Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Reason for adventuring 2

  In a medieval world 30-180 gold pieces is a lot of money for an individual to have. Given the poorer classes in even a very inflated economy rarely would see more than a few coins, how does that explain starting money in D&D?  In my hypothetical and still not actual Swords and Wizardry campaign I like to have an in world reason for the rules as written. So why would a starting character have such wealth? Simple given the setting of the game, make the characters nobles. Not grand imperial or kingly. Petty nobles with a small inheritance or stipend and no prospects for a future. Make them the 5th son or 3rd daughter of a title holder and adventuring is their only chance for a better life. Give them a retainer or even a small retinue to make things interesting. Money power and fame are the means to get back at their family for casting them out, or rightfully claiming the title from a usurper. The character's endgame is already written thus allowing for retirement when the player chooses.    

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Change of Mind

  I have talked often about my love for simple game design, there is something to be said for more detailed systems. My original plan for running fantasy RPGs was to try to play D&D as close to as written. I wanted to prove to myself that the rules were viable in their simplicity.  Two retro clone systems seemed like the best fit for this goal.  White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game and Untold Adventures. Both are based on Swords and Wizardry which in turn originates from a rewrite/update of the Dungeons and Dragons white box rules set. Being derived from a such a simple rules set I reasoned that my anxiety over remembering rules would be reduced. Yes it can be easier to run a bit but the lack of depth actually can work against my over all satisfaction. Its a little dull, uninspiring even. And I worried players would be put off. As running a RPG is as much for the players as the game master, this is a problem. I did look forward to creating a setting to explain things like race as class. Opening my players eyes to the elegance of D6 hit points and damage. Rationalizing Vancian magic. There are downsides although. The characters however are a little cookie-cutter assembly line type without any detail. The experience points earned to level up dynamic tends to direct players toward monster bashing to the exclusion of all else. True this can be moderated by XP awards for other things like role playing or exploration. All is not lost, I will simply tuck away those books for another time. Maybe I will do up a few dungeon levels for a random group that comes my way. I still plan to run a D&D based game some time. I have Mazes and Minotaurs, a D20 style game set in a mythical Greek world. I encourage everyone to check it out. Its free to download. Available on Drive

 Because of my recent tragedy of the lost hard drive, I am trying to collect hard copy of games. Taking advantage of the current GM's Day sales I purchased two game books.  

Sword Of Cepheus -  a fantasy version of the sci-fi Cepheus Engine rules.

 If you had ever thought " I wish there was a fantasy version of Traveller", this is it. I still have to create or adapt a setting but I look forward to trying it out.

Barbarians Of Lemuria - this is a 2D6 system with a rich character creation system. I have kept an eye on this system through several editions but this is the first printed copy I have bought. A full colour book details a robust background setting based loosely on pulp fantasy novels. Included are several adventures which will help start off the players.

 Given he current troubles in the world I don't know if I will get to run or play anything soon. but i can hope. And the new books generate some enthusiasm. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Living Magic

  I am fan of what's known in RPG circles as RAW or Rules As Written. In that I try to play as close to the written rules as possible. My interest in the OSR was partially fueled by a realization that the fewer rules there are the easier it is to play RAW.  However most likely D&D page counts increased over later editions to try and iron out problems with the rules text. Often a strict interpretation of the rules doesn't fit with the expectations of the players. My solution is to change the players minds with a little creative background to the world in which the play. One such aspect for example is magic. Its not a secret that I prefer Vancian  magic to anything else. Vancian is the fire and forget style for the earliest days of D&D. But reading the text of magic use I never liked the following description. "Reading from this book, the Magic-user presses a select spell formula into her mind, effectively preparing it to be cast.Once a prepared spell is cast, the spell formulae disappears from the Magic-user's mind, and must be prepared again before another attempt can be made to cast it. However, it is possible to prepare a spell multiple times using the available slots in the Magic-user's memory." What troubles me is if the caster forgets the spell formulae then how come the other spells in the memory slots are not affected? Are they different formulae? I never liked what's known as double dipping or multi-use magic. It just seems so mundane. It turns the Magic-user into a gun and the spells are the ammunition. But with one small change to the text without changing the rules you can alter players expectations. What if the formulae for a spell was a summoning for some living magic entity that is the spell itself. The "slots" in memory are holding cells for them. When cast they are released producing the magical effect. Being a Magic-user requires the discipline to build and maintain the cells to contain spells. Multiple copies of spells are each held separately. Casting one does not effect the others. A spell caster can skip the prep time and summon a spell directly from its source (book or scroll), but such haste burns (destroys) the source as a backlash.    



Sunday, August 2, 2020

Reason for adventuring

 Why adventure? Even in a world where adventuring is normal why do they do it? Characters should have some reason beyond fame and riches. Another blog I read years ago suggested that in their world Dwarf society was comprised of only males, and reproduction involved carving a magical statue of your offspring. The more money spent on construction the greater the quality of the result. All dwarves quested to acquire loot for this purpose.

 I am fortunate that one of my offspring likes RPGs and I was having a conversation about this idea. In my proposed Swords and Wizardry game the non-human races don't normally leave their enclaves. She also plays D&D and had an idea for Elves. Elven society doesn't care material wealth. They are chroniclers and storytellers and information is the motivator for them. Each elf must undergo a quest for some piece of information that the Elves do not have. The quality and importance of it is judged at their return and determines their place in Elven society.

I can picture a scene of some lost treasure room;
   an Elf tossing coins and jewels aside to uncover an ancient scroll.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sorry About The Wait

 I have been absent for quite some time. Not entirely by choice. I had a mental health issues that necessitated an absence from being online. But after this delay I am moving on. I apologize for the inconvenience.

My computer hard drive crashed and as of this writing it looks like all my data is gone. I have a few really old backups but nothing recent. This has given me cause to reexamine my gaming habits. One of which is my hording. I have a lot of gaming stuff. Both physical copy and digital files. I use very little of it. I collect things like a mad man, thinking I might need it some day. Time to narrow the range of stuff I pursue. I will still follow and write about the great many games I like. However my personal collect will contract to include only the few games I want to play. This hobby is an important part of my life and I want to enjoy it more.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Gateway

Here is an idea for introducing new players to a game world.

 A bright flash and your eyes slowly adjust to the light. You are standing in between the pillars of a ancient stone gate way. You have no idea how you got here, and you realize you don't remeber anything about yourself. A wild bearded man in tattered robes approaches loudly exclaiming. "Ah the gods have sent more to us, Welcome, Welcome strangers to our lands". "You will have many questions , yes but first you should eat and drink to regain some of your vigor". He and several others all similarly dressed drag you down the hill top to a small town and into a tavern. As you eat a hearty meal and drink some good wine or ale some small bit of memory returns.  
At this point the characters can remember their names and classes/levels (if applicable) but that's it. No other details, as they are just created characters their aren't any of course.
As you eat the bearded man explains; you have been sent to us from other places and we can help you start your new life here with us. " You are welcome to settle here if you wish, some newcomers have of course, but you may wish to continue your chosen professions as well". 

The next few days are spent teaching you of the lands and customs that they know of. This is of course the sketch notes of the world they will be adventuring in. Any gaps in knowledge can be attributed to lack of recall or something that was not known to the villagers of the gateway. I thought of this with D&D in mind but will work for any RPG. This was designed after seeing a number of adventuring groups fail to understand the world they were in. This offers an easy explanation for this lack of knowledge.

-Happy Gaming  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

D&D 5th goes OGL? Meh, what ever.

 In case you haven't heard the news, D&D fifth edition has just been released for the OGL. My reaction is less than enthusiastic. Why? Because official D&D hasn't been my game of choice for some time now (since the switch form 3 to 3.5). The sucker punch of the official switch from one edition to another after so short of a time scale (only two years between my purchase of the 3rd Ed books and the 3.5 roll out) turned me off trying to stay current. I liked 3 rd edition just fine, but 4th just left me cold. Way too over complicated, tactically focused and just plain weird. I don't know what to think about 5th yet as I haven't absorbed it yet. But one thing I can say is that it's not my D&D. Some time ago I discovered the OSR community and found many of whom shared the desire to retain a simpler form of the rules.

 What did the OGL do for 3rd ed? Did it improve the game? Did it make it more accessible? These questions will most likely be asked of 5th ed and time will tell. But for me I see nothing but a glut of 5th ed material choking off some other possibly more creative stuff. I don't think its really good for the hobby. I see many game producers ditching their independent projects to crank out more OGL stuff. Soon the 5th ed like the Borg of Star Trek will assimilate all. Crazy talk? Maybe but one thing  is for sure, the new OGL doesn't matter much to me. You can always check out the SRD and judge for yourself. But as for me, Meh.

P.S. hopefully this post marks a return to me posting regularly