Sunday, August 20, 2017

OSR Commentary On Necrotic Gnome's 'B/X Essentials' Project For Your Old School Retroclone Systems

 I have a long & storied history with Necrotic Gnome products but Gavin Norman's new project it hits close to home some might say their essentially some of the essence of B/X Dungeons & Dragons. Let's take a closer look.

So while everyone else is all excited about GenCon 50, I've been quietly watching Necrotic Gnome's latest efforts with B/X Essentials. This is Gavin Norman's The City of Iron's blog fame reworking of B/X Dungeons & Dragons.

B/X Essentials is Gavin Norm's reworking of the B/X Dungeons & Dragons rules into retroclone form so that they'll be a bit more open to the OSR audience as a whole. There's lots of stuff already happening with this project. But why is this being done & how will it differ from B/X Dungeons & Dragons ? According to the official word from Necrotic Gnome,"How does B/X Essentials compare to the original B/X books? The main (and major!) difference is that the rules for Basic and Expert play are combined, rather than being split across two books. Also, as mentioned above, B/X Essentials is written as a quick reference, presenting a clarified and better organized presentation of the rules."
How is this on the whole compare with the Labyrinth Lord retroclone system? Gavin Norman's done a lot with Labyrinth Lord so colour me curious, "How does B/X Essentials compare to Labyrinth Lord? LL also presents a restatement of the classic B/X rules, however its text is, in many places, far too verbose and meandering to be really useful as a quick reference. Also, as noted above, B/X Essentials is a 100% accurate clone whereas Labyrinth Lord introduces several changes to the rules. In B/X Essentials, clerics do not get a spell at 1st level!"  You can find out more over here folks. 
As a LL & BX Dungeons & Dragons fan  for years now I'm dying to see how & what changes are going to be coming.

So when is the B/X Essentinals going to hit the shelves in the wilds of the OSR? Official word is that sometime in September 2017. The interesting thing is going to be the format for me, "The primary format is US Trade (6"x9") paperback (perfect- or staple-bound) with a fully-linked PDF. So, yes, this is a small form factor presentation of the B/X rules! The Open Game Content rules will also be provided in a simple text format." So its going to be simple & easy to digest this is going to be a plus for me.
Today's Encumbrance rules preview came out of the blue and there's artwork from by Thomas Novosel. The layout clean, its easy to read, and there's actually some real changes worked in. So this is very interesting from a DM's perspective. Because you're seeing things from the ground up here. Gavin goes into the deeper reasons for this here

So yeah to say I'm watching this with interest is an understatement. Why? Well there's lots of reasons but mainly I love the simplicity of what I've seen so far from the B/X Essentials project & the ideas that the author/designer is putting forth. Plus its nice to see a solid degree of transparency in the choices that the author is making. I trust the choices that I've so far seen by Gavin Norman.  So for a Sunday keep em rolling folks!

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