Thursday, August 4, 2022

B/X is Forever

I always keep coming back to B/X and open systems.

I buy gimmick game systems but they don't last. I buy mainstream "supported" rules and they pull new editions on me, play games with the PDFs, and force me to spend money on the next book to keep up with the rules. I buy non-open content games and they go out of print, and the community support is lacking. I buy nostalgia games based on movies and TV shows, but they are rarely good for anything else.

Some games I feel are just ever-evolving sets of rules that force you to keep up, and the only moment they are complete is when they release a new edition and invalidate everything. But with B/X and other open systems, the game just keeps getting better. I can find a set of rules that fits how I like to play, from traditional to modern, and it all works together. People are always creating new dungeons, systems, monsters, spells, and content for B/X, and the market will never stop. I can always find something new to try or publish something myself.

I had a choice recently to buy a mega-dungeon (Rappan Athuk) for a choice of systems, Pathfinder 1e, Swords & Wizardry, or 5E. I chose the OSR game, Swords & Wizardry because it is easier to convert a B/X system into another B/X system, Pathfinder 1e, or 5E than it is to go the other way. And someday both 5E and Pathfinder 1e will be out-of-print, and my OSR copy will still be supported. And if 6E comes out in a few years the B/X version of the book will convert to that too, while still being able to be played with any OSR game out then - or the classics.

Just as a consumer B/X is a wonderful place to be. There are plenty of free sets of rules, like Basic Fantasy, that play wonderfully and have low-cost print options.

Every B/X book I ever bought, from Labyrinth Lord to Old School Essentials is still able to be used. Every module, every adventure, every monster, and most everything works with another game. Whatever game I choose just works. A company making my B/X system of choice could go out of business and the system will not disappear with it. My books are usable with other games.

I can buy new B/X games and use them as standalone games, or supplements for my existing games. My B/X adjacent and compatible games, like Castles & Crusades and Dungeon Crawl Classics, happily ride along with the fun.

B/X is sort of like the "Steam" of gaming, an ever-expanding marketplace of classics, new games, and interesting add-ons to what I already have. New editions for classics come out and those are fun to have as well.

I have never seen anything like this market and it is cool and amazing to be a part of.

No comments:

Post a Comment