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Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Previous thread (thanks to the late Rulebook Heavily):
https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3495106

What Do We Discuss?
Any pre-3rd edition version of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, as well as the phenomenon known as retroclones (see below) and OSR (Old-School Renaissance) gaming in general.
Later editions are well covered elsewhere:
3rd edition thread: here. 4th edition thread: here.

Retroclones?
Although D&D is a set of interrelated copyrights and trademarks, the base mechanics of the game can't be copyrighted. Combined with the release of the Open Gaming License (OGL) and accompanying d20 System Resource Document (SRD) in 2000, creators were free to copy the bits they liked from the various older editions, maybe add in something newfangled, and publish the result as their own totally original donut steel game. It also meant that fans of older editions of D&D could publish third-party products designed to be used with their favourite base version of the game.

Why Bother?
Old-school D&D is not less-evolved modern D&D. Instead, it offers a different play experience altogether, one that focuses on player scheming and DM rulings rather than rules mechanics ("rulings, not rules" is a common mantra). Compared to later editions, the rules are extremely simplistic (and somewhat hodgepodge). There's almost no focus at all on character builds/optimization. This could easily strike players of later editions as too barebones/inconsistent to bother with, but has the advantage of very fast character creation, fewer rules arguments, far fewer unexpected game breaking rules synergies, and often a much lower page count to wade through. Gameplay tends to be fast, loose, more improvisational, less plot-directed and more player-directed, with a focus on treasure gain rather than automatically being heroes or killing everything in sight (though combat is definitely not ignored).

Additionally, the OSR community is putting out the best adventure modules and supplements in D&D today. Items like Hot Springs Island, Veins of the Earth, Peril on the Purple Planet and many others beat the pants off of anything WotC is releasing.

If you’d like a list of excellent OSR adventures, see here:
http://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?page_id=844

What Old Editions of D&D are we Talking About?
Glad you asked!


OD&D / Original D&D / 0Ed / Brown Box / White Box / Little Brown Books (LBB) (1974)



This is the very first one, the thing that started it all. Written by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, with input from their gaming groups, this game was essentially a modification of the Chainmail wargame ruleset, but instead of commanding a bunch of units you’d command a single individual. The initial release was a box with three little booklets, featuring an extremely vague ruleset. Notable supplements include Greyhawk and Blackmoor—also the oldest supported settings for D&D—and Eldritch Wizardry, the reason why to this day we keep getting supplements for psionics (a reasonably common element of SF and fantasy from the 50s to the 70s) that no one ever uses. Gygax and Arneson formed TSR to publish these rules.


”Basic”: Holmes (1977) / B/X (1981) / BECMI (1983-86) / Rules Cyclopedia (1991)



Though it sold like mad, OD&D was successful in spite of its layout and clarity, not because of it, and this confusion led to wildly divergent playstyles and rules interpretation in the early days of the game. Soon it was realized that some sort of introductory product that took OD&D and its supplements and made something understandable out of the mess would be a good idea. This would become broadly known as the “Basic” line.

Basic went through a ton of revisions over the years. The first version was by Eric Holmes (and is usually called Holmes for this reason). The original intent was for it to be an introduction to Advanced D&D (being written at the same time). Holmes is the closest to OD&D in style than any of the other offshoots, though it only covered levels 1-3. However, the Basic line diverged away from AD&D pretty much immediately: Holmes was abandoned for a new release by editors Moldvay and Cook of two box sets, Basic (also for levels 1-3) and Expert (for levels 4-14). This release is often referred to as either “Moldvay/Cook” or “B/X”, and is the most popular to use as a base for retroclones because it succinctly covers what most people will use for play and leaves out a lot of the increasingly edge-case cruft. While AD&D piled on the options and complexity, B/X took pains to streamline and cut (for example, race and class were combined for all non-humans, so that instead of Elven Mages you just had Elves, which were all spellcasters). As such, it's a much simpler game than AD&D.

Since Basic was intended not just to introduce people to D&D but to the hobby in general, B/X was re-edited in 1983 by Frank Mentzer to be clearer to people who'd never played any RPG at all. This new line had five box sets—Basic (in the famous red box they printed by the millions that was available in every department store), Expert, Companion, Master and Immortals—and its own setting (The Known World/Mystara, no longer officially supported). This line is commonly referred to as either “Mentzer” or “BECMI”. The rules for the BE part are 99% identical to B/X. However, the C and M sets added more and more stuff, so that by the end of the line you had a ruleset that rivalled AD&D in size. The BECMI line culminated in 1991 with the release of the Rules Cyclopedia, which gathered together four of the five sets (no Immortals) into a single big hardcover, made some revisions, and was released at the same time as a new Basic Box in 1991 (referred to as the Black Box; not pictured). This (and another 1994 box redo) signalled the last hurrah for Basic.

Though Basic (in its Red Box form) was the best-selling version of D&D ever produced, it was essentially non-existent through the rest of the 90s, and was officially killed off when WotC bought TSR and released its single unified 3rd edition “Dungeons & Dragons”.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons / First Edition / 1e (1977)



Arneson sort of went away early in the history of TSR, and a few years later Gygax wrote his own update: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

This is the definite Gygax edition, purple Jack Vance-based prose and all. A far cry from the sparse OD&D, AD&D was jam-packed with all sorts of rules, corner cases and crazy additional detail, like pages dedicated entirely to the minute differences of various polearms, jokey cantrips (like one that created a little fire with the magic word Zip-Po), completely inexplicable poo poo (the original Modrons, Druids who get to go to the Seventh Dimension which is not detailed anywhere in the game, Lovecraftian Bard class rules), outright contradictions, dense two-column formatting, haphazard editing, and one of the most (in)famous grab-bag supplements ever produced, Unearthed Arcana. In many ways this is the gold standard by which most D&D is judged, the origin of a lot of the game’s legacy. This edition was second only to Basic in terms of sales and success. Some of its players make a separation between late 70s 1st ed and the 1984+ 1st ed (which had more railroaded/plot-heavy adventures, as well as supplements adding proto-skill systems and an increasing number of class and rules options in the form of Unearthed Arcana and the various hardbacks that followed).


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition (1989)



This edition was published a few years after Gygax was maneuvered out of/left TSR, and thus is the first D&D to ever be called a betrayal of his legacy. Second edition excised things like demons and devils due to the 1980s satanic-panic thing, and also cut a great many things out of the game in general (Gygaxian prose, half-orcs, assassins, monks, most of the Unearthed Arcana stuff). What it gave us instead was an explosion of variant settings. Beyond old standby Greyhawk and the railroad adventure land of Dragonlance, we now had the increasingly NPC-heavy Forgotten Realms (which steadily eclipsed Gygax’s Greyhawk in this period as the pre-eminent D&D setting), grimdark psionic Dark Sun, gothic horror Ravenloft, hippos in Ptolemaic space Spelljammer, outerplanar Shadowrun/WoD-lite Planescape, the kingdom management of Birthright, Arabic Al Qadim, Aztec Maztica, and even licensed settings like Diablo.

While clearer and easier to use than 1st, the tone of the game markedly changed. Gone was the murderhobo sandbox style of play, replaced with one of heroic adventure played out via heavily plotted scripted adventures; this reflected the stylistic shift in adventure module design that had been taking place in TSR throughout the 80s, especially from 1984 onwards. The main method of gaining XP in 2nd ed was changed from finding/stealing gold to defeating monsters, which led to a very noticeable change in playstyle. Dungeon exploration movement speed became literally 10 times faster, and wandering monster checks also dropped by two-thirds, which made it easy to race through dungeons. Skill systems were introduced. Encumbrance became optional. As such, while the base structure of 2nd ed is extremely similar to 1st (there's tons of subtle differences, but it's more of a re-edit than anything else), the tonal shift brought about by what rule and adventure design changes there were has often led 2nd edition to be considered not really old-school by OSR fans. We’ll talk about playstyle in the next post.

The “Black Book” version (1995) was distinguished by the thick black borders around its new cover art and the “This is not AD&D third edition!” essay at the front. It’s also been called v2.5, though it’s exactly the same rules as the 1989 printings: just re-laid out to make it easier to read (hence the expanded page counts) and to fold in errata. However, it received a series of optional supplements in the same black-border style that added a ton of broken options, and these tainted the view of the re-release and are what really created the feeling that this wasn’t the same as regular old second ed.

This re-release was also the final gasp of TSR as a company, as dodgy business practices led to it collapsing and being bought out by Wizards of the Coast in 1997. Though the base rulebooks for 2nd ed sold in volumes that most any other game company could only dream of, it was the least successful of all D&D editions, and has been largely passed over in the retroclone explosion.


Retroclones and their Ilk





Retroclones came about in the mid-2000s, in the days when older editions were no longer in print and not available legally in PDF. BFRPG and OSRIC (2006) are generally considered the first, with Labyrinth Lord (2007) and Swords & Wizardry (2008) completing the big four. A zillion more followed on from there, and over time they became less concerned with cloning a particular ruleset precisely (since that after all had been done) and more about introducing spins on a particular rules base. If they still hew close to a particular old-school ruleset then they still tend to be referred to as clones, however.

Initially retroclones were merely frameworks to allow the publication of new supplements for the particular edition being cloned, rather than games in and of themselves. For example, OSRIC (a 1st ed AD&D clone) was not originally complete as a game, because it was never originally intended to be played. The OGL allows you to use tons of D&D concepts, but one of the things it expressly forbids you from doing is making any direct comparison between what you make using it and any WotC trademark (such as “Dungeons & Dragons”). So, OSRIC was only supposed to enable people to write new adventure modules that would be “compatible with OSRIC”, which everyone would understand really meant “compatible with 1st ed AD&D”. The legal niceties having been observed, people could start enjoying new product intended for AD&D. However, OSRIC did such a nice job cleaning up the unholy mess that AD&D 1st ed was that people clamoured for it to be completed, and so it was. In those days there was less certainty that WotC wouldn’t sue the pants off people (like TSR was infamous for), so OSRIC made a very few and minor changes to the 1st ed rules over and above what the OGL called for to help make it legally distinct; most retroclone authors nowadays don’t bother, as WotC has never seriously reacted to the retroclone movement in a legal sense.

There’s a lot of clones, and more appearing all the time. I’m only going to cover the biggest ones; even then, that will be plenty. For a more thorough list, see Taxidermic Owl Bear's list, and Ynas Midgard's list. The links at TOB are not all up to date, so if something appears dead that you’re interested in, try googling it to see if it just moved.

Retroclones of OD&D and Holmes
Unlike B/X clones, which tend to vary based on the mood, genre, or playstyle they're attempting to capture, clones of OD&D wildly vary mostly due to mechanical reasons. This is because the vague text of OD&D left a great deal of room for interpretation and because each of that edition’s five supplements radically changed the game (well, okay, Swords & Spells might not count and hardly matters, but still). When combined with issues of the Strategic Review magazine, which had OD&D writings by Gygax, you can assemble wildly different games from this base content (for example, thieves or no thieves, psionics or no psionics, small or large stat adjustments, spells level 1-6 or 1-9, etc).

Swords and Wizardry
Whitebox: A cleaned-up version of the LBB.
Core: As above, plus the Greyhawk supplement.
Complete: First three books plus select supplement info from the entire line. Basically lightweight AD&D 1st ed.
Light: Free four-page fast-play S&W.
Continual Light: 20-page super-stripped-down alternate version of S&W, with some fluffier advancement rules.
(The S&W link is to an archive page, because for some reason they've taken down their single portal page. Alternatively you can go here, which has most of the base S&W line, supplements, and detail on each product on their individual pages.)

Crypts & Things: A sword & sorcery adaptation of Swords and Wizardry.
Delving Deeper: A 3-LBB clone, with an emphasis on emulation accuracy backed by a hefty scholarly effort.
For Coin and Blood: A S&W clone, modified to be more lethal, designed explicitly for grimdark campaigns.
Full Metal Plate Mail: Another 3-LBB clone.
Iron Falcon: A 3-LBB + Greyhawk clone, from the maker of BFRPG.
Microlite74: Like Swords & Wizardry, an OD&D clone in three different versions with scaling complexity.
Ruins & Ronin: A variant of S&W Whitebox, designed for medieval Japan-style adventuring.
Seven Voyages of Zylarthen: OD&D minus clerics in a new setting, with the usual series of additional small rules changes and edits on top.
White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game: A variant of S&W Whitebox, with the changes listed here
Whitehack: 3-LBBish, but modernized.

Blueholme: The most well supported Holmes clone. Most people either choose OD&D or B/X to riff off of instead.
Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition: The other big Holmes clone. A little less faithful than Blueholme, but with more stuff.


Retroclones of B/X and BECMI
Adventurer Conqueror King System: Aka “ACKS”. B/X with proficiencies, more classes, and a unique focus on world economics and the D&D “endgame”—the 9th level+ part where you gain titles, holdings, followers, and other world-affecting bits (aka domain play)—that most games brush over. Has its own forum and lots of support. One of its founders worked for a long time for Milo Yiannopoulos, so if that bothers you then this is not the game for you; in this case, the non-ACKS supplement "An Echo Resounding" offers players an alternate method of handling domain play.
B/X Essentials: A 100% accurate clone of B/X, divided into LBB-style booklets. Re-edited and re-released as Old-School Essentials.
Basic Fantasy (BFRPG): An early work, predating even OSRIC. Not a direct clone of B/X (though that was its main inspiration) but a re-edit of the 3.5 SRD to make it old-school. Has lots of sourcebook support and a forum. Everything is free, it’s constantly updated, and print copies are available at cost. Essentially B/X with ascending AC, race and class separate, and buffed clerics.
Dark Dungeons: A Rules Cyclopedia clone.
Labyrinth Lord: The original B/X clone. Like OSRIC, it makes minor changes for legality reasons. Despite its age it doesn’t have a lot of support direct from the creator, because like OSRIC it was more intended to allow for stuff to be created than to be its own thing, and the author has had personal issues. But there’s tons of 3rd-party support for it (mostly adventures).
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Fairly straightforward B/X clone rules-wise, with an emphasis on toning down the egregiously fantastic (no fireballs and lightning bolts, for instant). Marketed as in support of weird tales-style games in a Darklands-style Thirty Years War European setting, though ruleswise it does little to support this. Creator James Raggi pays the best rates in the industry and goes out of his way to publish unique modules instead of Kobold Raid #30672, though which are good and which are empty outrage / gore / fetish bait will vary wildly depending on who you talk to. Notable supplements include Broodmother SkyFortress, Carcosa, Death Frost Doom, Tower of the Stargazer, Veins of the Earth. Carcosa is noted as being especially grimdark and offensive, while others dislike the gory art of the main rule book (though the free PDF version is artless) or the creator/publisher's back-and-forth stance on Zak S / being a Jordan Peterson fan.
Wolfpacks & the Winter Snow: Late Ice-Age caveman adventures. Very nice departure from the usual fantasy tropes.


Retroclones of AD&D 1st and 2nd Editions
OSRIC: The granddaddy of them all. A straight 1st ed clone (minus Unearthed Arcana).
Adventures Dark & Deep: An attempt to create a speculative Gygax-headed AD&D 2nd ed.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea: Huge-rear end sword & sorcery clone. Two editions, the first being a box set and the second a 600+ page hardcover.
For Gold & Glory: Straight 2nd ed clone.
Hackmaster: As it pretends to be a sort of alternate universe AD&D, its first edition was called "4th edition". It's a semi-gonzo take on 1st ed, based on the popular Knights of the Dinner Table comic. Its newest (5th) edition went off to become more of its own thing.


5th Edition Backclones
There's been a recent burst of people attempting to take the 5th ed SRD and hack, chop, and optional-rule their way to an old-school experience. I don't think any of them work very well that I can see, but the demand is clearly there and maybe you'll feel differently:

5e HARDCORE MODE: As extreme as a day-glo BMX. Actual in-depth reviews have not been favourable.
Dungeonesque: Red box AND little booklets. Reviewed rather harshly as cramped, overpriced, and with minimal changes to the SRD.
Five Torches Deep: 48 pages, landscape format.
Into the Unknown: A five-booklet release.
Olde Swords Reign: A new one; too new to say much right now.


Close Enough
There are several games that are mechanically and/or stylistically close enough to various versions of D&D that I’m comfortable inviting them to the party. What differs most of them from strict retroclones is that they don’t base themselves on any single D&D ruleset, instead taking a grab-bag of rules from many editions and often mashing those together with the author’s own ideas. These include, but are not limited to:

Beyond the Wall: Designed for low-prep games, focused on young heroes leaving their villages and venturing out into the wild, inspired by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Blood & Treasure: Stealing bits from pretty much everything before 4e.
Castles & Crusades: Predating all the clones, C&C is heralded by many of its fans as a spiritual successor to AD&D.
Dungeon Crawl Classics: Built on a 3rd edition skeleton, DCC is essentially old-school nostalgia filtered through an exaggerated Fantasy loving Vietnam lens (e.g. character creation involves playing the survivor of a pool of lambs you generate and lead to the slaughter). Over and above the gonzo rules (spell mishaps! mutations! tables for everything! D7s and D16s!) and resulting playstyle, it’s notable for its extensive module support (nearly a hundred adventures, a few of which are the best in the field). The emphasis is on sword & sorcery action/adventure rather than old-school resource management. See also Mutant Crawl Classics, for a Gamma-Worldesque version.
Fantastic Heroes & Witchery: An all-editions-D&D knock-off, with the added benefit of having classes for planetary adventure, a la John Carter of Mars. 666 spells!
Low-Fantasy Gaming: Another rules mashup, this one focuses on (spoiler) low magic settings. Not a big following, but lots of support by its author, and a good sandbox medieval England setting--the Midderlands--that goes with it.
Mazes & Minotaurs: An Ancient Greece/Ancient D&D mash-up. Tomb of the Bull King is a superb module.
Microlite20: A “rulings not rules”-style d20 streamline.
Mutant Future: Combines classic D&D playstyle with a futuristic post-apocalypse.
Pits & Perils: A rules-light fantasy engine (original rules) modelled on the look of OD&D.
Scarlet Heroes: An OSR game by Kevin Crawford designed to allow you to play through old-school modules with just one player. Be a one-man wrecking machine.
Searchers of the Unknown: A D&D variant that's just one page.
Spears of the Dawn: African-themed OSR game, also by Kevin Crawford.
ZeFRS: A retro-clone of TSR's Conan the Barbarian game system.

Bonus level:
See a list of science-fiction OSR games here.


Some Useful Blogs & Forums
The Alexandrian: Theory.
Ars Ludi: More of a storygame blog actually, but this links specifically to the now-legendary West Marches series of posts, which is pretty much *the* modern guide to understanding and running a sandbox game.
Beyond Fomalhaut: Reviews, adventures, and resources.
The Blue Bard: Writer of interesting modules also records the experience of running a by-the-book 1st ed AD&D campaign.
Coins and Scrolls: A heavy medieval focus.
Delta’s D&D Hotspot: Lots of in-depth mathematical and historical examination of OD&D.
Dragonsfoot: Forum covering 2nd ed and earlier. Superb amount of resources, including free adventures, lots of archived posts from various ex-TSR members, and so on.
Dungeon of Signs: Recently defunct, but with good theory and resources and some great free adventures.
Dyson’s Dodecahedron: Resources, including awesome maps.
Elfmaids & Octopi: Resources.
False Machine: Theory, reviews, angst. From the writer of Deep Carbon Observatory, Veins of the Earth, and more.
Goblin Punch: Resources.
Grognardia: Great in-depth stuff about old-school gaming. Considered one of the foundational bits of the OSR movement. Strongly recommend trolling through the archives.
Hack & Slash: Theory.
Jeff’s Gameblog: Theory and resources.
Knights & Knaves Alehouse: Forum covering 1st ed and earlier.
Monsters and Manuals: Theory and resources, from the creator of Yoon-Suin.
ODD74: Forum devoted solely to OD&D. Its main forums can only be viewed by registered members.
Philotomy's Musings: An archived collection of musings from respected OD&D player Philotomy.
Robe of Useful Items: Resources. Amazing resources, with particularly fabulous random generators. Formerly Wizardawn.
The Ruins of Murkhill: Another forum primarily dedicated to OD&D.
Tenfootpole.org: Adventure reviews, with OSR play being his gold standard. Has gone through literally every issue of Dungeon (the poor bastard), and some 1,500 adventures in all.
Tenkar’s Tavern: OSR RSS.
Zenopus Archives: The premiere resource for Holmes Basic.

Xotl fucked around with this message at 15:39 on Apr 21, 2021

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Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Reserved for future playstyle post.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


So, this link list is mostly for my benefit but maybe it'll be of some interest to you guys too.
Er, apologies to mobile users.

Dec 2012

I get most of the thief skills, but I didn't understand how "Hear Sounds" (or similarly Notice Secret Door for elves) What happens when there is a goblin party on one side of the wooden door and the thief puts his ear up to the door? And what happens when the fighter does it?

OtspIII posted:

One option is to make it a time thing. Anybody can listen to a door, but most people take a long time to be sure--they aren't good at it, so they have to spend some time double-checking and making sure they weren't imagining anything. Specifically, it takes a full turn. Thieves and elves just do it instantly. Same deal with, like, unlocking a door--anybody can do it with some time, but thieves can just have it done in the time it takes to ask them to do it. This method works best if you're using wandering monster checks based on time, though, otherwise it's kind of a bad deal for the thieves.

Edit: I guess I never went into what actually happens. I'd probably describe it like your fighter description: you can hear a few figures in the room, maybe some muttering in a goblinish tongue. Remember that some monsters, like inactive undead, don't make any sounds at all.

May 2014

DalaranJ posted:

Trip Report: Caverns of Thracia

Apr 2015

DalaranJ posted:

So, here are some ideas I've been batting around for Into the Odd exploration. I don't know that I'd bother using them in a one-shot, but after running a couple times I've been considering doing a campaign.

May 2015

If you were going to alter the number of ability scores in D&D to any number between 1 and 8 how would you change them?

gradenko_2000 posted:

I would probably do something like:

* Reduce stats to just STR, DEX and INT, perhaps add PER(sonality) if the campaign really warrants a mechanical representation of a face/charismatic character

* Three true words/phrases/statements about your character

* Combat revolves entirely around the attack roll vs AC dynamic, even for a Magic-User. A Fighter would fish for attack roll bonuses or mechanical effects through brute strength. A Rogue would do so via sneakiness and subterfuge. A Magic-User would do so by applying/targeting magical weaknesses, such as elemental opposites. I would however rule that the stat that contributes an attack bonus isn't locked in to the class. If the Fighter says he's a Fighter that adds his INT to his d20 instead of his STR, he can.

* Skill checks would still just be d20 vs a DC, with bonuses based on the applicable stat and an applicable true statement (and perhaps the class counts as a statement by itself?). The DM can also use the "opposite implication" of a true statement to justify a high DC/roll penalty

* Saving throws would be similar to skill checks: "a boulder is coming at you, what do you do?" and the player comes up with an active solution (I dodge out of the way, I blow it out of the way) or a passive solution (the boulder will smash on the sheer toughness of my chest)

Feb, 2016

Does brown book OD&D have ability rules for fighting-men, or are they implied by the title 'hero' or something? I can't find anything in here that describes cleaving against monsters with less than 1 HD. Maybe that wasn't until a later version.

gradenko_2000 posted:

The short answer is that the "multiple attacks against creatures with 1 HD or less" ability does not show up in the Three Brown Books explicitly.

The long answer:

In The Strategic Review, Volume 1, No 2, Page 3, you get the following passages:

quote:

A super hero, for example, would attack eight times only if he were fighting normal men (or creatures basically that strength, i.e., kobolds, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, and so on).

quote:

Note that he is allowed one attack for each of his combat levels as the ratio of one Orc vs. the Hero is 1:4, so this is treated as normal (non-fantastic) melee, as is any combat where the score of one side is a base 1 hit die or less.


Cross-referencing this with the level titles in Book 1 - Men & Magic, page 16, a "Superhero" is indeed a level 8 Fighting Man and a "Hero" is a level 4 Fighting Man.

...

Mar 2016

I'm still a bit confused about OD&D combat works since I don't have access to chainmail.

Does the fighter basically get 1 attack per level?
How many attacks does a 'hero' or 'superhero' get?
How many attacks does a 'wizard' get?

How does 20 to 20 combat work?
How does 20 to 1 combat work?

gradenko_2000 posted:

Basic Rule:
If the target has more than one hit die, the Fighter (and any other creature) can only attack (it) once per round, at any level, no matter what

Additional attacks based on the Man / Hero / Super Hero titles in the Fighting Capability column:

1. If your Fighting Capability is Man, then you can attack once per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less
2. If your Fighting Capability is 2 Men, then you can attack twice per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less
3. If your Fighting Capability is 3 Men, then you can attack thrice per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less
4. If your Fighting Capability is Hero, then you can attack four times per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less
5. If your Fighting Capability is Super Hero, then you can attack eight times per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less
6. If your Fighting Capability is Wizard, then you can attack two times per round if you're fighting creatures of 1 HD or less

Mar 2016

Alright, I have a bit of a radical hypothetical.
What is the benefit of attributes in a retroclone?
Why aren't there any (that I know of) retroclones which eschew attributes?

Evil Mastermind posted:

Because retroclones are copies of D&D. D&D has attributes. Therefore...

Like, I'm not being (overly) sarcastic. The whole concept of most retroclones is "keep the old rules alive".

I'm not particularly interested in D&D aside from the fact that it happens to have a long and storied history of making games that are (at least supposedly) about a sort of gameplay I am interested in playing or making.
So, if one somehow knew about RPGs while simultaneously knowing nothing about D&D and wanted to make a game that was about either fantasy overland travel or underground exploration, then conceivably that game might not have a mechanic similar to attributes?

I mean it probably would, because attributes are an extremely easy to come up with and understand gameplay conceit, but it might not?

gradenko_2000 posted:

There's some value to "having stats, period" insofar as it's an at-a-glance measure of relative power in a particular area of specialization, especially in the case of games that advocate a d20-roll-under-attribute task resolution system

There's also some value to "random rolling of stats" as far as providing character idea fodder and quick character creation, provided the numbers are tuned to produce playable characters no matter what.

But Evil Mastermind is largely correct that keeping the same six attribute score names, and keeping a 3 to 18 range, and keeping that particular range of attribute modifiers, is really just hidebound traditionalism. Like, even Dungeon Crawl Classics' level-0 character funnel is just a form of AD&D's Method IV ability score generation:



Except you have to go through a Darwinian process of winnowing down the sets you've rolled rather than picking the one that you like best and starting at level 1.

Don't get me wrong, that Darwinian adventure can be fun as heck, and it does accomplish the stated goal of preventing CharOp by brute force, but real innovation here is the Luck mechanic and aknowledging that the level-1 OSR adventurer is actually frail as poo poo and you need a small army of them.


You're probably going to have attributes no matter what. Even GURPS as a heavily skill based game still has attributes so that the skills, and the untrained tasks, have a base value to work off of. Even Risus has "attributes", even if they're on the scale of "Big Hulking Bruiser 4" and that could mean an entire panoply of core competencies, but as a core building block of game design, you're going to have them.

Might and Magic, Ultima, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Legacy of Grimrock, Final Fantasy, Jagged Alliance, even Out of the Park Baseball all have "attributes" in some form of another.

It's just that they don't use D&D's particular way of expressing them.

(This conversation is very long and multiperson if you have archives.)

May 2017

Alright, I've got some more design questions. These ones are about Wizard spells. What do you see as the pros and cons of the following spell casting possibilities for a class.

1. Spontaneous Casting (i.e. You choose your spell from your list at the moment you cast rather than at the beginning of the day).
2. No direct damage spells in the spell list
3. You can only memorize each spell in your list once (i.e. You can't memorize three sleep spells only one.)
4. Using power points instead of slots

I'm not going to use all or maybe not even any of these options, but I would like to hear your thoughts.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Spontaneous Casting

There's an argument to be had in the "ease of learning" between spontaneous casting and true Vancian casting. Personally, I think it's a wash, but I would consider spontaneous casting to be easier for newbies since it's far more versatile.

No direct damage spells in the spell list

Can't say I'm in favor of this. Direct damage spells are some of the easiest ways to connect with the game, and most of the problems of D&D casters is when they're using not-direct-damage spells. If anything, I would consider "all direct damage spells" to be a better deal, if you could come up with enough different damage gimmicks.

You can only memorize each spell in your list once

If you're not using spontaneous casting, definitely I am favor of this + true Vancian casting. It forces people to get creative with their spells.

When I ran a B/X oneshot about a month ago, I didn't want to stick the M-U with a single spell for the entire adventure, so I gave them the entire level 1 spell list, with the proviso that they could only use them once each. It went fairly well - the very first thing they used was Magic Missile, for fairly obvious reasons, but as the game wore on and their spell list become smaller and smaller they started doing things like using Tenser's Floating Disc to get up to a grating to sneak past some guards.

Using power points instead of slots

This is even more versatile than spontaneous casting in that it effectively allows you to trade spell slots across spell levels. It makes casters even more powerful in that regard. I don't know that I would ever use this, because all it does is exacerbate some of the problems of D&D casters, and any solutions to the caster problem is fairly well separate from whether I use power points or not.

May 2017

What's the rationale behind thieves being so bad at the things they're supposed to do at low levels? And conversely, why is climbing walls so easy?

Emrikol posted:

My theory has always been that the thief is a joke class designed to generate amusing anecdotes.

Jul 2017

New question.

What would the consequences of replacing the standard random encounter rule with this new one?
Old rule: Every turn, roll 1d6 and if the result is 1 than a random encounter occurs immediately.
New rule: When entering a dungeon, or after a random encounter ends, roll 1d6 to determine the number of turns until the next random encounter.

Right, the goal here was to reduce the incidence of back to back encounters while ensuring that they occur over the long term. 1d6 obviously doesn't work for this. I was considering 2+1d6, but looking at the math I may go with 1+1d10.

gradenko_2000 posted:

I actually really really like this idea, especially if you could tell the players what the result was (not all the time?) so that there's a definite sense of urgency. Certain actions could drop the counter (making noise!), while other actions could increase it (taking out a barracks!)

AlphaDog posted:

Counters and tracks are really great for older style dungeon crawling.

Track game time on them so everyone can see how much time they have until whatever thing happens (eg, Find Traps runs out).

Use them for chase scenes. Escape type actions move the PCs along one space. Defensive type actions stop the monsters moving along. PCs escape if they reach the end of the track before the monsters catch them.

Use them for "heat' like GTA game, with more actions or more obvious/loud/violent actions increasing heat and hiding, waiting, etc decreasing it. Have it affect random monster checks and the general preparedness of the opponents. Interact with your time track so that hiding means your buffs run out and your lamps burn down.

Use one you move once per session to show how far, in general, the bad guys' plans advance. A PC victory will stop the increase or even move it backwards. A PC failure will make it move faster. If PCs do nothing, then it moves some small amount ahead. Have this interact with other things, like if it's above 6 (or whatever) it increases the minimum/starting heat of all areas.

Sep 2017

I was going to ask a question about a specific resolution mechanic I wanted to use, but I think it would be more interesting if I ask this question instead.

Let's talk about task difficulty. Early D&D basically doesn't have this concept. If there's a door, it's a door. It's lock is just as effective, it's just as easy to kick down, and as easy to listen through as any other door. At some point, I presume people decided that this wasn't 'realistic' enough and said, "Okay, but that metal door will hurt your foot so you take a penalty.' Or perhaps they compared the resolution to combat rolls and said "We aren't these things similar?"

1) When was task difficulty first introduced? And why (if you can speculate)?
2) What are the ramifications of resolution without task difficulty?
3) What are the ramifications of resolution with task difficulty?

al-azad posted:

1) It's tricky to nail down. It was there since the original box set with the "stuck doors" rule. It got more complex with the introduction of the thief and I believe the first true skill system showed up in Dragon Magazine. But I believe it was 3E that actually implemented the difficulty class/target number system. In previous editions the challenge was based on the individual's skill. One person could have open lock at 1% and another at 50%, and then it would be modified maybe +20% for an easy lock. 2E's suggested method, provided you didn't use the optional proficiency system, was based on your saving throws e.g. save vs. breath weapon was keyed to dexterity and acrobatics. I can only assume they changed this the same reason they got rid of THAC0 and combat results tables: it's easier to modify a flat number.

2) The DM ad-hocs scenarios. Some RPGs encourage a "yes, but..." approach so given enough time you'll always be able to kick a door down but you wake up the whole dungeon. This ad hoc approach seems to be the preferred method in the early days considering entire monsters were created to gently caress with players who had a contingency for everything ("I run my fingers through the grain of the wood, knocking, licking, and smelling for anything out of place" "the door is actually a monster and eats you").

3) You create a binary situation. You either succeed or you don't. There's also a disconnect between your character and the game world. E.g. you, the player, know you roll poorly on your stealth check but your character believes they're hiding well. The DM is supposed to make these rolls on your behalf but that means half your skills are now being rolled in secret by the DM who is also making opposed rolls in secret and it's kind of poo poo. On the other hand, this system allows for passing things you couldn't reasonably fail at. The "take 10" or "take 20." Given enough time with no pressure, there should be no reason you couldn't chop down a wooden door. In an ad-hoc system a DM can become too literal. "The key was in a secret latch under a seamless, perfectly flush tile that could only be discovered by someone of elven lineage on the full moon while dancing the jitterbug." Yeah, or I can roll against DC 20.

Halloween Jack posted:

1. AFAIK, variable task difficulty was a situational thing until 3e. The first skill system was the Thief's skills, of course, the second was the BECMI Basic set (which I believe also codified roll-under-ability-score as the default resolution method), and the third was AD&D2e. If I'm correct, before 3e having an extra-tricky lock or extra-heavy door would be up to whoever was writing the adventure module. The BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia skill system would prescribe specific penalties for specific situations in its writeup of the skills; for example, you take a +4 penalty if you try to use your Riding (Horse) skill to ride a griffon. I think AD&D2e was the same, plus the resolution mechanics could be different for different skills IIRC.

2. Like al-azad said, what constitutes "success" is more implicitly subject to the DM's common sense based on the situation. A STR check vs. a regular door forces it open, whereas with a portcullis you just lift it up enough for the rogue to slide through, etc.

3. You now need balanced task resolution. From the people designing D&D. Good luck, buddy!

gradenko_2000 posted:

Before I get into the meat of my response, I want to draw a distinction between "dungeon-relevant task resolution", and "everything else".

OD&D didn't really have any formal task resolution mechanics at all. The general assumption is that you either "talked it out", or the DM just used whatever roll of the die they wanted, adjusted the way they wanted. There are a few references to how Elves can detect secret doors, but no hard rules.

When you get to the Greyhawk supplement, you do get some task resolution mechanics, but they're Dungeon-Relevant. Roll a 1d6 to open doors, roll percentiles for the Thief skills, that sort of thing. They only ever covered stuff that you were expected to do while dungeoneering, but haggling in a town, talking to the king, and whatever other esoteric dungeon puzzle solutions your players might have come up with were still up to talking it out.

Holmes's Basic Set (1977) largely continues this model, with rolling a 1d6 to open a door and succeeding on a 1 and 2, along with Thief skills, and so on, but of course only extending to the first 3 character levels.

Moldvay's Basic Set (1981) finally introduces a "generic" task resolution system - you're still expected to use d6's for doors and percentiles for Thieves, etc., but you have that one paragraph of "There's Always a Chance" that lets you try anything, and success is from rolling under your corresponding attribute with a d20. This is also where task difficulty is first introduced, as the DM is told that they can attach as much as a +4 or -4 modifier on the roll to make it easier or harder.

Mentzer's Expert Set (1983) has a slightly different take: he mentions using different dice instead of the d20, such as a 3d6-roll-under, or a 4d6-roll-under. But the core concept remains the same as far allowing players to attempt things that aren't covered by the rules.

This is also where you start to see the reason behind why task difficulty was introduced:


It's a sop to "realism" and inter-character balance.

Moving on to AD&D, the core of AD&D 1e didn't have generic task resolution. You still had door bashing and Thief skills, but like OD&D+Greyhawk, it was all only dungeon-relevant task resolution. There was a thing called Proficiencies, but it was only for weapons.

It was Oriental Adventures that expanded the system to account for "general" tasks. There was a list of skills, and you spend your Proficiency slots on them, and then if the DM wants to make it into a contested roll, you'd roll a d20, and you'd succeed if you rolled equal to or higher it's not actually clear how Oriental Adventures defines success or failure than the listed base chance of success.




It's worth noting that the raison d'etre of this system was to allow the game to model artistic and peaceful skills as it pertained to the Oriental setting. Like, you would take proficiency in Masseur or Paper-Maker to impress the Shogun or some poo poo. It still wasn't generic - they were still putting in stuff that was only relevant to the game's objectives, it's just that the game's objectives had changed.

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide and Wilderness Survival Guide further expanded on the system by defining Proficiency Checks as d20-roll-under checks against a corresponding ability score, plus or minus a modifier:



So for Animal Noise, you'd roll a d20, subtract 1 from the result, and succeed if the result is equal to or lower than your Wisdom. Animal Noise would be used to imitate the sound of an animal. Fungus Identification, with its +6 modifier, would be very difficult to pull off even with a high INT character.

In both cases, the DM is allowed to append their own circumstantial die roll modifiers to the checks, and the rules themselves describe such things as your Weaponcrafting check being helped by working with magical or otherwise really good materials.

AD&D 2e ported over this system as part of the corebooks. The PHB actually lists them as "Optional", and there are long passages explaining why it should be optional for most games/groups, but as the game-line wore on, you'd have this situation where so many more Proficiencies and uses for them are piled on in supplements that you couldn't really avoid it anymore.

And finally we get to 3rd Edition and the d20 system, which should be familiar enough to you that I won't go into the details of it save for a key design flaw: switching to an ascending system suuuuucked because they never capped the loving thing.

The relative elegance of the Proficiency and roll-under system of AD&D was that you always had a pretty good idea of your chance to succeed, and you always had a pretty good chance of succeeding, and "allocating skills" was only a thing you did once every few levels, and taking a proficiency meant that you were pretty good at that thing (moderated by your attribute score), forever. Sure, the DM could attach a +8 modifier to make the check well-nigh-impossible to pass, but they'd have to be a real dick about it.

In contrast, 3e skill checks could go as high as the DM (or the module-writer) wanted. Yes, there were guidelines based on physics such the door-bashing DC being based on the door material, or the Balance DC being based on how slippery the surface is, but it's doubtful that anyone really paid close attention to the darn things (unless you were using a pre-written module). It was also really book-keepy, and you had to come up with more and more reasons to need to keep sinking points into poo poo like Intuit Direction, which contributed to even more skill inflation and more book-keeping and characters being unreasonably limited in their capabilities and it's all a big mess.


The biggest distinction I would personally draw from all of this is that while TSR-era did include the "task difficulty", it didn't try to go into too much detail over why certain things needed a modifier, and it didn't specify that certain things always needed to be modified.

By leaving things to a d20 roll against a range of ... 8 to 16 (realistically speaking), you could play an entire game without ever really needing to use a modifier and things would still shake-out okay.

This lets the DM focus on whether or not a roll is required in the first place, without having to think about assigning a DC that's too high or too low, and that, to my mind, is a huge advantage in terms of facilitating play.

Great posts, thanks.

So, in short every option that D&D has used looks like:
Arbitrary fixed, like NPC reaction or kick down door
Class Level based, like Hide In Shadows or attacking
Attribute based like There's Always A Chance
Then slightly later? we have attribute modification
We begin to see the concept of difficulty modifcation

And the end result as of 3rd ed. and later is that everything gets massed together into attribute mod + class level compare with difficulty (Ugh.)

(This convo is real good too.)

Oct 2017

What modern ready ref sheets exist? It occurred to me due to discussion in the general chat that the only ones I can think of are GreyHawk and City State of the Invincible Overlord and those are both 30 years old.

LashLightning posted:

Holmes Archive has put one together for Basic D&D but it's no where as intensive as the Judges Guild one.

Although, the sheets seemed to be more of a beta version of what would be the Dungeon Master guides, so people nowadays just compile their own lists of pages from the guides that they find useful at the table. Perhaps a new 'Retro-Clone Reference Sheet' could find it's place in the market, or something.

Edit: New Big Dragon Games did make the d30 DM and d30 Sandbox Companions, which fit much the same place as the Ready Ref Sheets, but make use of the d30. (Or a d3 followed by a d10 if you don't have the sillier of the silly dice that we all know and love)

Jan 2018

Here’s another existential D&D question for you, presented with as little biasing as possible.
Why is cleric a class option?

whydirt posted:

Almost everything in D&D can be attributed to an early design quirk that got cemented into the game through inertia and appeal to tradition.

This is a thing that I just thought up today, and once you realize that it immediately stops working after the first four classes you can see that it is a retroactive explanation of reasoning for classes, but I still think it bears out at the very beginning of D&D even though it wasn't intentionally designed this way.
Each class tells us something important about what D&D is about as a game.

The fighter tells us that D&D is about killing, or more generously, about war.
The wizard tells us that D&D is a game about fantasy and magic.
The thief tells us that D&D is a game about 'getting paid', or that it is picaresque in nature.
The cleric then, tells us that D&D is about more than that. It's about character beliefs and ethics, and sometimes it can be about the struggle between gods, or between people and the gods.

Jan 2018

Halloween Jack posted:

I don't mean Weapon Mastery, I mean your defense stat being based wholly or mostly on what kind of armor you wear, and the class division based on that.

The easiest house rule is probably to just assume each class is wearing the best armor they can wear. (Or second best, and they have to put on heavier than usual armor to get the best possible bonus, if that's appropriate as it is in say Tekumel.)

Oh, this is real good. I'm going to use this.

Apr 2018

Okay, here’s another fun D&D existential question for you. If the default setting has a bunch of high level wizards and knights, and the characters are essentially graduated dirt farmers, why are the characters the ones finding unplundered ancient treasure?

Serf posted:

more than likely there was a recent apocalypse or at least a civilization decline that left behind a lot of poo poo to go and grab. high-level wizards and knights are probably too smart or busy to go poking around in every old tomb or crumbling castle for weird poo poo

Halloween Jack posted:

Here's the best I can do: Wizards, in accordance with the later Dying Earth stories, are a bunch of rich weirdos with their heads up their own asses. They're playing around in their laboratories, or hanging out at their wizard gentleman's club getting drunk and eating spotted dick, or doing a Wooster & Jeeves schtick with their weird monster servants. Lords and Patriarchs are making income by taxing the peasants, and are busy building castles and fighting each other honor and more money, typical rear end in a top hat knight stuff.

Neither group can be arsed to go into a dungeon and live on iron rations and stale water and risk being gibbed by some gently caress-you trap they forgot to plan for. They're done with that. That's for poor assholes with a 10' pole and a dream. Assholes like you.

gradenko_2000 posted:

The unplundered (but possibly not ancient) treasures are from wizards and knights who have died and left their holdings abandoned.

Apr 2018

DalaranJ posted:

:effort:

Okay, I'm going to talk some about Empire of The Petal Throne, which has been rebranded as , Tekumel: The Empire of The Petal Throne, under the correct assumption that no one will ever find it otherwise.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


The thread name is good.

Xotl posted:

Reserved for future playstyle post.

Here, this should do it,

Mike Danger
Feb 17, 2012


Is it too late to stump for additions to the OP? I'm still very much dipping my toes into all of this, but I got into it via Goblin Punch appearing in my RSS reader one day: http://goblinpunch.blogspot.com/ Sort of in the same vein as False Machine.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Yeah, that's definitely a good one. Will add now.

alg
Mar 14, 2007

A wolf was no less a wolf because a whim of chance caused him to run with the watch-dogs.



Two blogs I follow have recently posted about the alt-right in the OSR. I know ACKs is run by Milo's manager. I know James Raggi posts about Varg. What else is there?

sources: https://axesnorcs.blogspot.com/2018/05/i-dont-know-bad-of-alt-right-problem.html

http://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.com/2018/05/goodbye-and-good-luck.html

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




*OP says no OSR politics*

*Stumbles into page 1* "Hey guys, how about those regressive shitlords and their bad politics?!?"

Jeffrey of YOSPOS
Dec 22, 2005

GET LOSE, YOU CAN'T COMPARE WITH MY POWERS


Do you guys think the greater druid community would be for or against nuclear power plants? I think the relatively low footprint of uranium mining compared to fossil fuels means that fey creatures with any intelligence ought to be on board.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

alg posted:

Two blogs I follow have recently posted about the alt-right in the OSR.
<snip>

Pham Nuwen posted:

*OP says no OSR politics*

*Stumbles into page 1* "Hey guys, how about those regressive shitlords and their bad politics?!?"

Also,

Jeffrey of YOSPOS posted:

Do you guys think the greater druid community would be for or against nuclear power plants? I think the relatively low footprint of uranium mining compared to fossil fuels means that fey creatures with any intelligence ought to be on board.

Druids would obviously be into wind power via harnessed air elementals, duh.

Also also:

:siren:No OSR Politics:siren:

Xotl fucked around with this message at 01:41 on May 29, 2018

alg
Mar 14, 2007

A wolf was no less a wolf because a whim of chance caused him to run with the watch-dogs.



Sorry, the OP was really really long

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Fair enough, no worries.

dwarf74
Sep 2, 2012






Buglord

Jeffrey of YOSPOS posted:

Do you guys think the greater druid community would be for or against nuclear power plants? I think the relatively low footprint of uranium mining compared to fossil fuels means that fey creatures with any intelligence ought to be on board.
You can't hug your trees with nuclear arms

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




I would think the elemental plane of fire should be able to power steam turbines quite handily.

If that's not in Eberron I'd be loving shocked.

Jeffrey of YOSPOS
Dec 22, 2005

GET LOSE, YOU CAN'T COMPARE WITH MY POWERS


Pham Nuwen posted:

I would think the elemental plane of fire should be able to power steam turbines quite handily.

If that's not in Eberron I'd be loving shocked.
yeah the ignan and aquan unions prefer a hybrid approach

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

if we are going to close off discussion on "OSR Politics", which is perhaps understandable for being non-germane to the thread, it would behoove us to actually acknowledge that these people exist and are shitcocks, rather than contributing to the Missing Stair problem.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


alg posted:

Two blogs I follow have recently posted about the alt-right in the OSR. I know ACKs is run by Milo's manager. I know James Raggi posts about Varg. What else is there?

sources: https://axesnorcs.blogspot.com/2018/05/i-dont-know-bad-of-alt-right-problem.html

http://dungeonofsigns.blogspot.com/2018/05/goodbye-and-good-luck.html

You'd do well to ask this in the industry thread, as little as the OSR has anything to do with the industry.


gradenko_2000 posted:

if we are going to close off discussion on "OSR Politics", which is perhaps understandable for being non-germane to the thread, it would behoove us to actually acknowledge that these people exist and are shitcocks, rather than contributing to the Missing Stair problem.

:agreed:

There's a good reason my OSR discussion remains solely in this thread.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

No, I don't think it would behoove us, because there's other places that could be and are used to talk about OSR drama, and it's naive to think that we would be able to talk about it without things spiralling further down the well. If politics are important enough to you that you have to vet your elfgames for ideological propriety, I can respect that even if I don't understand it, but it's on you to do the checking and you can and should do it on your own.

It's irrelevant to gaming discussion. Take it to RPG.net or G+ or any one of a number of blogs, please, just as the last thread asked everyone to do and people for the most part did just fine.

Xotl fucked around with this message at 03:08 on May 29, 2018

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010




Lipstick Apathy

I can understand not wanting to "derail" the thread with a discussion about it, but I cannot in good conscience abide by a complete rejection of the issue's existence. I will be tagging out of the thread.

DalaranJ, I appreciate the kind recollection of my old posts.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


gradenko_2000 posted:

DalaranJ, I appreciate the kind recollection of my old posts.

No, thank you. And thanks to everyone else who contributed to my discussion even if I didn't quote you.

E: I have some more questions coming up after having purchased Hot Springs Island, but I thought I'd wait a day or two to spring them.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




gradenko_2000 posted:

I can understand not wanting to "derail" the thread with a discussion about it, but I cannot in good conscience abide by a complete rejection of the issue's existence. I will be tagging out of the thread.

DalaranJ, I appreciate the kind recollection of my old posts.

Yo your posts in the last thread were always erudite and interesting, thank you.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

I'm sorry to see you go, gradenko, but do what you feel you need to. Hopefully you change your mind at some point.

DalaranJ posted:

E: I have some more questions coming up after having purchased Hot Springs Island, but I thought I'd wait a day or two to spring them.

I have copies of both books, so ask away whenever.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



gradenko_2000 posted:

if we are going to close off discussion on "OSR Politics", which is perhaps understandable for being non-germane to the thread, it would behoove us to actually acknowledge that these people exist and are shitcocks, rather than contributing to the Missing Stair problem.
:same:

I don't care how good a product is; if the creator is a terrible person I want to know so I don't give them any support.

LaSquida
Nov 1, 2012

Just keep on walkin'.


Evil Mastermind posted:

:same:

I don't care how good a product is; if the creator is a terrible person I want to know so I don't give them any support.

:same:

I understand not wanting it to turn into pages long screeds, but not being able to go "Hey, writer X actually runs a Nazi website on the side" is, uh, bad.

alg
Mar 14, 2007

A wolf was no less a wolf because a whim of chance caused him to run with the watch-dogs.



I know we had discussed things like Tenkar bending the knee in the old thread so I didn't think it was any different in this thread. I've been threatened on G+ in the past for even bringing up diversity so no way was I going to ask about those posts there. And trade games as a subforum is pretty anti-OSR that I've seen so I don't really discuss it outside of the old thread and this thread.

I can respect the rules of this thread but I too think it's important to point out known shitheads

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Evil Mastermind posted:

I don't care how good a product is; if the creator is a terrible person I want to know so I don't give them any support.

I get that. But why not go and find out, then? Why the need to drag it here as well?

I didn't introduce a new rule to the thread; I only copied one over (that I heartily agree with and that people seemed fine with at the time). Nothing is stopping anyone here from going to one of several gaming places and finding out all the juicy drama and scumbaggery X dev is up to lately. Everyone here who is inclined to hate Zak or Macris or Raggi already knows about them and has made that decision; no one posting here is going to go "What do you mean that Macris is a shithead: why wasn't I informed?" G+ devolves into this horseshit constantly, as does RPG.net, and it's never just "one small post". There are blogs to follow with an interest in OSR drama. There's our own industry thread specifically intended to cover stuff like this. No one can pretend that this is an unexplored topic. Quite the other way around; this thread could be the one place free of that cruft, instead of following exactly what everyone else--including this forum in another thread--is already doing.

I'm no mod, and I'm not interested in being the guy at odds with everyone at the expense of good conversation, so if everyone is set on this then I'll stand aside and edit the OP to match, but I don't get how anyone thinks it will be an improvement.

Xotl fucked around with this message at 04:05 on May 29, 2018

Jeffrey of YOSPOS
Dec 22, 2005

GET LOSE, YOU CAN'T COMPARE WITH MY POWERS


I've definitely seen the topic come up in the industry thread, I think it'd be nice to keep it there instead of here or the 5e thread.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Should probably change some of the word choices in the OP to be less beating about the bush about it/playing coy and just be honest about who's a shitheel and who isn't. "Infamous Zak S" carries the wrong semantics for who he is and what he done, it's like when people call a gunman a "frustrated individual". He'd embrace "infamous". Not everyone's gonna come to this thread having taken the prep classes on Fantastic Dickbags And Where To Find Them 101, folks come around here to dip their toes into the waters of knowledge. If you wanna call a moratorium on the recurring flag-waving okay and I get that, better an admission of problems than 400 new posts about the same poo poo, but just like at the very least acknowledge the basic criticisms of notable people up front with "we've said all that needs to be said at the moment, there's somewhere else we can argue this, this is more about the games than anything else".

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




So the OP kind of makes 1e sound a little weirder, a little more murderhobo, than 2e... Is there really that much difference? I have always had a soft spot for the monk, for instance. How tough would it be to drop a 1e monk into a 2e game?

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Hostile V posted:

Should probably change some of the word choices in the OP to be less beating about the bush about it/playing coy and just be honest about who's a shitheel and who isn't. "Infamous Zak S" carries the wrong semantics for who he is and what he done, it's like when people call a gunman a "frustrated individual". He'd embrace "infamous". Not everyone's gonna come to this thread having taken the prep classes on Fantastic Dickbags And Where To Find Them 101, folks come around here to dip their toes into the waters of knowledge. If you wanna call a moratorium on the recurring flag-waving okay and I get that, better an admission of problems than 400 new posts about the same poo poo, but just like at the very least acknowledge the basic criticisms of notable people up front with "we've said all that needs to be said at the moment, there's somewhere else we can argue this, this is more about the games than anything else".

I put "infamous" because, in following from my previous post, everyone I know of that posts here is already aware of who he is and what he does, and has their own personal feelings about him. More detail just seemed at once redundant and breaking the thread's own rules.

But I'm willing to be more upfront if people think that would actually be helpful. I'll go and do that now. I'll also link to the industry thread so that people don't think I'm trying to shut them down or what have you.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Xotl posted:

I put "infamous" because, in following from my previous post, everyone I know of that posts here is already aware of who he is and what he does, and has their own personal feelings about him. More detail just seemed at once redundant and breaking the thread's own rules.

But I'm willing to be more upfront if people think that would actually be helpful. I'll go and do that now. I'll also link to the industry thread so that people don't think I'm trying to shut them down or what have you.
Yeah alright I get where you're comin' from dude.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Has Not Actually Done Cocaine


gradenko_2000 posted:

I can understand not wanting to "derail" the thread with a discussion about it, but I cannot in good conscience abide by a complete rejection of the issue's existence. I will be tagging out of the thread.

DalaranJ, I appreciate the kind recollection of my old posts.

This is a really really massive overreaction in my opinion, as I think we can all agree that the "No OSR Politics" request isn't meant to ignore the problems surrounding certain figures in the community, it's just to avoid having the thread get clogged up by something that has been discussed a ton in the past and doesn't really need to be talked about again unless something new comes up

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

Pham Nuwen posted:

So the OP kind of makes 1e sound a little weirder, a little more murderhobo, than 2e... Is there really that much difference? I have always had a soft spot for the monk, for instance. How tough would it be to drop a 1e monk into a 2e game?

It's a bit weirder. Psionics are corish (main book, but shuffled off to an appendix). The Bard is an incredibly bizarre multiclass experiment. There's coverage of disease, and a random harlot subtable, to give two examples of the sort of extra detail you'll see. It's written in a very baroque style throughout. Unearthed Arcana really introduces the most changes from 2nd, since almost all of that was cut from 2e core (thief-acrobats, cavaliers that start at -2 level, etc). But while Unearthed was always controversial, it was much more widely adopted than, say, the v2.5 Options books or any one Complete Book of X that 2nd ed had so many of.

Gameplay wise, the base rules are quite similar, so much so that you'd have little trouble doing what you asked with a monk (though 2nd ed had one or two versions of its own you could use instead). (The addition of skills in 2nd also heralded a big change, but that's something I want to cover another time.)

As for murderhoboness, that's trickier:
- In terms of the *core rules*, counter to the standard anti-grog view the older 1st ed is less murderhoboey. I can't emphasize enough how much the moving from gold as the primary source of XP (the 1st ed way) to monsters as the primary source (the 2nd ed way) really changed the dynamics of play. What players were rewarded for pursuing really shifted. Naturally combat was much more encouraged by a game that said that the best way to progress was to kill things. Gold for XP was still present, but it was optional only. There were also story-based XP awards introduced, but they were minor.
- In terms of *modules*, 2nd ed is less murderhoboey. This is because of the shift in module design I reference in the OP.

For people writing their own adventures this was irrelevant, but for the big market that scooped up modules, their games would be transformed as module writing was transformed. Look at something old like B1, B2, or B4: very open sandbox style stuff, where the players have a lot of freedom to tackle things. Look at the S-series: all dungeons of varying sorts, with a high lethality focus. Yes, they were written for tournaments and so the lethality was purposely exaggerated, but if you have thousands upon thousands of non-tourney players buying and playing them, that can't help but shape things. In all of these you're getting little to no read-aloud box text. Setup for the adventure is often as little as a paragraph (and that includes backstory). But around 1983 you see a marked shift. Look at something like the Dragonlance series, or Desert of Desolation, or Ravenloft, and you'll see what an official adventure was changing very rapidly. Railroaded plots where the PCs must do X and if they don't then the module forces them to start to appear (even popular favourite B10 has a bit of this). You also start seeing NPCs with plot armour that can't die before they're "supposed to", longer and longer blocks of read-aloud text, and longer backstories. The stories are increasingly centred around heroics, rather than looting: save the town, save the princess, save the kingdom, defeat the ultimate evil, save the world. A character's dungeon exploration movement speed increases noticeably in 2nd ed IIRC (another small change that could really affect play), but that hardly matters because the game hardly seemed to care about dungeons anymore. Something like the D-series just wasn't being published any longer, except as repackagings.

So while this evolution happened under late 1st ed's watch, it was solidly in place for the writing of 2nd and informed the design of it and most of its supplements, which people are referring to as much as they are the core rulebooks when they refer to an edition. Things like Night Below, Nightmare Keep, Dragon Mountain, or Ruins of Undermountain were outliers in a much larger catalogue.

I should do up a module comparison to give a better, visual-based evolution of module design from 78 to 98.

Xotl fucked around with this message at 16:55 on May 29, 2018

FRINGE
May 23, 2003
title stolen for lf posting


Jeffrey of YOSPOS posted:

Do you guys think the greater druid community would be for or against nuclear power plants? I think the relatively low footprint of uranium mining compared to fossil fuels means that fey creatures with any intelligence ought to be on board.

They would be anti-lightwater and pro-LFTRs obviously.

Also wind and sun and steam. So easy. "Summon radiance elemental" "Summon air elemental" "Summon fire elemental" "Summon steam elemental" "Summon various mephits"

FRINGE
May 23, 2003
title stolen for lf posting


Xotl posted:

or any one Complete Book of X that 2nd ed had so many of
These were in very wide use in every group I ran into.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

FRINGE posted:

These were in very wide use in every group I ran into.

Me too, but that's why I specified any given one. The line was so large (16 books over six years, not including the setting-specific ones) and so varied in quality and power (for example, compare the Complete Book of Elves with the Complete Thief's Handbook) that it didn't have the same effect that the single Unearthed Arcana did. You could count on running into them in general, but you couldn't be sure of seeing them all.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Has Not Actually Done Cocaine


Complete Book of Humanoids is a book that would have been so much better if it hadn't made most of the races it included pretty much useless thanks to the combination of class restrictions and level restrictions(the latter is something I absolutely despise when it's used in systems where Race and Class are separate)

But then I've always preferred my fantasy to be jammed full of oddball races prominently(heck the first D&D novel I ever read had Draconians be the viewpoint characters)

drrockso20 fucked around with this message at 07:40 on May 29, 2018

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

I keep hearing that OSR adventures are amazing but every one I've read is garbage and boring? They all seem to fit in the category of A) boilerplate sword and sorcery poo poo with maybe a dash of Lovecraft if you want to call your game "weird"* or B) A classic children's tale but with violence and loving. Like, the OP asserts that the OSR's adventures are way better than WotC stuff but I haven't found an OSR adventure that's even close to engaging as something like Tomb of Annihilation or Red Hand of Doom or whatever. Even Paizo's overblown adventure paths have a bunch of ambition. The only adventure I've seen that even had mildly engaging elements was Better Than Any Man with the broad Wurzberg setting even if it was slathered in Raggi's wannabe artist provocateur bullshit.

I know I'm being belligerent here but honestly I'm happy to be proven wrong with some good recommendations! I might not be particularly interested in OSR systems but I'm happy to nick stuff I like and run it with a system I enjoy. Preferably nothing written by shitheads.

Xotl
May 28, 2001

Be seeing you.

I'd love to get into this but it deserves a thorough answer because once again it touches on the subject of fundamentally different playstyles between old and new school, and I'm heading to bed.

I can't be sure if you think the ones you've seen truly suck, or if you're used to a different style of play than what OSR gaming provides and so are bouncing off of them due to a clash of expectations. In case of the latter, I'll leave this here for now as a sort of chaser:

http://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=4214
Extremely enthusiastic review of a new module by an OSR-centred reviewer. The guy has given out 4 perfect scores in his 1,500 reviews; this gets one of them.

https://princeofnothingblogs.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/review-mines-claws-princesses-5e-3pp-holy-oldschool-holy-grail-batman/
Equally enthusiastic review, again by an OSR reviewer.

Note what qualities the two are remarking on when they talk about what makes it good. Now read this guy's take on it for a completely different (modern) view. Ignoring the quibble about age-appropriateness, you're still dealing with a fundamentally different set of criteria.
http://www.wizardslaboratory.com/review-of-mines-claws-princesses-adventure/

Lastly, the module is pay what you want, so get it and consider it for yourself. What do you think about it?
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/240094/Mines-Claws--Princesses


I'll cover some of the better OSR modules (say, Deep Carbon Observatory, or Fate's Fell Hand) and why I think they're great later on.

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Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Xotl posted:

I'd love to get into this but it deserves a thorough answer because once again it touches on the subject of fundamentally different playstyles between old and new school, and I'm heading to bed.

I can't be sure if you think the ones you've seen truly suck, or if you're used to a different style of play than what OSR gaming provides and so are bouncing off of them due to a clash of expectations. In case of the latter, I'll leave this here for now as a sort of chaser:

http://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=4214
Extremely enthusiastic review of a new module by an OSR-centred reviewer. The guy has given out 4 perfect scores in his 1,500 reviews; this gets one of them.

https://princeofnothingblogs.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/review-mines-claws-princesses-5e-3pp-holy-oldschool-holy-grail-batman/
Equally enthusiastic review, again by an OSR reviewer.

Note what qualities the two are remarking on when they talk about what makes it good. Now read this guy's take on it for a completely different (modern) view. Ignoring the quibble about age-appropriateness, you're still dealing with a fundamentally different set of criteria.
http://www.wizardslaboratory.com/review-of-mines-claws-princesses-adventure/

Lastly, the module is pay what you want, so get it and consider it for yourself. What do you think about it?
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/240094/Mines-Claws--Princesses


I'll cover some of the better OSR modules (say, Deep Carbon Observatory, or Fate's Fell Hand) and why I think they're great later on.

The first two reviews seem to just be mostly "the module has interesting room descriptions" which yeah, I think it does a decent job of, while engaging in a lot of the hyperbole poo poo that makes the OSR community super off-putting to folks who don't think slapping some houserules onto OD&D is some kind of pinnacle of the hobby. Having looked at the adventure I basically have to agree overall with the last review. Like, the adventure seems like a serviceable update on something like Keep on the Borderlands, I'd certainly run this before that, but it doesn't change the fact that in terms of substance it's nothing that hasn't been seen before. It's fine.

Edit: Also lol at the comments being full of folks being mad that the guy didn't give this one full marks including Venger "I'm an adult man who calls myself Venger Satanis" Satanis.

Saguaro PI fucked around with this message at 09:47 on May 29, 2018

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