'D&D' Category

Sixty-Five Million HP

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

 

The perennial perceptual sticking point for many folks in OSR-type games: how do you imagine hit points as a component of the game’s imagined fiction?

This aged and hoary frustration arises from the increasing number of hit points as characters gain levels and as monsters increase in Hit Dice, since, past a certain point, hit points don’t make sense as a representation of physical damage taken. For if they represent physical damage, the players must imagine as characters increase in level they take less damage from sword thrusts and strikes, and that cure spells become less able to heal even tiny wounds, where once they healed major wounds.

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Does That Make it Scolfish?

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

 

I’ve been messing around with predictive text and Markov chains for my campaign, to come up with a quick name list reference to use with one-off NPCs. The players decided, in a fit of whimsy, that the king of the elves was named Scott. Scott Eddington. Fine, I says to myself, the elves are Scottish. Ach. We have Scottish elves.

However, we’d already thrown around a bunch of elf-ish sounding names for other elves and locations in their kingdom, so I couldn’t just borrow straight from a Scottish name list. Hence my playing with language dissection tools–I needed to make the choices work with each other.

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Adventures in Downtiming

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

 

Downtime. It’s what adventurers do between mighty quests of derring-do and limb-endangerment. Anything from working at their profession, to carousing, to adventuring. It also lets the characters spend all the gold and riches they’ve acquired.

The activities available to characters in my game during downtime are based on 5E’s Downtime rules, but I added other options of significance to make it potentially just as fun and interesting as any other kind of activity at the gaming table. Based on our prior session, it appears to have worked well!

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Magic is Irresistible

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

 

For a couple sessions now, I’ve been wondering exactly how to handle spells in my OSR project. I feel like Magic-user spells in particular should be “overpowered” in the sense that they just work. No saves against the effects. Magic-user casts Charm Person? They are now your best friend. Until the effect wears off, at least. Sleep? Goodnight, sweetheart, have a great nap.

Because Magic-users are dangerous. Scary. What they command, just happens. That’s the whole schtick of the Magic-user. It’s why peasants and kings alike fear and distrust them.

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Of Arcane and Occult Magics

Friday, December 21st, 2018

 

Balancing encounters with and the character use of magic with the idea magic is rare, supernatural, and occult–even dangerous to the practitioner–can be difficult in D&D. On the one hand, any solution that seeks to make magic mysterious should not cripple player character spell-casters through randomness, misfortune, and difficulty–the effectiveness and utility of an entire class should not be undercut by making their main class ability a liability that will consistently cause them injury or misfortune–yet it still must draw out the odd and arcane, even worrisome, nature of magic.

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