Thursday, February 13, 2020

Crimson Dragon Slayer

It's my game; it's what I run.  I may not be the best RPG designer in the world, but I know what I like. 

After a year of playtesting various Cha'alt content, Crimson Dragon Slayer has gone through yet another revision. 

I made the switch from VSd6 (d6 dice pools) to D20 awhile ago.  But now, it's got spells, an updated layout, and streamlined expression of the same O5R (OSR + 5e) rules that I can't live without.

Crimson Dragon Slayer is neither robust nor revolutionary.  It's just my preferred version of D&D.  And so it goes...

What's been my biggest gripe about traditional, old school D&D?  Starting a session with new players, or perhaps just new characters, and everyone's 1st level.  This may be the only game you get this week... or this month.  One and done!

The wizard's got one spell.  Yeah, we know.  He's supposed to become all badass somewhere down the line, maybe around 5th level.  But that's not the game I'm running.  I will run about a hundred games in 2020, and no one's going to have a 5th level character.  I teach a lot of noobs to play D&D on Roll20, plus my home-game playtests stuff between 1st and 3rd level.

What else?  The cleric's got a mace, and the thief starts out with a handful of Hit-Points.  If there's combat or even the threat of violence - please don't call our bluff - it's the fighter's world... everyone else is just living in it. 

Well, not anymore.  This is arcade mode D&D (coined by Cha'alt consultant Prince of Nothing).  I don't spend my valuable time and energy running games so the party can sleep after a couple encounters.  Go hard and go long or just go fucking home! 

To quote Starship Troopers, "Everyone Fights, no-one quits.  If you don't do your job, I'll shoot you myself."

Many critics don't get that or they simply don't like it; perhaps it doesn't feel like real D&D to them.  Oh well, I shrug in response.  Crimson Dragon Slayer is for me, and I'm happy to share it with anyone who wants to try.


p.s. To avoid confusion, let me state the new Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 Revised files are identical to the updated Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.


  1. Nice post, VS. You might consider putting some of that on the CDS DriveThru page, and even perhaps within the game's introduction. It could be helpful in setting readers' expectations up front.

    1. Thanks! I put a little on the DriveThru page, but didn't want to clog it with superfluous description. You're right, though. It might help get people grok why Crimson Dragon Slayer is the way it is.

  2. What I find interesting is that before I discovered the OSR and began to understand how early D&D was designed I felt the same way you do.

    I've been almost exclusively playing DnD 5 for 7-8 years with a sprinkling of OSR games in between. But I've just started playing 2d20, a much crunchier game and I find myself moving back to that. It's great if you have a group that meets every week that can make it to level 20, but thats is pretty rare sometimes.

    1. One day, I might be in that kind of situation again. These days, I'm lucky to get one face-to-face and a handful of 90-minute online sessions a month. So, Crimson Dragon Slayer works perfect for me now.

  3. It's turning nicely into a stand alone rules-light system (no need to check PHB for spells, etc). I love it! Excellent job once more, mate! :)

    1. Thanks, Nick! Yeah, I wanted it to be self-contained... finally. Think I'm done tweaking it. Time to start running games in earnest!