I've been doing a lot of work on Emprise!™, specifically on the Players Manual, and one thing is become more and more clear to me as I continue the work. This is going to be flying in the face of a lot of the common wisdom about just what makes an Old School game Old School. Reading the latest draft of the LotFPWFRPG rules really made that point stand out in my mind.
- Experience point bonus
- Exceptional strength
- Multiple attacks per round
- Weapon specialization
- Establishment of a stronghold and attracting followers at high level
Monsters are going to be a little more "fiddly" too. Not only are you going to see the denizens of both Monster Manuals and the Fiend Folio, but the monsters themselves are going to have variable hit dice. Some will use a d4, some a d8, and so forth. Nothing near to 4E, with its strikers and commanders and whatnot, but still a step away from the simplicity of hit dice = d8.
Compare this with, for example, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, or the upcoming LotFPWFRP game. They deliberately go down a "rules lite" path. Limited classes, and limited powers within the classes. Few choices of race (and in some cases, races that function as classes). Minimal spell descriptions. They follow the school of thought that says the essence of old school gaming is minimalism; a simple framework that can be bolted onto. I'm taking things in the opposite direction; throwing the whole toolbox at you and saying "take what you like, discard the rest, but understand what'll happen if you do." Neither is "better" or "right", but I'll be curious to see how Emprise!™ gets received, once the time comes. Who knows? You often have to fly a plane straight into the headwind to take off.
My ultimate goal
This is the game I would have given my eye teeth to own in 1985. Much like CotMA was something I needed for my own campaign, and shared with the community, Emprise!™ is the game I've wanted to own for 25 years, and will likewise share with those who want to see what it looks like. That's my entire goal; not to nudge the OSR in any particular direction, or advance it in the direction it's been heading, or even to sell games. My goal is to have these books on my shelf. Period. If anyone else wants to have 'em there as well, they're welcome to come along for the ride, and maybe you'll find some things to insert into you own game as well.