Rules Cyclopedia - what's the hub-bub about, bub?

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Rules Cyclopedia - what's the hub-bub about, bub?

Post by Frost »

Folks on this board seem to really like the old Rule Cyclopedia. Having never played much basic D&D, I'm curious as to why. Do you use in conjunction with C&C?
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Post by serleran »

It is considered by many to be the ultimate Classic D&D resource since it combines nearly everything from the Mentzer era D&D Sets -- Basic, Expert, Companion, and Master; there is a very light tint of Immortals. So, if one is looking to have the (near) entire rules of Classic, it can be found in one single book, plus, a campaign setting. Also, it covers conversions to AD&D, which makes it much easier to use with C&C (not that it was hard anyway.) So, yeah, I think some people use it for C&C and others use it on its own -- its a great tool, especially for referencing, if you don't have the earlier box sets, and even then, it might be better since it comes with an index and is bound together.
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Post by DangerDwarf »

Yeah, Serl nailed it. The RC is a great reference for C&C and just D&D in general.

I love it because I still trot out classic D&D for play and it gives me everything I need in one book instead of several small books.

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Post by moriarty777 »

I also believe the attribute bonuses/penalties given are the same used as those in C&C. I have seen more than one person comment that they preferred using the critters from the BECMI era of D&D than AD&D because things seem to 'measure' up better.

I can't really comment one way or the other on that...

I have a soft spot since at a point where I was getting tired a bit of AD&D (2nd Ed which is what I started with and played), the acquisition of the RC when it came out was a bit like a breath of fresh air. I dropped AD&D for a bit and played some D&D instead!
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Post by Breakdaddy »

Yeah, what they said.
The RC is the ultimate "one book game" from any line of any game system that I can currently think of, possibly excepting the original WFRP book or the Mongoose Runequest deluxe book. Add to that the ease of play associated with the Mentzer rules set and the built in modular rules additions that can be taken or left out without consequence and you have a really hard to beat book. If you and some friends were stranded on a desert island with dice, a couple of pencils, a notebook and only one RPG book of your choice; mine would be the RC.
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Post by MacLeod »

We have one of thems lying around here. The owner doesn't use it anymore and I've never used it either...

The way non-humans operate in that game looks like pure insanity!
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Post by serleran »

Yeah, the races are classes on their own, so you do not play a dwarf fighter -- you play a dwarf. It just happens that most of the dwarfs are fighters, so the fighter aspect is lost, since its built in. This is not that unusual given some of the limitations found in AD&D, like, hardly any clerics amongst non-humans and level caps. Racial classes is much more simplified, especially for those looking to learn the game -- cutting down the options means getting to playing faster.
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Post by MacLeod »

I suppose so. @_@

They had some interesting ideas back then, to say the least.
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Post by Omote »

For me, since I cut my teeth on Mentzer D&D, it was the ultimate resource back in the day. We had lugged around multiple box sets and monster books, etc, and when the RC came out we just got re-energized into playing Basic D&D with one book. Ah, the memories.

After years and years of AD&D, and other FRPGs, I got the gang back together again for a good ole' fashioned Basic D&D game in 1999-2002... and woundn't you know it, out of 8 players and 1 DM (me) every single per used the the Rules Cyclopedia as their book.

It's that damn good.

Some argue it might might be the single greatest RPG book ever printed because of the wealth of material all in one single tome.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

Yeah, I like the RC because it condensed everything into one book, for the most part. Yeah, things were strange back then MacLeod, but only if you've never been there. I have many fond memories of my elf and halfling characters. I guess you just had to be there.
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Post by Joe Mac »

Yeah, it's a good resource between one pair of covers.

The artwork is so wretched, though, I can't stand to look at the book.

I sold my hard copy, but have the PDF if I need it. I've never been a big fan of Classic so I don't use it for much but an idea mine.

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Post by Omote »

God the artwork stinks in that book. It would have been so bad-ass for them just to keep the amazing Easley artwork from the Mentzer sets, in there but you know crazy TSR back in the day...
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Post by DangerDwarf »

Joe Mac wrote:
I've never been a big fan of Classic

Dude.

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Post by Breakdaddy »

DangerDwarf wrote:
Dude.



Dude indeed
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Post by dutch206 »

If you don't want to pop for the Rules Cyclopedia and the Creature Catalog, you can check out "Labyrinth Lord". Same idea, slightly different rules.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Classic D&D is not for everyone, that's for certain. And Omote is right, if they would have kept the artwork from the Mentzer boxes, it would have rocked totally! I got into role-playing with the Mentzer boxes, and the art in those books takes me back to my days of wonderment. I'd start at those pictures for a long time, and would imagine all sorts of fantasy goodness.

And by the way, if anyone has a Rules Cyclopedia they're willing to get rid of, please PM me!
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Post by Joe Mac »

DangerDwarf wrote:
Dude.

Heh....what can I tell ya? I spent 4 or 5 months with Holmes before moving on to my life partner, AD&D.
I'd be very content to play in a Classic game -- but when I'm running the game I want to start adding crap, until I just end up at AD&D anyway!

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Post by Joe Mac »

Omote wrote:
It would have been so bad-ass for them just to keep the amazing Easley artwork from the Mentzer sets

Agreed -- Easley kicks ass. I've actually used some of his illustrations from the Mentzer PDFs in my 'AD&D House Rulebook' (an ever-evolving tome that needs artwork, of course...)

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Post by bighara »

For me, the RC is particularly cool for the "extras" like: skills, weapon mastery, building strongholds, running dominions/realms, siege warfare, mass combat, etc. All the things that let a game evolve from the dungeon crawl to bigger, more epic things.

Personally, when I play or run Classic, I tend to use Moldvay/Cook B/X instead of RC. The rules are pretty interchangeable though. RC may be a great for its completeness (and it is), but Tom Moldvay's 1981 Basic D&D is one of the most concise and readable RPG books ever produced. The RC is very dense reading and can be daunting to learn the game from. I tend to use the RC as a resource of optional rules and occasionally cherry-pick what I want or need from that to put in my Basic/Expert games.
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Post by danbuter »

That's the one thing Labyrinth Lord is missing. I loved all the domain rules, mass combat, and even jousting rules. Still use them for any fantasy game.
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Post by Treebore »

bighara wrote:
For me, the RC is particularly cool for the "extras" like: skills, weapon mastery, building strongholds, running dominions/realms, siege warfare, mass combat, etc. All the things that let a game evolve from the dungeon crawl to bigger, more epic things.

Bingo!

For the record i don't like racial classes either. I much prefer the idea of any race capable of being any class, of unlimited level.
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Post by slimykuotoan »

I don't own the R.C.

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Post by Buttmonkey »

dutch206 wrote:
If you don't want to pop for the Rules Cyclopedia and the Creature Catalog, you can check out "Labyrinth Lord". Same idea, slightly different rules.

You can always get a .pdf copy of the Rules Cyclopedia for $4.00 from Paizo. Not as awesome as the original hard copy, but $4 isn't a bad option for the cheap gamer.
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Post by Lord Dynel »

Buttmonkey wrote:
You can always get a .pdf copy of the Rules Cyclopedia for $4.00 from Paizo. Not as awesome as the original hard copy, but $4 isn't a bad option for the cheap gamer.

Indeed. I can't imagine a better $4 investment, to be honest. And War Machine still is, IMHO, the best mass combat simulator there is. And the Dominion is top notch!
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Post by Hrolfgar »

I never have played the RC/Mentzer version. I guess I was too old and already had played the original version and AD&D, and some games with my cousin who had the Holmes version.

I picked up copies of the basic and expert Mentzer sets in a yard sale around '90 for $5. I really never read though those rules. I think that same sale had a copy of RC as well

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Post by DangerDwarf »

bighara wrote:
The RC is very dense reading and can be daunting to learn the game from. I tend to use the RC as a resource of optional rules and occasionally cherry-pick what I want or need from that to put in my Basic/Expert games.

The RC as a resource as opposed to a book to learn the game from is along the lines of how it should be.

The box sets teach you the system, in a genius method of phases too. The RC is for those who already know the rules.

That's my take. Cyclopedias are reference material.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

DangerDwarf wrote:
The RC as a resource as opposed to a book to learn the game from is along the lines of how it should be.

The box sets teach you the system, in a genius method of phases too. The RC is for those who already know the rules.

That's my take. Cyclopedias are reference material.

Sounds good to me.
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Post by dutch206 »

FWIW, the "Vaults of Pandius" website has a lot of info about the RC:
http://pandius.com/

(Including the errata list, since this book was written before the internet.)

This site has a discussion about how the weapon mastery rules are way to powerful and should probably be scrapped. I found it to be a very compelling argument.

I prefer Labyrinth Lord to RC simply because I found all that Companion and Immortal stuff to be dreck. Every character who hits level 36 becomes immortal? Please!
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Post by serleran »

Quote:
Every character who hits level 36 becomes immortal?

No, every character that gets there also attracts the attentions of the gods, for weal or woe, and probably has been doing such for many levels. It is at this point that the character can then undergo one of the paths to immortality, such as the path of the polymath, starting over at level 1, and progressing forward until a certain point and doing it again -- certain paths may seem easier, but all are challenging when played properly, and certainly not assured, and that, assuming you can even find a deital patron to assign you the tasks -- there may be rivalry and other issues behind the scenes which delay, or prevent, divine ascension. And then, after becoming such, there are 36 more levels -- all much more challenging and difficult, but also bizarre and rather fun if you've never tried it.

These rules are somewhat more codified than those found in other places, such as AD&Ds Deities and Demigods, where it is a little uncertain how some NPCs could be a "Hero" when their stats can be relatively easily duplicated by standard player characters. But, then comparing that to Gods, Demigods and Heroes, it is not so impossible to believe...
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Post by Traveller »

dutch206 wrote:
(Including the errata list, since this book was written before the internet.)

Updated errata/clarifications at http://rcerrata.redirectme.net.

That said, for a time this was my rule set, but just like AD&D it eventually proved to have too many rules for what I wanted out of the game. Plus races as classes was a simplification that I only grudgingly accepted. Since it wasn't light enough for me and didn't feel AD&Dish enough, I had to set it aside and return to the game's roots.

I won't go into a detailed history of my personal rule set at the link in my signature, but I used OD&D as the foundation and added in components from other books in the D&D and AD&D lines until I was satisfied.
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