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Messages - Pladohs Ghost

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1
General Discussion / Re: Writing Adventures
« on: October 26, 2018, 11:24:02 PM »
Well, yeah, in that regard, there are a whole lot of players now who don't want to play to find out if they can manage the odds and rise to the challenges of stepping into the wild unknown and coming back to tell the tale. They want the cinematic escapades of super-heroes in fantasy garb knowing that the movie has a happy ending.

There are times I fear that's become the norm and I have to admit that the munchins won the field; the grognards are in disarray.

As far as backstories go, though, I find that the more complete the backstory, the more I have to work with as GM. It's easier for me to flesh out bits around that skeleton than to create a skeleton, myself--and if I'm using somebody else's adventure, I don't want to be creating the skeleton, myself.

2
General Discussion / Re: Writing Adventures
« on: September 16, 2018, 02:07:51 AM »
I reckon it's that backstory that sparks ideas for the GM. Besides placing the adventure as written in context, it can sparks ideas as to how to develop things further.

3
Classic D&D / Re: OD&D Help needed to find missing stuff
« on: July 04, 2018, 10:39:17 PM »
There were new monsters presented, along with new classes. I didn't see anything else that might bear on what you asked about. I've also pulled all the material I feel comfortable pulling under fair use doctrine.

This was all from SR. I've not looked at the early Dragon issues.

4
Classic D&D / Re: OD&D Help needed to find missing stuff
« on: July 04, 2018, 10:37:14 PM »
"Because there are many legendary and authored systems of magic, many questions about the system of magic used in D & D are continually raised. Magic in CHAINMAIL was fairly brief, and because it was limited to the concept of table top miniatures battles, there was no problem in devising and handling this new and very potent factor in the game. The same cannot be said of D & D. While miniatures battles on the table top were conceived as a part of the overall game system, the major factor was always envisioned as the underworld adventure, while the wilderness trek assumed a secondary role, various other aspects took a third place, and only then were miniatures battles considered. So a somewhat different concept of magic had to be devised to employ with the D & D campaign in order to make it all work.
The four cardinal types of magic are those systems which require long con- juration with much paraphernalia as an adjunct (as used by Shakespeare in MAC- BETH or as typically written about by Robert E. Howard in his “Conan” yarns), the relatively short spoken spell (as in Finnish mythology or as found in the superb fantasy of Jack Vance), ultra-powerful (if not always correct) magic (typical of deCamp & Pratt in their classic “Harold Shea” stories), and the generally weak and relatively ineffectual magic (as found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s work). Now the use of magic in the game was one of the most appealing aspects, and given the game system it was fairly obvious that its employment could not be on the complicated and time consuming plane, any more than it could be made as a rather weak and ineffectual adjunct to swordplay if magic-users were to become a class of player- character.
The basic assumption, then, was that D & D magic worked on a “Vancian” system and if used correctly would be a highly powerful and effective force. There are also four basic parts to magic: The verbal or uttered spell, the somatic or physical movement required for the conjuration, the psychic or mental attitude necessary to cast the spell, and the material adjuncts by which the spell, can be completed (to cite an obvious example, water to raise a water elemental). It was assumed that the D & D spell would be primarily verbal, although in some in- stances the spell would require some somatic component also (a fire ball being an outstanding example). The psychic per se would play little part in the basic magic system, but a corollary, mnemonics, would. The least part of magic would be the material aids required, and most of those considered stored or aided magic, so as to enable its more immediate employment, rather than serving to prolong spell casting time or encumber the player using these aids. Before exploring the whys and wherefores of these decisions, a further word regarding magical results must be said.
Spells do various things, and just what they do is an important consideration, for some order of effect in regard to the game would have to be determined. Magic purports to have these sorts of effects: 1) the alteration of existing substance (in- cluding its transposition or dissolution); 2) the creation of new substance; 3) the changing of normal functions of mind and/or body; 4) the addition of new func- tions to mind and/or body; 5) summon and/or command existing entities; and 6) create new entities. In considering these functions, comparatively weak and strong spells could be devised from any one of the six. Knowing the parameters within which the work was to be done then enabled the creation of the system.
Because the magic-using D & D player would have to be able to operate com- petitively with fellow players who relied on other forms of attack during the course of adventures, the already mentioned “Vancian” system was used as a basis, and spells of various sorts were carefully selected. Note, however, that they were selec- ted within the framework of D & D competition primarily, and some relatively powerful spells were apportioned to lower levels of magic use. Charm Person and Sleep at 1st level are outstanding examples. The effect of some spells was set to reflect the level of the magic-user employing them. Many of the spells were developed for specific use in dungeon expeditions or during wilderness ad- ventures. A few — mostly drawn from CHAINMAIL — were included with the table top battle in mind. All such spells were assumed to be of such a nature so that no less than three of the four basic components of magic were required in their use. All spells were assumed to have a verbal component. Each and every spell (not found on a scroll or otherwise contained in, or on, some magical device) would be absolutely mnemonic, magic-users would have to memorize the spells they wished to have available, and when a particular spell was recalled and its other parts enacted, then the memory would be gone and the spell no longer available until it was re-memorized (thus the magic-users’ spell books!). Most spells were also envisioned as containing a slight somatic and/or material com- ponent, whether in the preparation of a small packet of magical or ordinary com- pounds to be used when the spell was spoken or as various gestures to be made when the enchantment was uttered.
Magic-use was thereby to be powerful enough to enable its followers to com- pete with any other type of player-character, and yet the use of magic would not be so great as to make those using it overshadow all others.
This was the conception, but in practice it did not work out as planned. Primarily at fault is the game itself which does not carefully explain the reasoning behind the magic system. Also, the various magic items for employment by magic- users tend to make them too powerful in relation to other classes (although the
3
GREYHA WK
supplement
took steps
to correct
this somewhat).
The problem is
 further compounded by the original misconceptions of how magic worked in D & D — misconceptions held by many players. The principal error here is that the one 1st level spell allowable to a 1st level magic-user could be used endlessly (or perhaps at frequent intervals) without the magic-user having to spend time and ef- fort re-memorizing and preparing again after the single usage. Many players also originally thought scrolls containing spells could be reused as often as desired. Finally, many dungeonmasters geared their campaigns to the level of TV give- away shows, with gold pouring into players’ purses like water and magical rewards strapped to the backs of lowly rats. This latter allowed their players to progress far too rapidly and go far beyond the bounds of D & D’s competition scope — magic- users, fighters, clerics and all.
To further compound the difficulties, many dungeon-masters and players, upon learning of the more restrictive intent of the rules, balked. They enjoyed the comic book characters, incredible spells, and stratospheric levels of their way of playing. Well and good. D & D is, if nothing else, a free-form game system, and it was designed with great variation between campaigns to be allowed for — nay, en- couraged! Of course, there are some variations which are so far removed from the original framework as to be totally irreconcilable with D & D; these have become games of other sorts and not a concern of this article. On the other hand there are many campaigns which were scrapped and begun afresh after their dungeon- masters consulted us or after they read other articles pertaining to the play of D & D as conceived by its authors — just as there will probably be some dungeon- masters ready to try again after reading this far. It is for all of these referees and their players, as well as those who have played the game pretty much as was desired but were never quite positive that you were actually doing so, that the foregoing was written.
The logic behind it all was drawn from game balance as much as from anything else. Fighters have their strength, weapons, and armor to aid them in their competition. Magic-users must rely upon their spells, as they have virtually no weaponry or armor to protect them. Clerics combine some of the advantages of the other two classes. The new class, thieves, have the basic advantage of stealthful actions with some additions in order for them to successfully operate on a plane with other character types. If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D & D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly, or the referee is forced to change the game into a new framework which will ac- commodate what he has created by way of player-characters. It is the opinion of this writer that the most desirable game is one in which the various character types are able to compete with each other as relative equals, for that will maintain freshness in the campaign (providing that advancement is slow and there is always some new goal to strive for).
This brings up the subject of new spells. The basic system allows for the players to create new spells for themselves at the option of the referee. It is certain that new spells will be added to the game system as the need arises, particularly with regard to new classes or sub-classes of characters or simply to fill in some needed gap. The creation of an endless number of more powerful spells is not desirable in the existing game system, and there is no intention of publishing 10th or higher level spells. As was said in a previous article, if character level progression is geared to the game system, it should take years for any magic-user to attain a level where the use of 9th level spells is possible!
As a last word regarding this subject, this D & D magic system explanation also serves another purpose. There should now be no doubt in dungeonmasters’ minds with regard to the effect of a silence spell on a magic-user, or what will hap- pen to the poor wizard caught in a mess of webs. They will know that a magic mouth is basically useless as a spell caster — with the exception of those spells which are based only on the verbal component of the spell. When an enterprising player tries a wizard lock on somebody’s or something’s mouth he will not be prone to stretch the guidelines and allow it. Magic is great. Magic is powerful. But it should be kept great and powerful in relation to its game environment. That means all the magic-users who have been coasting along with special dispen- sations from the dungeonmaster may soon have to get out there and root with the rest of the players or lie down and die."

5
Classic D&D / Re: OD&D Help needed to find missing stuff
« on: July 04, 2018, 10:30:19 PM »
"THE MEANING OF LAW AND CHAOS IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO GOOD AND EVIL
by Gary Gygax
Many questions continue to arise regarding what constitutes a “lawful” act, what sort of behavior is “chaotic”, what constituted an “evil” deed, and how cer- tain behavior is “good”. There is considerable confusion in that most dungeon- masters construe the terms “chaotic” and “evil” to mean the same thing, just as they define “lawful” and “good” to mean the same. This is scarcely surprising considering the wording of the three original volumes of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. When that was written they meant just about the same thing in my mind — notice I do not say they were synonymous in my thinking at, that time. The wording in the GREYHAWK supplement added a bit more confusion, for by the time that booklet was written some substantial differences had been determined. In fact, had I the opportunity to do D&D over I would have made the whole business very much clearer by differentiating the four categories, and many chaotic creatures would be good, while many lawful creatures would be evil. Before going into the definitions of these four terms, a graphic representation of their relative positions will help the reader to follow the further discourse. (See #I)
Notice first that the area of neutrality lies squarely athwart the intersection of the lines which divide the four behavioral distinctions, and it is a very small area when compared with the rest of the graph. This refers to true neutrality, not to neutrality regarding certain interactions at specific times, i.e., a war which will tend to weaken a stronger player or game element regardless of the “neutral” par- ty’s actions can hardly be used as a measure of neutrality if it will benefit the par- ty’s interest to have the weakening come about.
Also note that movement upon this graph is quite possible with regard to campaign participants, and the dungeonmaster should, in fact, make this a standard consideration in play. This will be discussed hereafter.
Now consider the term “Law” as opposed to “Chaos”. While they are nothing if not opposites, they are neither good nor evil in their definitions. A highly regimented society is typically governed by strict law, i.e., a dictatorship, while societies which allow more individual freedom tend to be more chaotic. The following lists of words describing the two terms point this out. I have listed the
                                                                                   
THE STRATEGIC REVIEW
FEBRUARY 1976
words describing the concepts in increasing order of magnitude (more or less) as far as the comparison with the meanings of the two terms in D&D is concerned:
GOOD (cont.) Honest
EVIL (cont.) Dishonest Bad Injurious Wicked Corrupt
LAW
Reliability Propriety Principled Righteous Regularity Regulation Methodical Uniform Predictable Prescribed Rules Order
CHAOS Sincere Unruly Helpful Confusion Beneficial Turmoil Pure Unrestrained
Basically, then, “Law” is strict order and “Chaos” is complete anarchy, but of course they grade towards each other along the scale from left to right on the graph. Now consider the terms “Good” and “Evil” expressed in the same manner:
GOOD EVIL
Harmless Unfit Friendly Mischievous Kind Unpleasant
LAWFUL/GOOD CHAOTIC/GOOD
LAWFUL/EVIL CHAOTIC/EVIL
Random Irregular Unmethodical Unpredictable Disordered Lawless Anarchy
The terms “Law” and “Evil” are by no means mutually exclusive. There is no reason that there cannot be prescribed and strictly enforced rules which are un- pleasant, injurious or even corrupt. Likewise “Chaos” and “Good” do not form a dichotomy. Chaos can be harmless, friendly, honest, sincere, beneficial, or pure, for that matter. This all indicates that there are actually five, rather than three, alignments, namely:
NEUTRAL
The lawful/good classification is typified by the paladin, the chaotic/good align- ment is typified by elves, lawful/evil is typified by the vampire, and the demon is the epitome of chaotic/evil. Elementals are neutral. The general reclassification of various creatures is shown on Illustration II."

Hmm. Dunno if I can get the illustrations to C&P.

"Placement of characters upon a graph similar to that in Illustration I is necessary if the dungeonmaster is to maintain a record of player-character alignment. Initially, each character should be placed squarely on the center point of his alignment, i.e., lawful/good, lawful/evil, etc. The actions of each game week will then be taken into account when determining the current position of each character. Adjustment is perforce often subjective, but as a guide the referee can consider the actions of a given player in light of those characteristics which typify his alignment, and opposed actions can further be weighed with regard to intensity. For example, reliability does not reflect as intense a lawfulness as does principled, as does righteous. Unruly does not indicate as chaotic a state as does disordered, as does lawless. Similarly, harmless, friendly, and beneficial all reflect increasing degrees of good; while unpleasant, injurious, and wicked convey progressively greater evil. Alignment does not preclude actions which typify a different alignment, but such actions will necessarily affect the position of the character performing them, and the class or the alignment of the character in question can change due to such actions, unless counter-deeds are performed to balance things. The player-character who continually follows any alignment (save neutrality) to the absolute letter of its definition must eventually move off the chart (Illustration I) and into another plane of existence as indicated. Note that self- seeking is neither lawful nor chaotic, good nor evil, except in relation to other sapient creatures. Also, law and chaos are not subject to interpretation in their ultimate meanings of order and disorder respectively, but good and evil are not absolutes but must be judged from a frame of reference, some ethos. The placement of creatures on the chart of Illustration II. reflects the ethos of this writer to some extent.
Considering mythical and mythos gods in light of this system, most of the benign ones will tend towards the chaotic/good, and chaotic/evil will typify those gods which were inimical towards humanity. Some few would be completely chaotic, having no predisposition towards either good or evil — REH’s Crom perhaps falls into this category.
What then about interaction between different alignments? This question is tricky and must be given careful consideration. Diametric opposition exists between lawful/good and chaotic/evil and between chaotic/good and lawful/evil in this ethos. Both good and evil can serve lawful ends, and conversely they may both serve chaotic ends. If we presuppose that the universal contest is between law and chaos we must assume that in any final struggle the minions of each division would be represented by both good and evil beings. This may seem strange at first, but if the major premise is accepted it is quite rational. Barring such a showdown, however, it is far more plausible that those creatures predisposed to good actions will tend to ally themselves against any threat of evil, while creatures of evil will likewise make (uneasy) alliance in order to gain some mutually beneficial end — whether at the actual expense of the enemy or simply to prevent extinction by the enemy. Evil creatures can be bound to service by masters predisposed towards good actions, but a lawful/good character would fain make use of some chaotic/evil creature without severely affecting his lawful (not necessarily good) standing."

6
Classic D&D / Re: OD&D Help needed to find missing stuff
« on: July 04, 2018, 10:20:07 PM »
I've been on a bit of a journey starting with the OD&D books and then combining the supplements into them, trying to use as much of original text and possible and bring certain aspects up-to-date without ruining the original concept (for example combining all the monster statistics together like in later editions).

Some points and rules seem to be debatable and I was wondering if anyone could guide me to where I could find answers, perhaps editions of Strategic Review or Dragon?

* what is the xp progression for higher level Fighting-Men, Magic-Users and Clerics
* do Druids attack and save as Clerics?
* rules regarding spell memorising, there is an indication that the spells/level matrix applies daily, but no rules as to how the character regains spells or actually needs to specify which spells beforehand (as per later editions)
* the alignment tables don't cover all monsters
* some monsters are missing statistics altogether, e.g. Brain Mole

Looking through SR, now. Will offer pertinent material as I find it.

"Spells: A magic-user can use a given spell but once during any given day, even if he is carrying his books with him. This is not to say that he cannot equip himself with a multiplicity of the same spell so as to have its use more than a single time. Therefore, a magic-user could, for example, equip himself with three sleep spells, each of which would be usable but once. He could also have a scroll of let us say two spells, both of which are also sleep spells. As the spelIs were read from the scrolls they would disappear, so in total that magic-user would have a maximum of five sleep spells to use that day. If he had no books with him there would be no renewal of spells on the next day, as the game assumes that the magic-use gains spells by preparations such as memor- izing incantations, and once the spell is spoken that particular memory pattern is gone completely. ln a similar manner spells are inscribed on a scroll, and as the words are uttered they vanish from the scroll."



7
Second Edition AD&D / Re: Question About Weapon Damage/Target Size
« on: June 10, 2018, 03:21:31 PM »
I don't recall any specific explanations in the books, though there may be.

The line of thinking behind that seems to be that large weapons can only do so much damage to medium/small creatures because there's only so much medium/small creature tissue to be damaged at one time--can't hurt what's not there. Large critters have more tissue to damage, so more of the energy from the weapons gets translated to damage.

If you drive a nail into a 1/4" board, only the quarter inch gets damaged, despite the nail being 2" long. If you drive that nail into a 4" board, a whole 2" of board gets damaged by the nail. Make sense?

8
General Discussion / Re: Adventures in "Hell" survey?
« on: June 01, 2018, 06:03:10 PM »
As a player, I've been in a few adventures where we ventured into some hell.

As a GM, I've never used any hell in an adventure.


9
Classic D&D / Re: Dm Screen
« on: February 26, 2018, 12:16:29 AM »
This got me thinking. Would a flip book of tables and charts be a good thing to have in conjunction with a GM screen? The most important info on the screen and the less-often-referenced in a tabbed flip book?

10
General Discussion / Re: How to grow the Forums
« on: February 04, 2018, 06:34:40 PM »
The problem with discord & other sites like it is that there never seems to be anybody on to talk with. Which is a shame because I am looking for help in a project. I put word out on the facebook, discord (different groups), g+ & others only to be ignored. It is frustrating to ask for help & not get any replies. This is also strange to me because not too long ago folks helped each other out.

Start a thread on the community creations board and I'll show up to discuss things.

11
General Discussion / Re: How to grow the Forums
« on: January 28, 2018, 03:37:31 AM »

Yeah, I suppose that with the advent of social media sites such as G+ and fb, neither of which I participate in thank you very much, forums have taken a hit.  I guess even with this I'm a bit old school.  I prefer forums over those other offerings.

I'm with you. I'd rather have a dedicated forum than anything on FB or G+. I discuss game design on reddit and rpgnet, though I find it of limited use due to the scarcity of old school designers and players.

I signed onto the discord server the other night. Still haven't spend any time there to figure out if it'll be interesting. Am already annoyed that I can't find a way to stop getting emails about missing comments and such.

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BLUEHOLME™ / Re: The BLUEHOLME™ Project
« on: January 12, 2018, 05:36:19 PM »
Look what arrived....

13
Other Games / Re: Gamma World
« on: January 02, 2018, 02:48:34 AM »
Played 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of GW. Enjoyed them all.

I really like the ACT system. Saw it in Indiana Jones first, then in GW3. There's an open version of it floating around online that I've thought about using for a game.

14
Community Creations & Kickstarters / Re: In the thick of things
« on: November 20, 2017, 02:45:10 PM »
Just realized that the types of PCs I'm planning map well to the major rules sections in the game. Social interactions, travel, exploration, investigation, action, magic, and spying. There's a bit more variety to it than the classic set up. The challenge is to provide structure to play while retaining choice for the players.

15
Community Creations & Kickstarters / Re: In the thick of things
« on: November 12, 2017, 12:56:42 AM »
I've changed lines of work and now have enough time to resume having a life, so I can now get the writing of this project done in a reasonable amount of time. The project has expanded a bit, so the final set of rules will likely come much later than I expected; I'm OK with that, as the first part will likely be as I expected.

The project now has three "levels" of rules. There will be a Basic rules set, an Expert Rules set, and an Expanded rules set. Each will have both a Players' Book and a GMs' book. They'll all be able to use the same bestiary. The rules for the Expert set will include and expand on those in the Basic set, and the Expanded set will include all that came before, so the rules are compatible throughout. It's more a matter of how complex a group wants their game to be.

The Basic rules are being developed as a beginners' set. I'm writing more thorough descriptions of the basics of roleplaying and how to play than I've seen in any other RPG. The subsystems are the most basic, bare bones subsystems and leave room for lots of rulings for each group.

The Expert rules add options and more structure. More classes and subclasses. Non-human PCs. More available subsystems for the GM to use. For example, where the action system in basic involves Quick Action ordering, the Expert rules add Ordered Action and provides the GM with an additional way to regulate who goes when in the middle of an action scene.

The Expanded rules then expands on the Expert rules. More subclasses and so forth. Expanded subsystems and more options in those. More subsystems to add to campaign depth.

A group can then decide how much of the system to use. Just the basics or a little more or a lot more. Pulling character subclasses from the Expanded rules into an otherwise Basic rules game will be simple.

I've thought of putting the Expert and Expanded together, with the Expanded rules all offered as optional in the Expert set. That feels like the most likely way I'll organize it, though I'll still develop the whole thing as if it's three individual game sets.

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