Will Wasted Lands Be a Retroclone?

I have spent a good deal of time on this blog talking about what O.G.R.E.S. brings to the table for role playing, how it codifies the original system for fantasy role playing (the original, B/X, and advanced versions) to make it clear how intuitive they are to use, and balances out the results to unify the mechanics across the board - making spell casting, for example, work the same as every other class ability by changing it to a percentile instead of Vancian. 

A number of fans across the board have been waiting to see our fantasy take on the system (and it has been TOO long coming - we honestly should've had this done a year ago, but I'm solo on this one. Tim and Derek have been supporting me all the way, helping with proofing, ideas, and critiques, but Elf Lair needed a game that would support the company without the need for royalties. 

We are now coming very close to the launch of the Kickstarter (next month, fingers crossed!), and it will likely be TWO books, rather than just one. We have an outstanding cartographer and artist working on our world map in the form of Mel Henning. The world setting (which will comprise Volume 2) is something that I think really kicks ass. 

With that all in mind, people are naturally wondering if O.G.R.E.S. will be a retroclone of old-school gaming, or if it will be something new? The answer is a bit complicated, but the easiest way to say it is, somewhere in between. 

Retroclone or New Approach? 

When I say "somewhere in between," it must be stated that O.G.R.E.S. is not, in strict terms, a retroclone. While it does codify systems baked into gaming since the earliest days, it does not replicate the classes, class abilities, or approach of original, basic, or first edition games. You could, for example, use any monster from one of the monster manuals or creature codices from these old editions alongside our games, with little to no changes needed - monsters in O.G.R.E.S. use low DV (AC in old school terms) and are structured around Vitality (Hit Dice), so by applying our free conversion document, you could easily use monsters and even adventures from older editions with little trouble. 

In fact, we even ran statistical analysis on the experience progressions against original through first edition classes, so if you really wanted, you could theoretically run a character class from one of those editions in a Wasted Lands campaign, though you may want to do some work to convert to the universal percentile for class abilities (guidelines can be found in the appendices of Night Shift and Wasted Lands)

Tim and I since day one have said that the driving goal when we created O.G.R.E.S. was to combine old school sensibilities and mechanics with modern design and play style. O.G.R.E.S. is, to put things simply, a fusion and synthesis of the old and new. 

What's Different?

While the game is compatible with most old-school resources, most of the character classes are quite different from their original and advanced edition versions. The closest would be the Sorcerer and Renegade, but even they have some significant revisions. If you choose to run traditional fantasy with Wasted Lands, character species work entirely different as well. Those who have seen how supernatural species work in Night Shift: VSW will have an idea how elves, dwarves, and the like function in Wasted Lands. 

Essentially, a character species in O.G.R.E.S. (a term we used long before those Wizards that inhabit the Coastal Regions, by the by) is a one-level character class that you choose at character generation. This class gives you all the special abilities of the species you choose. When you reach what would nominally be second level in that class, your XP resets to zero, you choose a normal class, and move forward. 

It's a bit of a combination of race-as-class and race-plus-class. It also eliminates the need for artificial caps on level advancement by balancing the abilities from your species against a human in other ways. 

So there you have it - Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age will feel both very familiar and yet at the same time fresh and new. We hope it will be an exciting approach to fantasy gaming for both old schoolers and newer gamers alike.