Sunday, January 26, 2014

Combat Charts for my OD&D Campaign

Armor class in OD&D

I have no real idea as to the history of Armor Class in the "alternate" combat system in OD&D... why it goes from 2 to 9, for example, rather than 1 to 8.  We had a copy of chainmail, but never used the original combat system out of it.  I only played OD&D for a year or two as a kid before AD&D came out, and we made the switch.  When it came out, I embraced THAC0 as a great little innovation for simplifying things for players and DM alike.

Now that I've been running an OD&D campaign for about a year, and again using the combat charts from LBB 1 (Men and Magic), I find myself wanting to simplify things.  THAC0?  Nah.  As I make changes to the rules, I'm trying to make them better support the gameworld I've created.  In that world, normal humans are the dominant race, so the rules should be based on what normal humans do; with modifiers added as PCs level up.  If I recall correctly, zero level men-at-arms attacked as 1st level fighters.  I don't like that, since I've already added zero-level play to my rules.  Here is the original Men Attacking chart:

And here is the Monsters Attacking chart:

Instead, add one to the first column in Men Attacking, and you get a required "to hit" roll of 18 for Plate Armor & Shield.  That is what it takes a zero-level character to hit in my game.  Therefore, make 18 the AC value rather than 2.

Now the chart looks like this:

We can see clearly here that a shield improves armor class by one.  Should someone opt to use two shields, they won't be able to attack, but will improve their AC by two.  In the same way, I'll allow a character to parry with his weapon instead of attacking, and that will also improve AC by one.

To account for the improvements gained when leveling up, we use a "combat bonus" based on the improvements in the Men Attacking table:  +1 for levels 1-3, +3 for levels 4-6, +6 for level 7-9, +8 for levels 10-12, +10 for levels 13-15, and +13 for level 16 and above.  Of course this is just for fighters.  Clerics progress at 4 levels per group, and mages at 5 levels per group.  Adventurers and thieves in my campaign fight as clerics, so here's the Combat Bonus Table:

To compare, lets look at a 5th level fighter attacking an opponent wearing chainmail & shield.  Per the LLB chart above, we'd cross-reference the AC of Chainmail & Shield (AC=4) with the column labeled 4-6, and find that he needs to roll a 13 or better.  Using my charts, we know that Chainmail & Shield is an AC of 16, and a 5th level fighter has a combat bonus of +3.  Therefore, any roll of 13 or better would still be a hit.

To account for Monsters Attacking, their combat bonus will simply be their HD from now on, with any modifiers pushing them up to the next value, and 11 being the maximum bonus.  This eliminates the need for the second table.

This won't be an exact match to the old tables, especially for monsters attacking, but I like the way it works, so as of today, that's how combat in my game will work.  Hopefully, actual play-testing won't reveal some terrible bug I haven't thought of!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Xenili Opokwa

The Hunter, He Who Provides, The Seeker.  Neutral.

Primitive tribesmen, living in the deserts beyond the edge of civilization, worshipped The Hunter long before the Concordat.  Xenili Opokwa favored neither the encroaching civilizations, nor the terrible creatures that roamed the deserts where his people lived; and so He Who Provides protected them from both.  In the end, though, as Cittá continued to expand, he joined the Concordat, and his people were assimilated.

The Seeker is most often portrayed as a tall, wiry man with dark skin, carrying a boomerang and either a spear or a sling.  He is clad only in a loincloth.  His clerics tend to specialize in spells that assist with basic survival.  They may use any weapon made of wood (staves, bows, spears, slings. etc.), and may not wear metal armor.  Upon reaching 4th level, they gain a 20% chance to move silently and to hide in shadows, and each time they gain a level, may split 5 additional points between the two skills.

Xenili Opokwa is the patron of huntsmen, the heads of families, guildmasters, bounty hunters, and those who seek lost items.  Those who wish to curry his favor give gold to his temples or directly to those in need, saying "This comes from He Who Provides."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Clerics of the Nine Hundred Gods of Citta

Temples of the Nine Hundred Gods of Cittá vary widely, but as mentioned, all contain the stone tablets listing the deities; and all conduct an annual service that includes a recitation of the names of all the deities in the Concordat.  This is not to say that all temples are generic to the Nine Hundred.  Most temples have active clergy of only one or two deities, or at most a small group forming a single pantheon.  In such cases, each cleric would be dedicated to one deity, but would help followers of the Others as well.  Temple clerics and adventuring NPC clerics have a 10% chance per level of knowing whether any named deity is a member of the Concordat.  If asked to identify religious items, such as a holy symbol, special garments, etc., of another deity, an NPC cleric who recognizes the deity as outside of the Nine Hundred receives a -3 on his reaction roll.  If the deity is a member of the Concordat, but an opposition deity or alignment to the cleric's own; his reaction roll will be at -1.

Clerics of the Nine Hundred Gods of Cittá must choose a specific deity before they reach 4th level; prior to that they receive their power generically from the deities of the Nine Hundred whose alignment they share.  Once a deity has been chosen; clerics begin to work toward the goals of their deity, which means they must adhere to their alignment and any specific tenets of their faith.  Clerics who aid those whose alignment is different from their own without a very good reason may find themselves at odds with their deity, and face sanctions ranging from visionary warnings to loss of spells or other powers, and a requirement to atone by donating their wealth to the temple, or even embarking upon a long and dangerous quest to benefit the deity or his temple.

Of course, no two deities of the Nine Hundred will have the same requirements or restrictions for their clerics; and chaotic deities will tend to play fast and loose with the requirements of the Concordat.  A few of the Nine Hundred will be detailed here in the near future for player use.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Concordat or The Nine Hundred Gods of Cittá

The one common feature of every large cathedral found anywhere in Cittá is a collection of carved stone tablets naming the Nine Hundred Gods of Cittá.  The one common ritual among all the organized religions of Cittá is an annual service which includes a recitation of the entire list.

The tablets are known as the Concordat.  The Sages however, tell us the Concordat is more than just a collection of stone tablets.  They say the Concordat is an actual agreement made by The Nine Hundred Gods of Cittá.  There is certainly some truth to this, for while The Nine Hundred have many conflicting goals and intense hatreds, they have not fought openly in the city since the Concordat.  Our history is replete with stories of the gods and their battles.  Many ancient civilizations collapsed when their gods joined them on the battlefield and fought their wars with them.  Cittá was spared this fate.  For eight thousand years, Citta has grown and spread across the world; surely the Concordat is the reason.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Further modifications to my OD&D... Hit Dice changes

As I modify the rules of what I'll continue to call my OD&D game, I've decided to change the hit dice progressions away from what is found in the LBBs and Supp 1.

Here is how the new hit dice progressions look:

As a character moves up a level, he will roll the total number of dice shown... and if the number rolled is higher than his current total hit points, he'll use the new total.  For example, a 3rd level thief with 11 hit points makes it to 4th level.  The player rolls 4d6, as shown.  If he rolls higher than an 11, he gets the new total; otherwise he keeps the 11.

For Mages, a d5 will be simulated as follows:  roll a d6, rerolling if a 6 appears.

In addition, characters with a 15 or better constitution can add a +1 per level to their score; and Fighters and Adventurers with an 18 constitution can add +2 per level to their score.

*From this point forward, a character's constitution bonus is frozen, and a cumulative addition as shown is added to the roll of the dice.  For example, a player with a Cleric attaining 12th level with a 16 constitution would roll 10d6 (tenth level) +10 (Cumulative but frozen constitution bonus) +2 (11th level) +2 (12th level).  If this sum were higher than the current hit point total, the cleric would use the new, higher total; otherwise would remain at the previous hit point total.

As with all modifications I attempt; we'll see how this plays out in the game...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adventurer Class Update

In December, I posted about a new class I'm using in my OD&D campaign, the Adventurer.  Thanks again to James Mishler for the inspiration!  One of my players read it over, and opted to make one of his characters an Adventurer when he leveled up from zero.  He pointed out one thing I've mentioned at my table about fighters and wanted to know if it would apply here... I allow Fighters one attack per level when fighting creatures with less than full hit die.  His question was whether I was going to give the Adventurer that ability as well.  

The answer is yes, but as with most other abilities, the adventurer won't be as good at it as a straight up fighter.  Instead, he'll get one attack per level divided by 2, rounded up... like this:
As we play, I'll keep an eye on the adventurer, to see if anything else needs tweaked.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Gaming Goals

I posted my 2013 Gaming Goals back on 23 Dec 12.  How did I do?  Well, the first goal was to run my Traveller game at least monthly... FAIL - I only ran 7 games!  The second goal was to start my OD&D campaign... SUCCESS - I ran about a dozen games.  Third goal was to start running OD&D with another group, not made up of my son's friends:  FAIL.  My final gaming goal was to do a better job blogging, both in terms of frequency and length/content... PARTIAL SUCCESS - Overall blog count was up, but I slacked off after the school year started, so frequency fell to zero.  Not so hot, 2013!

For 2014, my gaming goals are as follows:

  • Run at least 26 sessions with my current gaming group, including both my OD&D and Traveller campaigns 
  • Blog at least thrice weekly, all year long 
  • Create a "players' guide" to my OD&D world, and print it for each of my players 
  • Start a second group in my OD&D campaign, with a group of coworkers/friends 
  • Host non-RPG game nights to try out some other games 

What are YOUR gaming goals for 2014?