Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alignment as New vs Old Religion

After reading the "Obligatory Alignment Post" at The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope I thought I would try my own. I just finished watching the first two seasons of Merlin the tv series. In the show, set in a mythical version of Britan there have been many references to "the old religion". This set of beliefs is tied to the Druids and to nature its self more commonly known as the old ways. One can surmise that in the series (although its never specified) the new religion is a form of Christianity. The struggle between these two systems sets the backdrop of the series. By simply renaming the new religion as Law and the old one as Chaos you have a viable alignment system that players can relate to. The knights of Camelot are the paragons of Law. The Druids are the diciples of Chaos. And the villagers are Nuetral. Based on how well this seems to work I'm considering switching my game to a medieval setting to incorporate this alignment system.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Think Small

Despite an earlier post about how I love big thick (insert rude joke here) rulebooks I have begun to appreciate digest sized rulebooks. What with all the maps, notes, dice and charts the GM needs, space behind the screen is at a premium. To pack the rules into just 5 1/2 by 8 inches is a great advantage. I wish more companies would produce those half size bundles of RPG goodness. Brave Halfling Publishing has a good lead with the Swords & Wizardry boxed set which features digest booklets. Adobe Acrobat has a feature to allow you to print any PDF as a booklet. So many of the free rules can be done but printing a full sized document as a booklet does have some sizing issues. And there is a limit to how many pages you can bend and staple. I would like to see some hard cover books in digest size. The mini reprints of the AD&D books were fun but I would like to see some current tiles in hard bound 5 1/2 by 8.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hit Dice or Miss

There have been some lively debates on the web over the exact way to roll for character hit points per level.The original D&D rules were vague about it. Many have tried to figure it out. This hyper analysis of a simple text seems to have spawned some bizzare interpretations. I see only two variations on this each supported by a passage from a different rulebook.

Type 1- pg 11 D&D blue book;
As a character goes up a level he increases his hit dice. The new die is rolled and the score is added to his current number of hits.

If the new level has the same number of hit dice but adds points (ie +1) do not roll but add the number to the characters current hit point total. This is the method I used when I started playing AD&D back in the early 80's.The advantge of this method is that characters can always increase their total number of hit points when going up a level.

Type 2- pg 5 Swords&Wizardry Whitebox 1st print;
Characters re-roll their HD each time they advance a level to obtain a number of hit points. (If you roll poorly, those hit points don't go down, however)

With this method you roll the hit dice total for the new level and compare the result to your current hit point score and use whatever is greater as your hit point total.
The difference with this method is that characters are not guaranteed an increase in hit points with each new level. I now prefer this way as it can limit the characters to lower hit point totals.

Interestingly I could not find any referance to the type 2 method in the older rulebooks I have.