Thursday, November 29, 2012

Toys for Geomancers

For those unaware, a fella goes by the name of Bloated Blowfish created a new class of magic user called the Geomancer not all that long ago.

Personally, I'm a big fan of this class and have been using it.  As a matter of fact,  I have three characters that are Geomancers now.

You can download the PDF that details the Geomancer class if you like.

It's been fun playing the Geomancer, but this Christmas, I am giving Geomancers some toys, er tools they can use.

Magic items help make using a magic using class more interesting.  When the spells slots run out, you gotta have the toys for backup.  Until now, Geomancers don't have toys with them in mind.

Because Geomancers use magic in gems and stones rather than from the typical ways 1E magic users do, I've tried to be very specific to magic items that "accessorize" the Geomancer.

Geo's can only use a limited few weapons, staffs, daggers, oils and slings.  So, I've come up with some staves and a dagger that fit right into their repertoire.

I gave them some cool Boom Dust and I'm working on some new stones/gems and spells for them as well.  some of them that specifically work with these magic items.

You can see the details for all of these items on their page at my Wiki-Mage site.

To run down a list of them here though, we have:

  • Stone Dagger, a dagger that can hold a magic gem or stone in it's pommel
  • Staff of Gem Wielding, a staff that allows better control of a stones power and some bonuses.
  • A "Master" Staff of Gem Wielding that is even awesomer than a regular Staff of Gem Wielding.
  • Belt of Attunement, this gives the Geo someplace to store gems and stones as well as gives some bonuses.
  • Boom Dust, remember those 4th of July poppers that kids throw down at the sidewalk? Yeah, just bigger and badder.
 Those are just the beginning.   I am also working on adding gems and stones with powers.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monsters of Myth, an OSRIC monster compendium

After looking through the Monsters of Myth PDF again, I had to smile a bit and even simply shook my head at some entries.

Overall, it's an interesting book.  Many of the monsters are just plain silly in my opinion.  Some stretch the imagination just a tad too far.  A few are actually pretty good.

One of the monsters I found in it that I liked a lot were the "Jotun" Giants.  I like my Norse mythology and recognized the giants of Jotunheim right away.  There's even a possibility I might find a way to use them in a future adventure or two.

All in all, I give the Monster's of Myth a C+.  There a fewer "serious" monsters in there to make it really useful in my one person's opinion.

Having said that, it is fun to look through it just to find one of the few real gems that it has to offer.  Even a bit more fun to just read some of the sillier entries.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Memorizing Magic and Clerical "Freecasting"

I was just reading an old thread on DF and found the most interesting idea.  Allowing Clerics to "freecast" instead of having to memorize their spells.

Essentially, the cleric still has only x number of spells per level as usual, but instead of choosing and memorizing them in the morning, they can cast any spell they have knowledge of on the spot.

To me, this does help alleviate Clerics being used as walking band-aids because they are not so pressured to spend all of their memorized spells on nothing but healing spells.  Also, it can allow greater choice and usage of other not-as-commonly used spells to be used as needed.

Once their number of spell slots is used up, they're back to relying on staves, wands, scrolls, etc.. if they have them.

I like this idea a lot.

It also came up questioning whether a similar change could be made to Mages without breaking them in the Btb system.

Perhaps one thing that could be done with Mages is to allow them to cast any spell in their spellbook on the spot BUT...

Using the % to know spell as per their INT score, memorized spells would have a higher percentage of success, say 85%.  All other spells cast spontaneously would cost the Mage an extra round to concentrate  or look it up and they must roll their chance to know % in order for it to be successful.

This would encourage Mages to still focus on memorizing spells yet provide them an opportunity to cast spontaneously for something that was needed on the spot.  All in all though, they are still limited by casting only as many spells as they are allotted per level.

Like the above Clerics, they would rely on staves, wands, scrolls and potions once the number of spell slots had run out.

Something else about Clerics while I'm here. I have always taken the image of the cleric as something of a fighting priest.  I have a Knight Templar type in mind here.  These aren't just churchy scholars we're talking about here.  These guys go out and kick butt in the name of their deity.



These are the guys the little churchy fellas call in when things need to be handled more aggressively than just praying over the issue holding each others hands.  (because of this,  I have never gotten the multi-class fighter/cleric.  To me, that is what the Cleric is all about.

I don't just see these guys as walking band aids to begin with.  If a Knight Templar could have magic powers to use given to him by his deity, he would be wanting the spells that let him call down the fire from the sky and drive the enemy down before him.

Once the battle was over, he might want to have some healing spells to help his comrades for fighting so bravely at his side and to aid innocent bystanders caught up in the cross-fire, so to speak.

If some of the enemy got away or there was someone who sent the ones he just whooped up on, some spells that would allow him to track down those next on the list would be of value as well.

I think I am going to try my spell use changes in a few games here to see how they work out.



Sandboxers to one-shots and everything in between

Reading forums and interacting with other rpgers is can make for great food for thought.  You don't have to agree with everyone or anyone.  You don't have to take in what others say as something you absolutely must do.  It is very thought provoking to see and hear what others are doing in their games though.

A lot, and I do mean a LOT, of people are sandboxers.  These are folks who play in ongoing games that are made to be conducted in a series of scheduled sessions and provide a general game world as the basis and the DM has a variety of options for players to follow up on.  This allows for more choice, options and randomness in general I think.

Then you have the "one-shots".  These are game sessions in which a specific adventure will be played through, generally in one or two sessions and options are limited to what has been prepared for the specific adventure.

I don't think one is better than the other or one is more right or wrong than the other.  What I do think is that the AD&D 1E core books and rules contained within them are geared more specifically to one-shot gaming.  To be able to put up a game in a relatively short time and play it thorough in one or two sessions.  This allows for "pick up" games to happen more readily, taking advantage of a few people who happen to find the time, interest and opportunity to play a game on short notice.

Having said that, one great Plus about the core books is that they include room for world creation and sandboxing.  The writer (Gary Gygax) was a sandboxer of great notoriety.  Thus, he made sure that outside of one-shots, he made sure the game could grow into something more than a published adventure module.

There is no doubt that beyond the one-shot game, the hard and fast "rules" become more akin to guidelines allowing the DM to personalize and give distinction to their gaming experience.

At home,  I practically refuse to even consider running a one-shot game.  Oh no, this is my world and I will explore every single inch of it the way my players and I best see fit.  Oh yes, there will be house rules and custom made monsters and NPC's.  There will be hand-waves of BtB specifics and whatever else it takes to bring my world to life.

On the other hand, I am considering going outside of my house to do some gaming, AD&D 1E of course.  In that situation, there is no world yet.  These are people I am only just or have yet to make their acquaintance.  Because of that, I intend to stick very close to playing BtB. 

This gives all of us new to each other a common ground to begin playing.  We will most likely play one-shots to begin with, not knowing what kind of consistency we will be able to expect from the others in the group.

I hear and read of people playing games at conventions and special events and I know that these are referred to in the books themselves.  All in all, it's the best way to get a group of strangers together to play the same game that another group of strangers is playing on the other side of the country or even in another country.

Speculating,  I can see a group of us getting more familiar with each other and deciding that as a regular group that we want to cross that line of formality and establish a game world of our own, ending up somewhere between the one-shots and a full blown sandbox.  Initially this might begin with making one house rule that we all agree on and drawing up a general gameworld and still using published modules and playing them as though they are places in our gameworld.

What a terrific, flexible and creative game AD&D is.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cleaning House, Part Two

After camping in a cold room and burning trash and debris to stay warm, the group has finally decided to move on to exploring the rest of the structure.

They follow the twisted corridor back to the hallway that this tunnel split from and not quite remembering which direction they had come from, turned right.

They followed a series of twists and turns only to emerge in the hallway that they had originally entered the building with.  However, this time, they weren't alone.

Four large beetle looking creatures are scurrying toward the adventurers.  Each one about two and a half foot long and perhaps 2 foot high.  Antennae wavering madly and mandibles clacking in excitement over the discovery of food.  in the head of each overgrown insect were a few glowing pieces that seemed to burn like coals and give off a reddish glow from them.

Lumina, the magic user fired off a magic missile and wounded one, then turned and ran back into the tunnel the group had come out of.  The others, weapons in hand, began to attack the over-large insects.

Trying to stay out of range of the fierce looking mandibles, Calli stabbed at one of the beetles and though striking it, she hadn't apparently done much damage to it.  Thelonius the Monk whipped his quarter staff with a purpose and manged to strike a killing blow to one of the smaller creatures, leaving three.

Luna the half-elf swung with her bastard sword heavily and landed a crushing blow on another, breaking through it's carapace and killing it instantly.  Now only two of the things were left.

One of the remaining beetles managed to get too close to Thelonius though in the dark and the noise, gripping it's mandibles tightly around his upper leg.  The secretions from the beast burned into his thigh like an acid and the grip seemed to nearly crush the thigh, causing the monk to fall nearly totally unconscious.

Calli thought to try an acrobatic move and leap over a beetle and strike directly down upon it but her leap took her too far and she missed it entirely, landing roughly on the ground behind it.  The beetle turned and scurried rapidly to get to Calli but got a leg stuck in a floor crevice, halting it's movement mere inches from Calli and frantically worked to extricate itself.

The other beetle made for Luna and, combined with the slimy floor and Luna's prod with her sword, the beetle was slammed into a wall and a loud crack could be heard as well as a sort of mewling indicating the creature had been hurt somehow.

During the altercation, the Lumina crept back to rescue the the monk and bandage his wound as best she could, stopping the bleeding and potentially saving his life.

Taking advantage of the stuck leg, Calli hacked at the large bug and manged to kill it as it finally freed itself to no avail.  Luna concentrated on the beetle she had shoved into the wall, creeping up on it warily and, sidestepping a swipe of it's head with clicking mandibles, finished the beast with a mighty stroke any male would have envied.

Desirous to check their wounds and take stock of their situation, the group headed outdoors again to make a camp and plan to re-enter the building again as soon as it was feasible.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Random Treasure Hunting, Level 5 Dungeon

Another game is started with my son playing solo with:

  • Grim, a 5th level fighter as his Active PC.  
  • Grimlock the 5th level Magic User.
  • Carn who is a 4th level Illusionist who was found robbed at the roadside with nothing to his name but his limited spellbook. 
  • Xico the 4th level Cleric of Quetzalcoatl has decided to accompany the group in exchange for a chance to gain glory and treasure for his temple.
  • "Virgil", the Gnome 4th level thief.
Grim and Grimlock were following up on a rumor of an old storehouse in which a questionable treasure might have been hid.  Their previous associates from earlier adventures were in town, Virgil and Xico and decided to come along for some adventure and old times sake.

Along the way to the storehouse, they came across  a man that had been recently robbed and had everything but his Illusionists spellbook taken from him.  This is Carn and he offered to do whatever he could to aid them on their adventure if they would let him earn a share to get back on his feet again.

After arriving at the storehouse within the next few hours, the group discovered that it was empty as if it had been completely abandoned years before.  This didn't match up to the reports that people had been seen bringing cartloads of something to and from the location as recently as 4 months ago.

Toward the end of their search, a stairway was discovered that had been hidden which led to an underground pathway which they descended rapidly.

Grimlock, in his excitement, used an easy cantrip to create some light so as to see and the group followed him straight ahead to explore, planning to come back and investigate the corridor leading to the left later.

They followed the hallway about 30 feet until it stopped and turned to the right.  Following that though only led them to a dead end after about 50 foot.  They headed back to the stairway and investigated the the other hallway to the right of the stairs they came down.

The corridor led them about 40 feet in that direction, then turned suddenly to the left for another 45 feet.  A solid oaken door stood in front of them.  Grim, tested the door by pushing it to see if it would open.  It did groan a bit as it swung the little bit.

Exuberant, Grim slammed the door wide open and the Magic User Grimlock strode into he room with him as the others filed in behind them.  Quite surprised, the group found that six Troglodytes were camping in the room and had heard the first creaking of the door and were now waiting for the adventurers.

Carn the Illusionist turned around immediately being unarmed and hid behind the door.  Grimlock the Magic User realized he was unprepared by focusing on the light incantation and tried to light a torch to free himself up.

The Trogs attacked them, taking full advantage of the surprised characters, using large bones and wooden tree limbs as clubs.  The press of the Trogs was too great and Grim the Fighter was unable to move his sword enough to hit the enemy.

Finally, Carn the Illusionist came back in the room to use a Light spell, freeing the magic user's effort to light a torch. This gave the magic User a chance to prepare a Magic Missile spell and send three missiles to attack three of the six Trogs.

Xico grabbed his mace and the little gnome thief tried to take advantage of his small stature and the relative low smarts of the troglodytes to use his backstab move and end the fight for some of these things early.

Early on in the battle, Xico's grasp on his mace came loose and slipped out of his grip as he prepared a mighty blow to a Troglodyte.  unfortunately, the mace hit his ally, Virgil the thief, causing him some injury and resulting in some testy words cast his way.

Back and forth the battle raged with both Trogs and adventurers taking and giving equally well.  Soon though, the little thief was knocked unconscious by a massive blow and the poor illusionist was an easy target maintaining his Light spell and was hurt badly as well, knocked out cold.

Leaving only the Fighter, the Magic User and the Cleric, they managed to rally and make some very good, and lucky, hits on the troglodytes while taking only minimal damage from the remaining two of them.

It took only another round of battle for the adventurers to slay the last Trog and drag their comrades back into the stairwell to rest.  Taking advantage of this lull, Xico the Cleric recognized the bravery in which the Illusionist, being armed with only a few meager spells, had come back to give them what aid he could and paid the price for it.  The small gnome, though being a thief, was not a bad person as he knew from previous adventures so was willing to honor both brave souls by using a spell to heal their wounds.

The group decided to go back up to the main level and make a camp a bit away from the building to regain their strength before returning to investigate.




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Questioning Percentile Dice

Two ten sided dice.  One dice is a different color from the other and equals the "tens" spot.  The other equals the "ones" place.

If we say that there is a percentage needed in order to determine if something IS going to happen, you start from the bottom up.  So, say there is a 25 percent chance you might successfully throw a rock at a fleeing orc.  roll the percentile dice and if the result is 1 to 25, you have hit that orc.  Great work.  If you roll anything 26 or more ("00" being 100), you missed.

It seems to me, that most things are written to favor the chance of it happening.  But what of an option being expressed in the negative?  For example, what if the option is giving that you have a chance to know how to read a scroll?  There is a 25% chance you will know how.  That option is expressed in the positive.  You "will" know how to do it within 25 percent.

But let's say that even if you do have a successful knowing of the spell, a followup option says that there is also a 25 percent chance the spell will be messed up , mispronounced, etc... and fail.

In both cases you could make the case that if viewed in the positive ie.  the result "will" happen in a roll of 25 or less.  You would expect to start the roll at the bottom meaning, if the roll is 1 to 25, the result occurs.   Any number rolled over the 25 is a negative or does "not" occur.

OR, I have seen it shown that having a 25% chance to know means there is a 74% chance to "not" know and the dice is then interpreted that any result of 1 to 75 indicates not knowing the spell.

Or in the case of spell failure, A 25% chance of spell failure or a 75% chance the spell will not fail and rolling a 1 to 75 indicates the spell succeeded. Anything rolled over 75 indicates spell failure.

As for me,  I don't like the wavering view.  It makes me seasick.

I have it that anything requiring a percentage roll starts from 1 to achieve it.  Regardless of positive or negative result.

So, if the roll is a 50% chance to yank a stone gargoyle off from over a doorway, then the roll will be 1 to 50 indicates pulling it off  (success) and anything 51 and over is a failure, it did not come off.

If there is a 35% chance that a PC gets bit on the butt by a flying fish while at the lakeside, then a roll of 1 to 35 indicates getting bit (success) and anything 36 and over is not bit (failure).

I think the reason some folks like to flip flop the odds is because they think they will get a better result if the result they want to have happen will happen on the low end of the roll.

Other folks obviously can and will do what they want with percentile dice, but at my table, that's how we roll.  (heh heh)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Borrowing Characters A La Carte

Sometimes we are inspired by a book or a movie with a character or a type of character we see and say, "Great Googly Moogly!  That would be awesome in my game!"

It's not always the easiest thing to do though.  You have to find a way to insert it into your world and have a way to explain it.  It gets harder if the one character is tied to others somehow.  Then you have to dis-entangle it from the other characters as much as possible or just bring the whole bunch in.

Bringing the whole bunch in can be a bit easier for you, to a degree, but then your game can start to feel like it's becoming centered around the book or movie, etc.. that you pulled those characters from.  You may not want that either.

For example,  I was recently thinking about the Uruk-Hai from the Lord of The Rings.

I wanted to bring the Uruk-Hai in to my game because  I think they were just freaking awesome in the movies and the books set them up pretty good too.

So, using some leads from the books and movies,  I snipped them out of those and pasted them into my game.

For example, the Uruk-Hai are not "Natural" creatures in LoTR, they are created by some high power  magic wielding person or maybe even demi-god.

In the case of LoTR, that would be either Saruman or Sauron.   I don't want either Saruman or Sauron in my game though.

Also in LoTR, the Uruk-Hai are related to Orcs.   I don't like that.  To me, Uruk-Hai are related to Orcs the same way a lion is related to a gazelle.  The Orcs and gazelle are something to be eaten, not much more to it.

So,  I changed the Uruk-Hai's name.  Yup, to Uruk'hai.  I know, amazingly creative of me, but in my mind at least, there is a distinction.

Uruk'hai still only exist by mystical/magical creation though.  They aren't "naturally occurring" like Orcs or humans, elves, etc...

So now I had to figure out, what whackjob of a person is going to be able to make these things?

I tossed the idea around a live chat with a fellow DM and between us, we determined that it is a cleric, an insanely evil cleric, who is capable of raising the Uruk'hai.  Yet, how does even a high level cleric able to just pop these things up.  He's gonna need some high powered help here and like I said earlier,  I don't want to bring in Saruman or Sauron.

What if, I did use Sauron as an influence?  Not create a demi-god or god named Sauron, but a nutball, power hungry demon god that was bent on world domination like the "old ones" in an H.P. Lovecraft story?  That could work.

So now,  I have a demon-god bent on world domination that will help and direct a special, nutjob evil cleric who follows him to make a bad ass race of beings that are born to be a hit squad.    What if the newly raised beings have it built into them to be followers of this demon god, whose name is Uruk-Khan and his warriors are called the Uruk'hai?  Oh yeah.   I likes this.

Uruk-Khan can give the cleric the ability to raise and control the Uruk'hai as long as they are doing a good job of destroying and dominating everything they see.  The minute that Uruk-Khan decides that the whackjob cleric isn't getting the job done or isn't playing the game his way, he will remove the ability to control the Uruk'hai from the cleric and let the Uruk'hai run free in the world.

Now we have a way to control the Uruk'hai because on their own, they aren't afraid of anything except Uruk-Khan.  Even if they confront something bigger and badder and they know it, they'll go into berserker mode and die trying to bring it down anyway.  That's what they were made to do.

Now I get to have Uruk'hai in my game and a new demon god to motivate an evil nutball cleric and I don't have to have the others dragged into my game at the same time.

Believe it or no, I already have a cleric that fits the bill in my game too. This is going to be so much fun.









Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teaching Players To Role-Play

You would think that when it comes to players who are kids, say, under age 14, it should be a no-brainer for them to grasp what role play is.  They pretty much own the concept of "pretend".

I know a lot of people over age 15 who feel a bit "silly" or even embarrassed to role play, feeling that it is only a kids game of "pretend.

I've had players who are "adults" even "young adults" who couldn't role-play unless they were inebriated.  At which point, it was embarrassing for everyone else at the table.

I've seen other people try to explain role-play in relation to acting.  Certainly, we have all seen either in person or at least on a video or something the people who REALLY get into character by dressing up and speaking in medieval Olde English as though they were about to participate in a Renaissance fair.

Role-play is not acting.  Role-play is more about getting into someone else's head.  Thinking about how they think, how do they approach things.  It's about seeing things from the perspective of someone else.  It is a tool used in psychology as well as by the modern detective in crime enforcement.

In regard to AD&D though, there is a bit of fun added to it by not only thinking as the character but speaking for them too.  Interacting with other characters as though you were the character.  Could this involve a wee bit of acting?  I'd say that it definitely benefits from some creativity and a willingness to step outside yourself a bit.

I have a now 13 and 11 year old playing, soon to be 14 and 12 years old.  Up until now, they have been playing AD&D1E for about a year now.  For them, it's been more like the characters are simply avatars for their own personalities. 

To watch them try to handle multiple PC's in a game is about the same as going to a play and seeing the same two actors come onstage at various times calling each other by different names. and maybe wearing different clothes.

They weren't "seeing" the PC they were playing as something separate from themselves.  For people who still play "pretend" in some form or another,  I would have thought this would be a natural for them, yet it wasn't.

So I decided that they needed to figure out how to role-play.   I gave them a person that they knew pretty well and set up a scenario in which their sibling had done something WAY wrong and asked them what I would do (as Dad)  if I busted them.

Obviously, this led to a giggle fest and a wary first attempt at describing what I would do though they seemed more afraid to really nail me as if they might get in trouble for being too good at it.

Finally, I said "show me, don't tell me." and my son, being the younger, finally "got it", stood up and said in a voice he obviously thought sounded like mine something to his sister that made everyone in the house roar with laughter because he nailed me.  He got it perfect.

Then the other one got into it and within about 10 minutes, they had their head in my head. so to speak.

After that,  I pointed out that that is what they are supposed to be doing when they play AD&D.  Don't be themselves, be the character.  Think of what the character would do and say.

It's been a few days since and they both say they are having more fun than ever.  They don't always speak in fake voices, but they are stopping to consider the character instead of just doing or saying what they would do.  That's the whole point of role-playing.






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cleaning House. A level 1 adventure

Using a random adventure conjured from the DonJon AD&D Random Dungeon online generator, I set the stage for a new game for some new level 1 PC's for my two kids age 13 and 11.

Each player has an "Active Player Character (APC) that they are role-playing.  The 13 year old also has 2 Secondary Player Characters (SPC) that are played like a Henchman, but are equal members of the party and get equal shares and status.

I also added another SPC to the team as well, giving them a total of 5 total characters in the game.

The gameplay starts in a little nowhere barely-a-village where the 3 PC's of the 13 year old are trying to make out a "Help Wanted" poster.  These would be "Luna", a female half-elf Fighter/Druid, "Glowra", a female human thief and "Lumina", a female human Magic User.

As they stand there trying to puzzle out the wording of the poster, a half-orc female fighter named Calli steps up behind them and is able to read the poster clearly.  It is from the remnants of a formerly well to do family wanting to lay claim to the ancestral hole which just so happens to be built into a hillside.  In recent years, the immediate family had disappeared leaving the home open to all manner of creatures that would find such a place as shelter.

The extended family coming in to the area is looking for someone to "Clean House" so to speak and restore to them their ancestral home.

There is contact information and a crude map to the location on the poster.  The three "buddies" have been spoiling for a good adventure and the half orc is a fine specimen of a fighter.  A quick agreement is made of the four of them to team up and take care of the family's problem.  The home is about 10 miles out of town, directly on the South road.

The trio has 3 horses with one of the horses pulling a cart.  Luna, the half-elf, being brave and generally optimistic, offers to let the half-orc to ride on the bench of the cart with her.  Calli tosses her backpack into the rear of the cart and climbs up to the bench.

Glowra and Lumina ride their horses alongside, both of them not making too much eye contact with the half-orc but are not saying anything out loud about it either.  Calli looks as if she could mop up the floor with both of them at the same time.

Not more than a half mile out of the village, they come up behind a bald man with only a single lock of hair growing from his scalp long enough to be tied into a rather long tail.  Eventually they catch up to him and ride alongside trying to get his attention.  He seems to be meditating even as he is walking.

After a moment, He looks up at Calli, who is closest to him in the cart as she asks him where he is going.  He tells her that he is on a mission set to him by his Master and keeps walking.  She asks his name and he tells her he is known as Thelonius.  He is a monk of the Temple of Truth.  Thelonius is a very large man about 6'6" tall and about 185 pounds or so.  A very healthy looking person.

Luna suggests to Calli to ask him if he would like a ride, he can sit on the back of the cart where there is room.  He agrees to the suggestion and tosses a small rucksack as he easily slides up onto the cart.

Glowra and Lumina hang back on their horses and engage Thelonius as the group makes their way South.  They tell him of the adventure they are on if he likes, he is welcome to join them.  Thelonius smiles slightly and suggests he would be willing to help them as long as they were on the same  path he takes on his own mission.

After about 2 miles of riding at a casual pace, the cart comes to a stop and the group looks ahead at what appears to be a huge lake in the middle of the road they are traveling on.

Stepping down from the cart, Calli uses her sword at the edge of the water to test the depth an see that it is about 2 feet deep nearest to them.  Not wanting to risk driving through it for fear that it might drop off further or that they will get stuck in the mud, the group determines to ride around the water to the East.  This takes them the better part of an hour, but they finally find their way back to the main road.

As they started out a bit late in the day, the team decides to make camp for the night, still being at least 2 to 3 hours from the location and not wanting to tempt the area wildlife, take a break while still enough light to set up.

During the pitching of tents and securing the perimeter and all the activity of making camp, Glowra walks up to Luna and demands to know why "the orc" has to be a part of the team.  How can she be trusted not to slit everyone's throat in the middle of the night and take everything.

Calli overhears this and joins in, promoting things from a heated discussion to an outright argument.  Luna wants the help of the half orc but is alarmed at her friend who has never shown such hostility before.  She momentarily isn't sure what to do.

Luna spies Thelonius, the monk keeping busy setting up tents and walks over to ask him for his help while the other two are currently breaking the discussion with a staring contest.  Perhaps to make that a glaring contest.

Thelonius suggests to Luna that perhaps Glowra feels that her role in the threesome is threatened by the bigger, stronger woman and that if Luna were to establish specific roles for each team member, she would be able to tolerate Calli better.

Luna goes back to the two and tells them her plan to set roles and responsibilities for each, starting with everyone taking a shift on the night watch.  Glowra grudgingly goes along with the plan and everything seems settled.

Luna takes the first shift and Calli the second, both of which are un-eventful.  Glowra comes out without saying a word in conversation to relieve Calli at watch.  Calli goes to her tent to turn in.

After about an hour of sleep, Calli's orc sensitive hearing wakes her up just in time to roll over and see a figure lunging at her from behind.  She quickly strikes out with her fist and lands a solid blow on the attacker but feels the cut of a knife slice her at the same time.

Now fully awake and on her feet, Calli can see very well with her infra-vison that the attacker is none other than Glowra, the petty thief.  Not having much of a chance to find a weapon to defend herself, Calli strikes out with her fist again just as Glowra dives in with her knife again.  The smaller woman cuts Calli again with the knife while Calli tries to move out of the way.

For a third time, Calli tries to grapple with the thief and tries to grab the knife as Glowra comes in again right at her ribs.  The big woman is successful in her grab and twists the knife out of the thief's hand.  Finding herself suddenly un-armed, Glowra takes off out of the tent and runs right into Luna, nearly bowling her friend over as she makes to escape.

Being small and fast, Glowra is able to avoid Theolnius and Lumina as well.  AS she runs into the darkness, Calli runs up behind her and throws the dagger she took and hurls it at Glowra but misses by a mere foot.  Glowra is gone into the night.

The rest of the night is un-eventful and the thief doesn't return to camp.  Luna and Lumina worry about their friend but are also extremely puzzled over her attack on Calli.  Being short a rider, Calli announces that she wants to take Glowra's horse as she was the victor of the sneaky and underhanded attack of the thief.  The other two women seem a bit unsure but don't oppose Calli and Thelonius seems not to care.

After packing up the tent and breakfast, the group heads on along the road and not far ahead, they see the road is blocked yet again.  This time by a large herd of oxen.  Luna, being a druid, decides to cast a spell allowing her to speak with animals and proceeds to ask the lead bull o move the herd from the road.  The bull looks at her and slowly lets her know that it takes much time to move a herd and they have been here for much time already.  It will not be soon that the herd will move again.

Giving up, the group again detours out of their way, taking almost a half hour detour before getting back to the main road beyond the herd.  Once making it back to the road, it is only a few more miles to their destination.

They look upon a large hill with a double door carved into it.  They tie the horses and set the one guard dog on alert and proceed cautiously to the main door which is slightly ajar.  Calli using her excellent orc vision can see past the doors for about 60 feet into what appears to be a long hallway that continues straight for quite a distance.

Luna lights a torch for the other members of the party, though she and Calli have no real need for it.  Moving cautiously down the long hallway, with weapons drawn everyone into their assigned position, Calli leads the way down a side hall to the right with Thelonious behind her, Lumina following ready to cast a spell and Luna bringing up the rear in case of a surprise attack from that direction.

Following several twists and turns in the hallway, Luna wonders aloud what kind of "home" this could possibly be.  It looks more like the catacombs and dungeons she has heard so much about.  The halls are drafty and the walls damp.  Finally, the group comes upon a closed wooden door and Calli pulls on it with no luck.  Just as Luna suggests letting Lumina the magic user blast it with a spell, Calli chuckles and asks them to wait so she can try something.  She cautiously pushes the door this time and it opens easily, if not a bit noisier than she would have liked. 

They enter a large room that is largely devoid except for a pile of rotten meat on the floor.  They give the room a quick inspection for about ten minutes, finding an archway on the side of the room they came in and another wooden door directly across and opposite from the one they entered.  Luna decides they should check out the other wooden door first.

Calli again tries the door and regardless of pulling or pushing, she can't open it up.  It's either locked or stuck.  She thinks it feels more stuck than anything else tough.  After a few minutes of heavy pulling and pushing at the door, Calli finally gives up and pulls out her war hammer and hits it with such a wallop that it comes unstuck immediately.  Although the noise it made has likely caused every creature in the place to know they are here now.

There i  a new hallway to the left that turns out to be a dead end and going back  the opposite way, find another corridor that takes them to the left.  They have to light another torch as they have been wandering for about an hour or so now and the first one is guttering.  Following the twists and turns of this hallway, they pass another to the right but continue forward instead.  After about 15 minutes, they realize this has returned them to the hallway they first entered the building in.

Deciding to go back the way they just came, they decide to investigate the hall thhey passed before and follow it around turns and corners for about ten minutes before it leads them to another large room.  This one having a beaten up old tpaestry hanging on one wall and the walls are vey wet..  Beyond that, nothing.

This seems like a good time to take a break and grab some rest before continuing on with the exploration.

Which canon booms louder?:

You see it and hear it all the time.  What is the last word when it comes to the rules of AD&D 1E?

Many people want to say that since the Players Handbook came out before the Dungeon masters Guide that it set precedent and always look to corroborate things that are said in the DMG against it.

To me and quite a few other people I have discussed this topic with, the DMG was written to stake out for the DM, what may have only been lightly addressed nand even not addressed at all in the PHB.

I am fine with accepting the DMG as the last word on the written rules.  This goes hand in hand with the notion, as written by Gary Gygax, that the DM is the final arbiter.  Hence, the DMG would be the last word on the written rules with the DM obviously taking that as far as he/she wants it to go.

Having said that, if the DM decided they preferred to let the PHB have the say so of the written rule, that's their choice to over rule the DMG in that way.  As intended though,  I think the DMG is the "default" stop point.

Personally,  I do not accept later publications like Unearthed Arcana or magazine articles,etc.. as anything more than options that may or may not be taken up by a DM if he/she desires to add them in.

The DMG has spoken.  Long Live the DMG!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Crits and Craps

Huh?

"Crits" are Critical Hits. Crits are what happens when a Player rolls a natural 20 on a 20 sided dice. This is as opposed to rolling a 20 that includes added bonuses for strength or such.

"Craps", well, that's what happens when you roll a natural 1 on the d20. You essentially just shot craps.

I like to do things randomly. It's a lot of fun making things up as you go along. Rolling dice helps create that random-ness.

It's not every time you roll a d20 that a 20 or a 1 shows up. That's a special event. Why not allow some extra fun for such a thing coming up?

Below are tables for when Crits and Craps are rolled on the "To Hit" roll.

Crits

Rolled on 1d6
  1. Dis-arm/stun opponent
  2. Knock out opponent
  3. Inflict double damage to opponent
  4. Inflict triple damage to opponent
  5. Severe limb of opponent
  6. Kill opponent up to same level as PC, lethally wound opponent up to 2 levels above PC (takes them down to 1d4 HP)

Craps

Rolled on 1d6
  1. Weapon stuck / snared / dropped. Requires 1d3 round to retrieve or let it go.
  2. Weapon must make a save vs. crushing blow or it is broken.
  3. Hit Ally - roll damage and deal that amount to a random ally within 10 feet; if there are no allies in that distance, ignore this result.
  4. Minor damage to self -twisted joint, pulled muscle, charlie horse, etc... lose 1 round. 1d4 damage
  5. Full damage to self - roll full damage per weapon type
  6. Lethal hit to self, drop to 0 HP, bleeding out 1 HP/round until healed, bandaged or until -10/Dead.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Game and The Story Together Make An Adventure

What is a an RPG session anyway?  It is the coming together of people to have fun and use their creativity, imagination and wits. 

The DM provides the gaming environment, the details of the adventure and even sets the atmosphere.  It is not the DM's goal to pit him/her self against the players, but to create the game as it's own thing.

After the DM has created the "game field" so to speak and the Players have their characters created and ready to enter said "game field" or as I like to refer to it, the "Arena", it is on!

The DM becomes arbiter of rules/referee and role-player of NPC's.  The GM also tracks things and does what is required to keep the game moving along.

So what is it the players are really doing then?  As someone put it in a forum post, they are the story.  The choices they make, the things they do as they play the game is the stuff of legend.  The game itself is the setting for epic tales to be told.

The Players, via their PC's, take risks, face consequences and reap great rewards or suffer dismal failures. 

The DM, in short, IS the Game.  The Players are the Story.  Together, they are a super-organism.  One cannot exist without the other.

A DM with no players is merely a dream.  A Player with no game to play is just a figment of imagination.  Put the two together however and you have something that becomes more than the sum of it's parts.

This is why a DM must work carefully to create a game to be played.  Sometimes a GM will create an elaborate, detail rich game ad ends up creating the story along with it.  Then they don't want the players to come in and "ruin" their tapestry and place so many limitations and instead of providing guides and paths and clues for the Players to follow and pick up on their own.

The DM nearly drags them through the game making the Player more of a bystander or suggestion maker than really allowing them to be a Player.  That's no fun in he long run for anyone and that's not a game so much as it is a "pick your own ending" story.

Conversely, it wouldn't be much of a game if paths weren't followed and leads not pursued.  The Players have to "buy in" and actually play the game as it is presented by the DM. 

DM's have a variety of game styles they can present.

  • The Dungeon Crawl Game.  Draw up a dungeon, roll randomly to place monsters and treasure, traps and tricks into the dungeon and let the players go in and wander around.  Your average dungeon crawl.
  • The Plot Thickens Game. Give the players a mystery to solve.  Provide them with clues and lots of places to investigate.  Throw in false leads, rumors and speculation.  Toss in some plot related encounters along the way and rescue the girl or find the treasure or get rid of the bad guy.
  • The Random Game.   I like to do this every so often.  Literally everything is completely random and you make it up as you go. You roll for just about everything.  Have a few "blank" random dungeons or adventure areas set out and as PC's find their way to and enter them, populate them as they are entered.
Then there are combinations and variations of those listed above.

It' s one thing for a Player to give a friendly reminder or to ask for a second look at a rule.  it's another thing altogether to argue, debate or challenge and become a rules lawyer while the game is on.  That's just being obnoxious and is un-called for.

For DM's, a game should be challenging, but not impossible.  Give the players a chance to play.  If there's any one thing Gary Gygax did make perfectly clear in the AD&D 1E books (and there's not many) is that the rules are rules only so long as it furthers the playability of the game.  It is your game DM.  You decide what rules need to be followed to the letter, if any, and what rules are holding the game back.

One opinion Gary Gygax expressed that I do agree with is that in the end, this is just a game.  It does not and should not mimic reality to the point it becomes a re-enactment or a combat simulation.

It' s about getting some folks together and blowing off some steam, having some fun and matching wits against imaginary adversaries.

What more could you ask for?  (if you say food and drink, that can be there too, but at my games it's potluck and/or BYO ;) )







Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dungeon Master 101 according to Gary Gygax. Pt 1



On weapon speed factors in melee; June 25th, 2005.  Gygax Q&A thread #3 in DragonsFoot Forum.  No need to use weapon speed factors.

Forget weapons speed factors. I must have been under the effect of a hex when I included them in the bloody rules

The first system for determining what happens is the best one, the only one I ever used. If the weapon-wielder has the initiative and strikes the spell caster, the spell is blown. If he mosses, or the spell caster wins, the casting time allows, then the spell is activated and takes effect.

On Spell Casting And Initiative:  July 14th, 2005.  Gygax Q&A thread #3 in DragonsFoot Forum. 
A 1 segment casting time duration means that the spell is cast in the initiative segment indicated by the die roll. In your example of a 4, that's when the spell is cast. Each casting-time segment above 1 is added to the 4 to find the segment of casting, so a spell with a casting time of 3 segments would be cast in the 6th segment. all action begins at the start of a segment and just before the next spells being cast are active.

...a long spell can stretch into the next round. however, a 6-segment casting time would add 5 to the number of the initiative segment that casting began, as it covers 1 segment. in your example, the spell would be case in segment 1 of the following round (6 + 5 = 11, so that's the 1st segment of the next round.) If the caster isn't disturbed, that's often a good thing... 

On Initiative in general: July 25th, 2005. Gygax Q&A thread #3 in DragonsFoot Forum. 

"A fighter attacks a magic-user. The fighter rolls a 3, and the MU rolls a 6. If I understand you, the MU's spell will begin in segment 3, and take effect (casting time minus one) segments later. The fighter's attack will come in segment 6."

No, each individual's action begins in the segment indicated. the fighter will attack in segment 3, the M-U begin the spell in segment 6. 

I have long ago switched to low roll is first action as the easiest.

 On Rangers having Surprise Alone or in a Group: July 29th, 2005 Gygax Q&A thread #3 in DragonsFoot Forum. 

Forget any special surprise in a mixed party. the ranger would have to be alone, or with only others that are stealthy, to get the special bonus.


Ever have the question of how much detail to go into during melee?

Now this is getting into the area of combat simulation...something an RPG is not

 Gary Gygax Super Quote:

...the DM can do whatever he wishes, assuming that his player group generally agree and do not abandon the campaign because of such alterations.
That is indeed what every able GM should have firmly in mind. He is there to provide fun and entertainment to his player group, and himself as well, not to adhere slavishly to some game system that at times interferes with the group's enjoyment.
 
 If a DM has no Players, is he/she still a DM? Can you hear them cry?



Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Note To "Special People"

Hello, while the rest of the world and I would like to thank you for taking the time to think you are better and more intelligent than everyone else,  I would like you to consider that your opinions, while provided prodigiously, are not necessary for the rest of us to get by.

When it comes to thing like gaming and such, I'm sure that your considerable time spent not developing social skills has improved your ability to tell everyone that your way of doing things is the only way to do things and that we should only hope to become as knowledgeable and great as you in the realm of role playing games.

Yes, it is tough for the rest of humanity to accept that you are a superior being bred for heaping insults and emotional judgements upon others who do not meet your qualifications, but somehow, we mange to survive.

I can certainly promise that you will never suffer so ignobly by being invited to my game table at any time in the future.  Special people like you certainly deserve to spend your time with those who appreciate you the most.

Yourselves.


On Alignment

I have always liked the perspective as follows...


Lawful Good - "The law specifically says this and that is exactly what I'm going to do. No more, no less."

Chaotic Good, "The spirit of the law is what's important and if it takes stepping outside the letter of the law, so be.  I'm going to get this done."

Neutral Good, "Law? What law?  I'll do what I know to be good regardless of what any law might say, to the letter or otherwise."

Neutral, "I'll do my thing as it seems best for me and you do your thing as you see it best for.  I'll stay out of your way if you stay out of my way."

Neutral Evil, "Hey,  I don't care what you do, Just don't get in my way or I'll run you down."

Chaotic Evil, "I'll do what  I want, where I want, how I want, to who I want.  Got a problem with that?"

Lawful Evil, "Oh, too bad you're about to be homeless and lose everything you ever worked for.  The regulations are clear though, You're a day late with you're payment and registration form  I can't help you.  NEXT!"

I'm liking the SPC

I suppose I should clarify that.

In my game, there are different kinds of characters involved.  Perhaps the most obvious are Player Characters (PC's) and Non-Player Characters (NPC's).
I use those as categories for other types of characters.

For PC's, it gets broken down to Active Player Character APC) and Secondary Player Character (SPC).  An APC is one that is being role-played by a player during a game session.  An SPC is a character that is an equal member of the party, but is handled like a Henchman in all other ways.

Keep in mind in my game, Players only role-play one character during the game. Pretty much in the first person as for the time being, they "are" that PC.  All other characters in the game are handled as a chessboard general would direct them.  Essentially in the third person.

Henchman and Hirelings are subordinate to the APC in the game.  They are beholden to the APC  in some manner and get only a fraction of the XP and treasure rewards.

An SPC is handled the same way in terms of conduct, in the third person. They are not subordinate to any other party member but they respond to being asked to do things or for information by other party members or directed if one PC in the party has taken the role of party leader.

The DM (me) will roll dice and otherwise determine how the SPC responds to what's going on around them.  I try to keep it as random as possible so that I do not begin to treat the SPC as a PC that I am running.  I don't like that because it becomes too easy make unfair use of my knowledge of the game.

The Players at the table, should their APC die in the game, are able to take over any Henchman they have in the party as their new APC or they can ask me to take over an SPC as their new APC.  I create quite a few using an online character generator so as to have some ready for just such a purpose.

I do have characters that I have created of my own that I will have enter the game with the party as an SPC.  Players cannot take these SPC's over if their APC dies yet they are otherwise handled the same way except that I will allow myself to give them more personality as I imagine them to be (in the third person).

Really, it's only the SPC getting a full share and being an equal member of the party that separates them from the NPC Hireling or Henchman. To me though, that's an important distinction.

A Player that really wants to bring in a second or more PC's of their own creation into a game can choose to bring them in as SPC's instead of as NPC Henchmen.  They are required to manage the characters in the same way I do as the DM though meaning they still only role-play one Active PC and I will determine responses and reactions to requests and how they respond to the game around them.

They get the benefit of having more than one of their PC's gaining full Rewards and equal standing in the party and no other Player can claim one of another Players SPC's if their APC should die.

They can only take over one of their own or ask to take over one of the DM provided ones.

So far the players have adapted well to SPC's.  One thought that meant their SPC's were all "buddies" until I demonstrated that their SPC had their own mind and, buddy or not, would not just be treated as a subordinate to the APC.

An SPC is different from an NPC in that the conduct of the SPC is determined randomly by dice roll or by reasonable anticipation by the GM.  Thus, the GM/DM cannot use the SPC as an agent of the game (or should not).


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wizardawn, Chock Full Of Good Stuff

I've been experimenting with online generators and tools for a bit now.  so far, Wizardawn is at the top of my list.

What do I like so much about it?  Their OSRIC section.  It contains three specific  generators that can be of varying assistance.  The one I use the most is the "Adventurers Guild".  This is a great generator for having a variety of Henchman or SPC's (Secondary Player Characters) that are added to a party to beef them up for an adventure.

I have one group with only two Players who are most comfortable role-playing one PC each, this leaves them short adventurers and unable to really explore a lot of adventure's out there (if I feel lazy and just want to use a published module instead of writing one myself).

By adding Henchmen or SPC's to the party, they can build a full party yet only have to actively role-play their Active PC (APC)


Just for the record, in my game, Henchman are played mostly BtB as Henchman who only get a lower negotiated percentage of treasure/reward and lower XP.  An SPC is pretty much handled as a Henchman, but is able to get a full share of treasure and XP. 

Also, Henchman are introduced as working for the APC somehow and are subordinate in some way to them.  SPC's are full fledged PC's from the start, just not handled as an Active Player Character which is being role-played by a Player.

If a Player has their APC (Active Player Character) die in the middle of the action, they can make a Henchman or an SPC their new APC.

Getting all that out of the way, the "Adventurers Guild" generator at Wzardawn gets you what you need to churn out one or more Ready To Use characters.  They also have "Settlements" and "Spells" ggenerators under the OSRIC headline.

The "Settlements" generator helps you to get a town or "keep" area detailed and populated on the fly.  While there is no map created for this, it provides all the details in clear text for you to describe to players.

The "spells" generator will allow you to print out a spell-book on the fly based on spells found in the OSRIC manual.  You can have a random spell-book printed out or you can select all of the spells yourself that the spell-book will contain and have it printed out with all the details in clear text.

This is good for giving a newly created character their starting spell(s) or printing out your current spell user's most updated spell-book nice and neat.

One of the other generators I think is really cool is the "Dungeon Door".  This gives you a choice of three common gaming systems, OSRIC being one of them, and creates a series of tables to roll on regarding monster encounters, treasure, magic items likely to be found, and all kinds of other stuff.  You can get a map of a keep or a room or just about anywhere and in just a few rolls, populate it.   You can just as easily keep the printed sheet out and roll on the spot without having anything pre-planned.

Make it up as you go which is also very fun to do and this generator helps you keep the encounters and finds relative to the party's level.

You should bookmark this website and donate to them if you have the money and opportunity.  this is one of the best gaming resources online in my opinion.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Gods Saw That...And They Are Not Amused

It's fun to watch players in an AD&D game get real full of themselves and think they can do stuff that would really tick off a deity but think that because it isn't the PC's deity or the PC has no claimed deity that it doesn't matter.

Oh ho ho ho my foolish little friend.   I have news for you.  In my AD&D 1E world, the gods are real and they don't give a rat's rear end if you believe in them or are  a follower of theirs or not.

No, remember when your character nearly punched that little fella in the tavern for not getting out of your way fast enough?  The deity he follows has a soft spot for that little guy for some reason and you just got on a deity's bad side.

The deities in my world have each others phone numbers, so to speak, in my world.  They may not like each other, or care much what each other thinks but if they want to lay a curse on your heinie or just drop you because they can, they will do it and deal with your deity (if you follow one) after the fact.

Heck, you may trigger a war of the gods because of your actions and be totally unaware of it, for now.

Gods are god and they are eternal, and bored.  They don't need much of an excuse to meddle in characters lives. 

So, you ticked off Thor by accidentally shooting his cleric in a battle (an unfortunate bit of friendly fire there).  Your PC didn't even know the cleric was a follower of Thor and by the way, your PC wonders, who the heck is Thor anyway?

Guess what?  Thor doesn't care.  He's ticked, he's a god and he's got your number.


Coughing Up Experience Points

Experience points being rewarded and how they are rewarded and for what will they be rewarded is a hot topic in any forum for rpg gamers.

Most of it has to do with wanting to savor the action and adventure of the low level PC growing into a high level PC.

Some DM's seem to never  want to have PC's get above a certain level though and can get, in my opinion, a bit stingy about coughing up the XP.  I don't know if it's because they have no interest in finding/creating new adventures that will properly challenge high level PC's or what.

Other DM's toss out XP for just about anything it seems.  "Oh, your PC sneezed three times in a row and his head didn't explode.  You get 1000 XP for that."

It's like they are just the really giving type or they really want to skip low level adventures to get their players to the really nasty stuff that high level characters get the displeasure of facing.

But, that's their business.   I really don't care how other DM's deal with XP as long as players new to my game don't keep trying to compare my methods to their previous DM.  At which time I will burn their PC sheet and let them know how welcome they are to go back to that other DM's table.

I give XP for treasure and for the monsters that PC's encounter.  I also give XP for how the PC's conduct was handled during the game.

I also deduct XP for PC's who were handled poorly.  Yes,  I am a vengeful and petty little god.  Karma is  my favorite tool.  heh heh heh

Seriously though,  Players who want to game to gain levels aren't really grasping the magic of my game.  You don't come to my table to build up high level PC's.  No, you come to play at my table because it's about playing the game and having fun role-playing,.  solving great mysteries and whoopin up on the bad guys (or the good guys if you are playing an evil aligned PC).

The level ascension will happen in due course.  'm not a stingy XP miser of a GM.  I don't think I end up being a Daddy Warbucks type either because oh yes,  I will take back 4,000 XP and have an ox fall out of the sky and land on that PC's head if they have it coming.

(Did I mention that karma is a real B in my games?)





There's More To Random Encounters Than Just Attacking Monsters

One of the most boring things I have found in the wild and wooly world of AD&D is the low level of creativity in random encounters.

I live for non attacking random encounters that still present some kind of problem or issue for the PC's.

In fact, I love to mix things up like this so much that I do not have a regular old "Random Monster" check.   I have a table that sends the DM to a set of sub-tables for a variety of encounters most or all having some kind of impact on the PC's, just not always violent.

For example, my Random Encounter table might include my "Who's Who" sub-table that looks to sub-tables indicating encounters with NPC's engaged in activities, talking to the PC's, giving/handing/slipping them something that will affect them later or maybe just at the moment.
-
some of my most infamous sub-tables include Tolkien characters randomly being seen or approaching the PC's looking or asking for something.

Dwarves and other types that have something to do with one another, that kind of thing.

Another favorite sub-table that is checked is the "Stuff happens" table which, depending on the PC location or environment (urban, suburban, rural)  might lead to a wagon/cart wheel falling off.  A horse throwing a shoe, traffic being re-directed, animals or children running out in front of you, thieves or hitchhikers/stowaways getting or being found out. 

These are things which add new dimensions to the role-playing and events of the game.

Any game can add 20 orcs or 40 goblins or 10 bugbears, etc...But it's a hoot to have PC's discover that hitchhiking dwarf they dropped off at the last town somehow managed to swipe someones money or magic artifact or even money they needed to pay for something later in the game.

Didn't see that coming, did they?  HA HA HA HA.