I downloaded Dragon Warriors from The Underdogs website a couple of years ago (it's still there, I just checked) and thought then that it had a nice Old-Skool-Feel to it. I re-read the first volume (there are 6) last night and was struck with the elegance of this little minimalist system.
Anyway, I was wondering if any of you have ever played DW and how it went. I am honestly considering buying the revised game when it comes out in November. I might not ever play it, but man, it sure does look like I'll be using some of the basics for actual game mechanics and for inspiration.
Oh, and before anyone asks, here's the link to the Underdogs (yeah, it's legitimately in Public Domain on this site).
A warning... the Underdogs site is finicky at best: sometimes it is a simple download, at other times it is painfully slow. Also... DO NOT try to download more than one book at a time as the Underdogs site will block your IP for up to a week or so. Just be patient and download one at a time... I.E., honor their terms or they'll block ya'!
I've not played it, but I've read through most of the books (from the Underdogs site, years ago as well.)
Wothbora, I absolutely agree that the system is clean and elegant. However, for me, the greatest things about the game are 1) its monsters and 2) its campaign world.
The monsters have a very...British feel to them, if that makes sense. Dark and earthy. I still use their version of goblins in my games (living with bats, wielding icicles for weapons). The world is well thought-out, both gritty and fantastic.
Seeing that this is simply an edited reprinting of the original books with the blessing of the authors, I'd seriously consider buying it as well. OH, the artwork, too. The artwork is great, British fantasy art, reminiscent of the original Fighting Fantasy books.
That was kinda rambly, but check out the downloads if you can---they're worth your time.
We have seen the black suns / Pouring forth the night. --Clark Ashton Smith
I have to agree with Kesher. I played DW extensively in the mid-80's and I always thought that the monsters and the setting were amazing. The setting was the world of the Dark Ages the way that the people living in the world at the time THOUGHT it was. Which is inherantly as cool if not cooler than any fully fabricated fantasy world. I have known about the Mongoose edition for some time now and I'm psyched to have all the DW books reprinted into a single volume with new stuff added. I'm already looking for my old charcter sheet of Quaine the Mystic in preparation.
Brilliant game. I still play it using the original two-books. That's all I need; the additional rules STEALTH and PERCEPTION were overkill for such a simple system. The additional characters were also overpowered compared to the original four. I created a fifth - the Vagabond, but that was the extent of my rules fiddling. The adventures for Dragon Warriors were/are outstanding; dripping with atmosphere, great characters and challenging, original ideas an environments.
Interesting Rule - this might be of use to anyone using a 3d6 character generation system. The Dragon Warriors rule for just about anything that isn't combat or magic is this: The referee eye-balls the task at hand and sets a Difficulty Factor, 11 being "average" - all the way up to 18 (or even higher). If the character has a score in the relevant characteristic equal to or greater than the Difficulty Factor, no roll is required, the task is completed automatically, if his or her score is less than the DF a roll under the characteristic is required for success - that's under the stat not the stat or less.
Back in the day I often thought this to be too simplistic and used all sorts of convoluted rubbish to slow down my game. Nowadays, I love it. Guesstimate the difficulty roll or auto success and straight back tot he game. If it's breaking down a door I just tell the players what the DF is, if it's something more dangerous like sneaking past a sleeping bear, fast-talking the bailiff or leaping across a gap in a lofty bridge, I don't tell them what's going on and narrate something fitting.
I own the entire 2e run of DW, which really is mostly a a revamp of the material released in the 80s. Solid, immensely readable stuff, for most of the time. The later PDF releases ("Tale" series) are pretty weak in comparison, but the DW reprint, as well as the other reboots Dave Morris has done of his older games (Fabled Lands, mainly) are among the best possible investments an oldschool-oriented gamer can make, these days. - "Sleeping Gods", one of the first releases, perhaps the most D&D-compatible booklet in the series, but the rest is also pretty easily usable in any D&D campaign.
Don't you think that "Dragon Warriors" is a little bit Arnesonian somehow? I mean game mechanics. Attack vs Defense comparing, the impact characteristics have on the hit-chance and Armor Saving Throw (bypass roll) reminds me of "Adventures in Fantasy".
Difficult to say for me, really - one of the reasons why I don't post much in the Arneson-related discussions is that I've been running Blackmoor and Blackmoor-related games pretty much without any longer break since 2004 or '05. To me, it's not "Arnesonian"; it's just D&D. DW has less true worldbuilding elements to it - the characters are written as melee combatants, not as "complete representations of the players in the gaming world", and, while DW is all about wilderness travel, it's still mainly a crawler/encounter-focused game.
I agree that it seems very similar to AiF - though I suspect this might be unintentional because IIRC Dave Morris was also one of the writers of the Warhammer FRP. The world of DW many times reads simply like a "light mirror" to Warhammer's setting, and it makes sense to assume that Morris wanted to create something as his private playground, to use those ideas that didn't fit into WHFRP. - But, yeah, the humano-centrism, the vaguely Britonic setting, the general structure of each game - that's pretty close. Personally, I actually came to know "Dragon Warriors" because of the Warhammer connection, so my opinion might be a bit biased.
Now, I think that many games of especially the early 80s are not so much "Arnesonian", or really, a reflection of their inventor's actual style - as in that they are mainly written in ways to distinguish themselves from AD&D. For example, while Arneson's AiF certainly reflects an interesting evolution of his original concepts, this is also the time when he reportedly ran the biggest dungeon crawls in Blackmoor, with ten to fifteen players at the table. - Can't do that with AiF alone, I'm inclined to say.
DW is different in that regard, but, there, also, the most famous adventure of the series is perhaps "The Key of Tirandor" - and most of us know that one as a D&D module.