Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hitting things with sticks (and Swords & Wizardry Light)

Been poring through Tenkar's Swords & Wizardry Light treatment.  Erik was kind/brave enough to leave a Word copy laying about unattended, so I was making some personal edits and additions, including adding pared down interpretations of the four additional S&W Complete Rules classes (Assassin, Druid, Monk, and Ranger).  I was working on the Druid, when I noticed that the S&W druid doesn't have 'club' as a weapon option on the equipment list.

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I was bit confused by this, as the AD&D 1st Edition, where S&W gets a lot of its inspiration and mechanics, includes the club as a druid weapon - after all, the class is often constrained to non-metallic weapons, in addition to armor...

So I'm not sure if this was an oversight or other simplification.  But anyway, my S&W druids will be allowed to swing clubs. Likewise, my Light version of the druid will be issued a club or spear as part of starting equipment.

Which brings me to a very brief rant.  Ok, I know that D&D,etc. isn't specifically 'realistic' or sometimes even internally consistent, but after all these years of reading the rules, I noticed that there is only one other class that can't wallop things with a cudgel.

Come on folks, anyone can pick up a stick...  no skill or significant strength required... Give the poor magic users a club.

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Anyway, here's my tweaks and additions to Erik's original document - feel free to swipe for use and abuse.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mini Review: Swords & Wizardry Complete, 3rd Printing

I supported the latest printing of the Complete rulebook via the Frog God team's recent Kickstarter.  The new book arrived promptly (Especially as I'm only a ferry ride away from the Frog God's home swamp).


As stated in the KS campaign, the book is a new printing, rather than a new edition. The text is essentially unchanged from the previous printing (which I also supported).

However, the book layout and artwork were reworked with the intent of drawing in new players and a new audience. The project was headed by Stacy Dellorfano, who invited a crew of female artists to provide the illustrations.


While there was a bit of controversy (isn't there always) that the art was exclusively by XX chromosomes, that's not the point to me.  It's good art.


Thumbing through the book has that element of inspired imagination. Kaos Nest's gothic-tinged cover piece evokes dark spells or demonic shadows.  Example characters, scenes, and reinterpreted monsters (the kobold has a hint of plumed dinosaur) do a good job of rekindling some inspiration for this lapsed gamer.


And I'm always a sucker for a good bulette.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Building some class

I recently stumbled upon Erin Smale's 'Building the Perfect Class' and updated 'Building a More Perfect Class' procedure for building alternative classes for old school or OD&D variants of the game.

Erin did some serious heavy lifting back-calculating experience point/level builds using the original classes/races to develop a matrix for creating or modifying playable races/classes.  He broke down HD, saves, equipping, skills, and spell abilities, assigning values to the variables.  The outcome is a reasonably balanced approach to class creation, and seems, at face value, to avoid over-powered classes.  (He does go on at some length about how the classic magic-user appears to be very hampered by the assigned XP requirements vs his calculated XP, built out via criteria).

So as a thought experiment - I tried a build-out with my Lizardfolk class that I wrote up a couple years past.

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Erin lines out the criteria as such:

1. Hit Dice
2. Class Saving Throw
3. Attack/“to-hit” progression
4. Armour availability or restrictions
5. Weapons availability or restrictions
6. Spell-casting ability
7. Special Abilities: the class’s special abilities, (Erin has an inconsistency in this item - he notes that the abilities are not based on race in his summary, but includes racial abilities in his special abilities list.  Since there are no other racial qualifiers elsewhere in the list - I assume this is a typo)
8. Skills: learned skills, not based on race
9. Weapon Mastery: weapon proficiency (from the Rules Cyclopedia, if used,otherwise a generic value)
10. Level Limits - name-level or none?

The individual point options are provided in his document and associated spreadsheet.  My lizardfolk-specific notes are summarized below:

1. HD - 400 points (d8 is assigned 300 pts, but I'm adding value for 2HD at 1st level)
2. Saves - 100 points (fighter equivalent)
3. Attack - 500 points ('monster')
4. Armor - 100 points (Restricted to shields)
5. Weapons - 0 points (Racial restriction)
6. Spells - 0 points (this may change, since a 'shaman' class is allowed)
7. Special Abilities - 100 points (Natural armor)
                                100 (Natural weapons)
                                100 (Swimming)
                                100 (Breath-holding)
8. Skills - 0 points
9. Weapon Mastery - 0 points (generic)
10. Level Limit - -100 points (name level)

Total: 1400 points

Seems realistic - comparable to the cleric class.  The target XP is lower than the familiar demi-humans (dwarf, elf, halfling), but this may be representative of the Lizardfolk's perceived primitive or degraded state.  Flexing in a cleric-type spell ability option could add 100-400 points to the buy.

The base XP requirement is extrapolated to the appropriate level goals

Therefore - the Lizardfolk-specific class levels line out as:

Lvl XP Required
1 0
2 1,400
3 2,800
4 5,600
5 11,200
6 20,000
7 40,000
8 80,000
9 160,000 (Name-level limit)

Anyway, the BaMPC system appears to be a fairly robust resource for creating player classes for your own world.  As always comments or tweaks are welcome.

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