09 February 2013

Bout Them Reprints

I was reading over at the Greyhawk Grognard about the impact of the WotC reprints and the OSR. Pretty interesting, especially because it was little more than a blip in my mind.

What difference could it possibly make? People may not know it (or may not care), but bootleg PDFs of the major products that WotC is selling have been around for years. You can get them with a quick download, and there you are, back into the nostalgia apparently all of us crave with the desperation only a grognard can manage.

But I still use Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC and Swords and Wizardry, and it's because they're better in every way. Yeah, they don't have the artwork that you liked so much when you were younger, but in many cases the artwork is better. And the layout is better. The people behind Swords and Wizardry, for example, turned a complex morass of rules into something playable. OSRIC removed the purple Gygaxian prose, the sillier bits of rules, and straightened out a few things, then gave you a game with all the same rules that was easier to play and easier to read through.

The retroclones, at least the first few, were never meant to be their own thing. They were emulators that let you play the great modules and campaigns and settings of old, as they were written. They still do that. It doesn't matter if you can buy the original rules, because you've got ones that are better, and for free.

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