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Author Topic: D&D Rules Cyclopedia  (Read 3678 times)

Online Yora

D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« on: March 09, 2015, 11:34:57 AM »
Since the company that now owns Dungeons & Dragons is putting most of their outdated, out of print backlog up for sale as pdf, I got myself the Rules Cylopedia which is currently on sale for $10.

It's a very interesting read. Years back in 1978, they made the descision to branch D&D in two separate games. The old Basic Game and the much more complex Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The AD&D line kept being the star and was continuously developed further to this very day (though they just call it D&D again now), while the Basic Game drifted into obscurity and has been discontinued for almost 20 years now.
The Rules Cyclopedia is a compilation of the last version of the Basic Rules that includes almost all the upgrades that were later added to it. To anyone familiar with D&D, this one seems very familiar too and you can easily tell that it's D&D. But it's also pretty different in many ways, especially the entire visual style and atmosphere. It's an alternative evolution of the original game that happened almost entirely independent and I can see why it still has a good number of big fans. It's a lot easier than any other version of D&D with much less rules and special abilities, which make it a lot more ssuited for playing games where the players are exploring the world and interacting with the people instead of focusing a lot on lots of big battles with all kinds of tactical planning.

Offline JMack

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Re: D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 12:40:48 PM »
I was introduced to D&D in 1975 by my friend Dennis, who lived across the street. He had the original basic set in a white box. And though we added D&D friends, bought the AD&D books, lots of multi-sided dice, and Dennis eventually lost interest, my memories will always be those first dungeons, with he throwing in any hare-brained idea that struck. Clerics as Yiddish rabbis, anyone? Exploding bagels?
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Offline DDRRead

Re: D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 01:28:12 PM »
I'm a big fan of Moldvay/Cook era B/X D&D. I find its simplicity to be a feature not a bug. It's easy to grok, and full of elegance and practicality in its design, and a snap to run. Of course, even though I prefer B/X I was always willing to plunder AD&D, Dragon, and White Dwarf to add more monsters, spells, and magic items.

Online Yora

Re: D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 01:46:53 PM »
It's a huge asset, as far as I am concerned. I got into games with 3rd edition and AD&D based videogames and you could say I was young and didn't know any better. But now I find those games to be pretty much unplayable because the rules just keep getting in the way and the entire approach to playing they promote is very much unsuitable for anything but tactical grindfests.
The magic system and to a lesser degree the attack rolls (though those are easily fixed) are the main reason why I don't really consider running any D&D games again, but I still find so many things to learn about how to play any game in Basic and Expert that I can use with the combat and magic rules of Barbarians of Lemuria without any problems.

Offline DDRRead

Re: D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 12:40:39 PM »
I never played any 3/3.5 but it (and Pathfinder) didn't look like my cup of tea. I wonder if the fact D&D wasn't my introduction to the hobby has anything to do with my never really getting into the Advanced version of the game. Having said that I don't mind Vancian magic and abstract combat in my D&D.

I think the grind-fest element of AD&D and 3/3.5 comes from the change in emphasis on more XP coming from monster slaying than treasure. In OD&D and Basic a (good) dungeon delve was more about scouting and exploring trying to avoid combat where possible and steal the treasure before escaping. Either way; D&D was always a mismatch for the tropes of heroic fantasy and at low level is more like survival horror. Though from what I've read that was not a design fault and more to do with it's roots in tactical wargaming. Hmmm, I wonder if I could get enough players interested to run a B/X PBP here?

Online Yora

Re: D&D Rules Cyclopedia
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 01:05:09 PM »
If I don't have to run it, I'm always in.