Non-D&D Retroclone Wishlist

As a split from What types of retroclones do people really want? - what is one non-D&D game you would like to see a retroclone of, and why?

By retroclone, I mean an reproduction of an older game that very closely matches the mechanics of the original. So think of Old School Essentials for the Moldvay/Cook Basic/eXpert sets of D&D, with Labyrinth Lord being about the max amount of deviation that is hypothetically “allowed.”

My vote would be Prince Valiant. Obviously one would not be able to clone the actual intellectual property, as this is why the game is so difficult to get a hold of nowadays. But I found it to be a fantastic little game, very easy to teach new players, structured to produce very punchy sessions, flexible to zoom in and out of scenarios, and is a great place to introduce the kinds of mechanics we often now associate with “storytelling games” (I believe this was the first role-playing game to self-ascribe this moniker).

I always debate trying to tackle this as a personal project, but so much of the magic of this game is how it teaches how to play games, as well as how to referee. It would be fantastic to have something that fulfills the same kind of role. One of the best in class in this category, imo.

What’s your pick?

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Justin, this is tricky, because I can’t think of any ancient rule set that’s not really available somehow or other electronically. Do you mean a game that’s in need of new layout? You did specify mechanics…

(Interesting point about Prince Valiant’s epithet “Storytelling Game.” It makes me wish I hadn’t given my copy away a long time ago.)

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Yeah new layout and presentation is perfect. As is being legally accessible, or “open source” in a manner that you don’t have to post to forums and be like “Does Chaosium actually own the SIZ and POW stats?” :stuck_out_tongue:

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It’d be neat to see a rewrite of the Morrow Project!

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I would like to see some new approaches to Superheroes and Mecha RPGs. These are both genres that I love, but there are surprisingly few games of these genres, most of the ones that exist can be lumped into one of a handful of categories, and none of them have been especially satisfying to me.

In the case of superheroes, on the one extreme end you get games that are just waaay too crunchy like Mutants & Masterminds, or games that are considered good but too narrowly scoped for my tastes, like the PbtA game Masks. Then there’s FASERIP, which is kind of like an OSR Supers game, but I found that it kind of falls apart if you try to make it point buy, and randomized superheroes are cool but not ideal as the primary approach imo, and also the whole chart thing for resolution management is kind of clunky. I’d like to see something that takes the kind of creation mechanics from M&M or FASERIP but strips it down into something more FKR-ish. Tbh I think FATE works pretty well for superheroes, but it would be cool to see a dedicated Supers game doing something really new with it.

As for Mecha, those games also tend to be on the crunchier side like Mekton or Lancer, or likewise, there are some interesting indie Mecha games the names of which I can’t think of offhand but like with Masks, are a little over-scoped for my tastes. Even as someone who does not like crunch, I understand the temptation to want to make Mecha games a little crunchier, but it’s a fine line. Also, it’s difficult to separate out the Mecha side of the character from the Pilot side in a way that’s satisfying. Either it feels like basically just two separate characters or they’re so tightly integrated that usually, one (usually the Pilot) feels secondary to the other. I’m attempting my own approach to this with Get Into the Machine, Shinji!, and I have not seen anyone do it quite like this and I’m pretty excited about it, if I may say so myself.

I would also like to see more games with Domain-level play. I was really intrigued by Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, a PbtA domain game, but it’s a little too crunchy and “gamey” and has certain PbtA-isms that I don’t love. Cypher / Numenera also has a domain-style mechanic that’s also still a little too crunchy, but closer to what I would want. I’ve utilized a very stripped down version of these ideas into most of my campaigns, but I’ve never codified it, and even though it’s so simple, or perhaps because it’s so simple, I’m not sure how I even would codify it. I have talked about this in more detail in an article I wrote for High Level Games a long while back.

Even though I talked above about genres, I would also like to continue to see more works that defy genre as we conceive of it. One reason why I’ve loved so much of Patrick Stuart’s works, is that while they certainly wear their influences on their sleeve, many of his works defy traditional genre conventions. Silent Titans is wholly unique, and I firmly believe that Veins of the Earth is a brilliant Deconstruction of the Underdark, even if Patrick Stuart takes umbrage with that specific wording.

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Oh I forgot to mention in that other message above, but I’d also like to see more DIY / reconstructions of Tunnels & Trolls along the lines of what has happened with D&D. Not just retro-clones, but wholly new systems in the vein of Into the Odd / Electric Bastionland, Cairn, Maze Rats, Knave, etc., that are more so inspired by the older systems than retro-clones, and that lend themselves well to hacking and DIY.

TNT has some cool ideas that are fundamentally different from D&D, but it just doesn’t have that scene around it.

I was doing a fair bit of it for a while, until I had a kind of negative interaction with one of the people associated with TNT which kind of turned me off from continuing down that path and I suspect is at least in part why it has not developed such a scene, but even so, I’d be remiss not to mention it. I realize it’s kind of lame to mention that that interaction occurred and not explain myself- it was nothing terrible or “cancel-worthy” or anything like that, I’d rather not elaborate, but it just made me not want to write TNT stuff anymore, and for the most part, I have not.

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I’d love a retro-clone of Flashing Blade or Engarde, but I don’t know how possible that is legally. Overall, we just need more swashbuckling in gaming.

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I’m wondering if a retroclone of Empire of the Petal Throne would be possible.

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There is already one out there… The Petal Hack

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Yeah, I was going to mention this one! It’s a great breakdown of the text and world of Tekumel, I’m definitely a big fan and it illuminated a lot of the original game to me, which is really what you want a retroclone to be.

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You know, if I start with the Holy Grail, the rest of my post is going to be a real letdown. But I’m going to do it anyway: Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game Combine it with nWoD core. Include some Trinity stuff.

Alternity 1998, with the alternityrpg.net recommended house rules.

Look, does D&D still count if nobody has ever made a clone of it before? Player’s Option.

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