Posts Tagged ‘Role-playing game’

The State of Your Game

October 26, 2016

sageadvice_thumb_0This is kind of just a throw-away post here.  I didn’t want to end the month without posting at least once on the blog.

So, I’m just wondering about the state of your game: what you’re running, if you’ve got a campaign going, how’s it going, etc.  Feel free to link to any campaign logs or after action reports you’ve written up.  I love to read up on other people’s campaigns.

As for myself, nothing cooking at the moment.  I’ve got five or six ideas for campaigns (including The Long Winter campaign, long in development), but I’m not really sure what to focus on.  Besides, our group currently games two or three times a week, so there aren’t a lot of open time slots at the moment.

Game on!



‘New School’ Contributions to ‘The Game’

January 16, 2012

(Note:  By ‘The Game’, I mean Dungeons & Dragons in all it’s editions, variants, clones and simulacra).

I was reading a post over at Delta’s OD&D Hotspot about the simplicity of monster stats in OD&D (Original Dungeons & Dragons, for any readers who may not know what I’m talking about).  OD&D fit dozens of monsters on a single page, whereas 4E and Pathfinder use a minimum of one page to describe even the simplest monster (Pathfinder Beginner Box manages to squeeze two monsters per page).  It got me thinking a bit about my affinity for ‘old school’ rulesets…essentially OD&D and the more recent retroclones.

I spend a great deal of time here creating material for the Pathfinder Beginner Box, but I don’t think it’s any secret that I’d rather be playing Swords & Wizardry or one of the other clones (not that I’ve had a chance to play the BB yet, either 😦 ).  Yet despite my preference for ‘old school’, I think ‘new school’ games like 3E/Pathfinder, and even 4E, have made some important contributions to The Game, contributions that ‘old school’ games could benefit from:

  • Ascending Armor Class: Probably the biggest contribution to The Game, in my opinion.  Many ‘old schoolers’ swear by descending Armor Class, and that’s fine.  Play the game you want to play.  But no one will ever convince me that descending AC is in any way superior to ascending AC.  Ascending AC is what D&D should have been using from the get-go.
  • The Big 3:  Fortitude, Reflex and Willpower.  The five saving throws of old school D&D work well enough, but the three saving throws of 3E/Pathfinder are more elegant in my view.  The big 3 cover pretty much every conceivable situation, are a little easier to improvise with and can be easily rationalized (should you feel the need to rationalize your D&D).  It’s a case of less being more (of course, Swords & Wizardry’s single saving throw is even more elegant).
  • Creature Size:  OD&D kind of alludes to creature size, but later editions make great mechanical use of it (often too much use, imo).  However, better definition of creature size is something I think OD&D could put to good use and actually make monster stat blocks a bit more elegant.  Add one more column to the monster chart detailing each monster’s size category: S (small), M (medium/man-sized), L (large), H (huge) and G (gargantuan).  For those that don’t now, in OD&D most weapons and monsters do a single d6 of damage.  However, certain larger monsters, like giants, might do 2d6 or 3d6 damage per attack.  It would be quite simple to tie a monster’s damage to it’s size class:  S/M creatures do 1d6; L creatures do 2d6; H creatures do 3d6 and G creatures do 4d6.  A creature’s movement rate can also be tied to it’s size.  Thus, with a single letter designation you impart a great deal of information:  how large it is, how fast it moves and how much damage it does.
  • Feats:  As I’ve discussed before, I generally like the addition of feats to The Game, though I think feats in Pathfinder core tend to to be too complex, not to mention that there are simply too many of them.  OD&D (and the retroclones) could benefit from the addition of a few simple feats.  It would add a bit of character specialization/differentiation and  increase survivability at lower levels without dramatically increasing the power curve or adding significant complexity.
  • 4E Power Uses: I don’t like 4E powers per se, especially that every class has ‘powers’.  But, I do like the idea of at-will use, once per encounter use and daily use, as applied to spells.  Why not allow a magic-user to cast magic missile as many times as they want in a day?  More powerful spells, like charm person or sleep, can be limited to once per battle or once per day.  Going through the spell list and deciding which spells fall into which category would be tedious, but once done it would be a rather elegant solution to the problem of wizard utility at lower levels and it would flatten the wizard’s power curve at higher levels.  Granted, the idea needs a bit of tweaking to work with old school concepts, but I think it has some potential (another project to work on some day).

I guess my ultimate dream fantasy heart-breaker would combine the elements I like best from both the old school and the new school (something they claim to be doing for 5th edition…we’ll see about that).  I’ve tried a couple times to create my own Frankenstein-ish dream version of The Game but haven’t really been able to get a handle on it yet.  Maybe someday I will.

In the meantime, game on!

RPG Settings

December 23, 2011

Following are a couple of RPG settings I doodled out one day.  Haven’t had a chance to use them yet, but maybe someone else will like them and put them to use.


Bazaar of Feasts

Sealed off from the outside world, this strange market is open only to those who know how to gain access.  However, the bazaar has no known doors, gates, windows, tunnels or mundane portals of any kind.  Thus, gaining access is sufficient proof alone that one belongs in the bazaar.

To those who can get in, the Bazaar of Feasts offers every passing decadence, immorality, illegality, pleasure, luxury, good and service.  Most proprietors do not fancy gold or gems; exotica are the medium of exchange within the bazaar.

The sun barely shines during the day; torches and lamps provide murky light at night.  While filled with all manner of the bizarre, the shops and stalls themselves appear nondescript, run-down and seedy even.

It is best if one knows specifically what they are looking for and where to find it, for blindly stumbling around the bazaar is a dangerous business.  All manner of shady affairs takes place there, and sometimes customers don’t leave the bazaar…ever.  “Window shopping” is discouraged.

Order is maintained by the Dukari, a corps of extra-dimensional enforcers.  They eject trouble makers, execute thieves and go to any extent necessary to retrieve stolen property (the definition of ‘stolen’ and ‘property’ can be quite flexible to certain of the merchants of the Feast).


The Graveyard

The blasted wasteland called The Graveyard extends scores of miles in all directions.  The Graveyard was the site of a great battle, some say the last battle of the Apocalypse.  As such, it is filled with ghosts of the Ancients who fought, and died, there.

The rusted hulks of massive war machines lie everywhere, in ruin.  No animals live there and no plants can grow there, not even a single blade of grass.  It is said the Ancients unleashed their most terrible weapons in the Final Battle, poisoning the area for all time.

Despite its name, The Graveyard is not completely dead.  The machine ghosts of the Ancients are still fighting their war, constantly patrolling and alert for any sign of their enemy.  Any creature or thing that cannot be identified as a friend is classified as a hostile and subject to immediate termination.

Despite the dangers, many brave The Graveyard in search of relics and salvage that can be repaired or put to good use.  But few have penetrated to the Graveyard’s heart, where the greatest treasures are said to be found.

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