Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some 2nd Edition love

Second edition has been on my mind a bit recently, and I just need to give it a little love here. It really was an elegant system, despite the flaws it did have. Sure, I'm biased since it was the system I learned D&D on, the system I was introduced to roleplaying games with, but it's been years since I've played 2nd edition and I still come back to it as a favorite. I remember character development just happening without really having to think about it. The classes were archetypal; each having their own "thing" that made them unique. With the advent of 3rd edition, there was a lot of overlap - each class can step of the toes of another class. I realize this was done intentionally so that a party wouldn't be gimped without having a cleric, or a rogue for example, but it makes each of the other classes shine a little less bright because of that. 

But the thing I've been thinking about, the thing that makes me want to play a little 2nd edition again, is the "backwards" rules; rolling under for some things and over for others. The idea of rolling below your stat for an ability check is just great, from a GM stand-point. Think about it: I don't have to come up with some number out thin air like you oft do with 3rd edition and its "Difficulty Check". Just roll under your ability. Need to raise a portcullis? Roll under your Strength. It's a simple, easy mechanic that just makes the GM's job easier. 

Now, I wonder if you could make a new Saving Throw chart, based off the old one, that could reverse Saving Throws so that you roll under for them too? Like subtract the listed number from 20 and that's the new number you have to roll under. That way it's one more thing that is "roll under" so as to be a little more uniform. I doubt there's anything to be done for combat, though, high rolls are still good there and I don't think anything can be done about that. Not that I'd want to anyway. Imagine the amount of "20's" you'd roll if suddenly "1" was a critical hit? That's tantamount to gamer sacrilege. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

[Aeonia] Influence

I got to thinking the other night, trying to solidify the direction of where Aeonia is going and the perfect analogy came to me: It's Ravenloft as GMed by Guillermo Del Toro. Take Pan's Labyrinth and smoosh it into Ravenloft and you'd have Aeonia. While an exciting concept (to me anyway), it really just made me depressed because it looks now like all I need to do is run Ravenloft and sprinkle on extra Fey. It sort of makes all the work I've been doing kind of obsolete. 

But even if it does, it's probably still a good mental exercise. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

[Aeonia] History

I'm taking a different tact than most people probably would when building their homebrew campaign setting. Instead of detailing a long and sordid history of my world, I'm....not. Basically, I don't care what happened in this world before my PC's get into this world; what I care about is what happens after they get dropped into it. Several advantages here:
  • If ever I need to have history, I can make up whatever I want without having to worry about it clashing with what history I would have already had. 
  • I don't waste my time with things that don't end up being used or is not important to the players.
Mostly it comes down to laziness - that and not having a whole lot of time to think about these things in the first place. I want to pencil just enough details into the world to have some jumping-off points for the players; they can fill in the rest of the details in play. 

Next up: I want to design an "Intro Adventure"; and adventure designed to give new players a sense of what my world is all about. So it'll probably have a Druid and a bunch of evil Fey or Elementals. Or maybe I'll deal with the Orc traders to the North. Anyway, assuming my friends are still interested in playing C&C (which I've decided is the official rule-set of Aeonia) I'll slowly add in details of my world into their adventures and use them as a sort of unknowing guinea pig. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

[Aeonia] Brotherhood of Valar

This is a group of guardians that stretch throughout Aeonia. They guard old artifacts and try to keep them hidden and squelch any knowledge of such things. They are Librarians, Scholars, Wizards, Assassins, and Warriors (not limiting any classes here, just setting up an overall feel). It's a bit of a rough write up, but I think the concept will solidify through play - that's always what it takes for me.  

The Brotherhood of Valar was created 3 centuries ago by a powerful cabal of wizards; they saw the near-destruction of all living mages when a former ally abused a powerful artifact. The few remaining wizards banded together to hide what artifacts they could find in separate locales across the continent. They then formed the Brotherhood, consisting of various trustworthy allies from all walks of life to guard their powerful secrets. 

Since that day, the Brotherhood has guarded the terrible secrets unfailingly. Each member is entrusted to use whatever means necessary to do their duty; be it assassination, bribery, or spying. The Brotherhood operates outside the Law, and though some members have positions of authority within regular society, it's expected of all members to avoid being caught on duty.  

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Encounter Series #1

One thing I've never done is collect little encounters that I've thought of and saving them for future use, be it to fluff up an adventure or to create an adventure. Sometimes you just need a little something to fill in some space and it'd be a good thing to have a little collection to go to and say, "Ah this will fit perfectly right here..." That will be what this little series is for, to collect these little ideas as they come to me and either string them together into an adventure, or stick them into a current adventure. 

  • The PC's encounter a tribe of some race (preferably a Shamanistic race, like Goblins or Gnolls) and contest the leader (the Shaman) in combat (single or otherwise, if it's powerful enough) and the leader is killed. Under this tribes law, the tribe belongs to the PC's now. 
  • A vampire is being stalked by a particularly stalwart Paladin and needs the PC's help to be kept alive (presumably the vampire has something the PC's need in order to want to keep the vampire alive in the first place). 

Not much for the first time out, but that's ok, I don't need all my ideas at once, just so long as they keep flowing in, I'll be happy. 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Play by Post In Nomine

Come the new year, I've offered to run a game of In Nomine for some folks on Myth-Weavers. I ran this game for my tabletop group a few years ago and it went over really well...with them. I didn't like it so much, but that was only because I was itching to get into Burning Wheel at the time. So I'm hoping to give the game another fair shot. Also it was the first non-D&D game I ever ran, so I filtered the game through D&D goggles which is really bad for this game. It's really tough to miss a shot, be it with a gun or a baseball bat in In Nomine, you know, being an Angel/Demon and everything. So combat really shouldn't be the focus of the game. It's more about doing your job, completing the mission without falling out of favor with your Superior. Combat, in my opinion should be reserved for the very end, for the most part, and should be big, cinematic and over the top. I didn't run it this way, I ran it sort of like a Dungeon Crawl, only in Chicago. 

So what I want to do with this group is really push the "Falling" element of the game. Give them big, complicated missions with an easy way out if only they bend their morals "just a little". To do this, I'm really going to have to know what causes Dissonace (in general and for each individual Choir), how to gain Discord, and what would most likely tempt the Angels. 

One of the players who replied to my post mentioned wanting to play a Soldier. I offered to let him start play as a Mundane (normal human) and then get caught up in things and quickly become a Soldier. This would have to be taken into consideration when thinking about how to approach the adventure. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Game Update

Suddenly I find myself taking part in not one, but three games all at once. Interesting times. But if you're at all interested in following the exploits, here's some links:

The Sunless Citadel - A D&D 3rd Edition Play By Post game where I play a human ranger. Another adventuring group has gone missing, with rumors of an old citadel sinking into the ground. That is literally all I know about this game. That's almost as bad as GM's who drone on and on about their endless and boring homebrew campaign history. 

Trail of Bodies - A D&D 3rd Edition Play By Post game where I play a human Priest (Cleric) of Kelemvor the God of the Dead. All I know about it is a village has been consumed by a zombie invasion. And when there's zombies, that's all I need to know. I wish I'd have know the dude was using homebrew classes and races before the game started, but it's all good, the game should still be fun. The game thread is private, so you won't be able to see what's going on, but I thought I'd post it here anyway. 

Burning Reclamation - A Burning Wheel game I'm playing over Skype with some other people from the BW forums. We're playing a host of Dwarves who have returned to the mines of Moriah (yes it was misspelled on purpose) to reclaim our birthright, only to find a bunch of human squatters. Not to mention the orcs (and fouler things) who have inhabited the deeper parts of the mines themselves.