RPG Week: D&D Rules Cyclopedia Day Seven

Another RPG Week draws to a close here at Greywulf Towers. In previous Weeks we’ve looked at the marvel that is Dragon Warriors, The marvel that is…. uhhhh… the Marvel RPG, and this week it was the turn of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. We’ve looked at it’s character generation, cosmology, combat mechanics and mass combat system. And we’ve barely even scratched the surface. Heck, we’ve barely even scratched the air above the surface. We’ve barely even scratched at all.

In this final post I was going to show you some of the things I’ve not covered such as the Weapon Mastery rules, the Monsters, the encounter rules, Castle building and dominion economics. I could show you all this, and more.

But, in the best Top Gear (an excellent comedy series here in the UK that masquerades as a motoring show) tradition, I’m not going to bore you with hard facts. It’ll spoil your own personal voyage of discovery with this utterly brilliant system.

Instead, and at the risk of invoking the spirit of Jeremy Clarkson too much, I’m going to end with a car analogy.

The D&D Rules Cyclopedia is like this 1969 Corvette.


Whereas 4e D&D is this 2009 model


Now, you might well argue that the newer model is the better car. It’s the result of decades of design theory. It’s probably more efficient, and comes with more cool Powers…. I mean, gizmos than you can shake a shift stick at. In arguably every way, you could claim that this model is superior.

And you’d be wrong.

For all the technology, engineering and advancements in the newer model, it’s the old one that appeals to the inner child. Its the one your heart wants to drive. Sure, it might leak a little and show it’s age. You might have to hold parts of it together with duck tape, and change gear *just so*, but it’s got something that the newer model lacks.

It’s got soul.

6 Comments on “RPG Week: D&D Rules Cyclopedia Day Seven”

  1. “To me you’re just some faggy girl, and I need a lover with soul power. And you ain’t got no soul power!”

    To quote of Montreal. :D

    Thanks for the week! I hope I can find one in print, I much prefer the dead tree format. I know it will take a bit of searching, from reading the comments on a previous post, but it would be very worth it, I think!

  2. Man, you really love original DnD huh! :) You make me want to read this book for sure.

    For me, Original was forgotten after I discovered the 1e ADnD. Didn’t that happen to most players? Given that everyone refers to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, it would seem that way. It seems that original kind of doesn’t “count”?

    I’m into 4th edition now, never played 3rd, so I’m lucky with that blissful ignorance; I can pretty much ignore all the current fanboy fighting! ;) If I was going to play an “old” version, I think would vote to go all the way back to original.

    Question: I remember a level limit on dwarves, elves, and halflings; did everyone just remove that with a house rule? Otherwise, why would anyone ever choose to play one of those classes?

  3. @Tom The Rules Cyclopedia contains optional rules which give Halflings, Dwarves and Elves a full 36 levels of advancement, and I’ve always allowed characters to use that if (and when) they reach high enough level.

    I think that 4e D&D is closer to 11th Edition D&D in reality :D

  4. Wulf, thanks for the week-long appraisal. Shortly after I read this I was given a copy that DM Mike had and it is my go-to game for my campaign I run for my grandson.

    I recently heard of a comment that Dave Areneson made, something about giving up his Rules Cyclopedia when they pry it from his cold, dead hands. My feelings exactly.

    -DM Glen
    Co-Host – Save or Die Podcast / Cost – THAC0’s Hammer Podcast

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