I am extremely happy to report that this post marks the sending of the edits to John over at Brave Halfling! (Man, it feels great to finally say that!). Now, to answer a few questions that I'm sure will crop up:
So, of which game is X-plorers a retro clone?None! The short version is, Dave Bezio of Grey Area Games had an idea about creating an RPG in the old-school vein under the premise of "what if the first RPG had been based in science fiction, rather than fantasy?". He set out to write rules that were light on crunch and a quick read. The book was even written as if the reader was being introduced to RPGs (more on that in a second). The result was something that's takes into account the philosophy behind the original fantasy RPG, but uses original rules of Dave's own design--in other words it's not a straight port of D&D and into a sci-fi setting, or even an update of it. It's an animal unto itself.
What's updated in the new version?This set is intended to be Dave Bezio's original rules with copy edits and revisions according to a new style guide I wrote. If any language was updated, it was for the sake of clarity only.
The book's format also saw revisions, making it easier to find information and more user-friendly, overall. There's a glossary now for common X-plorers terms. We also threw together a few appendices for information that took up the bulk of the beginning of the book. So now you can really dive in earlier, without having to read the "What's a Roleplaying Game" stuff unless you're really trying to teach someone the ropes.
Was anything left out?We'd considered adding some expanded rules, but I think that would have meant we'd be rushing to squeeze those into the book without really having a chance to discuss them or test them out properly. I'm sure that material will surface in future supplements, but this gives us a chance to make sure they're going to work well with X-plorers. It's too early to really say what those rules discussed, but I'm glad we kept it simple for this release.
Then do the rules still constitute a complete game?Absolutely! Just like Dave's original version, these are basic rules where you have the freedom to build your own outer-space playground. The goal was always to preserve the "take it and run with it right out of the box" style of the game. Which reminds me, John just announced it will have its own Box Set!! Which, as far as I'm aware, is the first sci-fi OSR game to be offered in this manner!
Is there a new look or feel to this version?John's commissioned plenty of new artwork that I think will really set X-plorers apart from the other sci-fi OSR games out there. Pete Mullen has done a fabulous job with the cover and several other artists have lent their talents to the project. I think the overall presentation gives the game a distinct flavor now. It's a retro-style game with retro-styled art! UPDATE: this latest version will also have deck plans for a couple of spaceships!
What's next?Down the line we're looking at supplements, adventure modules--you name it. I know of several X-plorers projects already in the works, though I'll leave that to John to announce as they become ready since he's the mastermind behind it all. :)
Keep your hyperspace channel tuned for more to come....