Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Victory March of the Fantasy Heartbreakers.

"Fantasy Heartbreakers" can be defined as a second generation of published games that (mostly) examined D&D and were written with a "we can do it better" methodology. Critical hits, new spell systems, a different set of characteristics, or races, or classes, yet the same weapons, armour, and presumed activities as D&D.

Most of the 90's and 00's efforts were small press games -- they may have had small but loyal followings, yet while being labours of love on a commercial level they were failures.

The OSR movement brings a renewed interest in old D&D -- there are a number of games that hew very close to one or two of the original rules sets. Yet now we see a number of games that are branching off from the core rules. Adventurer, Conqueror, King System has a number of small changes, new classes, a skill/feat blending proficiency system, the magic system looks similar but isn't actually "fire-and-forget" like standard "Vancian" magic rules. Dungeon Crawl Classics adds criticals and fumbles, every spell casting is a skill roll with varied results, every character has a Luck score, acting as a pool of "die roll improvement" points.

We live in a world where self-publishing is easy to do, where electronic formats are easily accessible and print-on-demand services are available. Combined with the renewed interest in "old school" gaming, are we seeing the Victory March of the Fantasy Heartbreakers, finally given a chance to shine?

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