Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Don't Go Down the Well" or "How Do We Get The Hell Out Of This Place"

As of late in the Fotress Eibon games the players have been hitting the well in the south courtyard hard. It descends 40 feet to a cave system below the fortress.

There's a fair amount of treasure lying around down there, so I approve of this tactic. However, every time the party returns to their rope I make a secret dice check. Last sunday a 1 came up... someone or something had taken the rope!

The two surviving PCs made an amazing journey through the dungeons beneath Eibon, going up levels, going down levels, running, benefiting from good reaction rolls. I'm dying to spill the beans about how deep and how high they got, but that would spoil the fun.

It was getting late, and the players were getting sloppy, so I called the game there. I'm really hoping that come next session these two boobs stumble a way out of the maze.

Also, one of my favorite categories of PC death is when a character dies due to not carrying a light source. On Sunday one character fell through a one-way magic chute to a lower level... and he must not have been a scout as he had no means of illumination on his person. What a dork!

He did manage a valiant effort at groping his way out, but something disarmed him with a chain before he was savaged asunder... the other PCs were close enough to hear that part!

As well, crocodiles in a dungeon are pretty awesome!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Best Thing About a TPK When a PC has a Buttload of Sweet Magic Swords...

...a bunch of monsters in the dungeon armed with sweet magic swords.

"Come at me bro!"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quickie O/B/X D&D Starting Magic-User Spell Determination

3-8 - Randomly determine 1 1st level spell.
9-12 - Pick 1 1st level spell.
13-15 - Read Magic and pick 1 1st level spell.
16-17 - Read Magic, pick 1 1st level spell, and randomly determine 1 1st level spell.
18 - Read Magic and pick 2 1st level spells.

Inspired by my recent academic adventures, I imagine the above as this:

Int 3-8 - You're inept; although you somehow stumbled into an apprenticeship/wizard school, you were a failure and only remember how to do one thing, and it's probably not want you wanted to learn.

Int 9-12 - Although you got into an apprenticeship/wizard school you're pretty much a hack and managed to only learn how to do one thing.

Int 13-15 - You were an adequate student, you managed to learn a spell and the skills necessary to learn more on your own.

Int 16-17 - As above, but you managed to also retain some scraps of random information.

Int 18 - You were a prodigy and graduated with two spells of your choosing, what a champ!

One can easily play around with this depending on the DMs preferences regarding starting # of spells, randomization, etc. Maybe you need a 13 Int to avoid random starting spells? Maybe an 18 Int PC gets to pick 3 spells. I just like having a handy, arbitrary system for determining starting M-U spells that allows for some reward for being a brainiac.

I always liked the AD&D starting spell determination in principle, but in execution is a mess however much I love the cheap laffs at the expense of 1st level M-U's that have Friends, Mending and Ventriloquism in their spellbooks ("Where did you learn magic, working at a cricus? Bwahahahaha!").

As an aside, random spell determination works a lot better for the PCs with the OD&D/B/XD&D spell lists which aren't cluttered up with the hedge mage spells of dubious general utility. Heartbreak is your Magic-User reaching 7th level and getting Shatter in their spellbook. Not that I'm entirely against the D&D rules repeatedly slapping your PC in the face.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In OD&D It Takes 1 Turn to Cast Cure Wounds Spells...

...another example of how, for me, OD&D comes across as more literary than any other edition.

When I played Pool of Radiance on the PC in the 80s, I was shocked that you could cast Cure spells in combat; somehow, despite never being exposed to OD&D, I had just assumed that you couldn't use Cure spells in the middle of a fight.

Also, why are there so many blospot D&D blogs despite the fact that the ampersand is a forbidden character to use in tags?