I was trying to quit retroclones. I almost caved with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea....and I may yet get the boxed set, but to do so requires copious free cash that I haven't already spent on other stuff. I mean, I already have Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry Complete, OSRIC, Castles & Crusades, and many more. And I recently felt the call to buy Adventurer, Conqueror King System (but was saved by the fact that its currently out of stock).
Then Blood & Treasure came along and beat them all up.
I'd been promising myself I would buy Blood & Treasure for a while now, as I am a big fan of John Stater's work. I have Pars Fortuna (the "Jorune" of the OSR crowd), Mystery Men, and various issues of Land of Nod. Stater is a guy to admire; he really gets what it is that made RPGs interesting...as in, before video games ruled the entertainment universe, a time when literature and myth was more relevant to the creative process than whether or not you could cast a destructive spell once every six seconds into perpetuity. In other words....a time before video game fantasy rose to power and ate its parent, tabletop RPGs, then spat out the corpulent remains to seed an era of gaming dominated by balance, power gaming and spectacularly bad video game logic masquerading as rules mechanics in the name of a "good play experience."
John also gets that RPGs and D&D are bigger than their creator...that what made Gary Gygax so significant was that he gave everyone the tools to make the game their own, and so John's stuff is his Own Thing....he doesn't place undue reverence on the replication of the same content from forty years ago, instead showing what that legacy can look and feel like today.
I'm still reading and absorbing my copy of Blood & Treasure Complete but I decided to provide a "ten reasons this game just smoked all the other contenders" list...by my playbook B&T has trumped my two former contenders for the position of best retro D&D: Castles & Crusades and Swords & Wizardry Complete. B&T manages to do it all just a bit better, a bit more right, than either S&W or C&C (for me, at least). I didn't think I'd ever actually see a retro-styled game with modern content and classic aesthetics pull this off, but here it is. So, the list! YMMV on the list, this is very much a "why Camazotz loves this game" sort of deal:
UNRELATED NOTE: I am already going to destroy this new GE wireless keyboard I bought, which is displaying a bizarre, inexplicable lag between typing time and appearance of characters. The problem comes and goes at random. WTF
The Top 10 Reasons Camazotz now thinks Blood & Treasure is the Best Damn Retro-Fitted Modern Fantasy System on the Market:
#10. It has a short and sweet system of combat feats. No muss, no fuss, just all the cool essential feats to make characters a bit more defined.
#9. Saving throws are retooled to "roll this target number" ala AD&D. This means saves have lower and upper limits/absolutes, which fixes the open-ended problem that classic 3rd edition D20 suffers from.
#8. It comes ready-to-go with player-character ready stat options for lizard men, tieflings, aasimar, drow, and....minotaurs!!! Anyone who has delved into the Realms of Chirak knows how important this is to my game world. This means, effectively, that I can run my campaign using B&T straight out of the book.
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