[D&D] Recommend me an OSR clone for my demos

#1
I’m in a quandary.



I visit non-TTRPG conventions (in the U.K.) offering one hour demos.



My standard one hour demo to introduce newbies to the hobby via a “D&D” experience is David Black’s The Black Hack and Matt Colville’s Delian Tomb. It has been immensely successful.



But TBH has been updated and TBH2 - whilst being a better game - is less accessible to newbies.



I’m adamant that the games I offer have to be readily available for people to buy if I mange to hook anyone and they want to get playing.



(Yes I do tell them they might want to look at 5th Ed etc.)



What do I do? I don’t want to switch to 5th Ed. Too many bells and whistles on the character sheets. I’ve got the starter pack and can offer it if people ask. It just doesn’t do what I want.



Do I:



  1. stick with TBH1, hope it remains available and make sure I point people at the right one.
  2. Switch to TBH2 with all its quirks.
  3. Find another “Hack” which does the same job? Graham Spearing’s “Heroic Fantasy” looked to be suitable but upon buying it, it doesn’t seem to match my needs.
  4. Publish my own d6 Hack as a stand-alone once Comic Relief is over and use that. I’m adamant that I travel to demo the hobby, not promote my own games and I’ve already got several of my own systems in the set up.



I really don’t know what to do and would appreciate some advice.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Simon, are you after a faithful retro experience or something more flowing and simple like TBH?

I’d actually challenge that TBH is more accessible to newbies, unless it has a GM who knows it and D&D. It assumes familiarity with the tropes of the game.

Labyrinth Lord and Blueholme are both solid.
 
#4
If you pre-built all characters and run just a single encounter with some role play within the one hour slot, then Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is easily accessible to newbies.

Example, group of 1st level adventurers at tavern negotiate with employer (free role play here), then head out for one encounter (probably short combat rules here). You get one hour done, easy. Rinse and repeat for next group of newbies.
 
#5
Simon, are you after a faithful retro experience or something more flowing and simple like TBH?

I’d actually challenge that TBH is more accessible to newbies, unless it has a GM who knows it and D&D. It assumes familiarity with the tropes of the game.

Labyrinth Lord and Blueholme are both solid.
Flowing and simple. I wouldn’t expect a newbie to read and run TBH but it’s dead easy to explain and run.
 
#7
Have you seen Sarah Newton's Monsters & Magic? It's a very interesting attempt at making a more modern set of rules you can use with old D&D or clone modules. Quite straightforward at its heart, but one mark against it might be that you can currently only buy it as a PDF: it was available as a paperback previously and apparently will be again, but there seems to be no date set.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#10
That was Sarah's response to Dungeon World, if I remember right? I was tempted, but the layout (font size) put me off when I looked at it at Dragonmeet.
 

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
#11
I recommend any of the Gallant Knight Games growing suite of simple OSR rules light games.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/198163
Cosmic Blades & Solar Spells: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/260378

Sharp Swords has a second edition in the planning, but is great as it is. The same rules chassis is being used for the Kickstarter for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, an urban horror game.

Here's a PC for Solar Blades (the game has some TBH DNA).

PC1.png
 
Last edited:
#17
I ran hour long demos of AFF in the past and, as noted by the Guvnor, it wins on multiple levels with both parents who remember the series and younger gamers who find it eminently accessible. It also has mechanics for combat that mean you only new to throw some dice once and the outcome of the roll works whether you're successful (and hurting) or unsuccessful (and hoping your armour holds out).

The other alternative is that you get over the belief that 5e is too complicated! Create (or find) simplified sheets and use the stripped down rules available online - which the interested can get afterwards for nothing as their own PDF.
 
#18
AFF is a little beaut of a game. I'm giving some serious consideration to running a slot of it at next year's Dudley Bug Ball, if there's interest.
I am aiming to come to next year's Dudley Bug Ball and bring the others from the 13th Age group (we really must come up with a collective name for ourselves!) Playing AFF sounds like it could be fun; I've got Stellar Adventures so I'm familiar with the system.
 
Top