[D&D] Reflecting on the Hall of Many Panes - Shortly after the turn of the century, Gary Gygax's posts to his email list and on message boards began talking about a new adventure he was running in his...
32 minutes ago
|Tell Me This Isn't a Save or Die Situation|
Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature FiguresSee, the first RPG didn't even know it was a role playing game. It was a war-game, just played on a different scale than most. Never doubt the war-game roots of RPGs, as they are deep and strong.
A seeping horror which closely resembles wet stone and is thus difficult to detect. (if it is in an area with wet stone. put it on a wooden floor and it becomes obvious) It will not be spread by non-harmful weaponry (what the hell does this mean? is it spread like butter otherwise? what the f' is "non-harmful weaponry"?), but it is subject only to lightning bolts or cuts and chops by weaponry, for it is impervious to cold or fire. It does not harm wood or stone, but it corrodes metal at the same rate that Black Pudding does (so those weapons you used to kill it? gone...). It does two dice damage to exposed flesh for every turn it is in contact with it. This sucker kicks ass and takes name. Evil, evil little beast.Treasure Types Table - these never made sense to me in any version of the game and I don't recall published adventures ever appearing to follow these tables. I will admit to using the ones in AD&D back in my teen years, but than I was also putting mature dragons in 10' square rooms and allowing the party to fully engage. Still, if I was going to pick my favorite treasure type, I'd choose "H". Best chance of hitting Megamillions (alright, 10's of thousands of GPs)
In my mind, the challenge with turning undead is that it has morphed over time from a tool to ward off skeletons and zombies to a sort of fireball tuned specifically for the undead. (the undead get blasted when the result is automatic in 1e, which means the cleric greatly outleveles the undead in question. where is the problem?) That progression makes a lot of sense. It's fun to blast monsters! On the other hand, I think having turn undead work like a fireball makes turning a little too much like a spell (maybe the fireballing undead issue is a 3e or 4e problem...). In my mind, turn undead should either become a spell or become something unique. I've opted for the latter in my home game. Here's what I have:
- I like the literal idea of turning, as in turning away the undead from the cleric rather than blasting them with holy energy. (they only get blasted when the cleric is much more powerful than the undead - in which case, they probably weren't much of a threat in the first place)
- When undead show up, the cleric's first impulse should be to at least consider turning them. On the other side of the screen, the DM shouldn't feel that turning makes undead-themed adventures a chore to create. (it's no more a chore than any other type of adventure)
- The mechanic must be both simple to use and something that makes undead-heavy adventures more interesting with a cleric, rather than simply easier (again, if the cleric and the undead are equal, the cleric will only succeed half the time or so and even then it's just to flee- I don't see the issue here).
- Turn undead is its own thing. It's not a specific use of a channel energy type ability, which goes away under my rules (that's fine. all that shit got introduced in 3e and 4e and aint my bag anyway).
The first point is really big for me. As I mentioned earlier, I love using undead in my adventures. I think the first point resolves the tension between making turning useful and preventing turning from becoming overpowered. Ideally, clerics see turning undead as a way to gain an advantage over the undead—a tool used to help achieve success rather than an "I win" button (it was only an "i win" button when the clerics greatly out powered the undead in the first place. mike, how is it that you just don't get that simple fact?)
- We can create effects that are useful but that don't give an automatic victory to the cleric. In most cases, turning is a good tool for evading or escaping the undead. (again, by removing one of the few ways a cleric can shine while not playing a healbot role, you are giving less reasons to play a cleric)
- The cleric player needs to learn only one simple mechanic (are players really so dumb they can't handle a slightly more complicate and fulfilling game mechanic?). The DM has the effects of turning embedded in a stat block.
Number of Players: At least one referee and from four to fifty players can be handled in any single campaign, but the referee to player ratio should be about 1:20 or thereabouts. (holy shit! 50 players?!? 1 ref to every 20 players ?!? I have trouble running a game with more than 5 sitting at my table these days)Under Recommended Equipment - Imagination and 1 Patient Referee ;)
Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided that they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begging as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee. (hmmm... by the time AD&D was introduced, this little gem was forgotten.)Strength gives no bonus to hit or damage.