Monday, April 28, 2014

To each their own

The things that get written in the OSR/RPG community never cease to amaze me.  I shouldn't be surprised at my age, having been around online communities and gaming for 15 years, but it still does.  It seems to me that most OSR bloggers are GMs, and experienced GMs at that.  In general they have a lot more experience at running a game than I do, so it's always worth my while to listen to what others have to say and learn from their experience.  That said, don't EVER tell me how to run my game.

If you don't like boxed text in your modules, fine, don't use it.  Don't buy the products. You want to point out that a product has boxed text, and lacks simple concise descriptions, fine.  But don't tell me that I shouldn't be using it.  You want to let publishers know that you won't buy a product that has boxed text, fine.  But don't pretend to speak for everyone.  It's some text.  In a box.  For a game.  That's supposed to be fun. Lighten up.

On the other hand, if you don't like minimally detailed, seemingly random hexcrawls, don't use 'em!  You may think it's a crappy idea, and you are entitled to your opinion.  But that same product may be exactly what someone else wants for their campaign.  And if they do, that doesn't make them a bad GM, it just means you have different tastes and different opinions.

The great thing about the OSR is that we as GMs and players have the power to run games how we want to run them, and play in the types of games we want to play in.  There is room for ever variety and permutation under the sun.  As writers, artists, and publishers we can make the games and supplements that we want to make.  What actually gets used is up to the consumer.  It's a beautiful thing and should be encouraged, not beaten like a dog through the streets of the OSR blogosphere because a product didn't conform to YOUR standards.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Return to the SKLD: Who needs classes?

Two years ago I whipped up a 'lite' version of D&D which I called SKLD! (or Skald) which stands for Search, Kill, Loot, Drink! I've play tested it couple of times but haven't had the opportunity to use it in a regular game. I've been thinking of trying to make some improvements on it it and revise it, so I've decided to write a few blog posts examining certain key features.If you'd like to download a copy you can get a copy from google docs or mediafire

One of my main inspirations for these rules was Searchers of the Unknown.  SotU uses classless system.  In the basic original game, everyone is a human adventurer.  All the differences between characters are determined by their equipment.  On the surface is seems overly simplistic, but the more I thought about it, I found that it had a certain charm.  To me, it's the perfect way to achieve the OSR Murderhobo vibe.  Everyone is just a dude, nothing special at all.  The characters develop based on their actions and the equipment they collect. Certainly there are limitations to this sort of system, namely in the magic department, but there are fairly simple ways to work around this.  

For SKLD, I decided that there should be different races available to the players, and that the characters should have have the 6 standard ability scores (SotU does not use any ability scores, everyone is assumed to be totally average). Ability scores seem too iconic to me, as do the the standard demi-human races, so I had to keep those in SKLD. The one mistake that I may have made is not making the demi-humans significantly different from the humans.  I have given them the standard racial special abilities, and some ability score modifiers, but I may need to do some more with them.  I used the standard B/X ability score modifiers, which range from a -3 to a +3, but I'm thinking of changing this to -2 to +2 system (thanks to Courtney from Hack & Slash). 

One of the important aspects of SotU is that the Armor Class is more important than ever.  AC directly affects movement rate and initiative. In SKLD, I've expanded this concept so that AC also affects a character's chances of pulling off special maneuvers, or using magic.  In this way I feel that AC really lives up to the term armor CLASS, and is not just a physical defense rating.  In effect, the Armor Classes are the character classes in SotU and SKLD. 

Next time, I'm going to talk about a magic system without magic-users.