Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Rules are being used in the new OD&D campaign?

Just briefly, I thought I would mention the Rules that we are using in the new OD&D Campaign. We are using the original three booklets Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure and the Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. That's it, nothing else except the house rules that I add as we go. So all weapons do 1d6 and the ref rolls up the characters for the players.

Friday, August 14, 2009

1st Level Player Characters and Dungeons

Brave, foolhardy, gutsy or greedy, which pair of these words describe the three players (five player characters in The First Game of Our New Campaign - Part 1 as they explored the dungeons. Perhaps a case can be made for all four words describing them. First of all I don't ever remember seeing 1st level player character penetrate so deeply into a dungeon on their first outing. Part of that may be due to my not playing the dungeon and the encounter tough enough. In my defense, I submit that I haven't reffed in a very long time and they did have a 10 year old player in the game which may have affected my judgement. I promise to do better in the next game. On the other hand, every0ne had fun so I don't want to make it too tough. Yes, folks the ref does walk a tightrope from time to time.

On the other hand, I have also never seen a group of players so single-minded in pursuing treasure with no apparent consideration of the hazards involved. I don't mean to insult any of my players, I am just amazed, that is all. Again maybe it is the long time since I reffed and the generation gap. I grew up on all kinds of fantasy fiction, fairy tales and folklore so perhaps I am by nature more cautious.

What these players did was to start on the 1st level of the dungeon, and then end up on the 3rd level, 6th level and 5th level of the dungeon. In the process they got involved with an odd artifact of the dungeon which is manifested in different ways in different parts of the dungeon and it moves around from time to time. In addition, I now have to create a fair amount of dungeon to keep from creating any obvious dimensional contradictions.

The players should bear in mind that they have not found all of the secret or hidden doors in all of the areas that they have been in, not everything is exactly as it may seem. In addition, they might want to reconsider getting too far into the dungeon without knowing more about the first level of the dungeon. Hopefully in the second game coming up we will have more players and that will give them more options and viewpoints.

I was encouraged when I found out that the 10 year old player was describing the fight with the giant snake to his mother and she kept asking "where did they take you that you saw a snake that big?" and he kept saying, "No mom, it was imaginary and going on with the story." I was also encouraged when I found out she is going to let him play again. :)

And in case it needs saying, I was very pleased -even though I was surprised with some of their decisions-with these players and with the game. I hope they all had as much fun as I did. More thoughts on this at a later time. Yes, I will keep editing these posts as I think of/remember things and as I get time.

OD&D and Alignment - My House Rules

Unlike some, I both like and use Alignment in my game and it plays an important part. I try not to make it too complicated though. Lawful does not mean Good, but Lawful tends more toward good than not. Neutral is someone that is consistently in the middle and always avoids the extremes. Chaotic does not mean Evil, but Chaotic tends toward evil more than not. I also start players as Neutral unless they have declared themselves to be one thing or another.

As the players play, I keep mental tabs on their alignment and over time if they are consistenly one thing more than another, then I will let them know that their alignment has changed based on their in game actions. Why is this important? Well there are several reasons.

All major weapons in the game, such as swords, battle axes, bows etc. that are magic have an alignment. As such they can only be used by someone of like alignment. These weapons are Intelligent, but that may or may not be evident to the player character. Not all magic weapons have bonuses to hit or to damage, but they may have almost any thing as a power attached to the weapon. If someone of the wrong alignment or in some cases wrong alignment and wrong race (human, elf, dwarf, or hobbit) touches it they will get a mild shock. If they persist and try to use it they will receive 1d6 damage the first melee round, 2d6 the second melee round, 3d6 the third melee round ... you get the picture. Not only will they receive damage but they will in no case be able to use it against anyone or anything else. This also explains why monsters may or may not be using the magic weapons that they have in their possessions. If they are able to use it they usually will be using it. Players may lose magic weapons or other magic items, if their alignment changes.

Other magic items in the game may also in some cases have an alignment. More on that and magic weapons at a later time.

In addition, alignment may affect how certain spells effect a player character. The effect may be reduced or enhanced. Again more on that at a later time. I don't want to give too much away to my players, just hints.

Alignment will affect how different groups react to a player characters charisma when the player character is trying to achieve a certain goal in an interaction.

At a future date this post will be expanded and that will continue to be done from time to time. Original date of this post is 08/14/2009.

As an example in: The First Game of Our New Campaign - Part 1 the killing of the sleeping orcs is an evil act and is Chaotic in nature. Continued behavior of this time will move out little party from the default of Neutral to Chaotic and definitely rule out any of them being considered Lawful. It will affect many things, such as the usuability of the magic that they find. In addition, as they explore the dungeon, the intelligent monsters will learn to not expect quarter and as a consequence will not offer or grant quarter either. In my campaign, there are a lot of reasons not to kill if it is not immediately necessary. On the other hand, there are consequences pro and con, to not killing. The players will have to decide which set of pros and cons they prefer.

In a like manner, whether or not the player characters rescue (or try to) the farmer and/or recover his body for burial (or try to) and/or share some of the booty with either the rescued farmer and wife or with the widow, whichever the case may be, (assuming they survive) will also effect their alignment. Again, it is up to the players to make the decision and face the consequences. All decisions have consequences some good and some bad.

However, let us be clear, I will not do bad things to the player characters just because they do something other than what I might have done.