Friday, January 30, 2009

Random Chargen.

My post to an interesting discussion, relevant to old school games.

Mass Combat Rules

Mulligan Stones

Mulligan Stones will again be used. They may be used to re-roll any player dice roll. Every character will start the game with one. They are handed out (sparingly) for good roleplaying, teamwork, great one-liners, fervent game participation, and general awesomeness. In a new twist, they may be used to add +5 to any one player roll (limit one Mulligan Stone per player roll). 

A player may use their Mulligan Stone on another player's roll, provided that other player agrees.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Monsters and Organization

As has been stressed herein, you will find that it is necessary to assume the vorious roles and personae of all creatures not represented by players. This can be particularly difficult in combat situations. You must be able to quickly determine what the monsters involved will do in any given situation, and this can be particularly difficult in combat situations.

It is necessary that you make a rule to decide what course of action the monsters will follow BEFORE the party states what they are going to do. This can be noted on the area key or jotted down on paper. Having such notes will save you from later arguments, as it is a simple matter to show disgruntled players these ”orders” when they express dissatisfaction with the results of such an encounter. The intelligence and wisdom of concerned monsters are principal determinants of their actions and/or reactions. Consider also cunning and instinct. It is also important to remember that lawful indicates an organized and ordered approach, while chaotic means a tendency towards random, individual action and disorganization; but these modifiers must also be judged in light of the monsters concerned, of course.

-DMG, pg 104

Graph/Hex Paper

More on mapmaking.

Planning the Campaign

  • "two campaign articles in Dragons 63 and 65, and would advise anyone starting a new campaign to check them out: "Plan Before You Play" and "Law of the Land."
  • two pieces of local info (rumours, legends) per character, written on index cards and randomly distributed.
  • "The old man hadn’t said much about the job before he got himself killed, just that you were to conduct him to the town of Dressanthorpe and that you’d be payed the going wage for bodyguarding/escort work and, afterward, he’d tell you more if you wanted to brave a greater danger and reap a greater reward. Well, it turned out the journey was danger enough. The four bandits that attacked you were either desperate from hunger or too drunk to know better. It hadn’t taken long for you to subdue them when they burst, screaming, out of the brush along the side of the road. Unfortunately for the old man, one of them wasn’t too bad with his sling and got in a lucky shot before falling to your swords.

    It was bad enough the old man died just as you arrived at your destination. The fact that he obviously intended to cheat all of you just made it worse. The pouch he wore so prominently on his belt, the one he led you all to believe was full of gold, turned out to hold mostly copper; definitely not enough to pay you all off at the price he quoted. The sale of his clothes, weapons and other items had barely earned enough cash to buy you a night’s lodging and some warm food.

    But he hadn’t left you entirely empty handed. The hidden pocket he’d had sewn into his coat had been decent, but not good enough to escape detection during the close inspection you’d given him while looking for enough cash to fund your journey home. You hadn’t found any cash, just a letter on old, fading parchment. It was obvious that the letter was what brought the old man to this town on the edge of the kingdom, at the foothills of the Trollstep Mountains; and that his allusion to “greater risk for greater rewards” meant he’d planned to offer all of you a chance to seek the treasure described in the letter.

    And so, you find yourselves sitting around a scarred old table, in the darkest, remotest corner of Dressanthorpe’s only Inn staring at the letter, reading it over and over again, trying to decide between working your way back to more civilized lands as caravan drovers or bearers and heading up into the mountains to find a fortune."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old School Primer: For Players

Tips for Players
1) View the entire area you’ve mapped out as the battleground; don’t plan on taking on
monsters in a single room. They may try to outflank you by running down corridors.
Establish rendezvous points where the party can fall back to a secure defensive position.
2) Scout ahead, and try to avoid wandering monsters which don’t carry much treasure.
You’re in the dungeon to find the treasure-rich lairs. Trying to kill every monster you
meet will weaken the party before you find the rich monsters.
3) Don’t assume you can defeat any monster you encounter.
4) Keep some sort of map, even if it’s just a flow chart. If you get lost, you can end up in
real trouble – especially in a dungeon where wandering monster rolls are made
5) Ask lots of questions about what you see. Look up. Ask about unusual stonework.
Test floors before stepping.
6) Protect the magic-user. He’s your nuke.
7) Hire some cannon fodder. Don’t let the cannon fodder start to view you as a weak
source of treasure.
8) Spears can usually reach past your first rank of fighters, so a phalanx of hirelings
works well.
9) Check in with the grizzled one-armed guy in the tavern before each foray; he may have
suddenly remembered more details about the area.

Shawn's Sacred Cows

1. Ability Scores are rolled 3d6 each, in order. You can ditch the set and roll a new set if you don't like what you get.

2. Demihuman level limits. Multiclass if you want to keep up over the long haul.

3. Infravision, not nightvision.

4. Characters start at 1st level.

5. Dungeons mean: need light sources, need henchmen to carry light sources, having henchmen eaten by wandering monsters if you waste time.

6. You get XP for treasure.

7. No cavalier, barbarian or drow PCs.

8. Magic items should never be available for purchase. Except for potions and scrolls.

Clever HP rolling method

When a monster is encountered roll the HD on the spot behind the gm screen. Use the dice as hp trackers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Original Dungeoncraft articles

Map Tool

We start with a quote

"I need to clarify, I game mostly because I never get to kill apemen in real life; I hate apemen and I was born to kill them. Therefore, gaming allows me to fufill my destiny."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More links

Goin' back to Cormyr.

Quote the poet: "Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years."

Here are some links I'm accumulating. Organization will come.