Okay, I think that is the most Acronym laden title of any article here at Gaming with Chuck. (The Staff is currently on a Health Improvement Program (HIP) and that means increased levels of vitamins being consumed. So there is a big fascination with letters....)
Okay, a Retro Clone of a Role Playing Game is one of a new-ish batch of RPGs that seek to capture either the specific rules or the flavor of classic RPGs. You know - like Good Old Dungeons & Dragons (or Basic D&D). One of the versions of that game (a pretty good one) was the old Rules Compendium. A great collection of rules. It has everything in it that I usually like in a simple RPG - good distinct classes. Nice list of spells and equipment. Skill system. Weapon system. In fact, for me, the only things missing would be (1) Speed factors on spells and weapons (easy to add in), and (2) Tactical moves for doing combat with miniatures (also easy to add in).
Alright - so there is this great new retro-clone of the RC version of BD&D called "Dark Dungeons" (yes, named after the made-up game in the old Chick comic. If you have to ask, then you are better off not knowing).
It has it all. And in true to form honesty to old Basic D&D (or OD&D - Original D&D, although that is sometimes more narrowly defined as old White Box D&D - again, if you have to ask, you are better off not knowing, although it might be a good plan for the Staff to write a history of versions of D&D) there are only Classes, not the Race/Class combination we have seen in so many other RPGs. This means that if you want to play an Elf - then that is your class. This bodes well for the geek tshirt I once saw that said "I Remember when Hobbit was a Class" - and it was in OD&D. It is again in Dark Dungeons (although, for several legal reasons, they are called Halflings).
How does this race-as-class thing work out? Well it makes the race of non-humans Really important. As in it is a big deal if you say you are an Elf. Unlike in, say, AD&D when you are an Elf MU or an Elf Fighter, or an Elf F-M-C, then there is not too much of a big deal about the Elf Part. Especially in 2E, 3E or 4E (remember the vitamins thing and acronyms). But in OD&D - and in Dark Dungeons - being an Elf is a big deal.
So what are these races as class all about? More coming in a future article but briefly - Elf is a Fighter/Magic User mix. Halfling is a Fighter/Thief mix. And Dwarf is crusty. Like I said - more coming soon.
Also - look for some coming up articles on content for Dark Dungeons. I am inspired . . .
ps- thank you especially to Matt and Braz, whom I saw at Battlefield Band in Williamsburg on Nov 5 - and they got me jazzed up on Dark Dungeons. Previously my favorite retro-clones included Castles & Crusades (which I still love - and the Castle Keeper's Guide finally came out - w00t), and Mutant Futures. Both of those generated a fair amount of press here at GWC.