"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Things I find interesting today

1. A little dated but, Eric Mona of Paizo made a comment on Grognardia,
And while we have not formally thrown our hats into the "old school" or rules-light field, our hearts are very sympathetic to the cause, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see something down the road.
Sincere or marketing ploy?
Edit: I hope sincere. While it may not be exactly to my exact gaming style, I buy nearly everything Paizo puts out. Their production values are extremely high and some of the set pieces are fantastic. I would run a B/X, C&C or S&W game set in Golarion in a heartbeat.

2. I have joined an online Diplomacy game. I love that game.

3. Greyelf's blog posts about OD&D in the Hyborian Age.

4. After reading JB's great play reports from X1, I took a quick reread of some of the wilderness rules in the Expert rulebook. The Evasion rules on page X23 caught my eye:

5. The recent posts by Sham (here and here) about the abstraction of time in game mechanics. Combine these with the Evasion rule and you can see how "wargamey" some elements of D&D were. A day of travel in the wilderness where an encounter was evaded with supplementary amounts of wild ass could be handled in less than 2 minutes.


I know some people run old school hex crawls by doing a day-by-day, hex-by-hex narrative but if I am DMing a game where the party goes on a long trip, I will typically roll the # of d6 equal to the days travel and narrate up to to the first encounter. So if the trip were to take 7 days, I would roll 7 d6s. If the 3rd dice indicated an encounter then I would quickly narrate the terrain and weather up to the 3rd day - thus quickly getting past the "down" time. I would also do the same with checks for getting lost.

I have also used abstract rules for escaping a dungeon. Say that the party tried to get an audience with a high priest but rolled a 2 on a reaction roll - they may be arrested and thrown into a dungeon for being heretics. Every week they have a 1 in 6 chance of escaping the dungeon with some sort of negative effect for every week spent in captivity - maybe a 1d4 loss of HPs to reflect the harsh conditions. When the party finally rolls a 1, they can take some narrative control and describe how they escape. Of course, I often feel the need to interject a few obstacles as well. Then there is typically an "Evasion" check as per the above rules to get away from their pursuers. Weeks in captivity, the escape and fleeing the pursuers can all be handled in as little as a few minutes depending on how the PCs narrate their escape.