'Design Discussion' 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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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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Roll-to-Hit Plus

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

 

Fighters don’t get to do a whole lot of fun tactical things, or even just showy extra things, for being the main combatants and damage-dealers in D&D. Roll-to-hit and add your strength, roll damage if you hit…and that’s really all the fighter can do. Now, that “just one thing” is important, since an adventuring party relies on the fighter to keep everyone else alive. But it can also get boring quickly when wizards and clerics can throw spells around to cause neat effects, and rogues can pull off various beneficial tricks like hiding and safely running away screaming.

But Fighters have the best hit dice and the widest access to weapons and armor in the game, which seems like a decent trade-off for being weapon-swinging robots. Except that gaming isn’t all about the numbers, and fighters need a tiny bit of jazz added. So I did.

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Shield & Staff

Monday, October 1st, 2018

 

Shields are often underrated in play, so I thought for a while how to better express their general historical combat utility without overpowering them in comparison to weapons, and came up with something I thought could make them a little more useful (a solution I later learned others had also arrived at): sacrificing a shield to avoid damage.

What this means is when you have a shield equipped and are successfully struck in combat, before damage is rolled you can decide to sacrifice your shield to block the damage. This destroys the shield, but the attack is treated instead as a miss. A magical shield can be sacrificed one additional time per plus before being destroyed. Sacrifices cannot be “repaired”, however.

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