It really is quite amazing, trying to look back and recreate a set of house rules that you played with for many, many years but literally put down and never looked back at (until now) ~15 years ago.
But in any case, part of the issue is looking at a campaign world that has continued to evolve and grow over the last 15 years through a series of other rules sets: Thieves Guild, Basic Role Playing engine channeled through a mess of Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu, Rolemaster, Palladium RPG, and at least three or four distinct versions of a home-brew engine.
Another piece is moving away from skill-based systems (more objective) and towards class-based systems (social class, character class) as the method for determining success in a whole host of conflicts. It’s a move back to what a number of the OSR folks describe as the unmitigated power and authority of the Dungeon Master.
Yeah, I’m ok with that, I suppose – but my house rules were often the result of trying to be consistent in some of those rulings over time.
It’s also interesting because I’m realizing just how much more confident I am as a game designer – back in those days, I would never dare to just create a new character class from scratch, I’d tinker with an existing one to such a crazy degree that it would end up far more unbalanced than I realized. Now I’m pretty much willing to just create a new class if I can’t find something that matches closely to what I’m looking for – or at least radically revise it from late AD&D 1E (I’m looking at you, Demonist from White Dwarf #47) into something a bit more congruent with my campaign world.
The other interesting thing is something I will rant briefly about here in an upcoming post – namely, how portions of the “D&D canon” have paralled things in my own world so closely. If you look at things like the Shadowfell, Shadar-Kai, Eladrin, Feywild, and “Noble Eladrin” from the more recent versions of the game, it’s an amusing set of coincidences.
What to do… What to do…