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Friday, July 26, 2019

Which Way for Liber Zero?

In the comments on my top 5 OD&D fixes, FrDave asked about my plans for Liber Zero. Long-time readers probably remember that I was working on a project to clone OD&D, because at the time the only only OD&D “clones” were Swords & Wizardry White Box, the Labyrinth Lord base rules modified by the Original Edition Characters supplement, and Microlite 74, based on Microlite 20. These all have the feel of OD&D, to one degree or another, but aren’t very close to the rules, and have significant omissions.

Since I started, a couple more attempts to clone OD&D came out, the most significant probably being Delving Deeper. Even that veers away from OD&D in unexpected ways, but it’s still a crowded field, plus the original rules are available from WotC again, so Liber Zero became a low priority. Still, at least a few people are interested and want to know what’s happening, so I thought I’d open discussion about it.

Let’s start with this quote from FrDave:
I would love to have a reference document similar to the Holmes Reference Sheets from Zenopus Archives. You’ve come up with some really useful ideas and to have them all gathered into one document (even if it isn’t a complete game) would be a genuinely awesome and welcome addition to my library.
That’s sort of what my current plans are. Not exactly the Holmes Reference Sheets, more like the Judges Guild Ready Reference Sheets. Something that people could use in a pinch to run a game without a rulebook. But more of a reference document or series of documents, mainly for my own reference as I create support materials. There would be a focus on design aids rather than re-writing monsters and spells. I actually have an incomplete build-a-monster document I’ve been using to design monsters for the pamphlet dungeons and other adventures I’ve written this past year, so things aren’t completely stalled.

But what I’d like to know is: what are people actually expecting from Liber Zero at this point? What is it people need that isn’t in one of the existing clones? What do people want to see done differently?


  1. I think you have a very clever take on how and when to implement and use rules that fit seamlessly with the 3LBB, so something like the Philotomy's Musings essay-esque bits would be great IMO. I think there's enough clones, but not enough proper supplements that focus on one referee's techniques instead of setting.

  2. You’re going about this all wrong.

    Make it how you want it. Put it out. Get criticisms. Defend what’s defensible and change the rest.

    Then put it out again.

    1. Er, no. That's not what I'm asking. I'm trying to prioritize my work. There are some things I may skip, or hold off for much later, unless people really want them. For example, although I've done some work on translating naval and aerial combat rules, they are currently very low priority. I may skip them entirely unless someone asks for them. Some things like barony management are more interesting, but I might leave them out of the reference document completely and save my thoughts for a dedicated colony-building supplement a couple years down the line.

    2. Leave out aerial and naval combat. If someone wants those they can buy another darn game.

      Domains is something that should be its own handbook.
      Maybe package it with mass combat rules.

      1. make characters - gear - henchmen
      2. how magic works - spell lists and descriptions
      3. dungeon and wilderlands
      4. fighting

      What else is there?