That said, there are some aspects of Goodman's game that just aint gonna make it to my table:
|Thanks Doug Kovacs. Still no permission.|
Ability Names: Say what you will about D&D, but when it came to naming the abilities Dave n' Gary really stuck the fucking landing. Any straying from the Original Six ability names sounds like so many jars of "catsup" or boxes of "Cereal-Os." Stamina, agility, personality all sound amateurish if not downright misguided. Cracking out Roget's does not improve the gaming experience.
AC 15: Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these old schoolers who believes that descending AC is objectively superior to all other forms--even if I do prefer the descending scale in my game. I absolutely see the value of ascending AC; many, many of my house ruling efforts have included the following qualification: "this would be a lot easier with an ascending AC." BUT... any ascending AC system I endorse must embrace the AC 0 = no armor principle. Now this is objectively superior to all others.
20-sided initiative: One of the few things that I do know about neo-D&D is that it embraces the rolling of 20-siders for virtually everything--including initiative. But you already know this. Now, I'm far too crotchety to get behind 20-sided intiative, especially when the Goodman guys present a really cool option within their own rule: use the dice chain. As stated in the book, two-handed weapons use d16 for initiative instead of d20. This is the kernel of what I think is a far superior idea: why not take this a step or two further and use a greater spectrum of the dice chain: daggers roll d10, long swords roll d8, 2-handers roll d6; something like that.
Fortitude, Reflex, Willpower: In a game that evokes an atmosphere of menace and chaos in every printed pixel, why would you go with the status quo when naming your saving throws? The clinical, newfangled titles sound like they were determined by a committee of marketing mavens and real estate copywriters. For 2e DCC, I hope they come up with more evocative names for saving throws.
And that's pretty much it. Every other aspect of this game exemplifies awesomeness in gaming. Even the funky dice--which initially had me worried--have been put to such good purpose that there is no feasible means of dismissing their greatness.