Sunday, October 6, 2013

The End of One Campaign Brings on a Fresh Beginning

We've had a real tough time getting the group together on a regular basis since mid July - summer distractions and other assorted events kept things dragging, and the gain and then loss of two players changed the party dynamics. It didn't help that I had just kicked off the new DCC RPG campaign at the start of the summer, replacing the AD&D / OSRIC campaign in Rappan Athuk.

The feedback from my players was the first campaign we played, ACKS in Blackmarsh, was still the game they always thought back on. The characters resonated, the setting had meaning and their actions had impact. I ran it as a "seat of my pants" sandbox, which was stressful, yet exciting at the same time. We also used Obsidian Portal for weekly character updates and players that made weekly recaps got bonus expo. Player drops and gains caused us to move on from this, but the style seems to fit my players and me more than anything else we've done.

So, last night we put it up to a player vote - start anew or not, and if so, what rules and style and such?

The results were pretty much as follows. Start anew, with a sandbox styled campaign. For the rules, AD&D came up but Swords & Wizardry Complete was the ruleset decided upon. Very close to AD&D and it allows me to houserule the shit out of it, which I will detail some of at the end of this post.

Choosing a setting was a bit trickier. Greyhawk folio? Forgotten Realms gray box? Then I remember +Rob Conley excellent Points of Light from Goodman Games. I copied the descriptions of the 4 settings into the Hangout's chat box, and it was quickly decided to use Southland. Just enough to kickstart a campaign without being bogged down in excessive details.

Rules chosen? Check

Setting Chosen? Check

Obsidian Portal set up? Check

Then we discussed house rules, which we are liberally borrowing from other OSR games.

- Cleave, as per the ACKS rules. Will probably use the ACKS charts for death and dismemberment too.

- All ability score bonuses range from + 1 to + 3 and penalties from -1 to -3

- Liberal multiclassing, assuming the player can give an in game logical reason for the class combo

- Few class / race restrictions. Explain to me why you want to play the combo in terms of the game, not the rules

- No level limits on single class demihumans

- Thief skills and the like will be based off of the single save (much like in Crypts & Things). Unskilled use of skills will need an 18 (adjusted by ability bonus / penalty) to succeed, and take 10 times longer to accomplish

- Luck - I like the use of luck in the DCC RPG game, and here's my attempt at a variation for other OSR games:
     All characters start with 5 points of luck, adjusted as follows - Thieves + 2, Clerics + 1, Monks + 1 and Halflings + 2 (race and class bonuses are cumulative)
     Once per encounter, a player  can decide to burn luck after rolling a die
         1 point spent equals + 2 to the roll
         2 points spent equals a reroll
           Halflings can spend their "once an encounter" luck ability on another PC at twice the                    stated cost - 2 points or 4 points
     At end of the adventure (not session - usually 1-3 sessions) players get back some luck, but in        no case more than they started the campaign with:
           Thieves get back 1d4
           Clerics / Monks get back 1d3
           All other classes get back 1d2
           Halflings add + 2 to the roll


  1. LUCK is definitely one of the things that DCC got right. I've missed that stat in every game ever since I played CyberPunk a lot (it's the perfect way to determine who finds something useful that is in plain sight, or who gets ambushed when everyone is a fair target).

    It also makes me flash back to the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and RPG. Which is more old school awesome.

  2. Can you provide a link to the ObPort Campaign page, when it's up?

  3. Thanks for the shout out. The nice thing if that they get to wander back to Blackmarsh as it joins the north edge of Southland.

  4. Good luck! I recently ran a 2-session Moldvay Basic game set in Southland, dunno if you might find something useful on the Blog - http://asongofswords.blogspot.co.uk/
    Ended up with the Grand Kingdom in civil war, Baron Beldon in possesssion of a princess, capturing Castle Westguard, and looking set to cross the Westwall. :)


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