Current and Upcoming…

So the Traveller game is going well – one of the things that KR asked for during the game was that she really wanted to “get more of the picture” of this multi-timeline campaign that she’s played in several times.

So there’s been some heavy exposition dumps over the course of the campaign, and as of last session they’ve learned a datapoint that has never actually been learned or made explicit before in twenty years of playing.

The group now also has a better focus and a new, more focused mission – plus a couple of new members. KR’s character left to pursue her goals, and brought in a new (old) character while an NPC joined the party in response to the summons on the part of Sir Vicqmarre.

Next: Shadowsand!

In other news I’ve been thinking about the next game, which is almost certainly AD&D. Sometime here we’ll be able to play in person again, and at that point I’ll lose a player who is the middle of moving to Boston – that said I’m likely to get one or two new players.

I’ve been thinking hard about AD&D and the various (almost entirely) good differences between it and 5e – and the one or two places where there’s a couple of good ideas. Inspiration (and Advantage/Disadvantage) is honestly a pretty decent idea – and several games have newer editions with similar mechanics  (Call of Cthulhu 7e and Traveller 5e come to mind immediately), plus a couple of things from other editions.

But I’m so much happier with the game as a House-Ruled AD&D 1.5-1.75e.

The proto-idea is a Village of Hommlet-style startup, aka my (now very) old Northanger Campaign, but set in some more hostile location like the mountains, the fens, maybe some badlands?

(KR has already cast a definitive vote against fens because she doesn’t want to play in a swamp.)

But, like Northanger, it would be a small human village, with some kind of significant ruin nearby to explore and several other exploration sites that are both known and will be stumbled over. Basically a version of a sandboxy, somewhat West Marches-esque campaign. The big question is if the players are locals, exploring outside the village for the first time in a generation or two, or outsiders who know nothing and just arrived in town. Both options have their upsides and downsides.

Non-human PC’s options to start off would be limited, and with AD&D we get statistic and alignment restrictions on classes again.

(Yeah, I’m ignoring gender-based limitations, duh)

Honestly, I’m shopping around for a different term for “race” – currently I’m leaning towards Genus or even more likely Clade – though I might just settle on Ancestry or Heritage or something like that. But if I really, really want to reboot things with less problematic descriptors – and I’d want to capture a biological piece and a cultural piece – plus the social class piece.

I think that this week that I decided that the “significant ruin” is just going to be Module B1, In Search of the Unknown, the very first module I ever ran, back a million years ago. The other sites might simply be a series of older modules, probably adapted slightly.

But the statistic requirements means that despite being open to many, many of the old “NPC” classes from Dragon magazine (and probably having to seriously adapt the Cavalier and the Barbarian) players are most likely going to be mostly limited to the “basic four” – Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, & Thief.

Other classes I can see fitting in?

Honestly, that might be a factor of people rolling well, and qualifying for another class and wanting to play it. If someone can play a ranger, then I’ll figure out the local Ranger Lodge or something, same thing for a Witch (and a coven), or a Paladin (which will spur the decision on what religion the town worships).

There’s already a couple of things in the town that I want to do that are against type, but I’ll get to those later…

TTFN!

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Just an FYI, and a couple of thoughts…

A Tweet I made yesterday – “If you think you had to wait for a game company to engage in “de-racism” of it’s content to remove racism (or other content you find problematic such as sexism or homophobia) from your local gaming table – then you’re as much a part of the institutional problem as the company is.”

On the one hand, I’m heartened by this move – not that it brings me back to 5e and WOTC – and the other I just find it problematic.

If this was an issue for you, I can certainly hope that either you jettisoned that sort of crap decades ago like I did, or that you chose to explicitly use it as a campaign elements (like I do in my Imperium/Traveller game).

I’m not the sort of GM that wants to ignore -isms, but to instead use them to confront players (and myself) with difficult choices and situations where characters are challenged to “be better” or “do better”

My fantasy game is best characterized by the question of “what is the nature of evil” while my scifi games are usually wrapped up in the question of “what is definition of human” and my horror games are driven by “do the ends justify the means” and it’s hard to examine these questions without examples, usually drawn from real-life situations or history.

There’s a balance to be struck in what my minister had on her door for years “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” – we want to sit down, relax, play our game, and have fun – but I also, as the GM (and a player), to have to roleplay and feel like I’m “doing something” – and any fantastic evil we imagine is by definition rooted in a real-world example.

This is why my spouse doesn’t like Call of Cthulhu and doesn’t play it, because it doesn’t let them be a hero in the way that they want to be – even after I Pulped the heck out of it, so that I could run it the way I wanted to. They also don’t want to play in the 1920’s and all the -isms rife in that setting (even toned down for the game) because that’s simply too much for them and their experiences of many of those -isms in real life.

That fine.

On the other hand, my husband absolutely loves to play Imperium, where they have to deal with racism, genocide, war crimes, etc and deliberately plays a character with PTSD (though the etiology is different from my spouses actual CPTSD) – because they get to be exactly the sort of hero they want to be.

Bah.

I think I just want to say is that you should play the game you want to play and not feel like your constrained by the engine or the source material. That’s what many of us have been doing for decades now because what was available was problematic or offensive in a whole series of ways – so we created the worlds and the campaigns and the add-ons we wanted.

We didn’t wait for somebody else to fix it.

TTFN,

D.

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Out with 5e…

For reasons, mainly f**k Mike Mearls, I’m done with 5e. It’s a decent enough system, but I never really liked it as much as 1e or 1.5e, and I simply don’t want to support WOTC with either my money or my headspace any more.

I loved and love 1e, so I’ll be running 1e/1.5e/OSRIC in the future and I’m enjoying the sigh of relief that I’m having not having to wonder how I’ll twist 5e into a more OSR sensibility.

The primary thing I’m keeping is “story-based” advancement, I’m so not interested in figuring out and keeping track of experience points…

Things to figure out – Initiative, Comeliness, Psionics, Cantrips, Champions, Monks, Barbarians, probably Sorcerers and Warlocks, a slew of character races.

Things that I can now just use old stuff from – Alchemists, Witches, Bards + Songs of Power, Psionicists, Scouts, Bounty Hunters, & Healers (Dragon Magazine), Tantric and Diabolist (whatever they were called in White Dwarf), blah blah blah…

Things I absolutely have to decide on: Talent & Power – I mean, this is where my version of 1e takes a very steep turn away from AD&D and into something related, but different.

Weird old campaign-based things to decide if I want to return to – Elves primarily being a non-PC race and imported Runequest/Dreamlands/Stormbinger-esque magic.

I’m enjoying the heck out of running my Traveller Game, running the Rosewood Campaign, but all this talk of DnD and AD&D has me thinking again about the seeds of the next campaign that I wanted to run – another Northanger(Hommlet)-style, small-town setting called “Wintersgate” – organized around a sleepy little village up in the mountains with an old Leygate permanently rimed with frost and ice, even in the middle of the summer heat…

 

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A Gathering of Winds

Wow, with that last post I looked and realized that I’d been keeping up with page that tracked the characters, I hadn’t posted anything to the blog in quite a while. It’s been busy gaming wise and personally (setting up my own office, people switching jobs, some stupid drama with former friends, etc.) so here are the Cliff Notes:

Despite the difficulty of doing so in 5E, we have now managed to lose two characters. The first was Dhagri Trollslayer, the Khazann Barbarian. Through there was lots of political drama involved, ultimately he ate a Kyuss worm, was transformed and had to be put down. KS, the player, replaced him a human Barbarian, a Bear Totem Ancestral Path, and for giggles I also made the character a werebear as a way to give it a power boost (since I brought it in at 3rd level).

The other character that was lost was Lord Devin, one of the most important characters in the group due to his political pull and influence, not to mention his battle prowess. He just died recently, slain by a Dragonborn sorcerer named Ilthane after it transformed into a winged drake that ripped him limb-from-limb. Unfortunately the party simply doesn’t have the resources to bring him back. They can Raise Dead, but due to the damage and the circumstances they’d need a Resurrection. MS has replaced Devin with another human, but this time went with a Gunslinger with a shady background- and seems to be having fun with the new role-playing challenge.

The party has now progressed through the Age of Worms Adventure Path to A Gathering of Winds – which means that they are currently exploring the tomb of Icosiel, one of the Wandering Dukes of Aquaa, and the creator/wielder of the Staff of Law that subsequently exploded during the Battle of Pesh and became the Rod of Seven Parts. They are concerned that Cult of the Ebon Triad is searching for a superweapon of some sort that dates back to the War of Chaos. I am still shaking my head at some of the “it’s a module” moments I have reading the scenarios, and looking at the maps. It’s a great story, but some of the design elements are pretty stupid.

The party is now creeping into Tier 3 play and they can tell, things are getting dangerous, spells can drop people quickly, monsters are tougher, and it’s increasingly clear that they are outstripping the ability of anyone else to help them. I honestly think it is kind of race now to get to 13th/14th level so that they get access to 7th level spells and manage to bump their respective power accordingly. They are also about half-way through the Adventure Path, and things will only ramp up from here. It’s going to be interesting to adapt the various elements of the Path into my campaign world, and I’m looking forward to it.

I switched to story advancement instead of XP quite a while back and I wish I had done it sooner, the whole process is significantly easier and seems much more fluid and reasonable. It also means that the desire to be murder-hobos is greatly lessened because advancement isn’t tied to killing things anymore.

TTFN!

D.

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LOL, a blast from the past…

So, I’ve pretty much decided that I want to run my Imperium or “Traveller 2200” or “CyberTraveller” game again at some point. This is a non-canon Traveller setting, increasingly more Proto-Traveller in function, that I ran using the CP2020 engine rather than any of the various Traveller rules. I have a particular campaign that I’ve run multiple times explicitly exploring multiple different timelines of the same start at a fixed point in time.

Why is it fixed, no idea, maybe that’s something to explore this time around..?

In any case, due to my computer crash a couple of years ago I lost all of the files that I used to keep for this campaign. What I do have is a flat document box that I have now filled with old paper notes and records from the previous campaigns (the stack sits like 2-3 inches high). It’s definitely been a journey down memory lane with these, and most amusingly I came across my original, CP2020 character/NPC from the very first CP2020 games that I ran.

That brings back some real memories!

But for the new Imperium game, I have to decide what rule engine to use. Previously I’ve used CP2020 because I can run that game in my sleep. For a long period of time that was my primary game/system, and it’s only been in the last few years that I returned to D&D. That said, I like Mongoose Traveller, but I refuse to buy a whole new second edition of it (and it doesn’t really need it) and Traveller 5E, while having some great elements, is basically unplayable as it stands at the moment.

So I am either going to run it using CP2020 or the Cephesus Engine. The Cephesus Engine (CE) is a based on the Traveller ORD, and is mix of Mongoose Traveller (itself a very simplified version of Traveller 5E) and Classic Traveller – stripped of any reference to the Traveller canon and suitable for use with pretty any scifi setting. The nice thing about CE is that I can include things from pretty much any edition of Traveller (save New Era) nd it ports into it pretty much seamlessly. I was also able to legally purchase it in the form of an editable Word document (because it’s an ORD) and can then customize it however I like for my own setting, etc.

Fundamentally, CP2020 is pretty easy and fun, but CE is also pretty easy and fun as well. It would be nice to run a Traveller game actually using a set of Traveller rules again. And the rules reflect a game that it is pretty easy to create whatever sort of character you want – much like CP2020.

Heck, maybe I just want to a play a game that only uses d6..

TTFN!

D.

 

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Alignment, Charisma, and Player Role-Playing Behavior

Your character walks into a bar… how does everyone react?

One of the biggest challenges for DM’s is matching the reactions of NPC’s to the characters in an organic fashion that accurately reflects the character’s behavior, appearance, history, etc.

One cheat is to simply peg things to Charisma and related skills. The problem with this method is that it can quickly get bogged down in reductive dice-rolling and skill checks, not to mention that it often seems to result in dice-rolls that result in utterly inane behavior or responses to the character by NPC’s.

The other cheat is simply to use the player’s roleplaying as a guide. The problem with this of course is that not all players are good at role-playing, plus it paradoxically may ignore a very high or low Charisma or lack of character skill if the player is good enough.

Lastly, there is the age old problem of how Alignment interacts with player/character behavior as well as the above two factors. The classic I’m really a good hero but all I do is act like a murder-hobo is a long-standing issue in the various iterations of D&D.

My own solution is a blend of all three factors, as the title of this post indicates.

Charisma is the easiest to explain, it’s simply how likable or unlikable you are. Honestly. we’ve all know people who do the dumbest, most annoying things but everyone still tends to like them? Or that backstabbing frenemy who you can’t quite get over? This is a class high Charisma person that people just can’t help but make excuses for or other wise like on some ineffable personal level. Similarly, some people are just screwed with having low Charisma and get picked on, aren’t trusted, etc. no matter what they do or say.

Included in this is skills, so if a character is skilled in persuasion or deception or whatever and that is filling up a large period of their time, it is factored in. Basically the idea is to not forget the role that the proficiency bonus might play in people’s reaction to the character.

Alignment, and this works even better in 5e than in 1e, is all about the innate ethics (Law-Chaos axis) and morals (Good-Evil axis) of the character. While certainly providing a rough set of guideposts for the players regarding role-playing behavior (though Palladium did a way better job of that with it’s method), what I use it as is a template for how the character acts while on autopilot and during downtime. The time and events that are role-played are actually quite a small percentage of the character’s life, and alignment provides a good measure as to how they behave the rest of the time sans any specific instruction from the player.

Most people are some version of good, selfish folk are often Chaotic Neutral or Neutral, some honorable but morally aberrant folk are Lawful Evil. Very few people are actually Chaotic or Neutral Evil in human and demi-human society. Interestingly this is, apart from possible Radegastian clothing choices, what makes classically neutral Druids so uncomfortable for many people, they often aren’t operating on “normal” human ethical and moral compasses.

Similarly, as folks age, they tend to become more extreme in their beliefs, moving away from Neutrality. Conversely Mages tend to strip away their ethics and morals in the search for arcane power and are likely to become Neutral (much like Druids but with a supernatural rather than a natural focus).

Character behavior by way of player choice (aka role-playing) is the big wild-card. The previous two elements pretty much run in the background, but role-playing can swing things in any direction. Sufficiently intense or long-term roleplaying can change Alignment (aka, no you can’t continually murder innocent people any stay “good”). Player/Character action can produce huge swings in reaction, especially when it seems grossly out of touch with how people expect the character to behave (aka Alignment). High Charisma can help you get away with things that normally wouldn’t be excused, but do it enough or often enough and people will change those expectations and I, as the game master, will also say that you are also (likely unconsciously) changing you day-to-day behavior to meet whatever that new alignment is.

Now, you can still play good characters tortured by their evil deeds and trying to atone, or evil characters who out of enlightened self-interest perform normally good acts, but those are things to be role-played though player and character action. They are not things that “run in the background” and the player is going to have to make sure that this sort of inner conflict or discrepancy is part of how they role-play because these are things that are part of the inner landscape of the character.

Lastly, it is also worth noting that race, class, and background can also impact things. Some races just have unwholesome reputations just the same as others are considered more upright. Almost every class other than Fighter and every race other than Human (Common Man) comes with some baggage – some good, some bad, and it’s more likely bad than good. And that is speaking merely from a human perspective – talk to the elves and they have an entirely different take on things. Background sets a character into some semblance of social class, and depending upon your game this can have a huge impact on how people react and what assumptions they make – my game is one of those where it does.

Anyways, I hope this gives some folks a more helpful way to negotiate what happens when the character’s in their campaigns walk into a bar…

TTFN!

D.

 

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Clothing Maketh The Man

So, no posts for awhile. My apologies, I was caught up in moving into a solo office of my own and it was quite the busy June and July as a result…

Todays post comes from a set of rules that I’ve had for my fantasy game for awhile now, basically how to cost out clothing for the different social classes – along with a basic description of what comes in a basic outfit from the Heartlands. This came up in the last session because Baron Devin Tresendar managed to loose all of his clothing when they were ambushed by one of the dreaded Knights of the Dearth (aka Death Knight) and was wandering around dressed in peasant garb for awhile. They recently arrived at the capitol, and he finally had the time and place to go properly clothes shopping. This was especially important because there is some significant social combat coming up as they try to figure out if the King’s Champion is actually working with the Ebon Triad is being framed by them…

MS, Devin’s player, was quite shocked what it cost to buy a set of brand-new clothing – especially since it made sense to buy three outfits (two “everyday” and one “good suit”)

I simplified this in deciding that any particular piece of clothing costs the same number of coins, it’s merely the a different type and thus different value of coin. The basic idea is that each of the six social classes clothing costs directly correlates to the six basic coin types. So Beggar’s clothing costs Bronze, Commoner’s Copper, Merchant’s Silver, Gentlefolk Electrum, Noble’s Gold, and High Court garb cost’s Platinum.

But, for those that are interested, here is a description of what each social tends to wear both in terms of items, as well as in terms of materials, colors and decoration. It is also worth nothing a couple of potential price modifiers. Out of Fashion clothing (only applicable to Merchant, Gentlefolk, Noble, and High Court garb) is half-price but may impose Disadvantage in some social situations, and similarly Cheap or Poor Quality clothing has the same price modifier and the same potential detriment. New Fashion costs double the normal amount and may grant Advantage in some situations, and Exotic Fashion (either truly haute couture)  costs triple the normal cost and has a greater chance to grant Advantage (though it may also impose Disadvantage in some cases as well, some plebeians are unable to appreciate true genius after all… Clothing of Superior Quality costs five-times normal, but grants a +1 bonus to applicable rolls, and Masterwork clothing costs ten-times normal and grants a +2 to similar rolls.

Often times there are some various sumptuary laws in effect, but they are often there to be flouted to a degree.

Clothing is expensive enough that it is often handed down for as long as it can be worn, patched and mended as often as needed.

It is also worth noting that weapons and armor are also be subjected to the same price modifiers. For example, while a normal, serviceable broadsword costs 30 Silver, one suitable for Gentlefolk would cost 30 Electrum (with chasing of precious metals, engraving, etc), and one suitable for a Noble would cost 30 Gold. This doesn’t include the potential of gems or jewels being mounted in them either which would of course raise the value and the status of the bearer.

For those who wish to be truly extravagant, there are also a whole series of minor enchantments for clothing that can be purchased in the proper places to ensure proper fit, self-repair, always dry, etc.

 

BEGGAR’S GARB:

So Beggars tend to wear the threadbare and patchworked cast-offs of the higher social classes, most commonly that of Commoners and Merchants. Often undyed (beige and off-white), when they are colored it is in the more basic and drab hues (dun, browns, mustard, muddy blues and greens, etc), often quite faded and invariably stained. Mostly commonly of coarse wool, leathers, and cast-off linen and are often relatively ill-fitting. Beggar’s often only own the clothes on their back.

Men– Tunic (8), Pants (6), Bandanna (1), Belt (1) – 16 Bronze

  • Outerwear: Cap (3), Mittens (1) – 4 Bronze
  • Riding Wear: None
  • Sleepwear: None
  • Accessories: Beltpouch (2) – 2 Bronze

Women– Blouse (6), Long Skirt (6), Headscarf (1), Girdle (4)- 17 Bronze

  • Outerwear: Cap (3), Mittens (1) – 4 Bronze
  • Riding Wear: None
  • Sleepwear: None
  • Accessories: Beltpouch (2) – 2 Bronze

 

COMMONER’S GARB:

Commoners can generally afford their own clothes, but will also wear the cast-offs of the higher social classes, most commonly that of Merchants and occasionally Gentlefolk. Those commoners that are direct servants of Nobles will occasionally be gifted with an old piece of lesser clothing to wear. Often undyed (beige and off-white) or blue (from woad), when they are colored it is in the most basic hues (dun, browns, mustard, greens, dull red, etc).  Commonly of wool, leathers, linen, and occasionally hemp, furs are reserved for cold-weather clothing and not common at all save among rural folk. Superior Quality tends to include elaborate embroidery around the hems and the buttons tend to be copper or bronze. Clothing for Commoners tends to be less than social statement and is more utilitarian in nature, though most commoner’s own not just the clothes on their back, but a set of “festival clothes” that they wear to celebrations and religious observances.

Men– Shirt (6) with Two Cufflinks (1 each), Vest (4) with Five Buttons (1 each), Breeches (6) with three Buttons (1 Each), Leggings (4), Socks (1), Shoes (1), Belt (1) – 27 Copper

  • Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Cap (3), Mittens (1) – 15 Copper
  • Riding Wear: None
  • Sleepwear: None
  • Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1) – 3 Copper

Women– Blouse (6) with One Button (1), Long Skirt (6), Hairpin (3), Shoes (1), Hose (8), Hosiery Belt (2) Bodice (4), Belt (1), Chemise (3) – 35 Copper

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Cap (3), Mittens (1) – 15 Copper
  • =Riding Wear: None
  • =Sleepwear: None
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1) – 3 Copper

 

MERCHANT’S GARB:

As a point of pride many Merchant refuse to wear cast-offs from Gentlefolk or Nobles, unless of course the fabric can repurposed in such as way as to obscure that fact. Similarly, Merchant garb is often dyed in a variety of colors with several gradients of shades evident from across the spectrum. Commonly of finer wools and linens, you will see cotton garments as well, along with leathers and some furs among those that travel regularly. Superior Quality tends to include elaborate embroidery, fine furs and leather around the hems, as well as more elaborate dyes and patterns – among the richest you will very occasionally see Cloth-of-Silver. The buttons tend to be silver, though these are expensive enough that one set of buttons is often owned and transferred between sets of clothing as needed. Clothing for Merchants tends to be both utilitarian in nature but also a social statement, especially the richer the merchant. Merchant’s tend to own three or more sets of clothing, two sets for everyday wear and a set of “festival clothes.” Some guilds may require a special set of clothing (or outerwear) for use in special guild functions and those Merchant’s who ride extensively will also own a set of Riding Wear.

Men– Shirt (6) with Two Cufflinks (1 each) and Two Buttons (1 Each), Vest (4) with Five Buttons (1 each), Breeches (6) with three Buttons (1 each), Leggings (4), Socks (1), Shoes (1), Broadbelt (4) with Buckle (3) , Codpiece (2) – 43 Silver

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Gloves (2), Gaiters (2) – 19 Silver
  • =Sleepwear: Nightshirt (6) – 6 Silver
  • =Riding Wear: None or High Boots (6), Gauntlets (4) – 10 Silver
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1) – 3 Silver

Women– Full Dress (10), Hairpin (3), Shoes (1), Hose (8), Hosiery Belt (2), Bodice (4), Belt (1) with Buckle (3), Brassiere (4), Chemise (3), Petticoats (4) – 40 Silver

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Gloves (2) – 17 Silver
  • =Sleepwear: Nightshirt (6) – 6 Silver
  • =Riding Wear: None or Soft Boots (2), Riding Skirt with Six Buttons (14), Gloves (2) – 18 Silver
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1) – 3 Silver

 

GENTLEFOLK’S GARB:

Gentlefolk as a social class covers a certain level of semi-idle wealth that comes a variety of sources. Many Gentlefolk are minor nobles or very rich merchants and guildsmen, but it also covers wealthy adventurers, bards and skalds, courtesans and tantrics, and those who rub elbows with the most powerful. Generally made of fine wools, linens, cottons, leathers, etc. you will occasionally see some silk, velvet, and velour in the most expensive garb, along with elaborate embroidery, fines furs and leathers, and truly amazing dyes and patterns as well as Cloth-of-Electrum. The structural design still tends to wards the practical, though more layers and additional accoutrements and accessories are common. As with merchants, buttons are traded between sets of clothing to reduce costs. Gentlefolk often own at least three sets of clothing, two sets of everyday wear and an additional set of festival garb for special occasions. Those who travel considerably will often own an additional set of clothing for travel. Those who are going to attend court regularly will often invest in either an outfit of Noble’s garb (if they are a Noble) or Superior or Masterwork Gentlefolk garb. This is often the everyday wear of nobles from the countryside who nonetheless wish to remain fashionable and dress as befits their station.

Men– Shirt (6) with Four Cufflinks (1 each) and Two Buttons (1 Each), Doublet (12) with Five Buttons (1 each) and Sleeves (4), Breeches (6) with 3 Buttons (1 Each), Codpiece (2), Leggings (4), Socks (1), Shoes (1), Broadbelt (4) with Buckle (3), Collar (4) – 61 Electrum

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Gloves (2), Gaiters (2) – 19 Electrum
  • =Riding Wear: High Boots (6), Gauntlets (4) – 10 Electrum
  • =Sleepwear: Nightshirt (6), Robe (12) – 18 Electrum
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1), Pomander (3) – 6 Electrum

Women– Full Dress (10) with 4 Cufflinks (1 Each) and 10 Buttons (1 Each), Hairpin (3), Shoes (1), Hose (8), Hosiery Belt (2), Corset (8), Bodice (4), Belt (1) with Buckle (3), Chemise (3), Petticoats (4) – 61 Electrum

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Gloves (2) – 17 Electrum
  • = Sleepwear: Nightshirt (8), Robe (12) – 18 Electrum
  • =Riding Wear: Soft Boots (2), Riding Skirt with Six Buttons (14), Gauntlets (4) – 20 Electrum
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1), Pomander (3) – 6 Electrum

 

NOBLE’S GARB:

Noble Garb is less about practicality and more about the display or power, wealth, and privilege (it is also generally about one-and-half times more encumbering than other clothing dues to it’s extravagant nature). Suitable for wear at court functions it is made of the finest wools, linens, cottons, leathers. Silks, velvets, velours, damasks are also found in the most expensive garb, along with elaborate embroidery, fines furs and leathers, and truly amazing dyes and patterns as well as Cloth-of-Gold. As with merchants and gentlefolk, buttons are often traded between sets of clothing, though many nobles do have multiple sets of buttons for different occasions. Nobles often own at least three sets of clothing, two sets of everyday wear and an additional set of festival garb for special occasions. Those who travel considerably will often own an additional set of clothing for travel, though save for the richest nobles this is commonly Gentlefolk Garb.

Men– Shirt (6) with Six Cufflinks (1 each) and Three Buttons (1 Each), Doublet (12) with Five Buttons (1 each) and Sleeves (4), Breeches (6) with 5 Buttons (1 Each), Codpiece (2), Leggings (4), Socks (1), Shoes (1), Broadbelt (4) with Buckle (3), Collar (4) – 67 Gold

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Fine Gloves (8), Gaiters (2) – 25 Gold
  • =Sleepwear: Nightshirt (6), Robe (12) – 18 Gold
  • =Riding Wear: Soft Boots (2), Gauntlets (4) – 6 Gold
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1), Pomander (3) – 6 Gold

Women– Full Dress (10) with 8 Cufflinks (1 Each) and 15 Buttons (1 Each), Hairpin (3), Shoes (1), Hose (8), Hosiery Belt (2), Corset (8), Bodice (4), Belt (1) with Buckle (3), Chemise (3), Petticoats (4) – 70 Gold

  • =Outerwear: Cloak (8) with Pin (3), Hat (4), Fine Gloves (8), Gaiters (2) – 25 Gold
  • =Sleepwear: Nightshirt (6), Robe (12) – 18 Gold
  • =Riding Wear: Soft Boots (2), Riding Skirt with Ten Buttons (18), Gauntlets (4) – 24 Gold
  • =Accessories: Beltpouch (2), Coinpurse (1), Pomander (3) – 6 Gold

 

HIGH COURT GARB:

This sort of clothing is rare, used and generally worn only by the very richest of nobles for the most formal of occasions (the royal court, the highest of religious ceremonies, etc). The clothing is uniformly costly and ostentations, often being twice as bulky as a normal. It is made of the most expensive fabrics and trim, Silk, Velvet, Velour, Damask, Exotic leathers and furs, Cloth-of-Platinum, etc. Save for royalty or the most powerful peers of the realm rarely does anyone own more than one set of this garb. Such nobles would commonly wear Noble’s garb for everyday wear, and New or Exotic fashions for festivals.

Men– Shirt (6) with Eight Cufflinks (1 each) and Three Buttons (1 Each), Doublet (12) with Five Buttons (1 each) and Sleeves (4) with 2 Cufflinks (1 each), Breeches (6) with 7 Buttons (1 Each), Codpiece (2), Leggings (4), Socks (1), Shoes (1), Broadbelt (4) with Buckle (3), Collar (4) – 72 Platinum

  • =Outerwear: Mantle (6) with Pin (3), Cape (8) with Pin (3), Fine Gloves (8) – 28 Platinum

Women– Full Dress (10) with 10 Cufflinks (1 Each) and 20 Buttons (1 Each), Hairpin (3), Shoes (1), Hose (8), Hosiery Belt (2), Corset (8), Bodice (4), Belt (1) with Buckle (3), Chemise (3), Petticoats (4) – 77 Gold

  • =Outerwear: Mantle (6) with Pin (3), Cape (8) with Pin (3), Fine Gloves (8) – 28 Platinum
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The Source(s) of Magic

I am now reminded of another key and significant difference between 5e and 1e – where “magic” comes from.

According to 5e, all magic is the same and the different classes merely represent three broad methods for manipulating it – “Divine Magic” merely means that you see the act of manipulating the supernatural in terms of worship or veneration, while “Arcane Magic” means that you see it in terms of a science, while “Mysticism” means you view it as a more of an superpower or inherent ability.

All magic is magic, drawn from the same well. It is what makes the multi-class rules spellcasting rules work, and over all creates a simplified vision of the metaphysics underlying the game universe.

This is fundamentally different from 1e, where Divine Magic, Arcane Magic, and Psionics are quite different things. In 1e, Divine Magic is divine energy or mana that the cleric or druid channeled for their Deity. In fact, in the old nomenclature of Demi-, Lesser, and Greater Gods there were restrictions on the level spell that could be granted based on the power of the Deity – plus the higher level spell were granted (by daily prayer) either by a powerful minion of the Deity or by the Deity Itself.

Arcane Magic in 1e is pretty much like it is described in 5e, the individual caster learns how to manipulate the supernatural energies of magic through the use of formula that involve material, somatic, and verbal components. It’s a science, and the magic-users have learned it, and they are limited merely by their willpower to advance in level.

Psionics in 1e isn’t magic at all, it’s psychic abilities and operated on an entirely different premise.

But all of this just reaffirms the core differences underlying the rules and engine of the game. Now unlike, the Heroic Character of last post which I can totally get behind this “all magic is the same magic, drawn from the same well” is something that I’m not very enamored with. For example, in my old friend SD’s game, clerics were at a disadvantage if they were in an area where there wasn’t any worship of their Deity or there where no shrines or temples in Their Name. It made for an interesting thread in one bit of his campaign.

Currently, I’m experimenting with KR and her Druid/Wizard to allocate her spell levels like 1e instead of 5e. So instead of being a 11th level spell-caster with access to all of those spell-levels (including levels beyond what she can nominally cast save as boosted spells of lower level) we’re trying her out as  5th level caster and a 6th level caster whose spells are tracked separately and cannot “cross pollinate” as it were. It seems like it is working fine and if we don’t find any hidden problems that’s what I’ll stick with.

In any case, that’s my thoughts on the matter,

TTFN!

D.

 

 

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The Heroic Character

This post started out with the germ of an idea to compare, contrast, and the adjust the slimes and fungi of 1e vs. 5e. I’ll still probably do that, but that idea itself was rooted in disbelief that (evidently) some people consider 5e more lethal that previous editions…

Clearly they never played 1e.

But it started me thinking about the “heroic character” as the model of the D&D adventure (even if, say, the characters are evil anti-heroes). In 1e, all character race NPC’s either map to “0-level” (of a single d8 HD, save for humans which are d6) or function as character class-leveled NPC’s. In 2e there was a development of non-adventuring NPC classes IIRC like Noble, or Craftsman, or whatever – and this was part at least of where I just simply washed my hand of the game. In 3e this was evidently taken to the logical extreme and there was at least some version of all humanoid and demi-human monsters being leveled in character classes.

I can’t make much sense of the couple of things I have for 4e when it comes to deciphering this.

In 5e there is, for me at least, a relatively radical switch to NPC’s being (largely) non-character class leveled, even if they are “powerful class types”. By this I mean that while a NPC might be a 9th spell-caster or warrior they do not have all the class features of their nominal class. The old-style 0-level characters, might actually have a couple of HD now, and usually have some type of feature (“Parry” for Nobles, “Keen Hearing and Sight” for Scouts, etc.) or they might not have anything at all (see Guards & Bandits).

In 1e, Player Characters were part of an “ecosystem” in that if they looked around, they could see examples of themselves at various levels of power to aspire to. There was a clear “endgame” (and a Domain-game at that) for everyone, it was baked into both the RAW and the demographics of the encounter tables and the Monster Manual. While the Player Characters were heroes, it was because they stood above the 1d6 HP (not HD), 0-level NPC’s and represented people with some better training and/or experience. For example you could easily explain part of the backstory of a basic Fighter as having been a Mercenary Sergeant (all of whom are 1st level Fighters) who was now striking out on their own. When you look through the various adventure modules of the edition this is born out – there are 0-levels, and the scattering of leveled NPC’s in various special roles.

In 5e, the Player Characters – even a first level Player Character – are manifestly different than NPC’s – by the time they reach 3rd level and have chosen a subclass (if it takes them that long) they are  fundamentally beyond the ken of normal folk. More HD, multiple class features at this point, and perhaps they most significant (even at 1st level) they are especially lucky or divinely blessed because they get proficiency bonus on two saves – making them significantly more hardy than “normal folks”. It’s not that you can’t have a character-class leveled NPC, but they are far from the norm. They are as much of a stand out as the Player Characters themselves.

Some of this is rambling, my own game has hit a stage where the Player Characters are quite powerful (the top end of Tier 2 or start of Tier 3) and I’ve been working at bringing my campaign world forward into 5e. It is this fundamental difference that, I believe, has been a hidden piece of grit in the system. It’s not bad, I actually like it, but it changes the ways NPC’s function in the campaign setting and it changes how people view the Player Characters once their special status becomes apparent.

To wit, the most whitebread of PC’s is a 1st Level Fighter – who has both a Fighting Style and Second Wind, plus a Hit Die that puts them on par with a Large Creature! At second level they get Action Surge, and finally at 3rd they pick up the start of their Martial Archtype class features. All compared to a 1HD Commoner or a 2HD Guard/Bandit with no special features even a 2HD Noble simply gets a ‘Parry’ (which is basically a Fighting Style).

Wow!

Pound for Pound, Player Characters are simply more effective than NPCs. They are going to inspirational (good or ill) depending on the viewer and their actions. This came up somewhat a few sessions ago in my game when the 9th Level Fighter (Battlemaster) and local Baron tried to pass off the dangerous threat the party discovered to “whatever the king’s ‘special forces’ would be” and I laughed and said “You’re it!” and explained that he was close to being one of the most powerful warriors in the kingdom. In retrospect, I might have to change that and say that he might very well be the most powerful warrior in the kingdom when you figure on all his class features.

In the past, in AD&D, I used to be pretty generous in handing out extra’s and freebies in the way of weird abilities and bonues as a way to show that the Player Character’s were often special and blessed (or cursed) but if I use 5e the way that the RAW is written up then that is not generally needed. You simply have to use (or create) the stat blocks provided – the already heady advantages the Player Characters have given the action economy and difficulty in actually dying become even more stark.

TTFN!

D.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

OMFG… What a nerf…

So, I just spent some time reading the stats on Green Slime, Black Pudding, etc. in 5E.

I certainly get that 5E dumped the whole “Save or Die” thing, I don’t even disagree with that (though I’m re-instituting my old Crit and Fumble tables, two Natural 20’s is an instant kill!). But talk about making an old and very scary set of monsters utterly underwhelming…

Yeah, I’m Noping right out of that.

Expect these things to act more like out of 1E, perhaps I’ll write some stats up later and post them. But what a waste of an excellent old set of monsters!

D

 

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