Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Moldvay Basic Set Combat Notes

From the Moldvay Basic Set.

On page B24 it gives five things in order to resolve

Morale check
Missile Combat
Casting Spells

There is a special note on movement that if you start in melee special rules applies (explained later in defensive moves) and you forfeit casting spells if you move.

The sequence doesn't say anything about arming oneself. In the section about using oil or holy water they also do not make mention of readying an item. It seems the assumption that within 10 seconds it just happens.

On page B47 it notes that using a magic item, except for weapons, armor, and protective devices, require concentration. While it could be written clearer it probably means that using a magic item is the same as casting a spell. Using it is the only thing you can do in that round. This seems to apply to scrolls and potions as well.

With the exception of magic items and spells, you could generally abstract the above sequence into allowing the character to move and do one significant and time consuming action. Or to abstract it further the character can do two actions but only one of those actions can be an attack or a movement. And casting spells and using magic items consume two actions.

While it could be written clearer, on page B24; Defensive Movement it seems clear that once a character is melee range, they are in melee and that their only option is to attack. Unless they want to do one of the defensive movements to get out of melee, then in the next rounds they can cast spells or fire missile weapons. Provided that they continue to remain out of melee.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Long Distance sighting rules for Blackmarsh and 5 mile hexcrawls

I would incorporate the following sighting rules for sighting terrain for 5 mile hexes. This based on the calculation of the horizon distance.

Clear Terrain
Clear terrain (Standing) = the hex in which the party is standing
Clear terrain (40 ft tree) = the terrain in the six surrounding hexes.

Hilly Terrain (assume 200 ft difference in elevation)
Hilly to Clear = Any clear hex within a three hex radius with no intervening mountain or hill hex.
Hilly to Hilly the same as clear.

Mountain Terrain (assume 1000 ft difference in elevation)
Mountain to Clear = Any clear hex within a seven hex radius with with no intervening mountain hex.
Mountain to Hill = Any clear hex within a six hex radius with with no intervening mountain hex.
Mountain to Mountain = the Same as Clear (tree) This is assuming in the hour of trying to sight terrain that a crag or summit is used to gain 40 ft of elevation.

Note that this the reverse is true, that standing in a clear hex one can see a mountain up to seven hexes away.

Trying to sight terrain would be a task taking about an hour probably cause at least one wandering monster check as the party roams the hex looking for vantage spots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The DnD PDFs are back!

Over on RPGNow the Dungeons and Dragons PDFs are back! They also have their own storefront at DnD Classics. And what makes this even more righteous is that if you bought stuff before you can reload it. I bought B1, In Search of the Unknown and the new version is of much better quality than the original I had.

I often said that the point of the Old School Renaissance is the playing, promoting, and publishing for older editions and nothing beats having both the new and the old together in your folders and at your table.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

dndclassics.com? The rumors are getting more interesting.

Apparently http://www.dndclassics.com has been registered by One Bookshelf the owners of RGPNow and DriveThru RPGs.  If you poke around google cache you get this link to a FAQ. I know today my RPGNow library reported that module B1, which I bought in 2009, was updated. Here is the post on the OD&D discussion forum where I first learned of it.

Curiouser and Curiouser 

Friday, January 11, 2013

From the Attic: Greyhawk Gods

 In the early 90s I was reading the Greyhawk Boxed set for the Nth time and I was hit with an idea how to rationalize the Greyhawk Gods into religions (as to opposed to a list of powerful entities)

This is the result.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Harn on the Cheap

For Free RPG Day Columbia Games released the original full poster map of Harn with the added bonus of a concise summary of the island printed on the back. To their credit they packed quite a bit of info there from the multi page Harn overview shipped with the boxed set.

Now it has been released as a PDF on RPGNow for $5 for a limited time. So if you ever want to see what Harn was about this is a good way to get a overview and the original poster map. Because of the publishing policy of setting all products in the Harn present of 720 TR, it is still as relevant today to the line of Harn products as it was back in the mid 80s.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Roll20 1 vs Fantasy Grounds 0

Lately I have been having nothing but trouble with Fantasy Grounds. It sensitive to network troubles and my router and DSL line have been causing problems by resetting every couple of hours. Due to the holidays I haven't been able to get it resolved with my ISP yet, however I did activate an Roll20 account as a backup.

Fantasy Ground crapped out again Monday so I switched over to Roll20. I missed the 3D rolling and the GURPS specific ruleset. However in a good deal many areas Roll20 was a smoother experience. Everything just loaded and everybody was able to connect without having to pay. I did get an account as I looked at my FG image folder and found I needed to get one of the paid tiers in order to hold my images.

I was impressed at how far they progressed over the summer. Fantasy Grounds better watch out because these guys are building a top quality VTT with some very interesting features like being able to pull images and tokens right off of the web as well as uploading your own. And they have integration with Google Plus. I might continue my subscription even after solving my FG issues to use for the Google Plus gaming that is going on.

They have a free account level for people to try the service with their friends.

And finally remember if you ever have the Rusty BattleAx play in your VTT games never have him ask what the weather is like. Otherwise your tech will go to hell in handbasket in the next few minutes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The OSR Handbook

The Old School Renaissance Handbook has been released by Brent Newhall. It is a concise summary of 16 roleplaying games that are considered by many as part of the OSR. One helpful feature of the comparisons is that he reproduces the same set of five characters for each of the systems. He also wrote some commentary on what he feels the OSR is about. It definitely not a definitive survey of the various retro-clones and old school games but very well done. I hope he does a followup on some of the games he missed in the initial release as well as one on adventures and supplements.

Note also that he is planning on publishing a book with some additional material contributed by various notable OSR authors and publishers like James Raggi of Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

One final bit of commentary here, it is easy to knock stuff like this as hubris or trying to define the OSR. I for one welcome this kind of material as it can help newcomers get a sense of what is a glorious mess. I would encourage anybody with the interest in writing this type of material to do so and get it out there. The only caution I give is that whatever you write about the OSR remember it is only your viewpoint. In my opinion as of 2013 the OSR has grown so large and diverse that any of one of us only hope to cover a small fraction of what out there.

Just Look at the Horde and Hoard list which show over 700+ products as of May 2012 and that list was compiled just from those OSR that were designed specifically to work with a classic edition. Add the ones that are old school feel, and classic edition variants we are looking at a couple of hundred more.

Here to 2013 to being another banner year for the OSR.

Fight On!