Monday, October 18, 2010

Different Roles Different Goals part two

Anonymous has posted a commnet on my last post. You can it read below. He does make a valid argument for the gold for xp scheme. But gold for xp just feels to gamey for me. To much like online computer games with their kill-the-monster-and-take-its-stuff style of play. I'm actually trying to reduce the emphasis of leveling up as a major factor in playing the game. It is perhaps a bold step and might not be popular with some players. I want to treat the party as a group of individuals not some fantasy based commando strike force engineered for success. I have seen too many partys who strip mine dungeons of every last copper coin. They then hunch over calculators like some dimented accountants, to divide every last coin to perfectly balance the party's levels. A sense of adventure should be the prime requisite for characters not greed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Different Roles Different Goals

For a while now I have been taking a look at OD&D with a mind to "Make sense of it." rather than just catalog its faults. Rather than change the rules I want to change the way I look at them. So far I have looked at hit points and armour class as well as the character classes. Now experience gets a look. The original system presented was the now classic but not often used gold for xp.This rewards the players for exploration and survial (perhaps avoiding combat) and can be easily divided between party members. This does fit in with the general simplistic nature of the game but doesn't make sense to me. Why do you get better at fighting or casitng spells (or both) just because you're rich? Is because you can afford reaserch/training? Is it because you are more confident? Seems odd to me. Players want to level up their characters because they get better at what they are used for. The fighter gets better at fighting, the magic-user can cast more spells and the cleric can better turn undead. Each character class has its own role in the game so why not make each class have its own goal for expereince? Fighters get XP for mosters killed or subdued in combat. Magic-users get XP for casting spells. Clerics for turning undead and casting spells. All of this has to be approved by the DM. Spell casters can't level up just by tossing spells around for no reason. And maybe Clerics must have some other goal like getting more followers to their diety.

Yeah this could work.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Medieval Maps and Old School Cartography

One thing can't be said of Medieval maps, realism. They look kind of like a flat pop-up book. Objects stand out in profile, in a larger scale than the surrounding terrain. Medieval maps, like the art of the period were about conveying the importance of an object rather than its precise location. But they had style. Dragons and sea monsters roaming the edges and lots of other little touches.

When designing a game world one of the first steps is mapping it. There are a few choices; freehand, square grid and of course hex grid. True to my seat-of-the-pants-don't-sweat-the-small-stuff style of play I decided to ditch the traditional approach to mapping. If the game is set in a world without accurate maps then why should the players' be. Tony Dowler's blog year of the dungeon has some great maps already done. Here is a sample;

Compare that to a medieval town map;

Similar yes? And finally another from Tony's blog showing the city of Salutet and its surrounding area.

Simple easy maps that have all the info you need. A very minimalist approach. Very old school. And because they are not a lot of details on the map, there can be a lot more in your imagination. Very old school indeed.

P.S. Check out year of the dungeon for Tony's one page dungeons.