The Black Flag Project #1

Got the first batch of goodies from Kobold Press about their new rule system. Weighing in at 12 pages, it gives a little overview of what we can expect from them. It’s early, but what they’ve shown me so far, I’m liking. While not anything near comprehensive, it’s got me curious as to where it’s going from here. It’ll be nice when they release more so I can start putting the pieces together and flesh everything out a little more. We’ll find out more in a month.

The reliance on 5e as the skeleton means I’m not the audience but I get that they have to grab the majority which is not old gamer like myself. I’ll watch others thoughts as it progress and I have nothing but good vibes for this opening up people to possibilities.


Same here. I love what they are doing, but I’m looking to move on from 5e, not just reupholster it.

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I’m not the biggest fan of it sticking so close to 5E, though I get why they are doing it. May as well make sure players can use all the 3rd party 5E stuff they bought. It doesn’t affect me so much as I don’t have anything for 5E other than the core rules from WotC. I’ve been reading up on this a little and getting other takes on YouTube and I agree with many of them that are hoping KP is going to go more of the Pathfinder route, and start close to the original system and then deviate into a more original game, while being mostly compatible. It will be interesting to see. I think this is a situation where there are no wrong opinions, and if we make our voices heard, they will actually listen. Do I think it will bring down WotC in the long term? Probably not, but I think it will give the smaller guys to get enough of a footing to put out material that doesn’t rely on anything directly WotC related.

Old style games? My personal preference is Adventures Dark and Deep.

“Well, that’s because Adventures Dark & Deep isn’t quite a retro-clone. Almost, but not quite. Adventures Dark & Deep (abbreviated ADD) bills itself as being “based on Gary Gygax’s plans for expanding the game.” So it’s claims to be a clone of neither 1st or 2nd edition AD&D. Instead it is a spiritual successor to AD&D 1st edition, with a distinctly Gygaxian design. Constructed by Joseph Bloch from notes, articles and blog posts by Gary Gygax it claims to be written as what the author believes AD&D 2nd edition might have been if the game’s original creator had not parted ways with TSR some time before the release of second edition.”

The book works under the premise of what would 2nd Edition have looked like if Gary Gygax had stayed at TSR. Joe has taken articles, interviews and discussions and something like an anthropologist pieced it all together to get something new and yet familiar. Unlike the previous book, the Player Manual makes no assumptions that you have AD&D1 or OSRIC. There are some obvious roots in those games, but this is now it’s own thing.”

“The book does capture the feel of old D&D with some interesting twists. None that would trip you up, but still enough to make you go “huh, that is kind of neat”.”

"ADD is, if nothing else, a clone of AD&D 1e with lots of new options and classes. It reads much like 1e to me just more user friendly, which is a compliment. ADD cleans up much of what was broken in Unearthed Arcana (sometimes known as AD&D 1.5) and fixes it.

Much of the draw of Adventures Dark and Deep are the new character classes, which can be easily dropped into any AD&D 1e / OSRIC campaign with little effort. I’ve always felt an affinity to Bards, and Joseph Bloch has an excellent version included. The Jester subclass reminds me of the old NPC class from Dragon Magazine - I remember my sister playing one."

“So: what to say about ADD? Imagine you had collected for an OSR game a rule-set of AD&D that included everything Gary Gygax ever wrote about the game, all the crazy stuff he put in Unearthed Arcana, stuff he put in Dragon, stuff he shared in private thoughts, stuff elaborated from vague ideas about how to remake the AD&D game, just packing as much stuff as Gary Gygax possibly could. Now imagine its not Gary Gygax at all, and just some guy named Joseph Bloch.”

“What we get from ADD is a VERY complete Old-school RPG; I’d dare to say that it is truly more complete a game than AD&D 1e itself. Out of all the various old-school editions, it is most similar to AD&D 1e, since it uses it as its starting point; I’d go as far as to say that more specifically, you’d particularly like this game if you’re a big fan of playing AD&D with Unearthed Arcana and with all kinds of weird ideas culled from old Dragon magazines. What you get in it, in fact, is a very odd variant of 1e with some unusual modifications, enough that it would certainly feel like quite a different game (while still being very recognizably old-school).”


I get that they are trying to rewrite the essential structure of the rules contained in 5e. To be honest, I feel like the writing is a little loose. So far it’s hard to see the appeal of this over using the CC-BY version of the 5e rules as a starting point.

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I think that’s partly why they are doing the playtest shtuff. To allow for different perspectives to weigh in. Hopefully we can end up with something different enough to make things interesting, yet close enough that one doesn’t need an advanced degree to convert back to 5E.

It reminds me of what Pathfinder did with 3.5 back in the day.