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Saturday, December 27, 2014

OD&D - The Thief - a complete re-write (& new name) 002

Just to let people know, the overall feedback I am getting so far for the new class name for my new replacement thief class in reply to the below request:


 Ok just to take this a little further,as a replacement for the thief class I am wanting a new name so below I am listing a bunch of names and I would like to pick one for the name of the class and then one for each of the first 8 or so levels: I am thinking of Indiana Jones and those like him, Marco Polo, Robin Hood, etc. So please tell me what you like for a class name and what you like for the Level names especially for name level.

explorer
scout
trailblazer
pioneer
adventurer
forerunner
guide
pathfinder
wanderer
excursionist
discoverer
prospector
venturer
gadabout
traveler
peregrinator
rover
opportunist
vanguard
outrider
spotter
discloser
revealer
discerner
identifier

Anyone that wants to comment on a Class Name and the order of the Level Names, please do so! :)
Which eight names would you pick for the Level Names?  What would you pick for the Class name to replace Thief?

So far the overwhelming majority is suggesting Scout as the new Class name. What do you think?

Friday, December 26, 2014

OD&D meets 5E or Christmas brings me a big Surprise!

I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas! I sure did!  This Christmas was spent with my wife's sister and as usual my sister-in-law managed to come up with a gift that surprised the time out of me.

She got me the new 5E DMG,  yeah she has never played  an rpg of any type and in the past when my wife has brought up D&D in the conversation my sister-in-laws comments were not on the positive side of the ledger. :) And yet she got me the new DMG because she knows a few years back I had to sell off a lot of my RPG items and she thought I would like it. I do like it and now, especially since I have heard a fair number of positive comments about it, I will have to take a closer look at the game than  I had ever intended to. Just a quick glance in the Introduction part of the book, brought to light a number of old school concepts mentioned right off the bat. So it looks like it could be used to lead someone down the old school path. That is cool my friends! So I will be looking for stuff that I can steal and use IMC. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

OD&D - Mixing in some Original Arduin Trilogy 001

For those familar with both OD&D and Arduin you know what I am talking about. For those who know nothing about Arduin start here:Tribute to David Hargrave by Paul Mosher and by Mark Schynert. That takes you to a large amount of links from circa 2003/2004 in The Wayback Machine aka the internet archive. The first volume of Arduin is copyright 1977, although the Arduin campaign as an OD&D campaign dates back to sometime in 1974. Arduin as developed by David Hargrave owes a lot to the David Arneson vision of OD&D as they are in many ways the same gonzo style.

If you want to learn more a good place to go is over on Jeff Rients blog at Arduin Grimoire cover to cover part 1 from back in 2010 just follow the menu on the side of the blog. The final essay in this series appeared in February 2011. Another place to get some info is at (beware a NSFW image) Anthony Pryor's blog at The Hall of RPG Oddities: The Arduin Grimoire (Okay there is ONE NSFW image in this because I got bored and ran out of pictures…) and follow the links at the end of the essay for the next essay.

The internet including the Wikipedia (no surprise there) has a lot of misinformation about the first volume of The Arduin Grimoire, here are the correct printing details as I am personally aware:


The Arduin Grimoire (Arduin Grimoire Vol. I), 1977. There are four different editions (printings) of this volume. These editions (printings) differ via internal verbiage, cover and back cover artwork and some internal artwork (p. 79, among others). The first edition (printing) of volume one features cover art by Erol Otus and references to Dungeons & Dragons. The second edition (printing) of volume one features cover art by Erol Otus and the references to Dungeons & Dragons have been whited out and typed over. The third edition (printing) has the cover picture of multiple characters fighting and on the back cover the female character is topless and is the David Hargrove character known as Shardra the Castrator that appears topless in the drawing on page 1 of Vol III The Runes of Doom, the page following the Table of Contents. The fourth edition (printing) and later printings, which comprise the vast majority of copies of Vol 1, are identical to the third edition (printing) except that the topless women on the back cover has a halter top (editorial swimwear) added to cover her up.

Once you start reading the original Arduin books it becomes apparent that these are his house rules recorded in a stream-of-consciousness onslaught. It is messy and glorious, brilliant and silly all at the same time.


Money (Treasure), the OD&D Economy & Equipment 008

Let us look now at starting equipment for Fighting-Men, Magic-Users and Clerics. What do you think should be some basic equipment that all Fighting-Men, all Magic-Users and all Clerics should have, without or with few exceptions. What equipment do you think is more geared towards individual taste. In OD&D players start with 3d6 times 10 for starting money which in the Silver Economy is 30-180 Silver Shillings - in practice my house rule is to give every player about 120 Silver Shillings in the new economy and they can roll to see if they can beat that. Bitd if you rolled 30 that was it, like many I have gotten more lenient over the years on some things but not all. Looking back here: Money (Treasure), the OD&D Economy & Equipment 007 what do you think should be added to the list?  Some equipment lists contain over 1000 items, I think that is bit extreme unless you are gaming at high levels in a large port city that happens to also be the capital of a country; but that is just me, what do you think? Should a ref make players list bedrolls, socks, soap and such on their character sheets and should it be on the equipment list? I am still in the process of tweaking the equipment list.

Here is equipment I would take for an OD&D game and if I did not have enough money the items in italics are what I would leave for a later buy - not including weapons or armor. Where only a number is in italics that means I would go with a smaller number initially if I have to.

Fighting-Men 

Backpack
Large Sack 
Hammer with 10 Iron Spikes 
10 Torches 
Sharpening stone 
Tinderbox (flint & steel)
3 Iron Rations 
3 Water/Wineskins
10 Fishhooks, Line & Sinker
50' Rope
Large Belt Pouch 
Small Belt Pouch 
3 Flasks of Oil
Wooden Cross

Magic-User

Backpack 
10 TorchesTinderbox (flint & steel) 
3 Iron Rations 
3 Water/Wineskins
3 Flasks of Oil
50' Rope 
Large Belt Pouch 
3 - Small Belt Pouches 
Wooden CrossSmall Sack 
10' Pole

Cleric

Backpack 
10 Torches
Tinderbox (flint & steel)
 3 Iron Rations 
3 Water/Wineskins 
4 Flasks of Oil
50' Rope 
10 Candles 
Large Belt Pouch 
2 - Small Belt Pouches 
Small Sack
Wooden Cross 
Silver Cross
 Silver Mirror 
Mallet & 3 Stakes 
Holy Water/Vial
3 Buds of Garlic
Wolvesbane, bunch 
Belladonna, bunch

This is what I would consider the starting place, what do you think?


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

OD&D - The Thief - a complete re-write (& new name) 001

Over on DF in this:

As a result of this conversation:


Hey ThePerilousDreamer,

I can see your point about thieves and how they may not fit in your campaign---

My opinion is that thieves are very versatile and have a bunch of useful skills that they can bring to a party.  Sure, some (if not most) of them can be considered shady--backstabbing comes to mind.  But I would argue that a thief could potentially be lawful good, rare, but they could.  If you generate a thief that has a deep fascination with opening locks or feeling fulfilled by finding and removing traps for a group, these activities don't necessarily  lead to chaos.  Even move silently and hide in shadows for someone who wanted to excel at being a scout for the party  (such as skills by the ranger).  I'm wondering if you changed the class name of thief to something more positive, removed backstabbing, changed pick pocket skill to sleight of hand, etc. if you would like the class more or could see it fitting in your campaign better?

I play 2nd edition so not as familiar with OD&D.

I replied:



I like some of the abilities that thieves have, but I don't like the name, one reason why I did a rewrite of the bard was to tone the original bard down to a more reasonable level and put (some of) the thief abilities back in the game.

However, I have not ruled out doing a complete re-write of thief class with a different name as a fighter sub-class and eliminating things like the back-stab and pickpocket abilities since those are the ones that are evil. Sleight of hand of hand, Hmm, OK you have convinced me I will do it.


Gee he twisted my arm soooooo much, I am going to do a complete re-write of the Thief and incorporate some of the ideas noted above.

So I will be posting my thief re-write here and attempting to come up with a new name. I will welcome your thoughts.

******************************************************************************************


Ok just to take this a little further,as a replacement for the thief class I am wanting a new name so below I am listing a bunch of names and I would like to pick one for the name of the class and then one for each of the first 8 or so levels: I am thinking of Indiana Jones and those like him, Marco Polo, Robin Hood, etc. So please tell me what you like for a class name and what you like for the Level names especially for name level.

explorer
scout
trailblazer
pioneer
adventurer
forerunner
guide
pathfinder
wanderer
excursionist
discoverer
prospector
venturer
gadabout
traveler
peregrinator
rover
opportunist
vanguard
outrider
spotter
discloser
revealer
discerner
identifier

Anyone that wants to comment on a Class Name and the order of the Level Names, please do so! :) 

Which eight names would you pick for the Level Names?  What would you pick for the Class name to replace Thief?

Monday, December 22, 2014

OD&D - Giants (Titans, Ogres, Trolls) and the Strength Table

Let's take a look at Giants in OD&D and see how we might tweak them for our own version:

In OD&D, in Volume 2 Monsters & Treasure it lists out Giants as one Type of Monster, with the first entry as follows:


Then it describes Giants as follows:
GIANTS: As stated in CHAINMAIL, Giants act as mobile light catapults with a 20" range. Due to their huge weapons all Giants will score two dice of damage when hitting an opponent. Wandering Giants will carry from 1,000 to 6,000 Gold Pieces with them in their usual copious shoulder sack. Note that there can be many types of Giants including the following:
Hill Giants are the most common (60%) while the others are seldom encountered (10% each type, total 40%). Those Giants who abide in castles sometimes have additional guards. There is a 50% chance that some other monster will be there: die 1-4 = a Hydra of from 5 - 10 heads; die 5 or 6 is either from 6 - 36 wolves or from 3 - 18 bears.

The above is the original write-up formatted to include here.

Many questions can be raised and I am only going to address a few of them in this post. We can safely assume that the Hill Giant acts as the Light Catapult, but then we see the Stone Giant acts as a Heavy Catapult, so what do the rest of the giants act as, Light Catapult or Heavy Catapult? Is the Hill Giant the only one that acts as a Light Catapult? Are the listed damage done by each giant enough or should it be more?

And given the info I posted here How Heavy is my Giant? Reality & OD&D! Justifying Large Monsters? How about we just have fun! how strong are giants compared to humans and just what does a Girdle of Giant Strength or a Potion of Giant Strength really do when drunk?
In addition, the first supplement Greyhawk added Storm Giants and Titans to the mix.
STORM GIANTS: These creatures are found only in out-of-the-way places. Typically their abode will be a castle built underwater or on a mountain or upon a cloud. They are intelligent, about 24' tall, and do 3 + 3 dice damage (unless the alternate damage system is used). These giants are able to employ a Control Weather spell in order to cause a storm—their favorite kind of weather—when angry or in battle.

TITANS: Appearing as Giants, these creatures are far more handsome and intelligent. In fact. Titans are typically more intelligent than men. They are equal to Storm Giants in attack, although they may employ spells instead. Armor varies from class 2 to -3. They normally move 15" per turn, but certain Titans (10%) move at 21" per turn. Hit dice vary from 75 to 100 points possible damage. Spell use includes up to 7th level Cleric and 7th level Magic-User, total spells 2 per level. Usually only 1 will appear, but there are 10 total. In Lair 05%. Treasure Type A' +1.

A 24 foot tall Storm Giant weighs in at 12,130 pounds and the height of Titans is not given so we will assume it is the same as that of Storm Giants.

Now in the original rules it does not explicitly state any difference between what an average Strength and an 18 Strength can carry, it just says that Encumbeance (Weight which can be carried is for a Man 1,750 GP or 175 pounds, the Maximum Load/Person at Half Normal movement is 3000 GP or 300 Pounds. Now is that 300 pounds the Maximum for a battle hearty, fantastically in shape average Strength or is that the Maximum for an 18 Strength, the rules do not say.

Now in Greyhawk the first supplement the following details are added to Strength:
From the original rules 9-12 is Average, so we can see from the table that Low Average (7-9) has a normal encumbrance, High Average 10-12 adds 5 pounds, Above Average 13-15 adds 10 pounds, a 16 adds 15 pounds, a 17 adds 30 pounds and an 18 adds 50 pounds.

In the original rules a Potion of Giant Strength gives the recipient full Giant prowess, including two dice of damage when he scores a hit. Girdle of Giant Strength: Wearing this device bestows the strength and hit probability (if greater than the wearer's own) of Hill Giant.

In Greyhawk in reference to a Potion of Giant Strength is says: Referee to roll to determine which one of the various types will apply to the effects of the potion.

So given all of the above, how do you run this is OD&D and how Strong is a Giant not to mention Ogres and Trolls (since there are a Gauntlets of Ogre Power and Gauntlets of Ogre Strength).

Here is my attempt to redo the first the Strength Table and Define Giant Strength and Ogre Strength. Also I am going to clarify that Weight Allowed is the normal weight carried without penalty and the Encumbered Weight is the maximum weight that can be carried at half speed and Max Lift is the Maximum amount that can be lifted over head in perfect circumstances or in life or death situations. The Revised Write-up below assumes that you are using the Greyhawk supplement. Giants do two dice or three dice of damage plus the damage bonus noted in the revised table. Ogres and Trolls do one die damage plus the bonus noted in the revised table.
Here is same Table based on just using the 3LBBs the original rules without the Supplement and without Extraordinary Strength:
Giants do two dice or three dice of damage plus the damage bonus noted in the revised table. Ogres and Trolls do one die damage plus the bonus noted in the revised table.

In all cases using either of the revised tables, PCs using Magic Potions, Girdles or Gauntlets gain the noted benefits for Ogre or Giant Strength.

This considerably powers up Ogres, Trolls and Giants. So play testing is needed and as a consequence they should be more rare in their appearance, or more of the nature of you have to go looking for them.

This is one attempt to take into account the size of the monster, your comments are welcome. Do you think we should make the monsters smaller or do something else or do you like the above? Just for the record, I like the above. ;)

The two tables below update everything for adding Storm Giants and Titans to the mix.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How Heavy is my Giant? Reality & OD&D! Justifying Large Monsters? How about we just have fun!

This little post is about internet discussions on forums and the odd turns they sometimes take. Many DMs and players alike want to explain things in OD&D in terms of the real world and they get upset if you can not explain things in real world terms or once they realize what the implications of a real world explanation means then they get upset. I am going to look at one specific example and then I will have a few more comments.

Back in The Dragon #13 there was a fun little article titled HOW HEAVY IS MY GIANT? by Shlump Da Orc. They took an average 5'8" tall man weighing 180 lbs and scaled him up 30' tall; except the calculations all started with 160 lbs, so I assume the 180 was a typo.


For a quick example: a 20' tall giant would weigh 7,010 lbs (about 3.5 tons). There are a lot of assumptions inherent in this table. One is that giants are built exactly like the average human only bigger; two that the bones, muscles, etc of giants are the same density as the average human - just to name two things. If you look at the real world it is claimed that people of this size are impossible because the mass is cubed, and they claim that strength increases as the square. So when we play D&D we are in effect assuming that strength increases as the cube also or even a bit greater and that tendons, ligaments, etc are also much stronger or none of the real large monsters will work, but that likely means that the damage that larger monster deal out should be greatly increased if we want to be realistic.

One poster said they could not justify giants that were taller than 10' because they would have to be a lot stronger and then they would have to do a lot more damage. He thought giants already did enough damage so he limits his giants to 10' tall.

So if a giant weights 7,010 lbs and they can lift their own body weight (if the same as humans a really strong one could lift double their body weight) then how big of a boulder could they throw. Lets go back to the above table a 6' tall pitcher weighting 185 lbs can throw a 5.25 ounce baseball at 100 mph and if they hit a player in the head it breaks facial bones, in such cases ending careers and potentially killing the player. So if we just scale by height it would weigh 17.5 ounces or just over a pound and if it were thrown at you at 100 MPH and hit your head or body you would be dead. So if we scale by the square that baseball is now 58.3 ounces or about 3.6 pounds and if it were thrown at you at 100 mph and hit your head or body would be dead and if it hit your arm or leg you might die of the shock (think of the effects of cannon fire on the battlefield).  And if we scale it up by the cube it would weigh just about 6 lbs.

Now we are talking about a boulder, how big is a boulder? When it says a giant throws a boulder I picture a rock that is about 3 feet in diameter as what they are really throwing because to me a boulder would be at least 10 feet in diameter. This is funny since a boulder is defined as a rock 1 foot in diameter or larger; when I looked it up I was amazed that something that small is a boulder.

A limestone boulder of average density (approx 145 lbs/cubic foot) and 1 foot in diameter would weigh about 76 lbs. How far could a 20' tall giant throw 76 lbs.  A shot put weighs 16 pounds and the world record is just under 76 feet. Scaling 16 pounds up by height, the square and by the cube gives us 53.3 pounds, 177.8 pounds and 296.3 pounds.  So lets say for the sake of argument that a 20 ft tall giant could easily throw a 76 pound boulder 80 feet. IMO that would be guaranteed death with a hit.

What other weapons would a giant use? How about a club? A typical baseball bat has a max length of 42 inches in the pros and Babe Ruth used bats ranging according to him from 37-54 ounces, but he used a 36 inch bat weighing 40 ounces for most of his career. So if a giant used a 10 foot long club weighing 92 pounds how much damage would it do?

In OD&D a 20' tall cloud giant does 3d6 hit points of damage. Is a max of 18 HPs of damage enough for a 92 pound club or a 76 pound boulder? 

The point is this: whether it is how much does a giant weigh or how does infravision work or how does this or that spell work or etc., there are problems when you try to apply real world science to OD&D and if you do it is impossible to apply real world physics and other sciences consistently across the board. Going by forum posts all of this causes some people a great deal of anguish, because in their minds it all has to make "sense" or they can't buy in. Or they have to have some way to justify everything based on the real world and they apparently lose a lot of sleep over it and have less fun because of it.

Here is how I feel about it. It is OD&D, it is a game and I am there to have fun and I hope you (the players) are there to have fun too. If you can accept that there are elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, trolls, dragons that fly and breath fire, magic swords and armor, magic-users and clerics that cast spells, and you can grow much more powerful by gaining experience, then surely you can buy in to everything else I do as the ref including giants. Neither you nor I need to set around trying to figure out how all of this works with real world physics, chemistry and technology, we just need to have a lot of fun and leave all the worrying to those that like to worry.