Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
I Am A: Lawful Good Human Sorcerer (6th Level)
Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.
Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Actually I don't remember how or why we came up with XP calculations. It might have been from Gary Gygax, or inspired by something he said, but we didn't always follow Gary's rules, and we freely modified anything we thought appropriate. For example, Chainmail combat rules said characters got more weapon swings as they increased in level, which we thought unrealistic and did not use. Gary told me that the rules were supposed to be a framework for a campaign, which was one of the reasons the first rule set was so vague on many issues. I tried to get as many clarifications from Gary as I could and find out how their D&D campaigns resolved specific points, but we always felt free to experiment with our own rule modifications.
I believe that we kept track of XP for the group, then divided it evenly among the surviving characters. Because we divided the XP, the higher level characters tended to go in smaller groups or do more solo adventures to maximize their XP.
As for how the XP system worked, it seemed to suit us because we never felt the need to change it. We did have a range of levels, but that range was not very large: very few players got above level 10 as I recall. Until one of our priests got high enough to resurrect people, death was permanent so it was difficult to get past level 7.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I'm curious about the Experience Point system in the "Major Rules Clarification" paragraph, which if I understand correctly was an idea from Gary Gygax.
The basic rule seems to have been to average the levels of the combatants to get an average level to figure XP.
I'm wondering how well this method worked for you, how you felt about it, or if any problems arose.
One thing I can see is that it would be to the advantage of higher level characters to bring along more lower level ones to lower the group average and provide a little more XP. This may not be such a bad thing, though, since higher level caracters would assume to be leading and instructing the lower level ones in the fight, justifying a little more XP.
I do remember that we were concerned about our campaign developing imbalances if too wide a gap was created between characters. John and I bought in very strongly (at least I think John did too) to the fundamentally non-competitive basis of D&D. For me, one of the strongest attractions of the game was that each adventure was a session of cooperative problem solving, not a struggle to see who ended up on top - quite a paradigm shift in the gaming hobby, and in my mind the most significant break from the past that D&D offered.
At our first large exhibition adventure, during a Detroit Gaming convention in late 75, we were explaining the game to a guy named Will Niebling, and he asked "So, how do you win?" John and I looked at each other and clearly couldn't think of a satisfactory answer. Whatever we said did seem to satisfy him, though, since he joined that session and our campaign, eventually moving to Lake Geneva and working for TSR.
But, I digress. In my mind, it was important to have all players in an adventure within a few levels of each other, to maximize the fun for everyone, and to assure we had a large enough pool of players for any adventure. I also didn't particularly want to encourage players to try to hog too much of the fighting. In fact, watching the group efforts of the players to figure out what to do was a lot more fun than observing a bunch of die rolls. And that's not something readily measured with experience points. So there was no problem with averaging the experience for me, or as far as I could tell, with the players.
Friday, November 11, 2011
And on a more serious, less tipsy note, I was planning on doing a crap ton of writing today for my own personal enjoyment. I've done a little bit but nothing that is really meant for the blog (some solo gaming experiments and what-not). I'm also really enjoying just having a laid-back, work-free week day with the family.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Monday, November 07, 2011
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
So, yeah, I hope to do some solo gaming this month. And given that my birthday on is on 11/11/11, I owe it to myself to do something on the big day. I have Mythic games that I'd like to finish (like Ebon Knight and the Microscope experiment), but lately I've been itching to play test an extremely rough game engine based on Hamlet's Hitpoints that I've been kicking around. I'll keep you posted on the happenings on and any generally applicable gaming ideas that come out of it.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
In my last post, I mentioned that I was revisiting Hamlet's Hitpoints with the idea of creating an RPG engine that borrowed heavily from the beat analysis contained therein. I don't know if this will all work out but it seems interesting and at the very least may lead to useful techniques that can be applied when running more traditional games.
A key component to my theoretical upcoming "Beat System" is a way to generate useful answers to complex (and simple) questions with only a deck of standard playing cards (Jokers included). While the Tarot would no doubt yield a more traditional (and varied) divinatory experience, they are not as easy to come by. More importantly, I was already planning on using a standard deck for generating the beats themselves (which map nicely to a standard deck) and mixing the two feels wrong.
So here's my dilemma: how do I best describe how to use a card's value and suit to answer questions? A casual Google search turns up various traditional interpretations of suit and value. The problem is that such interpretations are not consistent with each other.
So I think I'll just push forward and work things out as I write. Please forgive the rambling nature of this post as I'm in discovery mode.
The magic system of Castle Falkenstein associates four realms of magical effects with the four standard card suits:
- Hearts: Emotion/Mental
- Diamond: Material
- Clubs: Elemental
- Spades: Spiritual/Dimensional
This is a good starting place but it is ultimately unsatisfying. I'm not a fan of having all Elemental effects being grouped under one suit and the categories themselves do not lend themselves to ink-blotting quite so easily.
I do like using the four traditional western elements, however.
- Earth: Body, shapes, health, solids, life, plants, wood, metals, minerals, *possibly* magnetism, the planet Earth, the planet Saturn, the underworld, agriculture, the colors green and brown, endurance, strength, physical resistance, common crafts, natural resources, wealth, etc. There seems to be a female aspect to this as well (fertility splits between earth and water).
- Water: Liquids, storms, emotions, passive understanding, intuition, femininity, romance, flexibility, the soul, spirits, wine, weather, fertility, empathy, madness, dreams, the Moon, the color blue (and possibly green), ice, steam, faith, clergy, fame, celebrity, wise women, child birth, art, creation, and purity.
- Air: Winds, intellect, logic, communication, problem-solving, lightning, electricity, technology, science, wizardry, technical crafts, masculine thoughts, iimposing one's will, inspiration, justice, and nobility. Also the planets Jupiter and Mercury as well as the colors blue, white, and purple.
- Fire: Passion, war, anger, violence, passion, destruction, direct application of force, the planet Mars, the colors red & orange, blood (shed by violence - menstrual blood associated with water instead), and primal universal energies.
That's pretty much what I want but the mapping to traditional suits is not obvious. There are a couple ways to spin it...
- Hearts: Water
- Clubs: Earth
- Spades: Air
- Diamonds: Fire
In that case, I'm guided by color more than anything else. A better mapping would consider the Tarot equivalent of the suits as well:
- Cups -> Hearts -> Water
- Coins (Pentacles) -> Diamonds -> Earth
- Wands -> Clubs -> Air
- Swords -> Spades -> Fire
I like this a lot. There are some slight deviations from tradition, though. When one considers a professional/caste symbology, things move around slightly:
- Hearts: Clergy (standard) but also artists and celebrities and bards (well, bards can as easily fall into Clubs)
- Diamonds: Farmers and craftsmen and laborers and defenders of the hearth and merchants (farmers seemed to be more traditionally associated with clubs)
- Clubs: Judges, scientists, wizards, bureaucrats, lawyers, scholars, bards (the scholarly sort), diplomats (though some could lean more towards water). Nobility is traditionally the domain of the sword but more cerebral leaders would land here. Fathers as well.
- Spades: Warriors, most nobility, demagogues, and also murderers and thrill seekers.
I like this arrangement because "female" concepts are vaguely red and "male" concepts lean more to black.
Ok, accepting the fact that no interpretation would line up with occultism perfectly, this works nicely.
One more few more thing...
52 cards = 52 weeks. Each card lines up with with week of the year.Taken sequentially, one could consider seasonal correspondences:
- Winter -> Air (cold) and thus Clubs
- Spring -> Water and thus Hearts
- Summer -> Fire and thus Spades
- Autumn -> Earth (harvest) and thus Diamonds
Anyway, these are just some thoughts that I had this weekend. I'm going to play around with things a bit to see how they work out in practice.