Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Quick and Easy Gamer's Answer to AD&D

I especially liked it when it was "Quck and Dirty...".
I have been mulling over Charlie Fleming's QADD: Quick and Dirty Dungeons from RARR! I'm A Monster Publishing about a month now. This evening I finally get around to reviewing it. QADD is not so Rarr!'s answer to dungeon delving as it is the author's answer to game mechanic design and rules tweaking. If you're too young to remember sitting in on a new bunch of D&D players and not recognizing most of the conventions utilized by the group, be patient.

You might already know this, but anything "quick" (and dirty) isn't as simple as you'd think, but Fleming handles it well.

What is different about QADD than any other game that you've ever played, is that it doesn't matter what kind of dice that are used, just as long as you use dice and they're all the same kind. Encounters and obstacles require various numbers of the chosen die-preference, the larger the sum, the better. The GM should keep critical successes and absolute failures in mind, to add to the crunchiness of table-top High Fantasy drama going on. 

The player builds a character dividing seven points among five attributes. Those attributes are Build, Brains, Deftness, Speed, Luck, and Charm. Secondary stats, Battle Score and Hit Points, by a couple of differing rmechanics, that I am not going to spoil here. Then the player picks a Race, or Kin, if one prefers. These races are Human, Elves (with three ethnics), Dwarves, and Halfkin (hobbitling). The Character is further defined by the Type, that's a "Class." The Types include Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, Ranger, Druid, or Rogue. It should be noted that the Type descriptions are quite nicely worked out and in easy to understand ways that will translate to quick play at the tabletop.

There are plenty of pages of game building material. Stuff like Weapons, Armor and Equipment listings; Spell descriptions for the magic-wielders, and of course a catalog of Monsters.The monster uses the rule's BS and Hit Points conventions, which strikes me as much easier to use than most games that I know. It is still clearer than T&T's MR, or my own (TAG, err TROTT, err Red Bat) the Quick. That last point is the best gem I can think of that showed its author's genius.

There were various highlights that come to me as I write up this article without looking at the text. I find the druid's write up especially well done. I liked the monster called the Gnarl, though wonder why they didn't just replace ogres. Fleming utilizes Jeff Freels's artwork from other projects, that gives the work a look that I know a lot of people are going to be comfortable with. Going through the game's core mechanic, using whatever side-die and however many, worked out out fine. I tested with both six-siders and D10s.

My lasting impression is that QADD is the answer to the urge to play AD&D as you once misunderstood it. On a scale of "Smurf to Godzilla" I am going to rate this a Saquatch. This game is wonderful for a quick convention Fantasy game, which I never have time for at conventions if its name isn't T&T, or the Peryton RPG. It would turn into a regular D&D variation if played for any sort of campaign. I am not that interested in playing a cleric, druid, or ranger that much to try it out. I suppose Fleming is just going to have to run me through a session before I get the bug to make room for this one.

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