Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gygax + Conan + LotFP

Across this site, posting elsewhere, and various drunken ramblings I have suggested a half-dozen variations of D&D - covering my ideal version of AD&D, AD&D with the best elements of newer editions, or even a fix for 4th edition.  Here is my latest crazed concept:

Reduce the available classes to two:  Fighter and Magic-User.  How is the Cleric functions replaced?

  • Convert some existing spells become Rituals
  • Convert some existing spells to the Magic-User spell list
  • Convert some functions or spells into equipment -- more healing potions, scrolls and holy symbols to allow for some degree of Undead Turning, etc

Why drop the cleric?  There are many justifications in this thread.

Thief roles are handled like skills for the Specialist from Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  We can a few additonal "skills" to the list fill any gaps as well as structure the Magic-User.  Magic-Users allocate a single pip to "unlock" equivalents of Sorcery Styles from the Conan RPG:

  • Counter-spells
  • Curses
  • Divination
  • Hypnotism
  • Nature Magic
  • Necromancy
  • Oriental Magic
  • Prestidigitation
  • Summoning
One or two styles are added to accomodate key spells from the Cleric spells list that we wish to maintain.  We allow Fighters to access limited spells (to replicate the role of Paladins, AD&D style Rangers, and cultists).  These are granted by a single skill pip for each level of casting (2 pips to be able to cast 2nd level spells from a single Sorcery Style).  

Alternately we can allow expanded access (or provide additional limits) based on the use of Insanity/Corruption or Faith points.  A fighter of the cultist ilk can gain an Insanity Point in exchange for a single pip in Summoning, for example.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sorcerer's Helm and Magician's Blade

My peak D&D years in middle and high school coincided with my exposure to Warhammer Fantasy and Citadel miniatures.  My location in the Harrisburg, PA area made day trips down to Maryland Games Workshops stores easy day trips.  I wasn't into wargaming, but would spend an hour or two a time pouring through racks of blisters for the ideal PC/NPC/villain models.  Chaos Sorcerers were more varied (and easier to come by) than the Gandalf-sort.  I never recovered, and as a consequence all well-appointed spell casters wear helmets.

Sorcerer's Helm
XP Value: 2,000
GP Value: 5,000

The Sorcerer's helm is usually a large or ostentatious helmet, covering most or all of the face. Unlike other forms of armor, it's metal presence does not detract from spell casting or magic use (though no such guarantee exists for peripheral vision!).   It does not interfere or limit the protection of other magic items (bracers, rings, cloaks) which normally would provide protection to the sorcerer.

The standard form of the helm provides an overall +1 bonus to armor class, and an AC of 3 to attacks directed towards to the head.  It will reveal itself as magic to spells and items of detection.  Greater Helms are rumored to exist, but are strongly aligned to Law, Chaos, or Neutrality.

Magician's Blade
XP Value:  1,000
GP Value:  2,500

Any wizard or magician proficient in the use of the dagger can use one of these magical blades, which come in forms of short or broad swords, as well as rapiers.  Regardless of form they do 1d6 hit points of damage.  The weapon will detect as magic, but grants no additional bonus to hit or damage from its enchantment.  In the hands of fighters, thieves, and others proficient in the weapon it responds as if a normal sword of it's make.

It does not glow nor shed light, but can harm creatures normally immune to non-magical weapons.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pissing on Ability Scores

Normally I'm a Gygax man when it comes to D&D attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma as Xagyg intended (even he thought Comeliness was a bad idea).

Then in my moments of fancy I think about additional or secondary attributes, perhaps as a result of that time I read Top Secret on cold medicine.  Since I'm apparently unable to maintain any semblance of a posting schedule I'd put down what I recall as they come to mind.

  • Perception:  I mixed thoughts on this from the usual old school player agency angle, but there are plenty of areas (sleeping characters, tracking, this passive perception junk from 5E).  But it's certainly better than a skill point tax, using Wisdom as a pseudo perception score, and more reasons from that Dragon Magazine in issue #133. It will certainly make surprise easier to deal with.
  • Agility: Targeting skill and dodging ability combined is a little two convenient and the first change I'd make.  Break this off from Dexterity, and suddenly not every fat sniper has ninja style.
  • Memory vs Reasoning vs Intelligence:  A few games have broken these out.  I don't know if it's worthwhile, as Intelligence isn't terribly worthwhile outside of AD&D style spell learning. It feels right, but I don't have the purpose for Reasoning yet. Unless...
  • We ditch wisdom.  In D&D terms, it's willpower plus cleric power.  Being "wise" itself isn't significant.  Other games use Spirit, Power, Psyche, etc.  The Mythus breakdown of Metaphysical and Psychic is vague, but useful.  A wizard could have potent talent, but not be a genius, or some font of knowledge with an eidetic memory.  Somehow getting willpower out of the mix does explain weak-willed cultists and the like. 
  • Physical attributes: I'm content to leave Strength and Constitution as-is. Stamina, health, etc are mostly thesaurus workarounds for the traditional D&D stat.  Size and Speed do little for me, as they're tied more to race than anything with a large enough variance to matter.  Maybe in a Super Advanced version, I could tie race, size, and constitution together to reflect starting hit points, the fit of armor, tallfellow halflings that are close to the height of elves.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Brief 5E Review

The 5E basic rules have been beaten to death, so I'll keep my thoughts to a minimum:

Initiative is still a joke.

An aside, almost exactly a year since my last post.  Sad.