Friday, July 22, 2011

AD&D 2e Clone: For Gold & Glory - First Impressions

The OSR has certainly seen its fair share of retro-clones since Wizards released the OGL, but while OD&D players were enjoying retro hits like Swords & Wizardry, and 1e players were knee deep in OSRIC, we 2nd edition players were sort of lost in the wilderness.

Within the OSR "community" the 2nd edition fans have always been somewhat of the the red-haired step children. Our presence is not wanted on such popular hangouts as Knights & Knaves or the OD&D Forum, at least when it comes to talking 2nd edition anyway. Dragonsfoot has one small board dedicated to us, but considering the rest of that forum, it almost seems like a nanny ushering children away so everyone else can be in peace; "here, you all go play in the corner, you're disturbing the rest of us."

True enough, I'm not sure there is even a demand for a 2nd edition retro-clone considering many of the books are still readily available second-hand for dirt cheap prices. I believe recently I spent no more than $30 on a set of used core rulebooks (all 3), and that was with shipping. In fairness, mechanically speaking, there is little difference in the core rules of 2nd edition and those of 1st. The major differences, aside from dropping classes and races from 1st edition, were the introduction of the proficiency system, which would become the bane of most 1e players looking to move over.

Nonetheless, while there might not be a strong demand for a 2nd edition clone, it would seem that one is coming anyway. Justen Brown of Fey Square is personally working on compiling a 2nd edition clone called For Gold & Glory. His work is almost complete, and a preview edition is up for view on his blog. Presently he is completing the spell index, and working on the monsters for the book, which will be available for free to the community as a PDF download.

Having thumbed through the virtual preview, I must say, I'm impressed so far, both with the presentation and layout, and the succinct simplicity by which Justen conveys the essence of the game. Justen is focusing on just those rules which are "core" to the system, so you won't find options such as the much reviled proficiency system. And we will not see a new skill system to take its place, as I understand it. Justen has said:
"I’m not a game designer and my intention isn’t to change what has been created by professionals with twice as much experience as I."

I admire Justen's patience for taking on a project such as this, and I hope the project turns out to be a success. So far it looks like he's going in the right direction.