Monday, June 26, 2017

Refining the Elevator Pitch

My personal OSR odyssey has focused on determining what is good about the old game; to develop the rules that promote play focused on those good things; to automate the rules (via idiot-proof charts and worksheets); and to strip away everything else. I want a dune buggy, not a Winnebago.

So again let me take a stab at the elevator pitch for a game of OSR D.

This version of D&D is much like a board game. You draw out your own board and you design your own pawn like in other version, but otherwise it runs a lot like a board game. There are mini games based on exploration, on resource management, on negotiation, and on combat or avoiding combat. The relative importance of the several minigames descends in that order. The object of the game is to accumulate wealth and therefore power.

Alongside this board game structure, your pawn will act like a real person in his imaginary world to the degree you wish him to do so. But there is no story reward.  In fact, there is no story presented beforehand- you, the several players must direct yourselves in search of the wealth you need to become powerful rather than being content consumers like we are when we try adventure paths and so forth. The story will be told after your men achieve fame or infamy, and the heroes of the tale will simply be those men who survive.


What do you think of that? Do you think it captures the spirit of older D? Would it interest some players from the new school? How can we make it be better?

Lost and Found

Months ago, a hard drive crash meant I lost the .doc version of Mythical Journeys. (coupled with my own lax vigilance - always back things up!) Boy that was hard to take! I gave up on working on the game.

I was looking at the title page, reading the copy at the bottom, and the light bulb came on: Ask my editor, Jeff J. aka Urieal on Dragonsfoot!  Sure enough, he had the manuscript and several other assets in a Dropbox. It felt like when Indiana Jones first came upon the golden idol in the headhunter temple! There was the treasure! Well, it felt like that without the giant rolling boulder.

It almost didn't happen. About four days beforehand he had considered cleaning out his old drop boxes. For some reason he didn't! Thank God!

Now I can clean up a few copy errors, most notably Table 4. I will also change the names of a couple spells to be easier to remember for players of other fantasy heartbreakers. Then... on to books 2 and 3?

But I still need to collect more art assets. I lost years of public domain line art files too!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Light Spell

"What a waste of a spell!" I can hear you say.  "Why would you take a crummy old Light spell?"  It depends on how your Ref handles it, but it can be very useful.

This guy! 
(I don't own this image but 
darned if I know who does.)
If your lead Fighting Man has a shield, cast it on the front of the shield to make it like a headlamp.  If you need to see something a long way down, cast it on the end of a rope.   A long way up?  Cast it on an arrow and fire away.

A light spell doesn't take up one hand like a lantern or torch.  It doesn't weigh anything.  It wont be extinguished by dropping it, and it won't light your robe on fire.

Finally, if you Ref it like I always have, casting it on the eyes of an enemy blinds them for an hour. In this respect, it's basically a kill spell when you need it.  It can also be used to bluff an intelligent monster or man-type into surrender.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Schrodinger's Hit Points

We all know about rolling up all the hit dice every time you level up, which is a fun lottery thing you can do. When you level up, roll all your hit dice (including pluses if that's how your progression works). If that number is higher than your current total, use the new number. Otherwise, just add one hit point to your old number. 

I had also read somewhere, I think on DF, that some people would roll up hit points every morning of the campaign. That sounds fun and risky. Not sure how it would work with hit point damage though. Maybe we would need a different philosophy about what a hit point is. 

It just came to me that you could roll hit points anew every day. BUT instead of in the morning, you would roll them when you first took damage that day. That way you really wouldn't know exactly how healthy you are until it was put to the test!

After all: creatures you never fight don't have hit points. They only have the stats that they need (usually none or just a couple.) They only get hit points if you need to fight them. Could we confer this property of hit points to the PCs and their allies as well?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Inspirational Artwork - Defender

My goodness, what have we here...?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Play Test?

Playing 1e/BECM at Steve's house has wet my whistle to run a game of my own. Since Mythical Journeys is essentially a house rules doc, I would use that.

But the talented pool of players around here are split between Pathfinder and 5e with an emphasis on Pathfinder. How could I even approach them with MJ in a way that makes sense? It's a totally different kind of game. The combat rules takes up eight small pages and that includes jousting!

It's not just the crunch. There's the railroad-vs-sandbox aesthetic. How do you get content tourists to embrace that?

I would love to playtest MJ to see what additional advice and guidelines need to go into Odd Men and the Ref Guide, but I really don't even know where I could find a live face to face table of not-my-family-member players to run it for. 

Special Treasures and Special Containers

What would you do if you found a set of exquisite wind chimes that detected as magical? How would you get them out of the dungeon?

Or a gigantic vase, obviously very old, intricately decorated with metal leaf of several colors?

What would you do if the magic powder was caked at the bottom of a priceless vase, it's mouth too narrow for a man's arm, but the vase too deep for a hobbit to reach bottom?

Imagine a dinner service for 16 cut from crystal. How would you move it?

Great silver serving trays, wine in wine cellars, enormous statuary. All of these treasure ideas came to me last night when I visited a magic treasure museum that you might know as... Pier 1 Imports!

The moral of the story is, if you can keep your mind open to D&D, then everywhere you go will inspire you. Even Pier 1 Imports of all places!