Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Friday, November 18, 2011

People's Republic of Saving Throws

The base saving throw for all classes is Character's Level +5.
Roll equal or under on D20.

Before rolling, the Player describes what the character does to make the save and the DM applied bonuses (if any).

Examples of how a player might describe escaping a calamity requiring a roll:
  • A coward may flee at the first opportunity
  • A tough guy may just stand there and take it
  • wizards and clerics may make a plea to otherworldly beings or combat their fate with their own mystic prowess

At the end of each session Players & DM vote on the best, most entertaining save, and the PC with the most votes gets +1 to similar saves from then on.  They do this by each writing down a character name and a very brief description of the action on a scrap of paper, then all are read and voted on.  For example: "Oswald the Thief - runs away when scared"  Might win the vote.

Why I like this:
1. Player creativity is at it's highest when character death is on the line.
2. What the player comes up with has the potential to contribute to the depth of the character.
3. The result has the potential to be more interesting than the pass/fail of a typical saving throw.

A while back I played around a bunch with various indie games, some of the more story game variety.  I didn't ever pick up a rules system whole cloth though.  For a while we had a game that was like Savage Worlds combined with the FATE system, and we did "People's Republic of Experience Points" which I'm pretty sure I got from the game Burning Wheel.  I would find out about some rules sub-system and bolt that on to other systems and arrive at weird frankenstein games.  I'm mostly over that now...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magic-Users Break the Universe. (maybe)

For this post, I started writing about low level M-Us, being a kid and loving the Wild Mage in the Tome of Magic, and how much fun it is to give a Player a risky but potentially powerful option and just watch them sweat, but really, "Magic-Users Break the Unverse" sums it up.   Click this link to get the Arcane Stress & Spell Mutation optional rule.

Also, Brendan suggested that I note the name of the blog on the pdfs that I put up.
I've gone back and added the blog name to:
Slimes Molds and Jellies already had it.

(Note: the arcane stress & mutation pdf is made to print onto 8.5x14 legal paper and fold like a pamphlet)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dungeon Inspiration from ancient Greece and the Pacific Rim

This is from the wikipedia entry for Ophion:

Apollonius of Rhodes in his Argonautica (1.495f) summarizes a song of Orpheus:
He sang how the earth, the heaven and the sea, once mingled together in one form, after deadly strife were separated each from other; and how the stars and the moon and the paths of the sun ever keep their fixed place in the sky; and how the mountains rose, and how the resounding rivers with their nymphs came into being and all creeping things. And he sang how first of all Ophion and Eurynome, daughter of Oceanus, held the sway of snowy Olympus, and how through strength of arm one yielded his prerogative to Cronos and the other to Rhea, and how they fell into the waves of Oceanus; but the other two meanwhile ruled over the blessed Titan-gods, while Zeus, still a child and with the thoughts of a child, dwelt in the Dictaean cave; and the earthborn Cyclopes had not yet armed him with the bolt, with thunder and lightning; for these things give renown to Zeus.
two things that are awesome about this pasage:

1. "rivers with their nymphs came into being and all creeping things" makes me think of little elf chicks riding around on the Host.

2. A cave where a god was raised.  Put that in your dungeon!

And also a wizard's tower

Monday, November 7, 2011

Starting Equipment

Here's a way to quickly generate starting equipment (with some randomness and some player choice) for Fantasy Roleplaying.  This was inspired by The LotFP equipment generator at Hill Cantons, and I suppose DCC a bit, with those random free items at the end.  Characters made with this will tend to be kinda LoFi and broke, though occaionally you can get a high roller.  Either way this adds a bit of flavor to character generation and it's fast!

Download Here:


Lamentations of the Flame Princess Language Variant

I really like LotFP's rules on languages.  I tend to run smaller groups when I play though, and I feel like the rules as written are meant for or work much better with larger groups.  In a larger group, you are sure to have a specialist and/or a wizard or two, and odds are somebody is going to roll a 1.  In a small group though, the by the book rules can cut down on your number of social encounters, so I've come up with the following variant.  The purpose of these rules (both this variant and the rules as written, as I see it) is to randomly give a different PC the spotlight when new creatures are encountered.  This variant just increases the chance if not guarantees that someone will be able to speak to an NPC or monster.

(because I like it when the players can talk to the mud people/giant spiders/pirates from the blood sea)


 When making language rolls, every player rolls a D6.  With normal languages the low rolling PC understands the language with the number rolled being an indication of how well they speak and understand the language.  The lower the better.  Example: three PCs encounter a swamp troll who is trying to tell them that the cave to the north has a group of harpies living in it.  They roll 3, 3, and 5.  The two who rolled 3 can both understand the swamp troll, but not very well.  Maybe they get that he's warning them about the cave, but they don't understand the word for harpy.  Characters who have an INT modifier or specialists with ranks in Languages can roll an additional die for each pip or plus, and take the lowest.  Stranger languages, or languages of creatures from other planes may require two or more low rolls and a maximum roll of say, one or two.