Sunday, July 28, 2013

Character Creation, the guts of the game

I am of the opinion that the game of AD&D  1E is itself heavily dependent on what happens during character creation.  I think it is during character creation that the determination is made if the game is going to be a role playing game or a roll playing game.

The parameters set forth by the DM/GM in how to create the PCs sets up everything else.  The more focused on heavy requirements on stats generated for character abilities starts the ball rolling.  Does the Player get to have a more "generous" method of rolling stats or is there a very specific set of parameters that must be met to generate those numbers?

In my thinking, the more specific the parameters, the more the game will be a roll playing game and less role play.

Does the DM encourage or even require  that the "story stats" be filled in during character creation?  "Story Stats" being the information describing family history, where the PC comes from, relations, etc.... on the charter sheet.

To me, having this info provided sets up for a role playing game that takes more than just numbers into consideration.

Also, If character creation is a rushed or simplified process where most of the focus is on the character abilities, saving throws, the number driven stats, then the likelihood that it will e a roll playing game is greatly increased.

Characters created have little to no attachment with the Players who expect to have them die as easily as they were created and replaced just as easily.

Alternatively, PC's created using "Story Stats" as well as the number stats require Players to put more thought and invest more of their imagination into their creation.  Thus seeing them die off easily and being easily replaced is not looked forward to by those who put more into character creation.  All the more leading to Players expecting and anticipating a role playing game more than a roll playing game.

For many Players, I expect, using characters that were created to be easily replaced tends to the Players gaming in more of a "Chessboard General" style" and having little or no real attachment or interest in the characters.

For those with more involvement in the character creation process, they likely look for more "meaning" in the game and are looking for "glory and honor" as their PC takes on each challenge.    More detail and content are expected to justify the major injury or death of such a PC.

I believe the DM/GM is responsible for setting the tone of the game.  I think he or she should run the game the way they feel is best for the game.  It should go without saying that setting the game up ad setting the stage, so to speak, should be done with making the best game possible with everyone at the table in mind.

It all starts with character creation.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gladiator Games Just Got More Interesting

Friends, Countrymen, the great Caesar, Brutus Darkhorse, has decreed that the Gladiator Games in the country's arenas will take on a new aspect for future games.

Within each arena will be built a variety of mazes, constructed of materials which can be seen through by the spectators but not by the Gladiators.

Gladiators must successfully navigate and exit the maze, defeating any opponents, be they monsters or other Gladiators in order for the Caesar to declare them as the winner.

Each maze, based on it's complexity, will be assigned a value and corresponding Gold Pieces will be awarded. (Gladiators will earn the same # of XP as GP awarded as well as XP for each monster or opponent they defeat in the maze.)

If the Gladiators do not successfully exit the maze, they will not be awarded any Gold Pieces nor will they accrue any Experience Points except those for any monsters/opponents they did successfully defeat up to the point of failing in the maze.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

If you give a Klingon a double bladed battle-axe...

I love to create new stuff for my 1E/OSRIC game. 

Recently I was telling my son, one of my Players about how versatile AD&D 1E is an d the ability to make just about anything you want as long as it fits within the system and doesn't break other things in the game.

To make my point, I am creating a new demi-human based on the Klingons from Star Trek.  My son and I are making a new demi-god based on Marvel Comic's Beta Ray Bill character. We have already created a new fighter sub-class also based on Marvel Comic's Captain America.  In the recent past I have created a new Demon Lord and a Deity.

1E is terrific for creating your own world and everything in it.  it's a Homebrewer's delight.   At least, that's how I roll.

Friday, July 19, 2013

WikiMage is growing again

Being the incessant Homebrewer that I am,  I have decided to translate my handwritten scraps for how to make certain things, like Deities, Monsters, demi-humans, etc... for my games and share them with others who like to homebrew.

In a discussion elsewhere, people asked me why I approach the game the way I do in that I prefer to homebrew more than use published supplemental materials.

The main reason I became a homebrewer is because I was broke.  all of us who played back then were.  Most of our little group (about 6 of us at any given time) only had the PHB if we had anything.  Only one guy, the DM at the time, also had the DMG, thus he was the DM.

That was it.  No other books were involved for us.  WE had one adventure module that we played (The DM had picked it up with an old boxed set that he got at a garage sale).  Everything else that we ever played was made up on the spot using nothing more than the PHB, the DMg and our imagination.

I finally bought the DMG and became the DM in awhile (part of the low price for the book was in keeping the promise to keep DMing).  That's what I did from that point on.  I homebrewed every single game.  I never so much as saw a copy of the D&DG, FF, MM2 or others until I started playing again about a year ago or so with my kids as the Players this time.

The internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

I have since had a chance to obtain the MM and the MM2.  i have been able to peruse the other supplemental books thanks to an online version of those books that a certain dedicated gamer has been working on converting the contents of those books into HTML form.

I think they are interesting, but certainly nothing "essential" about them.  They are not necessary to my playing the or designing an adventure.  There is some inspiration that can be found in some of them though.

All the same, at heart,  I am a homebrewer.  I suspect that there are many more homebrewers out there who like me couldn't afford to buy those other supplemental materials or just let their creativity take them away from the get go.

If the things I share in relation to my "How To Homebrew" pages on Wikimage are any help to someone, it's all good to me then.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

So when do you "Win" AD&D 1E?

One of the first things we acknowledge about AD&D is that it is a game.  Most people expect a game to be won or lost.  I have had people who just start or are just inquisitive about it, ask how do you "win" at AD&D 1E.

Good question.

In order to know how to win the game, you have to understand how to play the game.

First of all, the game itself is a scenario that is set and officiated by someone called a DM (Dungeon Master) or GM (Game Master).  It provides a setting in which Players take Characters created according to pre-set rules and using the strengths and abilities of those Characters, tries to succeed in accomplishing the primary objective of the game.  Rescue someone, obtain an item, conquer someone or something, etc...

If the Players do not accomplish the objective either by having their Character killed or disabled, distracted, or defeated in some way, they have lost the game.

If they achieve the objective then they win the game.

Throughout the game, there are rules that must be adhered to.  There are limitations and obstacles which are subject to the DM/GM management which affect how the game is played.

The DM is not meant to be an adversary to the Players.  Just like the referees or umpires at a football or baseball game are not competing against the Players there.  The DM/GM is there to make sure the rules are being followed and that Player conduct is in line with the spirit of the game.  They combine this with setting the game "stage" and putting all the props in their places and making sure that they operate as they should within the set parameters of the game.

So then, what do you win when you win?

Well, you win the ability to continue playing the game.  The Player Character is awarded with points for accomplishing tasks and reaching goals.  If they accumulate enough points, they can increase the abilities and level of play the Character is capable of.

Does the Player receive any direct rewards for superior play other than the opportunity to continue playing with their Character?

Not really unless the DM/GM and the Player(s) have decided upon something ahead of time.

I have seen it discussed where every Player sitting down at the table puts in a certain amount of money to play at the game table.  The DM then breaks the money up into different amounts.  Perhaps they decide that for the Player Character who achieves the highest amount of Experience Points, they get the "First Place" cash amount, also perhaps a second and third place, depending on how many Players and characters there are.

I have even seen it discussed where the DM him or herself gets a share of the money brought to the table for all the work they performed to make the game happen.

For the most part, it seems most people who play AD&D do it for the fun of it.  The Character rewards and ability to keep a character advancing to higher levels of play is enough for them.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Invisibilty Rules in 1E

Sometimes I think not only is it my right as a 1E DM to houserule differently from the core books but that at times, it is my duty.

There are some rules in which spells will spell out certain effects , limitations, results, etc.. that I just have to bring the whole cart to a complete stop and make things right before we go any further.

Invisibility is one of those things.  Both the spell and the ring contain what  I consider flawed or at the very least, unclear thinking.  One of the main things   I had to fix was the whole "attack and become visible" nonsense.

First of all, it is my own opinion that an invisibility spell that ends just because you moved is a stupid and pointless spell.  The whole point of being invisible is so that one can move without being seen.  DUH.

Now,  I thought to myself there must be some kind of reason someone would put that into a book.  perhaps it just wasn't clearly communicated.  Far be it from Gary's writing to be unclear on things.

So, thinking back to descriptions of people becoming invisible in many books I have read and in movies I have seen, one of the more common workings I have seen is that extreme movement results in the invisible person having a "Shimmer"  kind of like the heat "waves" you can see radiating from the road or something on very hot days.

If an opponent were really perceptive, they would see the "Shimmer" and recognize that something fishy is going on here.  They might recognize it as an effect of an invisibility spell as they have seen it before.  Because of that, they would have a better chance to strike at the invisible person, or at least where the invisible person last was seen "shimmering" and have a much reduced chance of actually hitting them.

Once the invisible person slows down enough to not "shimmer" they would be totally invisible again and the only thing to give them away would be the sounds they make.  Unless, of course, being inaudible is also part of the spell, then the invisible one is really able to get away with a lot.

So see, with this "interpretation"  I am able to find a way to have an invisibility spell that stays invisible but yet affords a spectator with a good eye the chance to "see" what's going on and not think it's an utterly stupid thing to have happen.   I can "see" that.


I forgot to mention that the invisibility spell in 1E PHB is written as an Illusory spell, meaning that the spell is basically an illusion.

I take my basis for my version based on old movies like "The Invisible Man"  and others in which the invisibility is more like an alteration, like "polymorph" or something.

I agree, as an Illusion, breaking one's concentration enough to attack would end the illusion.  That's what I think is so lame by making it an illusory spell.

Just thought I'd mention that.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Working For The University

Finally I got started on adding Miskatonic University to My World in the land of Providence.

I have been wanting to add Miskatonic University (MU, get it?) for awhile because it adds so much more to the landscape of my game.

In My World, MU gives all spell casting classes a place to do research, access labs and materials (for a cost), it is a place higher level spell casters can "retire" to as a Researcher or Professor and it is a source of adventures on behalf of the University for PC parties by sending them out to obtain items, capture creatures and investigate places.

I haven't started on maps of the University buildings yet, but I plan to.   I do have a .pdf map of the grounds as it pertains to my world though on the WikiMage page.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Breakfast of the Evil

When I run a game that includes demons and/or devils The question, at least to me, arises "What motivates these things?"

To me, it come down to being hungry.  Devils eat souls and demons feed on pain.  Devils will try to lie, cheat, steal, bargain for and otherwise attempt to obtain souls.  Ultimately the point is to consume them.  sure, let them roast, toast, stew, simmer and otherwise torture them until it's time, but souls are on the menu when it comes to devils.

Demons feed on pain, suffering, fear, hate, and other extreme emotions.  Once they are done with someone they leave them dead, useless husks.  Maybe.  The occasional demon has been known to take a dessert of flesh afterwards.

The point is, in roleplaying Devils and demons, motivation is key.  These things don't just do what they do "just because".  They are fulfilling a very real need for themselves.

I think of devils and demons who don't get to "eat" for long periods of time because they are confined to hell or the abyss or wherever as very nasty, grumpy, hasty creatures with one thing on their mind.

Those that get out to eat on some kind of frequent or infrequent intervals will be more practical and maybe even easier to bargain with.

Those that eat perhaps too often, are greedy and gluttonous like to play with their food.  They will be most likely to make deals and interact because their food is also their entertainment.

Keeping all of this in mind is the basis for how I have demons and devils in games with humans and others.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

When you play 1E, play 1E, not some other edition

I'll admit it, one of the things that annoys me the most is people who visit a First Edition AD&D forum, chatroom, etc.. and start talking about or making comparisons to another edition.

Save that stuff and nonsense for a general AD&D discussion room or one made for contrast/comparison of editions.

If there is something in 1E that you don't like, houserule it, it's simple.  No need to drag in other editions to see what they changed, eliminated or did differently.  If someone asks a question about how a rule works or doesn't work in 1E, then discuss it as it relates to 1E.  We don't care how 2E or 3E or any other edition does it, we are talking about 1E.

Nothing ticks me off faster than visiting a place dedicated to my personal favorite edition, 1E, then seeing tons of jabber about other editions.  It's a guarantee that I won't be visiting that place again.

I like DragonsFoot Forums a lot.  One of my favorite AD&D places on the internet.  I'll be damned though if lately in the 1E section, people are bringing up later editions more and more.  No one cares.  If we wanted to talk about those other editions, we wouldn't be in an edition specific section.

On the other hand, there is an AD&D community in Google Plus called simply "AD&D".  There is a lot of chatter in there, mostly about 2E, about various editions.   I am OK with this, I expect it because it isn't edition specific. Though  I admittedly don't post in there nearly as often as I do in the 1E specific community,  I still will visit there and look through the posts until I find something  I am interested in.

My point is, have some respect for the topic of where you are.  if it's edition specific, then don't post about other editions.  Plain and simple.  If it's a question or post comparing two or more editions, post in in a generic area or section.  For crying out loud, don't go to an edition specific area only to be snarky and comment how much you dislike the edition being discussed and try to talk up your favorite edition.  Get the heck out of there and quit being so dang rude.