In my continuing efforts today to venture off the path a little bit from gushing 4E love all over the bloggosphere onto the faces of all the grump grognards, I share with you a new find in the “Retro Clone” movement called Dangers & Dweomers, which is available in both PDF and Open Document format. I believe it’s still being worked on, but the current version as of the time of this writing (version 0.9) is a pretty cool little title to pick up as is.
Dangers is a great compilation of “old school” rules that seem to have influence across various editions of D&D in many forms and incarnations. Essentially, this 179 page document could be treated as “Basic AD&D” or “AD&D Lite”. It’s a happy middle ground; races are seperate from classes, of which there is primarily just four of (Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User and Rogue). You can dual class, but your race puts restrictions on such, and you have to meet the Prime Requisites for both classes.
What really makes this clone stand out for me is the number of options and rules available from this one document: It covers all the ground for characters levels 1-20, a ton of spells (arranged in Alphebetical Order, not Class order), monsters, traps, magical items etc. You also get some fleshed out rules for Mounted Combat, Underwater Adventuring, Planar Travel, Stronghold Building, Mass Warfare, variant magic options like Wild Magic and Sorcerors, and more.
I’m not going to say whether or not this title stands out better than others like Microlite74, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC or Labrynth Lord. What I will say is that it diserves to be mentioned and stand amongst these other clones on the grounds it stays true to the spirit of the source materials, doesn’t tread on any toes yet still adds its own spirit and flavor like the above mentioned games do.
In the words of an email Mr. Castellani wrote to me, in response for my praise I sent about his project:
“…I’m afraid that if you were looking for something properly Old school, “my” game system might not be so much an old-school game as an “old-schoolish” one. Indeed I wanted to do something along the lines of “Advanced Basic D&D”.
If that sounds up your alley, I highly recommend heading over to his site and downloading the latest draft. This is the effort of a one man army, and for what it is it’s amazingly clean and easy to read through. I especially recommend at least giving it a glance if you’re already a fan or involved with other Retro Clones of its kind as a possible variant resource for your campaigns.