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Advanced Edition Companion» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Masterpiece of Game Design rss

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Beau Bailey
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Presentation:
Like the core Labyrinth Lord rulebook, the Advanced Edition Companion comes in several varieties. There is a printed version in both soft and hardcover printed by Lulu Press. There is also a PDF version available from several sites (Goblinoid Games, Lulu, etc). In addition there is a free, art-free version of the PDF available on Goblinoid Games website. All versions are 160 pages plus cover. Again, I'd recommend the version with art because it is very evocative of the style of game Labyrinth Lord would provide. The book is very well laid out and has very few typos.

Overview:
Advanced Edition Companion replaces some chapters and expands others from the core book. The goal is to provide rules that allow Labyrinth Lord to emulate 1st Edition AD&D. The new rules can be added either as a whole or only desired segments to the core rules and characters created under either system will be compatible. Characters generated under the AEC rules will be very close to AD&D characters, but will not be exactly the same. Several racial abilities will be missing or modified and there is some attempt to smooth the power curves.

The book does not have the same section breakdown as the core book and is instead meant to replace many of the sections from that book, particularly sections 2 & 3 (Characters and Spells). The AEC roughly breaks down into:

Character Creation (25 Pages): Class/race system (Assassin, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Illusionist, Magic User, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Thief) and (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Orc, Half-Elf), plus various tweaks.

Spells (57 Pages): Cleric, Druid, Illusionist and Magic User spells; greatly expanded from core rules.

New Magic Items (18 Pages): A lot of new things to entice players with

New Monsters (38 Pages): Lots of new things to kill players with. Combined with core rules monsters, this presents pretty much all of the 1st edition options from the core books.

New Rules (5 Pages): Covers some of the new abilities presented by monsters and the new classes.

DM Support (7 Pages): Some random tables and a complete monster listing of both core and AEC monsters.

My Thoughts:
This takes the already great core rules and raises them up to near perfection for dungeon crawling. All of the core options are now available and enable you to run anything for 1st edition or B/X and still have the characters balanced. The AEC achieves this without making the core book useless, which is absolutely outstanding. You can easily have players creating characters from both character systems and be okay. Like the core book, most of this material is in "list" chapters so there is not really much added bulk to the system. It will still run smooth and quick. I immediately wanted to include the AEC in my hopeful Labyrinth Lord game and that can be easily done without even having played the simpler version in the core rules.

If you are not a fan of B/X or Labyrinth Lord, I doubt that the AEC will change your mind. The base mechanics and assumptions of the system remain so you would just end up with more things to dislike.

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I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. Advanced LL Companion adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay, while still heavily rooted in BECMI legacy.

I currently run a PBF based on the basic of LL but will love to incorporate the advanced LL companion into my future games.

The formatting is fantastic too - allowing ease to plug and play portions or all of the materials therein.

Thus far, goblinoid games has generated good stuff and I hope there will be more to come in the near future.
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Robert Loblah
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Just for the sake of clarity I thought I'd point out that Labyrinth Lord is based on B/X D&D, not the better known BECMI; the two have quite a number of differences. Not only that, but I've noticed a lot of differences in Labyrinth Lord from even B/X while playing in a PBF with mouselim as DM (he's awesome, by the way!). It's not like it's bad...it's just noticeably different.
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