Tuesday, March 29, 2011

D&D Rules Cyclopedia on Mirage Arcana

If you are a loyal follower of this blog, you will know about my strong affection for the BECMI version of D&D, by Frank Mentzer. It should be no surprise then that one of my favorite RPG books is the D&D Rules Cyclopedia which collected almost all of the BECMI material in one single volume edited by Aaron Allston. I have just spent the evening listening to the latest Mirage Arcana podcast (ep #25!) where hosts Adrian and Craig cover this very book:

Episode 25: It's all in one book!…

As part of the D&D Month coverage, Craig and Adrian turn their attention to the mighty tome that is the Rules Cyclopedia. Dispelling myths of 'the kiddie version', we move on to our loathing of Bargle the Infamous and the childhood trauma of losing Aleena to his Magic Missiles. We discuss the races and classes, the enduring genius of the Battlesystem process of resolving mass combat, and cover the world of Mystara through the Gazetteers and the Poor Wizards Almanac. The Weapon Mastery system are discussed in terms of building adventure ideas and engaging NPCs and the Paths of Immortality are used to create truly epic stories and characters. Sprinkled throughout are practical ideas to take these concepts into your game.

So what are you waiting for?  Join us for D&D Month and game hard!
It's at Mirage Arcana.

The Mirage Arcana is one of my favorite podcasts and I enjoyed listening to this show in particular. I think they did the RC justice. One interesting thing that the podcast mentions is the difference between the Advanced D&D line and the Classic D&D line, and how while AD&D became a more rafined version of Gygax' vision for what D&D should be like the Classic line preserved the spirit of the game born through the cooperation of Gygax and Arneson.

I also like that they covered alot of related topics such as Aleena/Bargle, the Isle of Dread, Legacy of Blood etc. They also mention the Piazza and a certain humble Blackmoor Blogger, which is very cool.



  1. In your opinion, do you see D&D as the evolution of OD&D or a derivative of OD&D?

  2. @Josh: Difficult question. Evolution implies improvement and I don't think I want to put myself in the position of having stated that D&D is better its predecessor. Still, both AD&D and the later versions of classic were a result of criticism that the rules in OD&D were confusing. However with any edition, there seems to be the contradiction that with every attempt at fixing a problem seems to create a new problem.

    Having said that, my favorite edition is BECMI. I am in general much more comfortable with 1980s material than what was made in the 1970s, possibly because I was introduced to the hobby in the 80s.