Saturday, July 10, 2010

2E "Remake" in the Works

New Haven Games is planning to release a "remake" of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition called Realms of Eternal Epic, whose 128-page starter manual will be available on July 15th.

What is meant by a "remake?" Here's what they say on their website:
Realms of Eternal Epic is not a clone – it is a retro remake. The clone movement serves a very distinct purpose: To provide an OGL version of older school rules to facilitate authors and companies wishing to further support them. We love the clone movement, its developers and supporters, and the intent behind the surge. The 1989 Edition was heavily supported, almost to a fault, so we needn’t go there. The two purposes for the Realms of 2E is: 1) to resurrect what you have in your vast library or character folio for inspiration and aid; and 2) to fix some of the bad or complicated rules in the system so that new and young players can enjoy its mystique.

The good rules remain. The tone and epic nature remains. The bad is delicately remade with modern game theory so that only the game play improves. In essence, Realms of Eternal Epic grants everyone a chance to relive the late 80s and 90s of roleplaying with an even better experience than before. It is a true remake…

I'll admit to finding this very intriguing. Even though my overall opinion of 2e is decidedly mixed, I still consider it an old school RPG, at least as written in its core rulebooks. Furthermore, I'd hazard a guess that there are probably more active 2e-descended D&D campaigns out there than 1e or OD&D-descended ones, so there's definitely a niche that hasn't been filled by any of the existing clones. That New Haven Games is in fact using a different methodology than cloning is also of interest. Despite the explanation quoted above, I'm still not quite clear on what a "remake" is or how compatible it'll be with the original 2e rules.

Still, I'll be keeping an eye on this.


  1. The language kind of frightens me. As far as AD&D goes I'm a 2nd ed man. I'm not sure I want the bad to be remade into a more modern game. Retoremake is a little sconcerting to, it's not like clones had a good definition to begin with. I'll check it out, but right now Gold and Glory looks a lot more promising to me.

  2. Sounds like every other fantasy heartbreaker. "It's AD&D except I've changed the three rules I hate." The trouble with fixing the "bad or complicated rules" is that nobody agrees which those are.

  3. Ugh. It has such a terrible name. It sounds like a bad Chinese or Japanese translation of English... :)

  4. In my mind, one of the biggest differences with 2nd edition compared to 1st edition was the proficiency system. I'll be curious what they end up doing with it but in my mind, it sounds like it will fill the same kind of niche that Castles & Crusades does.

    C&C is not a clone but could be called 'a remake' in the same manner that this game is being described. It too takes 'modern game theory' to improve gameplay and is OGL compliant. The difference would be that it seems to source more from 1st edition and classic d&d than it does from 2nd edition.

    Oh yeah, and the name for this new game *is* terrible.

  5. It can turn out good... I'm curious.

  6. Although I started my D&D life with the "Black Box" & Rules Cyclopedia back in early '91, I quickly moved on to 2E within a few months. Although I do enjoy OD&D, 1E, & "Classic" (be it Moldvay/Cook or Mentzer), 2E is still my first love. Yes, while both the "Splatbooks" & "Player's Option" (aka "2.5") supplements are superfluous, the 2E core rules (PH, DMG, MM) are a solid, streamlined system that's both easy to run & fun to play.

    All this leads to what I'm trying to get at here: S&W, LL, & OSRIC have their place in the RPG market - either for older hobbyists who are "rediscovering" the joys of gaming (or at least returning to the "old-school" fold) - or for bringing in newer players who want an easily accessible, "rules-lite" alternative to WotC D&D. With material for OD&D, 1E, & "Classic" D&D getting harder to find both in affordability & in good condition, these "retro-clones" provide a reliable alternative.

    As for "Realms of Eternal Epic", I see this for what it is: One person's personal perspective as to what 2E should be. Yes, I understand that this is a "remake", not a "retro-clone", but why is this "remake" needed? What exactly are the "bad" rules? How is this a "better experience" than what myself & my group have had over the past 20 years? All the "complicated" rules of 2E are clearly listed as "optional" anyway. I just don't see any market demand here.

    With so many copies of 2E books still easily accessible, any "retro-clone" or "remake" of 2E is unnecessary. I can name several second-hand bookstores just around my immediate area where you can buy ANY 2E book you want, all affordable & in great condition.

    I wish both the author & publisher of "Realms of Eternal Epic" well in their endeavor, but I'm going to pass on this one.

  7. The author/publisher has just metnioned that they are changin the name to "Myth & Magic".

  8. Oh dear. Surely they don't want to be tarred with the reputation of Man, Myth, and Magic?
    You'd think a Google search would be a requirement before announcing a new name.

  9. I'm trying to imagine a new gamer wanting to play D&D, but not choosing the latest edition, nor the one the previous generation of gamers played (3e), nor the original, nor the very first beloved 'Advanced' edition written by one of the game's cocreators, but rather the long-since-superseded second edition, which can be purchased for nothing in a million places and is generally considered a messy hybrid game by most everyone who cares one way or the other.

    I just can't conceive of who that new gamer could be.

    Seems like a misuse of energy, frankly.

  10. I love how everyone's jumping on it before they've seen it. Just about every retro-clone out there has "fixed" certain rules. Or re-organized things, or added something uniquely their own.

    There were people who played 2e and enjoyed it, and that may be who this game is aimed at -- people who sold or lost their original 2e books and now need to purchase this product.

    I never cared for 2e, but I can't deny some of my friends are into whatever gets released under the D&D banner.

  11. Howdy old-schoolers!
    Interesting comments - harsh, but expected.
    We made the switch to 2E back in the day after playing for over a decade. I sort of remember a divide then - apparently it still lives. There is a sense of purity in classics. It's fitting for cars, but I'm still not sold on the fact that it is fitting for game systems too.
    I remember there being way more active 2E campaigns then 1E - way more. I also still have a score of settings that are, in my opinion, the best to date. I probably have a few campaign notes, if I could find the energy to search for them.
    So, if a company is actually going to remake 2E, but still make it work with what I have, our gaming group has already agreed to change. We play Labyrinth Lord (with the AEC) and, to be honest, we're about ready to move on.
    And, let's face it: 2E was pretty darn close to 1E, but it was still messy (the attack calc made it difficult to really hook newcomers, for only one thing). 3E was cool at the beginning, but way too far off from its ancestors.
    I've been to the NHG boards (in fact, I linked to here from their home page, which is interested considering the comments). The boards are booming. People are very, VERY interested in this game. So, to fashion it a "heartbreak" in the making is a bit ridiculous. This is a game that speaks to a lot of people. I also agree that there are probably more 2E descended campaigns than 1E - that's a lot of gamers.
    I wager that Myth & Magic turns out to be a great game. And, I'm just not as ready as you are to grumble about it.

  12. I enjoyed second edition, and appreciate the clone/retro movement, but over the last year I've started wondering if we need clones/retro games when those old games still work.

    I have my second edition books so I don't need someone else to rewrite the books for me. Completely new material? Cool! Rewriting the rules? Nah.

  13. I am presently running both a Classic D&D camapign and a 3.5 D&D campaign in the same setting, and I can absolutely see the virtue of an "in between rules set" that marries the simplicity of the classic mechanics with the breadth of content and depth of customization of 3.5 classes.