I have to assume that this is another example of the internet super-highway retarding communications rather than enhancing them. I see that a lot.
I've observed gamers, whom I know think very nearly alike, blunder into keyboard confrontations at their first meeting in forums and comment threads over some tiny, ill chosen verbage.
Ladies and gentlemen, words on screen, in stark black and white, automaticlly appear hostile when they espouse a view point that is counter to your own. Human communication is mostly non-verbal. Inflection, facial expressions, body language make up the major part of how we convey thoughts. The internet eliminates all of this. With out these things to moderate the meanings of our words, every sentence that dos'nt support our own point of view is translated by our lizard brains as, "Everything you love, sucks!"
So, I'm not going to choose up sides and start flinging crap.
Personally, I would very much like to see the M/K/W project succeed. Not because the OSR needs a "big dog" to lead, but because those guys have done great work in the past, and I expect to see them do so again in the future.
Now to the question. Frank posted about how they were thinking of publishing adventures in a thread on Dragonsfoot. The idea was to make systemless modules that included a statistic booklet that would provide the information for many different systems, so that the module could be run with what ever game system you happen to prefer.
I like this idea, since my own personal OSR is a very broad domain, stretching all the way from the grim mountains of OD&D, to the black valley of AD&D, all the way to the frothy sea of 2e. And it also encompasses all the retro-clone outlands.
In order to make this work though, you'd have to be able to compress a lot of system information into a form that is very tight in presentation. Otherwise, you end up printing a lot of text that isn't of use to your buyer, and this is text and paper they still have to pay for even if it isn't usefull to them.
My first shot at this was the Multi-Edition Stat Column. I cross referenced the orc monster entry from OD&D, Basic D&D, AD&D, 2e, LL, S&W, BFRPG, and Hackmaster4e and sorted out a stat column that included all stats from all editions. I divided it into a top block for combat stats, and a bottom block for non-combat stats. I put the abreviations for each game across from the stats they appear in so that the DM could see at a glance, which stats applied to his game.
I had a helluva time making it look right on the blog until Max Davenport helped me with the html. I hate that crap. I was going to use it for all the monsters here on the blog, but the html is sort of a pain and I've reverted to standard AD&D stats since.
I think one thing I'd do differantly now would be to assign a symbol to each of the editions instead of using their abreviations. Or maybe not. I'll have to try it and see how it looks.
So, other than monster stats, what could be done to compress the presentation of the crunchy bits of the various editions into a form that would be understandable, and not require too much paper and deciphering?
Now that I really start to think about it, what else is there in an adventure module that requires statistics other than the monster entries?
Below is the original version of the Multi-Edition Stat column for the Giant Ground Stirge.
Whats the rest of the OSR braintrust have to say? Got any ideas?
|All editions.||Armor Class : 5|
|All editions.||Hit Dice :4+4|
|All editions.||Movement :8" (max when fleeing)|
|All editions.||Number of Attacks :1|
|All editions.||Damage/Attack :1-6|
|S&W, AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Special Attacks :blood drain|
|AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Special Defenses :natural camouflage, as elven cloak.|
|AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Magic Resistance :nil|
|S&W, LL, BFRGP.||Save (as) : 4 hit die monster, or 4th level fighter|
|AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Frequency :rare|
|OD&D, LL, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Number Appearing :1-3|
|OD&D, AD&D.||% in lair :30%|
|AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Intelligence :animal|
|LL, BFRPG, 2E, HM4E.||Morale :low|
|LL, AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Alignment :neutral|
|AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Size :M, six feet long|
|OD&D, LL, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E.||Treasure Type :nil|
|S&W, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E, HM4E.||Level/XP Value :4th/150+3 per hp|
|AD&D, HM4E.||Psionic Ability :nil|
|2E, HM4E.||Climate/Terrain :woods and scrub lands|
|2E, HM4E.||Organization :solitary|
|2E, HM4E.||Activity Cycle :nocturnal|
|2E, HM4E.||Diet :living blood|
|HM4E.||AKA :Throat stabber|