Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Edition Drama Club





































So recently i had a player join a game wanting to play old school dnd. Only problem is he had a totally different idea of what that consisted of. I don't realy use the OSR label anymore and don't mind oldschool but I query how useful an identifier it is when many ppl I meet assume Im a horrible neckbeard for using it. Anyway this person said a few things they expected and i failed at.

So it was a one shot game as I visited state for a few days to get a permit. My old players were keen but whole thing was kinda a cuff of the moment game. I thought I'd playtest i 3fold scenario in my Exilon setting. Everyone was glad to catch up but tired. All asked to start 3rd lv as they had struggled up from first my last few years of seasonal visits which is fair enough. New player arrived after this and another turned up later. Game play was a bit broken. They spent way too long investigating, went to dungeon killed some stuff and got some loot without too much drama and picked up on setting mythology from shrines and artworks in dungeon. Finished abruptly when someone came to collect a player as I thought everyone was too tired and rushed the real adventure ending which was finding which of the treasure was cursed. I quite like identifying loot and carousing after.

Anyway after I got a lengthy evaluation
though they said they liked it but...
So I got a fail on....

Characters too superpowered
Nobody ran away
Nobody described their every action in detail and preferred to roll
Just hack and slash vs inferior foes
Was just like 5th ed but simpler
Little oldschool content at all

Also this gem:
Adnd is simpler than BX and rules fit on one sheet and you only need 2 classes
The guy was pretty young and smart but I think had some different ideas on stuff to me which is ok.

The argument about skill rolls vs describing everything is pretty old.
I'm happy for players to search the slow way or perhaps talk everything through
but chatting with every npc or searching everything can be tedious
but Im fine with slower more creative way but happy to save everyone time and do more stuff faster

So to clarify I don't play mostly 80s games still out of sentimentality I play them because I'm unconvinced later editions do what I want or look like I imagine a game to be. I like the wargamer interest in historic arms and armour and don't really go for cool art like Pathfinder. Which I don't mind but I just don't imagine fantasy like that. So basically I play mostly as I did in mid 80s but simpler. I've actually played  BRP and RQ more as I like the grittiness of combat, game physics and history gaming. Also I don't really like character classes at all. I went back to DnD because record keeping and speed of play and easier sell. I mostly have run Cthulhu because I love it but also it is a game I can get running easier than any other I play and more so than RQ, BRP or oldschool dnd games. Even running dnd not in a official setting seems like a risk in clubs I'm in today vs the DIY feel of 1st and BX.

So here is a little brief over what stuff from what eds I stole for my homebrew

BX/BCMI/Cyclopedia
-My starting point
-Race as class is my preference, it keeps humans common.
-Lower stats, harsher rolling scheme
-Known world setting I liked until went all flying boats stuff and named Mystara (sorry)
-Good adventures which were fresh

Adnd
-Extra classes but some I disliked as too finicky
-Non Weapon proficiency in OA and DSG
-More complex alignment
-Crunchy broken and badly organised
-How many choking rules in 3 monster books?
-Some good adventures but many classics need extra quests to fix
-Dungeoneers Survival Guide and Oriental Adventures were great

2nd Ed
-Bards improved and a better starting point for my version
-Ultimate series of brown books were great for fighter abilities and kits
-I stopped playing DnD for 20 years the moment i touched necromancy blue book
-Psionics improved but still broken
-Capping fireball damage - heresy! Now Lich are weak.
-Had lots of good setting books plus green books were good
-I was fine with Illusionist spell changes
-Not really interested in adventures from here on

3rd Ed/Pathfinder
-I really only played Temple of Elemental Evil PC game
-It got me back into dnd
-I like possibility of getting abilities normally outside class
-I don't mind some exotic feat abilities but rather fit them into skills
-Is this when bonus table changed?
-Sorcerers, the basic idea of them, easier to play for noobs

4th
-Ugh though if it was meant to be a tactical board game I guess they succeeded
-For a while ppl stopped playing elves because they made another elf like race

5th
-Superficial resembles what I want but nope
-I like minimising stacking and a few things, If it seems too good it probably is
-I've yet to see a human character in any 5th ed game
-Not really like mythology or fantasy lit precedents
-Several mechanics on character sheets Id like to just remove
   
Lamentations Rules
-Played for several years
-Liked guns and 1600s setting
-Didn't like most adventures but appreciated artistic bravery

Bluehome
-Liked it but I like STR bonus in games and kids seem to
-Probably the free retroclone I most recommend with Osric
-Castles & Crusades almost became my game (if it had skill system day one....)

My EMO homebrew rules
-Skeleton of BX with arms and arts skills
-Fighters get most fight skills, rogues get non fight skills, others get spells
-Basic four classes plus Druid, Bard, Monk, Sorcerer
-Basic races plus some extra Abhuman, Changeling, Giant, Tako (cos I need octopi)
-No half races or the real world problem cliches they evoke
-Psionics is a spell list just like arcane, divine and nature spell lists
-Elves and bards can choose any one spell list
-You can change class at least once bur changing race might be a bit odd
-STR is the dump stat, i didn't call it players did. Followers are more popular
-Changed stat names 50% cos im a jerk 50% cos I want to be more clear
-WIS is not perception a idea that crept in over editions
-Luck Points to help you survive derived from WIS plus rogues get bonus ones
-You can have no Alignment or become a deranged fanatic for bonus goodies in return for oaths which might make party murder each other or go to prison
-Alignment is very clear so paladin killing babies are evil, the gods judge this not humans
-Campaign goal advancement not xp
-Class abilities like rogue bumped up as levels not based on different amounts of xp
-Saves just based on stats

My downloads page has pdfs which are a ongoing work in progress. Probably try and finish second book in next school hols when in Sydney. I can see 2 monster books - one with simpler creatures describes as briefly as possible. Second with more detailed feature monsters with lots of variations and scenario hooks. A spell and or skill book to detail these subjects more. A book with classes with example builds to simulate other classes and races and 2nd ed kits so ppl can jump in at higher level play easier/faster. The downside to choices is they slow characters down. Lots of abilities added per level make

Ive considered making a character zine booklet rather than a character sheet...

Occasionally I get a dumb idea like
improve stats a d10% on prime requisite per level
plus d10% on any stat per level and you can put on prerequisite....
At 100% goes up a point (sorta like UA adnd Cavalier)

Psychon and Xor books in print would be good.

Sorry so few posts. Life not conducive to creativity at moment.

Worth mentioning Iv'e read very little swords and sorcery fantasy since the 80s mostly mythology and pre ww2 lit, non fiction history and classics. I still thinks there should be a simpler official dnd for kids like BX.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, you just can't win. Player expectations can be a blessing or a curse. I don't run a strictly old school game. Every DM should have a house rule cheat-sheet to avoid issues like this.

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  2. Your new player would probably have felt more OSR if you guys weren’t 1) rushed and 2) playtesting.

    If it was one of your typical campaign sessions with making babies and taming dinosaurs and building rag factories it would seem more OSR ish to him

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  3. I've been meaning to contact you but I didn't see an easy way to do it directly and it didn't seem appropriate on the posts I was looking at, but this is a great moment. Last night I ran my 12th session of the current campaign in my setting that's a hybrid of an older homebrew D&D campaign setting and your fantastic Skullport stuff blended into a new campaign setting. I've luxuriated in pulling prompts, NPCs, and random things from your material to add a distinctive and compatible flavor, you've provided my go-to campaign materials supporting this game. I have the play reports here, I'll link to the first session. https://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/2019/05/23/basically-fantastic-session-1-death-of-the-necromancer/ I think you'll recognize a lot of your work here. As a designer myself, I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing people playing, remixing, and enjoying my stuff, I hope you will too.

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