Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rules for the Next "D&D" Game

No, I'm not going to try to follow what a number of other bloggers are doing; trying to guess or give ideas for the next edition of D&D.  I'm just thinking out loud about the next D&D game I run.  Rules, campaign ideas, plot hooks, NPCs and such.  I don't think I'll put anything too spoiler-ish on here.

First off, which version?  Well, most of my life I played 1st ed. AD&D with some house rules, so I'm most comfortable with that ruleset.  However, I like the simplicity of Swords & Wizardry.  It is certainly easier to roll up a character with S&W as opposed to 1e. Of course, that's a difference of maybe 10 minutes, but it's still a difference.

Stats/Ability Scores - 3d6 straight down is nice, but I really dislike the whining of those from later editions. "My  character sucks because he doesn't have a stat above 13!"  "Ugh, he's a moron with an Int of 12."  "How can he be a useful fighter with only a 14 Strength?"  Makes me want to slap them.....So, what has worked is 2 rerolls after the original 3d6 are done.  I still get whining but now they feel like they had a chance to "fix" the character.

Classes & Races - S&W is really nice with it's simple classes: Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling.  Honestly, I have found that I dislike the druid, ranger and paladin of AD&D.  And long ago, I learned to forbid Assassin from PC choices.  Not worth the trouble.  If I go AD&D (or OSRIC), I might just limit the classes to Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, and Thief.  If they can get the proper scores, then maybe I'll relent and allow Illusionists and Rangers. Then I'll limit the races to Human, Elf, Half Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, and Halfling. The original Half-Orc was pretty worthless as a player race because I kept forgetting to play the discrimination card.  Not worth it.  Other classes or races.....I remember reading somewhere that one group allowed the "classes" in the Men section of the MM: Dervish, Berserker, Bandit, Buccaneer, and Caveman.  Maybe for humans only.....

Hit Dice & Hit Points - S&W uses d6's for everyone.  Nice and simple.  Greyhawk Supplement split the HD up to d8 for fighters, d6 for Clerics, and d4 for MU's.  AD&D has d10 for Fighters, d8 for Clerics, d6 for Thieves, and d4 for MU's.  And what about some bloggers pointing out that one interpretation for Hit Points for each level is that you roll all the dice each level.  In other words at 3rd level you rolled 3 dice and that was your HP for that level.  Meaning you could lose HP by going up a level.  Interesting idea but I think the players would balk at that.  Even if I said that if you rolled less, you got to keep your old total.  Nope, too rough on the players I think.  In the past, I have given max HP for just the 1st level and in other campaigns for the 1st 3 levels.  It helps the PC's live longer.....

Alignment - You know, alignment never really played that much of a role in my games.  The players pretty much knew they were supposed to be heroes and thus were supposed to be role models of a sort.  They weren't nasty to townsfolk or went out of their way to be jerks.  At least, not 30 years ago when we started playing this game.  Nowadays, it seems that the players like having their characters do jerky and stupid stuff.  I wonder if it's something which video games have influenced because those games have railroad tracks which won't let you derail so most players try to make the game crash by doing these things.  Hmmm, anyway, maybe I'll just go with Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic as choices.  3 is easier to work with than 9.

Starting Gold & Equipment - One of the choices I have presented for my other campaigns is an heirloom item.  An ancestor was an adventurer and has passed down his favorite magic item to the PC.  It's nice to start with one item that's a +1 whether it's a weapon, shield, ring or something relatively minor.  However, when Dungeon Crawl Classics presented a preview of their RPG (is that out yet?) they had a wonderful list of "Previous Occupations" which included two random items.  These have been much more fun than the magic items so I'm definitely keeping this part.  Also, grabbing the "Ye Fast Pack" list from the old Lost City module (B4) makes outfitting the characters a whole lot easier.  Pick one pack, pick one melee weapon & one ranged weapon, get chain mail if you're a fighter or cleric, none or leather for a mage.

House Rules - there's always a few.  Some were mentioned above.  Magic-users get the same spell bump for high Int that clerics get for high Wis.  Magic-users can also wear leather with a 1 in 6 chance of spell failure.  No weapon restrictions for clerics.  Mages may use a sword only if it's magical.  Spells are gained from spell books, other casters, or scrolls ONLY.  No automatically suddenly knowing a spell like in later editions.  Another thing I liked from a recent game was the GM stating "determine a connection between your character and the character of the player on your (rolls die) left".  That one will be used too.  All rolls on the table and when the DM calls for them: no pre-rolling.  The DM holds onto all character sheets at the end of the game.  If you want to take yours home to "fix up", make a copy at the table and take that.  Originals stay with the DM.  At the beginning of each game, a sheet will be passed around for 20 d20 rolls and 20 d6 rolls.  That'll be my sheet to check for opening doors, finding traps, or determining surprise.  Initiative will be with a d10 to determine in which segment your character goes, so roll low.

Critical Hits & Fumbles - I have used these somewhat in the past.  Usually it helps the opponents more than the players, but the players like the feeling of "doing extra damage" because of a lucky roll.  So, what I've done in the past is if you roll a natural 20, roll d%.  I have a chart which allows for something special 25% of the time, otherwise it's just a max damage hit.  On the opposite side, if you roll at natural 1, I have another d% chart which causes problems 25% of the time.  Otherwise, it's a free attack by one opponent.  I haven't used it in a while and I may need to go hunt it down...or recreate it.

Hmmm, that's enough for now.  Pretty much covers the rules.  Campaign ideas next time.
Post a Comment