Archive for the ‘OD&D’ Category

A Few More OD&D Links

February 21, 2017

od&d

I’ve come across a few more interesting OD&D links:

OD&D Referee Tools

An online generator to create OD&D characters, treasure hordes, bandit groups, monster lairs, magic swords and, most interestingly to me, castle inhabitants (including the lord, special monsters and men-at-arms).  It’s not pretty, and there are a few bugs, but overall it looks like quite a handy tool.  Should make populating an OD&D inspired wilderness a snap.

Helgacon VIII: Outdoor Sploitation Report

At the Delta’s D&D Hotspot blog is an interesting report on a con game run using OD&D and the Outdoor Survival Map.  The players start with fairly high level characters, and the goal is to explore the outdoor survival map and collect 100,000 GP within the four-hour play session.  Though it’s only a one-off game, it’s still an interesting take on how to play OD&D, and it’s a fun read.

The Oldest Dungeon Maps in D&D History

The Hidden in Shadows blog posted an interesting bit of gaming archeology: some of the original player maps of the Black Moor dungeon, an early example of player mapping in action.  Also of interest is the number of tunnels, or passageways, in the Black Moor dungeon, most of them not angled straight north-south or east-west.  What rooms there are also often of strange angles and shapes.  This all may have been an attempt to confuse player mapping, or maybe Mr. Arneson just thought straight lines and 90-degree angles were boring.

BBC Interview with Michael Mornard

January 25, 2017

Here’s an interesting interview by the BBC with Michael Mornard, one of the early players of Dungeons & Dragons.  It’s only about 9 minutes long, so won’t take up much of your time.

Cheers!

Chainmail Available in PDF

January 10, 2017

chainmailpic

The Chainmail miniatures wargame, grandaddy to D&D, is once again available in PDF format at One Book Shelf for $4.99.  Apparently this is the 7th printing of the 3rd Edition, so many (or all?) of the Tolkien references have been omitted or changed.  But still worth the price if you’d like to look at a piece of gaming history.  Cheers!

Edit:  I can confirm that hobbits have been changed to halflings, and balrogs have been removed entirely.  There may be other changes as well, but those are the two big ones I noticed right away.

OD&D Links

November 23, 2016
outdoorsurvivalmap

The Outdoor Survival Map, Hexographer Edition

My friend Randy (TotalGMKills) sent me an email a few days ago regarding The Original D&D Setting by Wayne Rossi (Semper Initiativus Unum), an analysis of OD&D’s wilderness rules as applied to the Outdoor Survival Map.  I had already read Mr. Rossi’s PDF (indeed, I read it again the other day), but I was inspired to assemble as many OD&D related links as I could find: materials, resources and inspirations.

So, here it is, in no particular order:

No doubt there are things I’ve missed, probably even obvious things that I’ll later feel like an idiot for not having included in the first place.  So, as I find new OD&D related material, I’ll add links to it here.  I may eventually create a separate page on the blog for this list if it generates any interest.

I hope you’ve found this interesting and useful.  If you think of anything that should be added, feel free to comment and I’ll check it out.  Thanks, and cheers!

Wizards Releases OD&D PDFs

January 26, 2016

od&dWizards recently released the 3 Little Brown Books from Original D&D as PDFs.  I take it these are the versions from the premium reprint they did a couple of years ago.  You can get them here, if you’re interested.

Presumably, the other supplements will also be released, in due course.  Personally, I hope this means they’ll release a PDF for Chainmail, as well.

Cheers!

Caves of Chaos – old school one-shot

December 22, 2015

Sunday I had the opportunity to run a one-shot session of the Caves of Chaos for a few friends.  I used no particular rule book or system, instead employing a hodge-podge of rules from OD&D, 3rd Edition and 5th Edition.

To jump-start the action, I printed out a bunch of 0-level DCC ‘funnel’ characters (using Purple Sorcerer’s character generator).  Each player controlled three 0-level peasants.  As you can imagine, the body count was quite high, but I let them replace losses right away so nobody was out of the action for long.

Bring out 'yer dead!

Bring out ‘yer dead!

By zerging the caves, they managed to clean out the goblin area, and most of the hobgoblin caves.  However, there were two near TPK’s (with lucky survivors running away when the situation was clearly hopeless).  One of the players also managed to antagonize a patrol from the keep, so you can chalk up 5 more keep guards (and a clever cover-up to avert suspicion, aided by most of the conspirators perishing the next day in one of those aforementioned near TPKs).

The amazing thing was, once the funnel characters managed to scavenge some decent weapons and armor, and the players employed some basic old school tactics, they did fairly well.  There was, of course, a dreadful sort of natural selection going on, with weak characters dying (or deliberately sacrificed) quickly, and hardier characters getting the better equipment.

I wouldn’t run a normal campaign like this, but for a one-off it was fine, and everyone said they had a good time.  What’s more, I may have gained a couple more converts for old school gaming goodness.  Cheers.

Castle Greyhawk Webcomic

August 29, 2015

I recently discovered a webcomic based on Castle Greyhawk, featuring some of the iconic OD&D characters such as Tenser, Mordenkainen, Yrag and others.  If you’re a fan of old school D&D, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  Aside from being an interesting take on the “old days,” it’s given me plenty of ideas for my own games.

Eviscera of the Cyborg Sorcerers

September 19, 2014

sorcerer

Need to jazz up your cyborg space sorcerers?  Here’s a quick reference for some funky implants and transplants, inspired by Space-Age Sorcery:

Eviscera of the Cyborg Sorcerers

Featuring:

  • Cranial implants
  • Cyber-tentacles
  • Hover torso
  • Beholder eyestalk transplantation
  • And the horrific consequences of transplant rejection!

It’s just a quick little guide to hopefully jumpstart your own twisted imagination.  With insane cybernetic space sorcerers, anything’s possible!

 

Legendary Monsters for Swords & Wizardry (or other old school games)

September 5, 2014

Inspired by legendary monsters from 5th Edition D&D:

smaug

 

A “legendary” monster has a number of Legend points equal to its Hit Dice.  One Legend point may be spent to take one discreet action immediately after a PC has completed his/her actions.  Specific examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Move
  • Attack
  • Cast a spell
  • Use a special ability
  • Use a magic item
  • Retrieve an item
  • Activate a device
  • Yell out for help/summon reinforcements

Note that not every big monster is a ‘legendary’ monster.  Such status should be reserved for special monsters, such as ancient dragons, vampire masters, named demons and devils and the like.

Exertion Points

August 7, 2014

knightsfightingSo, another rambling idea I just had, so I’m kind of thinking out loud here (so to speak).  I recently finished Bernard Cornwell’s  excellent book Agincourt, which prompted some thoughts about the reality of medieval(ish) melee combat and, more to the point, exhaustion in combat (especially on the muddy fields of Agincourt) and how such applies to D&D.

Most editions of D&D have one or more rules about exertion, exhaustion and what not.  OD&D, for example, requires a party to rest 1 turn for every 5 turns spent exploring, or suffer a -1 penalty to all checks.  I vaguely recall AD&D having a rule about being able to sustain melee combat for a number of rounds equal to a character’s Constitution score before suffering penalties for exhaustion (a rule we never really used, I should add).

Most of the time I simply ignore these kind of rules and just play the game.  However, I can see a style of game that is very much focused on the details and minutia of dungeon exploration:  resource management, time management, mapping, lighting, etc. and, of course, exhaustion.

So, as a simple way to track exhaustion, each character is given a number of tokens equal to their Constitution score, representing the character’s stamina.  Players surrender one of their character’s exertion tokens every turn spent exploring.  Worse, they surrender a token every round of combat.  Resting for a short period (1 turn?  1 hour?  not sure on this) restores the character’s tokens.

A character unable to surrender a token is exhausted and suffers a significant penalty:  at least -2, but maybe even -4, to stress the importance of resting and recovering one’s strength, especially after battle.  Of course, resting eats up time, bringing more wandering monster checks and the possibility of sudden death with little reward.

You can also play around with the mechanic a bit, for example fighting in mud costs 2 tokens per round of combat.  Also, spells could drain or restore tokens, or special attacks could reduce exertion tokens instead of hit points, etc.

I wouldn’t use such a system in every campaign, but it could play an interesting role in a gritty game of lethal dungeon exploration where mapping, lighting and tracking every resource is vitally important to survival.

Thoughts, idea, suggestions, questions all welcome.  Cheers.


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