Thursday, December 11, 2014

Old D&D editions and clones - Brave Halfling's Delving Deeper

As some of you might be aware, the delivery of the Brave Halfling boxed set edition of Delving Deeper was a long and miserable story. But, it arrived in the end and it was not a disappointment.

Now, there are nothing here to really excite me. I must admit that first of all. The game is not like LotfP or Ambition & Avarice. But, it does not try to be. Delving Deeper is trying to be faithful to the OD&D edition, and does a decent job of it. I guess you can split hairs and list all the differences, but let us not forget they have to differ from the original game for legal reasons! If OD&D is your kind of flavour, this is not a bad clone to pick up. When I compare it to the original it feels quite close actually. In some cases more close than e.g. Swords & Wizardry Whitebox (which I will write about at a later date).

The first thing that strike me is the pretty box. The front illustration is excellent, and filed with action. Nasty monsters fighting dungeon delvers, it's right there on the tin, so to speak. I really like Mark Allen's artwork and I like the uniformity it gives the game. One nice thing is the amount of illustrations in the monster book.

Having mentioned the books I guess I have to mention that this edition is not three small booklets. It's five books, but in the books "Volume I", "Volume II" and "Volume III" are mentioned, which looks confusing. I like that there's a book for players and one for referees. I'm less thrilled with a whole book of treasures. So often those books are just rehashes of "classic D&D items", i.e. boring retreads of Gary's campaign. A booklet with random tables for generating new content for both monsters and treasure would be my choice. I did say something about this not being intended to be what LotfP is, right? Maybe I should appreciate this for what it is.

The rules for naval combat, aerial exploration and wilderness exploration are compact but looks usable. Probably the only rules for building fortifications I'd ever use would have to be short! That is the feeling about almost everything in this game. It's to the point, solid and usable. I might actually go for this game for the same reason I go for my BRP book, it's simple and workmanlike, even though it lacks bennies, card based initiative and new exciting mechanics. It almost wins me over by not even trying to be selling itself.

One little sweet thing included in the box (did I say I love the box?), is the Blackmarsh setting by Robert Conley. Very classic, with a lot of the feel you get from looking at a map of Blackmoor. It guess that is not a coincidence. It became available before the game arrived at my doorstep, so I got it and for a while entertained the idea of playing Heroes and Other Worlds in that setting. That never came to be, but it is a good canvas for adventure. I'm not sure I'm all done with the sandbox settings of Robert Conley yet! Delving Deeper is not a bad rules set for exploring something like that. It's basic, but that's the point.

Now where do I have my graph paper, pencils and hex paper?

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