we're going to use the OGL to support and keep alive the old school games, I'm all for that. If we're going to use it to steal those games from their creators (may they rest in peace) and replace them, that's where I get off the bandwagon and go back to my tattered old books.
How different do they have to be before they are new games? Did Mentzer steal B/X D&D from Moldvay? Neither created D&D so are their versions acceptable because Gygax approved?

Frankly from a naming perspective the simplest to understand wins for me. You can't buy a new copy of AD&D. If instead you run games using OSRIC, you can say you play OSRIC. Saying you play AD&D using OSRIC based material is not necessary IMHO. Kinda like the FSF telling people it is GNU/Linux because they felt they weren't getting enough credit.

That being said LL isn't exactly a clone. Clerics get spells at first level. Leather armor has a different AC to make space for studded leather. Medusa causes everyone to make a save instead of one person a round. Very minor changes but how many are needed before it is a distinct game. Goblinoid Games is currently working on Advanced Edition Companion which sounds to me like it will backport some AD&D ideas to LL. Sounds like they are keeping races=class.

Many games started as a copy of some D&D mechanics so I think it is hard to point to exactly when a game came into it's own.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:04 pm

chatdemon wrote:If we're going to use the OGL to support and keep alive the old school games, I'm all for that. If we're going to use it to steal those games from their creators (may they rest in peace) and replace them, that's where I get off the bandwagon and go back to my tattered old books.
I think that it is now inevitable that we will eventually have one "pure clone" of every edition of D&D. And at some point after that it is inevitable that people will start to mix and match the different editions. If you like OD&D, but also like prestige classes from 3e, then you will be able to make a customised remix that does that. And if you like 3e, but think the stats are too complex you could dump skills and feats and use rules from AD&D instead. Or you could grab any SRD (or pure emulation), add house rules and shoot it back out.

I think the problem here is not so much theft as in the inability to credit those creators. If we had reasonable copyright laws the first D&D products would already be public domain and people would not need to resort to claiming compatability with "the worlds best known roleplaying game". And if that was the case, I'm sure that a lot of people would credit everyone concerned.
dulsi wrote:...LL isn't exactly a clone. Clerics get spells at first level. Leather armor has a different AC to make space for studded leather. Medusa causes everyone to make a save instead of one person a round. Very minor changes but how many are needed before it is a distinct game. Goblinoid Games is currently working on Advanced Edition Companion which sounds to me like it will backport some AD&D ideas to LL. Sounds like they are keeping races=class.

Many games started as a copy of some D&D mechanics so I think it is hard to point to exactly when a game came into it's own.
I think my "model" judging this sort of thing is Pathfinder RPG. Paizo have taken the 3.5 SRD and "houseruled it" into a new updated version. Now some people are going to like that sort of thing and others are going to say that they would rather stick with 3.5. I know we even have (at least) one person on the forums who prefers 3.0. So inevitably there will be people who like various different combos from eariler editions. I played 2e, but there are a set of later 2e books that some people call 2.5e. This "advancement" is a natural evolution of D&D, as far as I can tell. And the edition change is an end of "one evolution" and a "revolution" that starts the entire process going all over again.

I'm sure of one thing. If OD&D had not been cancelled, it would have been tweaked. There would have been errartas that got incorporated. There would have been new replacements for the Cyclopedia. These wouldn't be "better" than B/X or BECMI or what have you. They would just have been the version of OD&D that got put out in 1997 or the version of OD&D that got put out in 2006. So with the evolution of OD&D being artificially stunted (not to mention AD&D), I think it is totally natural for someone to want to "Pathfinder-ise" their favorite version of the game.

I'm not sure that we can have a million systems come out and survive, but if the core of these systems are free, then the fans and the commercial publishers can choose which system to get behind.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:18 am

It'd be nice to credit the original game designers with both money and kudos. But that can't happen. In some cases, they have sadly passed on. Even where that isn't the case, in many cases they merely received a salary, and not royalty payments, or worse, simply a one-off commission fee. Simply put, there isn't any way we can guarantee that the actual game designers get a financial reward for their labours.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:08 am

Ashtagon wrote:Simply put, there isn't any way we can guarantee that the actual game designers get a financial reward for their labours.
This is what really annoys me about copyright laws. One one hand the companies argue that "authors" need to have their work defended for longer and longer periods. On the other hand they push for it to be legal for someone to be able to sign away their copyright to that company forever. So they really are just using the author to leverage ownership for themselves.

So right from the word go the respect that should be there is already broken. I think that the only thing that authors get thesedays is the right to have their name on their work. But very little setting creators retain the right to guide where it goes.

The only way an author gets to earn big buck is when they own all of something. So people like J.K. Rowling become millionairs and other people struggle.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by dulsi » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:31 am

Big Mac wrote:So right from the word go the respect that should be there is already broken. I think that the only thing that authors get thesedays is the right to have their name on their work. But very little setting creators retain the right to guide where it goes.

The only way an author gets to earn big buck is when they own all of something. So people like J.K. Rowling become millionairs and other people struggle.
That only true of the rpg industry I believe. AFAIK in the regular book industry, authors sell publishing (and generally other rights like movie deals) for a limited time to a publisher. The contract may give the publisher first chance at the author's next book. J.K. Rowling became a millionaire because people liked her books and for some reason it reached critical mass so that everyone wanted to read it. Anne McCaffrey has had multiple publishers for her Pern books. While she is probably not struggling, she has become as rich as J.K. Rowling despite several successful book series.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by agathokles » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:55 pm

dulsi wrote:That only true of the rpg industry I believe.
I don't think the type of industry has much of an influence. Rather, it is whether you're building over existing "IP" or making an entirely original work. Star Wars novels are copyrighted by Lucasarts, not by the authors, for example. Series and shared worlds are not prevalent in the regular book market, but they are in RPG, comic books, etc.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:18 pm

agathokles wrote:
dulsi wrote:That only true of the rpg industry I believe.
I don't think the type of industry has much of an influence. Rather, it is whether you're building over existing "IP" or making an entirely original work.
Ah, but when the first Dragonlance, Birthright, Spelljammer, Planescape or Jakandor products were created they were original works. Their designers should really have joint-ownership of the setting.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Gawain_VIII » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:56 pm

I think the difference there is the "work for hire" clause of US copyright laws. In the case of the RPG industry, publishers hire creative minds to do the work--being for hire, the end result belongs to the company. In the case of novels, the author hires the publisher to put the work on the market. The profits of the book, minus royalties, is the publisher's salary. Being the employer, as opposed to the employee, is the difference as to who owns the end product.

The only difference in our case, refrencing D&D, is the original sets having been written by Gaygax & Arneson before the creation of the company (which was incorporated as a means of publishing what they had put together) they were not yet their own employees. Beginning in 76, when the white box came out, TSR was still acting only as publisher as there weren't any significant changes made from the wood-grain set. By 78 when B/X and AD&D were in production, this had clearly become a matter of the company hiring the authors (who, in some cases, owned parts of the company) to create the work--thus from that point on, nobody got royalties except for Gygax (and Arneson until the court cases were settled) because they were the only listed authors of the original 2 sets.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by maddog » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:25 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote:I think the difference there is the "work for hire" clause of US copyright laws. In the case of the RPG industry, publishers hire creative minds to do the work--being for hire, the end result belongs to the company.
Yup. That's the way it works (in the USA). TSR/WotC/Hasbro has full ownership of those works now.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Havard » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:03 pm

maddog wrote:Yup. That's the way it works (in the USA). TSR/WotC/Hasbro has full ownership of those works now.
These copyright laws don't really bother me too much, except in the case where there is a market for a type of product and people willing to create said product, but where the copyright holders refuse to provide the product in question. This is even more true in these days of pdfs and electronic distribution, which means smaller niche products could be made available for sale without much in terms of distribution costs.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by agathokles » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:18 pm

Big Mac wrote: Their designers should really have joint-ownership of the setting.
I was not implying the opposite -- I'm definitely not a supporter of the whole "intellectual property" and related copyright and patent legislation.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by chatdemon » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:46 am

dulsi wrote:That being said LL isn't exactly a clone. Clerics get spells at first level. Leather armor has a different AC to make space for studded leather. Medusa causes everyone to make a save instead of one person a round. Very minor changes but how many are needed before it is a distinct game.
I didn't mean to disparage LL or its creator or contributors. I love the fact that if I see LL tagged material these days, I know that it's usable in my Classic D&D (Mentzer BECMI) game with almost no tweaking or prep work required. That is generally the stated intent of most of the "pure" retroclones (unlike C&C or BFRPG, which are instead old school flavored, rules lite versions of the current D&D engine, intended to emulate but not exactly duplicate the older editions), and I take those stated intentions at face value.

I've never really looked that closely at LL's rules, to be honest, a somewhat brief read through told me that the game is indeed close enough to BX or BECMI or Rules Cyclopedia D&D that I can use the related material freely. I don't intend to actually "play LL". I play BECMI D&D and use LL material in that game now and then, and IMHO, people who only play LL (or OSRIC, or whatever clone game) and don't mix it into the system it's emulating are kind of missing the point of the whole 'old school revival'.

It's not just about recapturing the old school style of play that modern games have drifted from, it's about keeping the other, older editions alive and relevant.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:05 pm

chatdemon wrote:IMHO, people who only play LL (or OSRIC, or whatever clone game) and don't mix it into the system it's emulating are kind of missing the point of the whole 'old school revival'.
Perhaps. But then again, if you have a GM that does not have a supply of out of print player books then using a clone system would allow players to go to somewhere like Lulu and (legally) buy a hardback of the books.

I think that a lot of books are still fairly accessible, but IMO the only thing that allows fans of old editions of D&D to obtain content is that the player base is smaller than the number of gamebooks. If something like B/X or BECMI changed from having cult status to a massive revival then the supply of (legal) books would dry up and the eBay prices would shoot through the roof.

Something that these retro-clones do very well is take these emulated game engines and put them into the OGL marketplace. And that means that the door has been unscrewed from the stable and nobody can kill these games. As long as people play them they will eternally be in print.

I see what you mean about some of these systems being "tweaked" from the system they were emulating. But I've got to say that if AD&D had never happened, I believe that Classic D&D would have evolved. BECMI would have turned into something else (as another book came along to suppliment the Immortals rules). There would have been erratas. We might even have had Classic D&D with the AD&D structure (PHB, DMG, Monstrous Compendiums and a ton of campaign settings).

If fans are going to make "open" emulations of "closed" RPG systems, it is inevitable that fans will infer the same sort of improvements that TSR would have considered (if the rules system in question was not cancelled and replaced). These "open" systems are going to evolve like Linux. I totally agree with you that people should try to original old-school rules (if they are into that thing) but also think it is equally valid for someone to make a B/X/4e hybrid or a AD&D/3.0e hybrid.

I think we live in interesting times. :D
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by dulsi » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:48 pm

This quote from an earlier post probably best highlights our differing thoughts about the clones.
chatdemon wrote:As I understood it, the movement, at its beginning with OSRIC, was intended to allow minor publishers to produce (and, one assumes, sell) products designed for the OOP games.
I think you're right about the original purpose of OSRIC but that isn't what I think it should be doing. To some degree it isn't doing that. If it was just for producing products designed for the OOP game why have a complete character creation and fluff text. Something equivalent to the SRD would be enough to produce compatible products.

It should be making a complete set of rules in print again. That way if you never had AD&D or lost your books you can play the game without have to track down old copies of the rules. I seem to remember the creator of OSRIC even said at one point that he would be willing to remove it if WotC started printing AD&D again and that he advocated against making a 4E clone.
chatdemon wrote:IMHO, people who only play LL (or OSRIC, or whatever clone game) and don't mix it into the system it's emulating are kind of missing the point of the whole 'old school revival'.
When I played BECMI D&D, I very rarely used material beyond the original books. We generally created our own worlds and rarely used published modules. I look at LL as allowing be to go back to that system but without having to drag out the books. In some cases I don't even know where the books are. I know my brother had a copy of Marvel Super Heroes but I don't know what has become of it.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:50 pm

This thread has really helped me to form my opinion about this.

I would love to see true-fixed clones created (and also adapted into retro-SRDs). But these former editions of D&D would have evolved and I would really love to see a company like Paizo come along and make a Pathfinder-like game for Classic D&D and a Pathfinder-like game for AD&D.

I think the pure-retro systems are an essential step towards creating living and evolving versions of the old-school rules, so that should get done first, but if we can have a Pathfinder RPG, why can't we have a Wayfarer RPG and Trailblazer RPG that takes the same concept to the pre-3e market. We probably would have been on 7th edition OD&D and/or 5th edition AD&D by now, so not having varient systems (as well as static ones) does not seem to make sense to me.

People that want to stick with the orignal rules should be able to, but there is no reason to stop non-radical development.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Aniodia » Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:40 am

A) Call it "Deep Dungeons". Slightly different, and yet still evokes the same feeling.

2) Make the PDFs Open Office documents instead. This way, more people will be able to edit and add to the rules (though some sort of approval for the main documents may be needed).

III) Personally, I'd like this to be a direct clone of RC-CD&D, with the basic version being btb BECMI-CD&D without stuff like the almost-prestige classes and Weapon Mastery. It would allow me (and others, I could only guess) to introduce retroclones to my local gamers without having to lug around 9 different books and have them researching material from each book, or having to carry a book with a bunch of whited-out and rewritten passages just to make things legible and playable.

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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:45 am

Aniodia wrote:A) Call it "Deep Dungeons". Slightly different, and yet still evokes the same feeling.
Changing the name at this stage is awkward enough that I don't want to do it unless I have to (for example if Jack Chick's lawyers send me a cease-and-desist).
2) Make the PDFs Open Office documents instead. This way, more people will be able to edit and add to the rules (though some sort of approval for the main documents may be needed).
Once the first version has been released (and I have a hardback version of it in my sticky paws) then I'm happy for others to alter it as they see fit - but that would be in the context of making derivative variants rather than altering the base-line version. But - to use a software metaphor - I've made a conscious decision to only release the "compiled" PDF rather than the "source" document until I have that first version finished.

I'm happy to take suggestions (or even submissions) - and I've already made multiple changes due to suggestions from others on this board; but I want to retain overall editorial control, because I have a clear idea of where I'm taking this and I don't want others pulling the project in different directions.
III) Personally, I'd like this to be a direct clone of RC-CD&D, with the basic version being btb BECMI-CD&D without stuff like the almost-prestige classes and Weapon Mastery.
There are already clones (e.g. Labyrinth Lord) that cover that ground, so there would be no point writing another. The whole point of starting this project was that although there were clones like that, there wasn't a clone that included weapon mastery and so on - and that's the sort of clone I wanted, so in the absence of an existing one I decided to write one.
It would allow me (and others, I could only guess) to introduce retroclones to my local gamers without having to lug around 9 different books and have them researching material from each book, or having to carry a book with a bunch of whited-out and rewritten passages just to make things legible and playable.
It should do that - unless, of course, you feel that you need to remove things like weapon mastery in order to "make things legible and playable". If you feel that way then this isn't the game for you - and I'd suggest Labyrinth Lord instead.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:01 am

I don't recall meeting you before. Just in case nobody has said it yet: welcome to The Piazza.
Aniodia wrote:A) Call it "Deep Dungeons". Slightly different, and yet still evokes the same feeling.
I think that might be a good name for a Dark Dungeons suppliment. (Dark Dragons, Dark Drow and Dark Deities would probably be other good names for a suppliment.)
Aniodia wrote:2) Make the PDFs Open Office documents instead. This way, more people will be able to edit and add to the rules (though some sort of approval for the main documents may be needed).
Hmm. I've got to disagree here. Open access to the original text would be good for GMs, but I would much rather see a well made PDF that has been carefully designed to look good when printed. There are a lot of people out there who do not realise that office documents (normally MS office) get set up for the creator's printer. When imported into someone else's computer these sort of things reflow text onto a different number of pages and muck up the original typesetter's (usually the author these days) layout.

This may sound like a non-issue, but the US and the UK use different paper sizes and a document only has to be a few pages long before it gets totally out of whack with what was intended.

Dark Dungeons is going to have so many tables and other unusual things that it is essential that the typesetting is 100 percent accurate.

I am hoping that Dark Dungeons will have a hyperlinked SRD-like area on its wiki...eventually. If that is done a GM will be able to copy and paste from there. (They might even be able to copy and paste from the PDF - if that is kept open.) I don't see a need to move to a less professional looking layout if copy and pasting is a freely available option.

I don't know if you have seen the Adlatum Campaign Setting. This fannon setting (which is designed to bolt onto the side of the Dragonlance Campaign Setting) comes in a PDF that looks as professional as any of the Margaret Weis Productions DL books. It really is beautiful. And this sort of fanon masterpiece has really set the bar high. I'm really hoping that the Dark Dungeons project can attract artists that can evoke the RC/BECMI era and that they can realy take advantage of things that were not available to TSR. There are people out there, like Thorf, who have spent ages doing R&D to track down typefaces and other layout details. You can use this sort of information if you make a PDF - on an editable document it is not so reliable.
Aniodia wrote:III) Personally, I'd like this to be a direct clone of RC-CD&D, with the basic version being btb BECMI-CD&D without stuff like the almost-prestige classes and Weapon Mastery. It would allow me (and others, I could only guess) to introduce retroclones to my local gamers without having to lug around 9 different books and have them researching material from each book, or having to carry a book with a bunch of whited-out and rewritten passages just to make things legible and playable.
If individual GMs disagree with parts of Dark Dungeons, they could actually use the entire content of it to create a variant version of Dark Dungeons that matches what they think the game should be. I'm not sure if tha would need to be published under a differnt name or if it could also be hosted on the same wiki.

You could surf over to the Dark Dungeons' threads now and have your say. But even if things don't turn out the way that you like, you can copy the entire document (OGL as wel) and make your own houseruled version that matches RC-CD&D more closely. For you it will be a lot faster to start with Dark Dungeons than the WotC SRD. The main things you need to do is make sure you do not include anything from TSR in your changes and make sure you include all the Dark Dungeons section 15 entries in your own Open Game Licence.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:12 am

Blacky the Blackball wrote:
Aniodia wrote:A) Call it "Deep Dungeons". Slightly different, and yet still evokes the same feeling.
Changing the name at this stage is awkward enough that I don't want to do it unless I have to (for example if Jack Chick's lawyers send me a cease-and-desist).
You made your post while I was still editing mine. As I just said, I think that Deep Dungeons would be a great name for a Dark Dungeons suppliment. Perhaps one that deals with your campaign setting's underdark...or some sort of Hollow Earth.
Blacky the Blackball wrote:
Aniodia wrote:2) Make the PDFs Open Office documents instead. This way, more people will be able to edit and add to the rules (though some sort of approval for the main documents may be needed).
Once the first version has been released (and I have a hardback version of it in my sticky paws) then I'm happy for others to alter it as they see fit - but that would be in the context of making derivative variants rather than altering the base-line version. But - to use a software metaphor - I've made a conscious decision to only release the "compiled" PDF rather than the "source" document until I have that first version finished.

I'm happy to take suggestions (or even submissions) - and I've already made multiple changes due to suggestions from others on this board; but I want to retain overall editorial control, because I have a clear idea of where I'm taking this and I don't want others pulling the project in different directions.
I would also recommend you keep this locked down for legal reasons. I've met a ton of people on the Interwebs who have no understanding of the OGL. If they edit and redistribute your original docs...without modifying the front cover or updating the section 15, it is going to look like you are the author. And that could get lawyers knocking on your door instead of the door of someone else who (possibly accidentally) did something dodgy.

(The main thing I would be concerned about would be someone flipping open a TSR gamebook and then typing that stuff in word for word. People quote stuff all the times in forums. That is OK, as we are talking about small extracts, but a small extract inserted into Dark Dungeons could possibly be enough to allow a lawyer to try for a C&D. I wouldn't want to see 'badly modified Dark Dungeons' cause people to mistakenly attack the well made original.)

If you either make it possible to copy and paste from the PDFs or if you allow people to build up a 'DDSRD'* namespace on your wiki, then other projects could have full access to your 'source code'. And if they didn't do thing right, it would be less likely to look like something you had made.

* = This is just a placeholder for the purpose of this discussion. Something like Dark Dungeons Reference Document (DDRD) or something else entirely may be better.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:14 pm

Ashtagon wrote:It'd be nice to credit the original game designers with both money and kudos. But that can't happen. In some cases, they have sadly passed on. Even where that isn't the case, in many cases they merely received a salary, and not royalty payments, or worse, simply a one-off commission fee. Simply put, there isn't any way we can guarantee that the actual game designers get a financial reward for their labours.
I've just had a thought about this.

As far as I can see, there is no reason why a book couldn't be dedicated to anyone you like.

As long as the original rules are not mentioned, I don't see why Dark Dungeons couldn't be dedicated to the people who wrote them. D&D is said to be based on the work of Tolkein and others, so (if Blacky chooses to do this sort of thing) he could also dedicate the book to people that made our hobby possible.

You might not be able to explain why a book was dedicated to someone, but I don't think they could stop you tipping the hat.

If I ever write a fantasy space game I will probably dedicate it to Jeff Grubb...even though I wouldn't dream of copying and pasting from Spelljammer. I would probably also dedicate it to the people that got the SRD and the OGL published (Ryan Dancey IIRC). From my point of view the OGL and access to the SRD made a lot of other publishers bring out compatable books that I could access without a ton of learning. Having used rules that are open, I don't feel like I can go back to rules that are closed.

As for 'rewarding the original authors' I don't think that applies to Dark Dungeons as it is going to be a non-profit thing. But I don't think it is illegal for someone to go to an old-school author and offer them free cash, although someone might actually be insulted by this sort of thing. Maybe it might be better to see if you can hire them to write something for you...if you can actually afford them.

Another...possibly better...way to reward authors is to find out what they are doing now and give them a bit of free publicity for whatever is keeping them employed. If an author has moved on to writing crime novels then they need to sell their books to make cash. Letting people know (not necessarily in a BECMI clone) what the greats of D&D are doing might save them some marketing work.
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Re: OGLBECMI?

Post by Aniodia » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:58 am

Blacky the Blackball wrote:Changing the name at this stage is awkward enough that I don't want to do it unless I have to (for example if Jack Chick's lawyers send me a cease-and-desist).
Well, I was just kinda throwing it out there, as the thoughts had come up in this thread about possible C&Ds from people representing people who don't matter (i.e. Chick). Trying to CYA and all that.
Once the first version has been released (and I have a hardback version of it in my sticky paws) then I'm happy for others to alter it as they see fit - but that would be in the context of making derivative variants rather than altering the base-line version. But - to use a software metaphor - I've made a conscious decision to only release the "compiled" PDF rather than the "source" document until I have that first version finished.

I'm happy to take suggestions (or even submissions) - and I've already made multiple changes due to suggestions from others on this board; but I want to retain overall editorial control, because I have a clear idea of where I'm taking this and I don't want others pulling the project in different directions.
I made my comment about allowing others to edit the files more regarding the creation of the PDFs. Because, tbqh, the trial PDFs on the wiki look none too great. There's sentences that are bumped over the top of tables, the Fighter section gets off to a crappy-looking start with a paragraph at the end of the Elf section (and Magic-User at the end of the Halfling is similar), repetition of the same paragraphs can be removed to clean up and open up some space (notably in the cleric turning descriptions and Fighter-class options among the demi-humans), some of the class descriptions are mostly on the page of another class (i.e. the Elf class is mainly on the Dwarf page), etc. etc.

I can understand if you don't want people putting in ridiculous/stupid/copyright-breaking ideas, but even having clean breaks between pages so the reader can figure out what exactly you're trying to say is pretty cool (so I've heard).

And of course, I understand that those PDFs are just works in progress, but there's some serious editing to be done IMHO. I mention OpenOffice because it's free as well as being easily available. Even if you hold on to the original ODT file and release only PDFs to the public, there should be someone else able to proofread and edit the document into a readable file. Of course, that is going to come after hammering out the rules in the first place, but it's still something to think about.
There are already clones (e.g. Labyrinth Lord) that cover that ground, so there would be no point writing another. The whole point of starting this project was that although there were clones like that, there wasn't a clone that included weapon mastery and so on - and that's the sort of clone I wanted, so in the absence of an existing one I decided to write one.
I love the idea of Weapon Mastery, especially in a system like BECMI, and I'm surprised that someone hasn't taken the time to re(work/think/etc.) the system for another retro-clone. In fact, the sheer fact that you're doing it (along with the 36-level progression) is what brought me to post in this thread in the first place.
It should do that - unless, of course, you feel that you need to remove things like weapon mastery in order to "make things legible and playable". If you feel that way then this isn't the game for you - and I'd suggest Labyrinth Lord instead.
See my quote above; I'd like to have some way for fighters to be more useful than a walking meatshield at high levels. I see this firsthand in my 1e game, where the fighters oftentimes stand there and beat face, but most of the combat is decided by the handful of mages and clerics in the party flinging spells until things drop. Weapon Mastery can greatly change this dynamic, and I wouldn't get rid of it for anything.

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