Sunday, August 30, 2020

What I did for Gygax Day: B1 Stocking Notes

July 27th is recognized as Gygax Day in some circles so I figured I'd run a session of D&D using B1 to celebrate. It just took me a while to get around to writing a post about it.

The deadliest encounter of the session


Stocking the Dungeon: Instead of the normal B1 lists I used the 1e DMG and Fiend Folio, checking for room contents while altering and ignoring results that seemed whack. The stocking process took me about 4 non-continuous hours. The results are found below:

1. 1 Bullywug with a sword

Notes: The deadliest encounter of the whole night, the high AC + surprise chance + hopping is a lot stronger than you would think

 

3. 8 Giant rats

 

4. 1 Cerebral Parasite

Notes: Since there were no psionic chracters in the party, the parasite would have drained 1 point of Charisma per turn if it had been encountered.

 

7. 1 Anhkeg

Silver ring with 6 opals worth 6000 gp

825 gp

Notes: The DMG has a fairly robust jewelry generator, the only problem is that its separated into three or four section fair from each other.

 

9. 1000 cp

 

10. 100 pp

 

12. 3 Bullywugs

2 aquamarines worth 550 gp each

1100cp


13. 5 kobolds

1100 cp

825 sp


14. 4 fire beetles


20. 250 gp


26. 750 cp


28. 1 Tween

Notes: Fiend Folio is based.


30. 250 gp


31. 1000 sp


32. 1000 sp


36. 3 Troglodytes

275 gp

825 ep

Notes: A randomly generated encounter supported by the pre-written rumor table? More likely than you think.


38. 500 gp


39. 3 Gnolls


42. 2000 sp


46. 4 giant centipedes


47. 2000 cp


48. 1 Forlarren


49. 2 giant frogs


53. 4 volts

Notes: I could not see this encounter ending any way other than a TPK.

 

55. 200 pp

Here ends my key for B1 - In Search of The Unknown

 

The party ended up TPKing after 3 real life hours/55 in-game minutes.

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Writing an OSR(?) game from memory, The End: Admitting defeat and post-mortem

I'm throwing in the towel here. Not the first time (nor the last) for me, but at least this time I can articulate my reasons.
1. The muse has left me.
2. I work full-time.
3. Because of my self-imposed don't "reference any material" handicap I have a lot of stuff I want to read that I couldn't.

That said, I think this challenge works best for those with a lot of free time or still quarantine. And even with my failure, I did learn what parts of the rules I need to brush up on.



Time for analysis. 


Despite my intent to channel LBB, it looks like most of my ability score mechanics are based on Labyrinth Lord. The exception is Dex which is exactly as the LBB. The HP modifiers for Con are a little different (perhaps, the LBB are ambiguous). My XP modifier curve is somewhere between that of the LBB (+/- 10-20%) and LL (+/- 5-10%). The loyalty numbers would later cause some issues.

My alignment chart is based on the LBB's, even down to underlined creatures being chaotic or neutral. Halflings were made Neutral/Lawful because I wanted to fill the "small underground guy" niche for all three alignments (which Gygax made no effort to do, looking over the LBB). Orcs and Ogres being Chaotic/Neutral is one of my favorite parts of the LBB since it justifies a non-confrontational approach with them. Cavemen being Lawful are because of an old idea of them being the Lawful equivalent of the modern Orc - loyal to their alignment but brutal and not very bright. The Judicator is my off-brand version of the Justicar. The Balor replaces the Balrog. Dragons appear in all three columns because I had planned on adding a Neutral breed: Probably a half-remembered version of the Cloud or new versions of Brown or Gray.


My Dwarves getting to advance up to level 7 as fighters is 1 level more than permitted by the LBB. Dwarf clerics and Gnome M-Us are consciously backported AD&Disms. The Gnomes are a little different here because they're based on the LBB versions (hill-dwelling Dwarves).

To quote EGG: "Zounds!" I totally screwed up the F-M/M-U ratios of Elf level limits. The Anti-cleric being available to them is inspired by Three Hearts & Three Lions, Morrowind, and Warhammer's Dark Elves.

I gave Halflings 2 fighter levels over the LBB max. The Shaman is just because the other two races have a divine option so why not hobbits?

Although I got the XP requirements for 2nd level right, my fighter advances much faster, reaching level 9 at 16000 xp as opposed to the LBB's 24000 xp. I also cap HD at 9+6 (another LLism) whereas the a 12th-level Lord in LBB has 11+1 HD. My THAC0 progression is oddly sluggish. Saves are a lot harsher than both LBB and LL.

My M-Us progress almost half as fast for levels 2-3 then suddenly rush forward compared to the LBB. I seem to have been inspired by a mix of LL and 3e for the numbers of spells, although mine gives more than either. Saves and THAC0 are wrong (again).

Clerics (and their variants) all progress slower than their LBB counterparts. The Shaman exists because I like the concept of Neutral nature clerics but loath D&D Druids ever since I started with 3e.
The spell progression is mostly the same as LBB and LL but I hand out more spells, including a 6th-level  one. Saves and THAC0 are wrong (again). My turning tables combine my recurring problem of slower initial growth followed by runaway inflation.

Part 3

I somehow got the price of daggers dead-on for both LL and LBB. The special abilities of axes, daggers, and spears (treated as polearms) are from the LBB. The leather-chain-plate model is from the LBB. I can't believe I forgot the costs for armor.

Part 4

The four categories of encumbrance/movement is from LL and 2e. The monster spotting rules for encounters are hazily lifted from 1e. The reaction tables are either my own homebrew or taken from some anonymous homebrew. The structure of combat rounds is from LL. Now, morale/loyalty is a funny story: When I wrote the loyalty numbers in Part 1 I wasn't really thinking clearly so I gave out numbers which exceed LBB/B/X/1e morale but fit perfectly with 2e morale. Why? I don't know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Writing an OSR(?) game from memory, Part 4: Encumbrance, exploration, encounters, combat, morale

This is a lot harder than I thought it would be and, as usual, I'm losing interest. Perhaps I shall make one last valiant effort to complete the Men & Magic portion of the rules.


Encumbrance

Encumbrance represents the effect of weight carried. In general, the starting tools, sundries, and worn armor carried into the dungeon or wilderness are not weighed and tallied but weapons, additional armor, and any items acquired during expeditions ARE tallied.

Weights cause characters to move more slowly: For characters wearing armor, use the worst of the two movement values below (for example, a character wearing plate but carrying less than 50 lbs has a combat speed of 30')
Weight Carried | Combat Speed | Exploration Speed
less than 50 lbs | 40' | 120'
50-100 lbs | 30' | 90'
101-150 lbs | 20' | 60'
151-200 lbs | 10' | 30'
more than 200 lb* | 5' | 15'
*The referee may rule that certain weights or unwieldy masses allow no movement whatsoever.

Encounters & Exploration

Time is the essential factor of the game. The referee should obtain a calendar of some sort to track days, weeks, and months accurately. Smaller, but no less important, units of time include the round (1 minute) and the turn (10 minutes). Rounds are mostly used to track time in combat while turns are used to track exploration. It is assumed that a party will move as fast as its slowest member in order to maintain formation and defense; if a full retreat is being enacted then no such compulsion exists.

Encounters (Wandering Monsters)
For every two turns spent exploring, there is a 1-in-6 chance that a random encounter will occur. These encounters may be native monsters, invaders, or other adventurers. The monster will be up to 2d6x10 feet away in dungeons or yards in the wilderness; randomly determine its point of entry, ignoring illogical routes such as the empty room the party just left. Note that more encounters can occur during combats due to either third parties or reinforcements.

Surprise
If the party does not have lights in the dungeon or is in the wilderness during active hours, both sides have a 2-in-6 chance of being surprised.
If the party does have lights  in the dungeon or is in the wilderness during resting hours, the encounter only has a 1-in-6 chance to be surprised while the party has the normal 2-in-6 chance of being surprised.
The referee may rule that particularly large, reckless, or conspicuous groups have no chance of surprising opponents. Surprised opponents are essentially helpless for one round. Note that some enemies will have reduced or increased chances of being surprised based on other factors: If the Knights of The Fang know the party is the west wing of Castle Carmine, they only have a 1-in-6 chance of being surprised upon finding the party; if the know the party is trapped in the Anti-Temple, the Knights will not be surprised; and if the party some manages to out with the Knights and encounters the neophytes performing cursory duties in the East Wing they have a 3-in-6 chance of being surprised.

Reactions
Not all encounters, even those between Lawfuls and Chaotics, need be combat. In some cases, a reaction will be obvious; Retainers of the Baronet who sponsors the party should have no reason to attack unless they or the party are traitors; Hobgoblins have no reason to be friendly and every reason to attack a party who has penetrated their warrens. When the referee has no strong idea of how an encountered character will react, he should roll below, applying the reaction modifier of the party member with the highest Charisma (unless the party wishes to nominate someone else as their "face").

2d6 | Reaction | Possible Actions
2-3| Hostile | Attack, offer horrible deal
4-5| Unfriendly | Insult, draw weapons, offer bad deal
6-7| Indifferent | Ignore, offer normal deal
8-9 | Unsure | Observe, retreat, hide
10-11| Friendly | Non-combat aid, offer good deal
12| Helpful | Combat aid, offer great deal

The referee may wish to make adjustments to the reaction roll based on biases: An anti-cleric may not immediately attack a cleric but it will sour his demeanor, while a judicator may put a whole party to the sword due the presence of an anti-cleric.

Combat

Combat Structure
Combat is joined when the party attacks or is attacked. The order of combat is as follows:
S1. Determine surprise
S2. Unsurprised sides declare actions
S2a. Roll initiative (1d6) for each unsurprised side if there are multiple; the highest scoring side acts first
S3. Unsurprised movement occurs
S4. Unsurprised ranged attacks occur
S5. Unsurprised spells occur
S6. Unsurprised melee attacks occur
S7. Once all unsurprised sides have acted, normal combat begins
1. All sides declare actions
2. Roll initiative (1d6) for each side; the highest scoring side acts first
3. Movement occurs
4. Ranged attacks occur
5. Spells occur
6. Melee attacks occur
7. Repeat until slaughter, surrender, ceasefire, or retreat

Morale & Loyalty
Even among monsters, few will fight to the death. Monsters have morale while henchmen have loyalty: Both are fundamentally the same.
Monsters check morale when 30% or more of their group are dead or if they only have 30% or less hp remaining; they will flee if possible or surrender if unable.
Henchmen check loyalty when 30% or more of their party are dead, if they only have 30% or less hp remaining, or if their leader is reduced to 25% or less hp; they will flee if possible or surrender if unable. Henchmen automatically fall loyalty checks if their leader dies.
To check morale or loyalty, roll 2d10: If the result is equal or lower then the character acts normally.
As always, the referee may modify morale scores to reflect circumstances: A group who knows there is no escape and that they will be killed even if they surrender is likely to fight to the last.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Writing an OSR(?) game from memory, Part 3: Equipment

A much shorter post this time. I'll probably break spells into two posts.


Equipment

Characters start with 3d6x10 gold pieces (gp). 10 gp weigh 1 lb.
1 gold piece = 10 silver pieces (sp) = 100 copper pieces (cp)

Melee Weapons
Weapon | Cost | Weight |Special
Axe  | 10 gp | 8 lb | Can be thrown up to 10'
Club | 2 gp | 6 lb | Made of wood
Dagger | 3 gp | 1 lb | Can be thrown up to 10', easily concealed, short reach
Greatsword | 20 gp | 15 lb | +2 damage, must be wielded with both hands
Mace | 8 gp | 8 lb | -
Spear | 9 gp | 8 lb | Double damage if hitting a charging target, can be used to attack from the second rank
Staff | 2 gp | 5 lb | Made of wood
Sword | 8 gp | 7 lb | -

Ranged Weapons
Weapon | Cost | Weight | Range | Special
Bow | 10 gp | 7 lb | 100' | Requires two hands to nock and shoot
-10 arrows | 1 gp | 1 lb
Crossbow | 15 gp | 12 lb  | 50' | +2 to damage, takes one round to reload
-10 bolts | 1 gp | 1 lb
Sling | 5 sp | 0.5 lb | 50' | Can be "fired" with one hand
-10 stones | 1sp* | 0.5 lb
*Cost to hire someone else to find stones. A character may instead spend 1 turn searching for stones, which will find 1d4-1 (0-3) usable stones.

Armor
Armor type | AC | Weight | Movement
None | 9 | - | 40' per round / 120' per turn
Leather | 7 | 10 lb | 40' per round / 120' per turn
Chain | 5 | 25 lb | 30' per round / 90' per turn
Plate | 3 | 60 lb | 30' per round / 90' per turn
Shield | * | 5 lb | - |  -
*Shields improve AC by 1 point; no armor + shield = AC 8, leather + shield = AC 6, etc.

Other equipment and tools
Item | Cost | Weight | Notes
Backpack | 5 gp | 2 lb | Can hold about 40 lb/400 coins Candle | 1 cp | - | Illuminates 10' radius, 5-in-6 chance to be blown out by strong wind, etc.
Hammer | 1 sp | 1 lb | -2 to hit and damage
Holy symbol | 1 sp | 0.5 lb | Used by clerics, shamans, and anti-clerics
Holy water | 10 gp | 0.5 lb | Deals 2d6 to undead and demons, delays onset of regular diseases for 1d6 days and supernatural diseases for 1d6 turns Iron spike | 1 sp | 1 lb | -2 to hit and damage
Lantern | 1 gp | 2 lb | Illuminates 30' radius, 1-in-6  chance to be blown out by strong wind, etc.
Manacles | 10 gp | 5 lb | Includes keyPole, 10' | | 10 lb | Can be used as a weapon with -2 to hit and damage
Rations, iron | 3 sp | 2 lb | Enough cured food to last 1 day, 1-in-6 chance to distract intelligent monsters if dropped
Rations, trail | 3 sp| 2 lb | Enough fresh food to last 1 day, 1-in-6 chance to distract unintelligent monsters if dropped
Rope, 50'  | 1 gp | - | Can hold up to 300 lb if properly secured
Sack, large | 1 gp | 1 lb | Can hold about 20 lb/200 coins
Sack, small | 2 sp | 0.5 lb | Can hold about 10 lb/100 coins
Torch | 1 sp | 1 lb | Illuminates 30' radius, 3-in-6 chance  to be blown out by strong wind, etc.
Wheelbarrow | 10 gp | 20 lb | Can hold about 200 lb/2000 coins, requires two hands to push

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Writing an OSR(?) game from memory, Part 2: Races, classes

The project continues. Aplogies for the terrible blogger formatting. I'm noticing this is a bit stream-of-consciousness. I can't really remember the specifics of XP, saves, and spell tables so expect a lot of discrepancies to pop up.



Races:
Races are somewhat akin to species. Races are broadly categorized into humans (us), demi-humans (dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings), and humanoids (goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs)

Man
Men (and women) are typical examples of humankind.
Racial languages: Common
Extra languages: Dragon, dwarven, elven, goblin, kobold, giant, orcish, sylvan
Powers: None
Typical alignment: Neutral (with notable outliers)
Classes & level limits: All classes, no level limits

Dwarf/Gnome
Short, human-like creatures with great beards (for males) or great manes (for females). Dwarves are stocky, live in mountains, and hate goblins; gnomes are thin , live in hills, and hate kobolds.
Racial languages: Dwarven and common
Extra languages: Giant, goblin, kobold
Powers: Infravision 30' range (they can see in grayscale but only in total darkness), 1-in-6 chance of automatically detecting hidden stonework features, dips, rises, or other details in rock, +1 to hit and damage against goblins (dwarves)/kobolds (gnomes).
Typical alignment: Lawful
Classes & level limits: Fighting-man 7; cleric 5 (dwarves only); magic-user 5 (gnomes only)

Elf
Lithe, human-like creatures with pointed ears. Elves usually live in or near forests.
Racial languages: Elven and common
Extra languages: Orcish, sylvan
Powers: Infravision 30' range (they can see in grayscale but only in total darkness), 1-in-6 chance of automatically detecting hidden doors or other entrances, may advance as both fighting-men AND magic-users simultaneously, allotting XP earned to one class per session, using the best values for HAC0, saves, and total hit dice. Elf fighting-men/magic-users may use any weapons but not shields or plate armor. 
Typical alignment: Chaotic with Neutral minority
Classes & level limits: Fighting-man 8; magic-user 6; anti-cleric 7


Halfling
Halflings are about 3-1/2' tall human-like creatures with hairy/furry hands and feet. The possess keen eyesight.
Racial languages: Common
Extra languages: Goblin, kobold
Powers: Infravision 30' range (they can see in grayscale but only in total darkness), +1 to hit and damage with ranged weapons.
Typical alignment: Neutral with Lawful minority
Classes & level limits: Fighting-man 6; shaman 5

Classes:
Explanation of some terms:
] Level: Relative measure of power.
] Hit dice: Abbreviated HD, the number of six-sided dice rolled to generate hit points (hp). Pluses are added and minuses are subtracted but a minimum of 1 hp is gained per each hit die.
] XP needed: Experience required to obtain this level.
] HAC0: The unmodified roll needed to Hit Armor Class (AC) 0 (zero). To hit AC 9 subtract 9, to hit AC -9 add 9, etc.
] Save vs. _____: Roll 1d20 against certain effects or at referee's discretion, if the number equals or exceeds this number then the effect will either be lessened or negated.
] Spells per day: The maximum number of spells that can be stored for use within the caster's mind.

Fighting-man
Fighting-men (and fighting-women, fighting-elves, etc.) are masters of martial arts. They can use any weapon or armor.

Level | Hit Dice | XP needed | HAC0 | Save vs death | poison/paralysis | breath | spell | wand
1   | 1 | 0 | 19 | 16 | 14 | 14 | 16| 14
2   | 2 | 2000 | 18 | 16 | 14 | 14 | 16 | 14
3   | 3 | 4000 | 18 | 16 | 14 | 14 | 16 | 14
4   | 4 | 6000 | 17 | 15 | 13 | 13 | 15 | 14
5   | 5 | 8000 | 17 | 15 | 13 | 13 | 15 | 13
6   | 6 | 10000 | 16 | 15 | 13 | 13 | 15 | 13
7   | 7 | 12000 | 16 | 14 | 12 | 12 | 14 | 13
8   | 8 | 14000 | 15 | 14 | 12 | 12 | 14 | 12
9   | 9 | 16000 | 15 | 14 | 12 | 12 | 14 | 12
10 | 9+2 | 18000 | 14 | 11 | 11 | 14 | 13 | 12
11 | 9+4 | 20000 | 13 | 11 | 11 | 14 | 13 | 11
12 | 9+6 | 22000 | 12 | 10 | 10 | 14 | 12 | 11

 
Magic-User
The magic-user uses esoteric knowledge to cast spells. A magic-user starts with a spellbook containing 1 randomly determined spell (see the Spells section for details), a gift from his master(s). =EDIT= Magic-users may only use daggers, staves, and slings and may not wear any armor.        

Level | Hit Dice | XP needed | HAC0 | Save vs death | poison/paralysis | breath | spell | wand
1  | 1 | 0 | 20 | 17 | 16 | 16 | 14| 12
2  | 2 | 4000 | 20 | 17 | 16 | 16 | 14 | 12
3  | 2 | 6000 | 19 | 17 | 16 | 16 | 14 | 12
4  | 3 | 8000 | 19 | 16 | 15 | 15 | 13 | 11
5  | 4 | 10000 | 18 | 16 | 15 | 15 | 13 | 11
6  | 5 | 12000 | 18 | 16 | 15 | 15 | 13 | 11
7  | 5 | 14000 | 17 | 15 | 14 | 14 | 12 | 10
8  | 6 | 16000 | 17 | 15 | 14 | 14 | 12 | 10
9  | 7 | 18000 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 14 | 12 | 10
10 | 8 | 20000 | 16 | 14 | 13 | 13 | 11 | 9
11 | 8 | 22000 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 13 | 11 | 9
12 | 9 | 24000 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 12 | 10 | 8

Magic-user spells per day
Character level | # of 1st-level spells | # 2nd | # 3rd | # 4th | # 5th | # 6th
1 | 1 | - | - | - | - | - |
2 | 2 | - | - | - | - | - |
3 | 3 | 1 | - | - | - | - |
4 | 4 | 2 | - | - | - | - |
5 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - | - | - |
6 | 5 | 4 | 2 | - | - | - |
7 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - | - |
8 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 2 | - | - |
9 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - |
10 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 2 | - |
11 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 1
12  | 5 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 2

Cleric/Shaman/Anti-cleric
The servants of the gods, most obvious soldiers in the Cosmic Struggle.

Clerics are Lawful. Their holy symbols are the ankh or sun. They cannot use bladed or piercing weapons. If they cast reversed spells they have a 30% chance of their god(s) taking away their spellcasting abilities for 1d6 days. They have the power to turn (repel) or destroy undead.

Shamans are Neutral. Their holy symbols (carved from bone or wood) are animals, plants, and elements. They may only use weapons and armor made from "living" materials (leather, wood, bone, etc.). They may cast reversed and unreversed spells freely.

Anti-Clerics are Chaotic. Their holy symbols are the skull, inhuman eye, or savage maw. They cannot use bladed or piercing weapons. If they cast unreversed spells they have a 30% chance of their god(s) taking away their spellcasting abilities for 1d6 days. Anti-clerics who obviously display their allegiance will never receive a "hostile" reaction from Chaotic creatures or a "helpful" reaction from Lawful creatures (this does not allow them to act without consequence).

Level | Hit Dice | XP needed | HAC0 | Save vs death | poison/paralysis | breath | spell | wand
1     | 1 | 0        | 20 | 15 | 15 | 15 | 15| 13
2     | 2 | 3000  | 19 | 15 | 15 | 15 | 15 | 13
3     | 2 | 5000  | 19 | 15 | 15 | 15 | 15 | 13
4     | 3 | 7000  | 18 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 12
5     | 4 | 9000  | 17 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 12
6     | 5 | 11000 | 17 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 14 | 12
7     | 6 | 13000 | 16 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 11
8     | 6 | 15000 | 15 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 11
9     | 7 | 17000 | 15 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 13 | 11
10   | 8 | 19000 | 14 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 10
11   | 9 | 21000 | 13 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 10
12 | 9+2 | 23000 | 13 | 12 | 12 | 12 | 11 | 10

Cleric/shaman/anti-cleric spells per day
Character level | # of 1st-level spells | # 2nd | # 3rd | # 4th | # 5th | # 6th
1* | - | - | - | - | - | - |
2 | 1 | - | - | - | - | - |
3 | 2 | - | - | - | - | - |
4 | 3 | 1 | - | - | - | - |
5 | 4 | 2 | - | - | - | - |
6 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - | - | - |
7 | 4 | 4 | 2 | - | - | - |
8 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - | - |
9 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 2 | - | - |
10 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 1 | - |
11 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 2 | - |
12 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 1
*1st-level clerics/shamans/anti-clerics cannot cast spells

Turning/repelling/destroying undead
Cleric level | Undead 1 HD | 2 HD | 3 HD | 4 HD | 5 HD | 6 HD | 7 HD | 8 HD | 9 HD | 10 HD | 11+ HD
1   | 7 | 10 | - | - | - | - | - |  - | - | - | - |
2   | 5 | 8 | 11 | - | - | - | - |  - | - | - | - |
3   | 3 | 6 | 9 | 12 | - | - | - |  - | - | - | - |
4   | A | 4 | 7 | 9 | 12 | - | - |  - | - | - | - |
5   | A | A | 5 | 7 | 9 | 12 | - |  - | - | - | - |
6   | D | A | 3 | 5 | 7 | 9 | 12 |  - | - | - | - |
7   | D | D | A | 3 | 5 | 7 | 9 | 12 | - | - | - |
8   | D | D | A| A | 3 | 5 | 7 |  9 | 12| - | - |
9   | D | D | D | A | A | 3 | 5 | 7 | 9 | 12 | - |
10 | D | D | D | D | A | A | 3 | 5 | 7 | 9 | 12 |
11 | D | D | D | D | D | A | A | 3 | 5 | 7 | 9|
12 | D | D | D | D | D | D | A | A | 3 | 3 | 7 |

To turn undead a cleric must present his holy symbol with a free hand. The player then rolls 2d6 and if the result equals or exceeds any number shown then the undead are turn away and cannot approach or attack the cleric or his party for 10 minutes (1 turn). All of the closest and weakest undead are affected first. An "A" indicates automatic turning and a "D" indicates that turned undead are instead destroyed.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Writing an OSR(?) game from memory, Part 1: Goals, ability scores, alignment

Somewhat inspired by the Gygax 75 challenge, I've decided to write an OSR(-compatible) game from memory. I won't be referencing any rulebooks, modules, or SRDs. I expect the result to look a bit like LBB with weird bits of B/X, 1e, 2e, and some homebrew. I will gather my end results and throw them up as a formatted PDF on Drivethrurpg.



Goals:
] all character creation information
] at least 3 races
] at least 3 classes, at least one of which is a spell caster
] full spell list for casters
] equipment list
] full exploration rules
] full combat rules 
] full treasure and magic items
] enough monsters to populate 3 dungeon levels' worth of encounters
] enough monsters to populate 3 biomes' worth of encounters


Character Creation
To create a character one must generate abilities, select a race, select a class, determine spells, and purchase equipment.

Ability Scores
Ability scores represent general physical and mental aptitudes in numerical fashion. Roll 3d6 6 times, assigning each number in order to the following abilities:

Strength: Represents muscle power. It is most important to fighting-men.
Scores | Fighting-manXP | Force doors/objects
3-6 | -10% | 1-in-6
7-14 | - | 2-in-6
15-18 | +10% | 4-in-6

Intelligence: Represents intellect, logic, and memory. It is most important to magic-users.
Scores | Magic-User XP | Languages | Literacy | Chance to learn spell (Magic-Users)
3-6 | -10% | Alignment and racial | Illiterate* | 60**
7-14 | - | Alignment and racial | Literate | 70**
15-18 | +10% | Alignment, racial, plus one extra language | Literate | 80%**
*illiterate magic-user require the aid of a literate magic-user to teach them spells
**modified by spell level

Wisdom: Represents insight, senses, and reflection. It is most important to clerics, shamans, and anti-clerics. 
Scores | Cleric XP | Modifier on saves vs mental/emotional/spiritual effects
3-6 | -10% | -2
7-14 | - | -

15-18 | +10% | +2
Constitution: Represents endurance and general health. It is important for all characters.
Scores | Hit point modifier per hit die | System shock survival chance
3-4 | -1 | 45%
5-14 | - | 70%

17-18 | +1 | 95%
Dexterity: Represents reflexes and coordination.

Scores | Modifier on ranged attacks
3-8 | -1
9-12 | -

13-18 | +1


Charisma: Represents personal magnetism and self-confidence.
Scores | Reaction modifier | Maximum henchmen | Base loyalty
3-4 | -2 | 2 | 8
6-8 | -1 | 2 | 10
9-12 | - | 3 | 12
13-16 | +1 | 4 | 14
17-18 | +2 | 4 | 16


Alignment
All of creation is involved in the cosmic struggle between Law and Chaos; even those who refrain from the battle unknowingly side with Neutrality. Mortals (and many immortals) are not perfect representations of their alignments but their attitudes and actions convey their allegiances. All characters must select an alignment, and some alignments cannot pursue certain classes. All characters know their alignment language (Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic); a character whose alignment changes lose access to the alignment language until his alignment reverts or someone from his new alignment teaches him the new language.

Law can be roughly equated to "Good"; Even at their worst, Lawful people act with noble intentions and try to help others.

Chaos can be roughly equated to "Evil"; Even at their best, Chaotic people act with corrupt intentions and try to hinder others.

Neutrality often represents a lack of commitment or a desire to avoid trouble but for some it is a philosophy of "Balance" in the cosmos.

Selected creatures' typical alignments
LAW========NEUTRALITY========CHAOS
Men                    Men                                    Men
Dwarves             Halflings                            Goblins
Cavemen            Orcs                                   Hobgoblins
Treants               Ogres                                 Trolls
Judicators           Elementals                        Balors
Dragons             Dragons                            Dragons

Underlined creatures are equally likely to be Neutral or Chaotic
Italic creatures are equally likely to be Lawful or Neutral





Monday, October 28, 2019

Give me a fish-man and I will explain the monsters of my setting

Inspired by this post by Joseph Manola I read years ago and late-night sleepy thoughts. 

While Ye Olde Snake-Men Empire isn't a bad idea, I feel it's been suffering a bit of overexposure in the OSR, a critcism which extends to my own WIP setting. Until yesterday, I was riffing heavily on McKinney's Carcosa with the Serpentine (snake-men) being the creators of Mankind for the purposes of occult science. The Kuo-Toa (or their off-brand OGL equivalents) popped into my head as something cool to add to the bestiary. I had originally thought of them as enemies of the Serpentine, Men, and Elves but then I realized they fit the role I wanted the Sepentine to play.


You may ask, "Buzzclaw, what's so special about fish-dudes?" You're right to ask that. My first foray into the Kuo-Toa (and the D&D brand) was 3e; I wasn't impressed. They seemed like generic fishmen. Then recently (this year, I believe), I got a chance to read D2 - Shrine of The Kuo-Toa. That won me over. Horrible, amphibious fish-men ruling and rampaging throughout sea, land, and underworld, kidnapping (fishing? manning?) people for dark rituals. Then the land and sea groups went extinct, leaving only the underworld-dwellers. But they still remember those upstart Men and they're dreaming up schemes of revenge. That's some good shit right there.

Legacies of the Kuo-Toa

Assuming then, that the man-fishes had a stereotypical empire like the classic snake-men, what did they leave behind?

1) Magic! In my own setting, the (off-brand) Kuo-Toa created occult science (less icky Carcosa rituals) then Elves used some of their notes + demonic consultations to create classic D&D magic.

2) Magic Items! In their monster entry, Kuo-Toa really like to use daggers and spears; embellish that dagger +1 with aquatic motifs!

3) Monsters! Land lampreys. Land Urchins. Mantari. Behemoths from the Lankhmar sets. Cloakers too. What's a Roper but a weird-ass land-squid? Are Koalinths and Scrags aquatic versions of Hobgoblins and Trolls OR did the Kuo-Toa take aquatic creatures and create terrestrial versions? Are Mermen and Tritons prototypes or alternative research for Project: Man?

4) Dungeons! All those ruins and tombs are the handiwork of the vanished man-fishes. Are you a bad enough party to dive into ancient, pre-human ruins in search of loot?