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Dragonslayer Role-Playing Game $30.00
Publisher: OSR Publishing
by Norbert [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/01/2024 05:32:19

What I really liked about Dungeonslayer were the FAQ and Magic User 101 at the end, the take on the Monk and 2/3 of the art. But I am disappointed nevertheless...

Yes some of the art is good, a few pictures are outstanding. But some of the illustrations are not. This is just another retroclone, you get a generic BX plus Advanced set of rules, with Ability Scores modified by Race. Race and Class are separate, everything is pretty standard. All in all - there is nothing special about this book and the system. Everything is pretty generic, besides some of the pleasant art.

Among the points that disappointed me:

  • unclear layout in the Magic Items section when it comes to sub-items. Like in the Figurines of Wondrous Power-section which fills almost a whole page. The next item is Filangee’s Propeller Beanie, but the typeset is identical; so the subitems and the new entry look the same.
  • Wilderness Random Tables according to level, sorted by alphabet? Sorry, this does not make sense at all to me. By terrain, by climate, special regions etc. has been standard forever. Different character levels can be incorporated by rolling different dice for example, or adding a number. But does make adding character levels into wilderness exploration sense? I don't think so.
  • I understand the game simulates medieval fantasy or swords&sorcery, but especially the Hyborian Age goes far beyond Europe. The Conan stories are set in Asia and Africa. Why not mention Human characters can be from there too? What about science fantasy games, planetary romance etc.
  • I miss a bit of a setting - at least in broad strokes. This book has to compete with the Rules Cyclopedia and ACKS, which have this. Even the thin D&D BX Expert Set has a tiny sniplet of the Known World.
  • at least a bit about Domain Play and what happens after Expert Levels would have been nice,
  • instead we get silly and immature carousing rules.
  • Why elves should not be able to wield a two handed swords doesn't make sense to me. According to the rules they are to "lithe" for it. OK, maybe they don't use Mauls or Two Handed Battle Axes, but this would be a cultural thing. But never mind, this is just a minor point, just like among the Figurines of Wondrous Power table: There is an entry for Onyx Wolf, but in the text it is an Onyx Dog (and mentioning a panther...)

Conclusion: 299 pages of an All in One rulebook for a price of 80$ including PDF. This is the very upper end.

How does it compete against other games? One can get their Core Rules PLUS a whole campaign/Hexcrawl/several modules/setting for that price. ACKS, Osric, Swords&Wizardry, Basic D&D, AD&D (1e or 2e, the latter perfect bound), (Advanced) Labyrinth Lord etc. have way better deals. Some even have the premium color print options for example.

Dragonslayer does not offer this, it is B&W standard print, you get nothing on top of it for 80$. Some are arguing OSE or Hyperboria cost the same. Well, yes, they do. But they have hard cover quality, linen sewn offset print. For only a few more bucks you get DCC plus a full retail boxed set (Lankhmar or Dying Earth, classic game worlds and campaign settings). These games aren't its competitors though. Dragonslayer is overpriced, it has substancial flaws when it comes to gamedesign (encounter tables, commonplaces concerning building a setting) and layout, childish rules about carousing my group would have come up with at the age of 16.

Dragonslayer is - JARC. I do not know who needed this, esp. while there are differend BX Clones on the market which are better deals. This book was kickstarted, so the publisher already got the artists payed. Art is expensive, but other games have Otus covers for example. I do not know which niche this book fits in. If it wasn't for the authors pupular megadungeons, I would not know, but they are perfectly useable with other OSR or original games.

Fairly OK, not bad (2.8 points of 5)

(because of the encounter tables and game design flaws, layout flaws, "lack of meat", like no setting, not even implied and no domain play, cost/performance ratio)

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Dragonslayer Role-Playing Game
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