Earlier in the week I made an announcement that Swords Against the Outer Dark: Sword & Sanity Roleplaying was not going to be a standalone book, and would require the Labyrinth Lord core rules, as well as the Advanced Edition Companion. To my surprise I received quite a bit of negative feedback from friends and followers about this announcement. It seems that most everyone who has an opinion on the subject has their heart set on a standalone rulebook.
As it turns out, I have been writing the book as a complete ruleset all along, and only faltered in this decision once I reviewed the Labyrinth Lord compatibility license. To carry the "Labyrinth Lord Compatible Product" logo on the cover I would have to comply with this portion of the license:
No work may constitute a complete game. For the purposes of this license, a "complete game" is defined as any work that a player of a PC and/or the player in the role of the Labyrinth Lord can use for character generation and/or reference in game play exclusive of the Labyrinth Lord core rules book. As a general guideline, if the work is so complete as to make the Labyrinth Lord core book obsolete to one or both of these kinds of players, it fits the definition of a complete game for the purposes of this license.
As it stands, I would have to go back through portions of the book and take away much of what I have written to be in compliance with the license. I have done a lot of thinking about how to proceed from here, and I have come to the conclusion that I am not ready or willing to do this. Instead, I will take advantage of much of Labyrinth Lord's Open Game Content, as well as some of the Open Game Content from Swords & Wizardry, Castles & Crusades, Conan Roleplaying Game, Grim Tales and a few others, to help build the system I am wanting to present with this book. All with my own personal tweaks of course, not to mention the original Open Game Content I will be designing just for the game.
As stated in the introductory chapter of the book:
A Note about the RulesThis gaming tome was written as a complete game system, and does not require any other rules manuals to play. However, the system presented herein is highly compatible with many other classic versions, as well as modern simulacra, of class-and-level-based fantasy roleplaying systems. This allows for the importing and exporting of game rules and adventures with little effort on the player’s part.
So there it is. No more wavering on whether to proceed with writing a complete game or not. The game will be very compatible with Labyrinth Lord, but will not have a "Labyrinth Lord Compatible Product" logo emblazoned on the cover.
Does this mean I will no longer support Labyrinth Lord or Goblinoid Games? Hell no! It just means I do not want to be hindered in any way as I try to write the best roleplaying game that I possibly can.