Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Legendary Creatures pt 1

Combat in Dungeons and Dragons is pretty good at representing small pitched battles in dark caves, what I feel has always been a weakness of any D&D system is running battles between the party and large powerful creatures, also how these creatures are presented in general has been a weak spot in the system (in my humble opinion).  I am planning on writting my own personal re-imagining of BX for personal use.  I've done a bit of it already and laid some groundwork.  This weakness regarding powerful creatures is one of the things I hope to address, and I have quite a bit to say about it, and I will be returning to this subject many times as it develops.

One problem I have is that fighting say a dragon is not really all that different from fighting a goblin, sure one has more special rules and better stats- but fundamentally the game treats them the same.  I can see why this came to be from a design standpoint, they created a system that everything can fit into, that's not bad in itself. I argue though that creatures like Giants, Dragons and Purple Worms should be treated differently, that fighting a Brigand and fighting a Roc are 100% fundamenatlly different situations and I believe they should be treated that way in the rules.

Fighting a legendary creature should be a unigue and complex challenge, not an HP grindfest with some extra rules thrown in.  I am looking at games such as 'Shadow of the Colossus' 'God of War' and the recent 'Castlevania Lords of Shadow', as well as various fantasy and adventure films and popular fantasy literature to draw inspiration for the rules I'm writing.  More on this later.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


So I recently saw this free rpg called Krone by Crayon Samurai. It is extremely simple, it has like 9 pages with very minimal rules, VERY minimal rules. Theres only 3 character classes included, the Noble, the Barbarian and the Sorcerer. Each character only gets 3 stats, well the Sorcerer gets a fourth to determine how well he can bind and control deamons.  The stats are Fighting, Surviving and Scheming, and the highst a stat can be is 4, everything relies on this very simple system with d10s relied on for making all the rolls, (I think I would use d6s however and modify the system just a little.) One of the strengths of Krone is its cool and uncluttered setting. This is pretty much the extent of the setting description right from the doc:

There’s this decadent Sword and Sorcery type city called Krone that’s situated in the middle of a vast swampland. It used to be the crown of civilization until something happened to the fertile plains surrounding it, turning the land into a subtly poisonous swamplands. Now the crops do strange things to people as does most of the drinking water found in Krone.
It has gradually begun to weaken the people’s minds, making them just a little off-balanced, and weakening their bodies just a little bit, making them a little more susceptible to disease.
But sometimes people are born with hideous deformities. They are either slain outright or abandoned/escape to the swamps. People don’t go into these swamps. There are demons living in
their murky waters and rumors are that sorcerers live out there as well, enslaving the foul demons to do their bidding. Rumors even say that the sorcerers are none other than the mutants themselves.
Several corrupt, decadent houses of nobility rule Krone in an uneasy alliance.
To the north the twisted swamps give way to purer lands and barbarians rove the steppes. They occasionally make trips to Krone in order to obtain weapons and medicines. The steppes are a barren land and resources are scarce.
But only the finest warriors are sent because of the dangers present not only in the swamps but the decaying city itself.
Its cool.  I really want to play this, there seems to be a limitless supply of cool oldschool style gaming in this rad system.  I'm hoping I can get my girlfriend to run this once or twice, she hasnt DMed before but I think this could be a good way for her to start.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Start with D&D

I got my start DMing back in 2002 when I was in grade 7,  and while I know that means that most of the oldschool gorgnards have dice that are older than me- and far-far more gaming experience, I do consider myself to be a part of the oldschool movement.  My parents played D&D pack when they first met and during my childhood there were two strange boxes sitting on a self in my basement. Even before I could read these box covers entranced me, as did the many pictures in the books the boxes held, and I spent many hours running around my neighborhood  pretending to fight the strange creatures printed on those pages.  It turned out those boxes were two Moldvay basic sets, in good condition with the original crappy weird dice and even the little green colored pencil.  Once I had gotten a little older I was given another relic of my parents brief flirtation with D&D, a copy of the AD&D Players Handbook.  Eventually in grade 6, I was over at my friends house for newyears eve and he pulled out his new D&D third edition starter set and I realized that I had an older version of the same thing at my house.  A few weeks later I was able to gather up a handful of players from my class and we played our first game of D&D using the Keep on the Borderlands module that was included in the set.

We ended up playing fairly regularly all though highschool. Slowly but surely newer editions and thier rulesets started creeping into the game we were playing, evolving into a wierd hybrid system using elements of BX, AD&D, 2nd Edition and finally 3.5 towards the end of highschool. Throughout that entire time I insisted we used the character sheets included in the basic set.

In 2008 we started using 3.5 only, and then early last year I got into Pathfinder pretty hard with my friends here in university.  I really do love Pathfinder, but more and more I am feeling a pull back towards BX and the oldschool vibe in general- Its something hard to define, maybe I'm just yearning back to those carefree days and long afternoons fighting dragons across the monkey bars of my local park.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Picking Pockets - part the second

 Continued from part1: http://therustydagger.blogspot.com/2011/01/picking-pockets.html

Why does my pickpocket table has an entry for a result of 21+ which I labeled Finery? This is because I add a modifier to the roll in certain situations as follows:

If the location doesn't suggest a particular tendency toward either high or low class NPCs I leave the roll unmodified (a marketplace with both beggars and wealthy merchants).

If the location is slightly more likely to contain a particular social class I add or subract by 2 (+2 for a high end nightclub or -2 for a labour district).

If the location is particularly likely to contain a certain social class I add or subtract by 5 (+5 for the Royal Ball, -5 for the city slums). This method is intended to separate the two extremes while maintaining a wide degree of variety in the middle range.  Additionally I modify the dice result by +1 for every two levels or HD of the target, if any.

Now on to the random result tables (1d6)

Beggar odds and ends:
1 = Moldy breadcrust
2= Small carved charm
3= Flint/steel
5=Rusty shiv
6= Roll twice more- ignore further 6s

Poor odds and ends
1=Stale piece of bread
2=Small wooden holy symbol
3=Small metal tin, possibly chewing tobbaco
4=Needle and spool of thread
6=Roll twice more- ignore further 6s

Commoner odds and ends
4=Pipe, tobbaco
6=Roll on Middle class chart

Middle class odds and ends
1=Small book
6=Roll on High class chart

High class odds and ends
1=Roll on Middle class chart but item is masterwork
2=Fine handkerchief or gloves
3=Pocket watch /Picture locket
4=Small bottle or flask (check contents bellow)
5=Wallet or purse (check contents bellow)
6=Roll on Finery chart

Small bottle or flask
3=Holy water
6=Potion or medicine

Wallet (2d6 gold plus roll once bellow)
2=Paper (check content bellow)
3=Wallet is made of expensive leather
4=Cigarette case
5=Reward for return note
6=Key or embarrassing object (up to you)

Purse (2d6 gold plus roll once bellow)
2=Paper (check content bellow) 
4=Cigarette case
6=Key or embarrassing object (up to you)

4=Letter (possibly romantic)

1=Expensive hat/hairpin
2=Drug or special substance
3=Monocle/opera glasses
4=Walking stick/cane
5=Jewelery (roll on jewelery chart)
6=Minor magic item (up to you)

3=Cuff links/buttons
4=Earings or other accessible piercings
5=Watch or bracelet
6=Roll again but jewelry is masterwork

So there it is, I think its a pretty good system, not too complicated and can be alot of fun (especially those embarrassing items and ``other accessible piercings``)  If anyone reads this I encourage you to give it a try and tell me how it worked out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Picking Pockets

I've never really been satisfied with any games take on handling picking someones pocket, so I developed this method recently which I've used in play a few times now.

Alright, if a thief PC wants to pick a pocket in most cases its just for some random coin and not for targeting a specific NPC. So in most of these regular cases I stipulate that the PC has to be in some sort of group or social situation like a crowded market or tavern.  Then I have the PC roll a perception check to case the crowd for the likeliest victim, A success means the thief finds a good target, a failure means the thief doesn't see any good opportunity, a bad failure means that people have noticed the character checking them out and makes further attemps ethier more difficult or even impossible.

Once the PC has found a good mark I roll on the table bellow and give them a description of the target as well as any visible loot. At this point the PC has the option of going through with the steal if they still want, if so they have to make a stealth/dexterity check opposed by the targets perception- If successful the thief gets the item undetected, If not the target could get hostile and things could get messy.

D20 Roll
1=Nothing of value
2=Beggars odds and ends
3-4=1d6 copper
5=Poor odds and ends
6-7=2d6 copper
8-9=1d6 silver
10=Commoner odds and ends
11-12=2d6 silver
15=Middle class odds and ends
16-17=3d6 gold
18=Highclass odds and ends
19-20=Minor jewlery
21+ Finery

In the next post I will explain this table a bit and give several more tables to cover the results.

Part 2: http://therustydagger.blogspot.com/2011/01/picking-pockets-part-second.html

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Post

Hey, I'm Pierce.  I've been playing D&D for a while now and thought I'd start a blog.  I started out with Moldvay Basic back when I was in elementary school and then moved on to ADD from there. I've been playing Pathfinder for the last two years but find myself increasingly drawn back towards the simple elegance of the Basic set.  I've gotta alot of stuff kicking around in my head, and hopefull I can post alot of here.