Friday, October 12, 2018

Armor Price

The prices for armor seem a  bit off.

Leather:  15gp

Chain   30gp

Plate   50gp.

I think that

Leather 15gp

Chain  50gp

Plate  150gp

seems a bit better balanced.   You could get Plate at First level still (30-180,  average 115gp starting cash)  but far more likely start with chain and work up to plate.  I tried to keep most prices in the gear list the same as the book, but this change would explain why most soldiers would be in chain, not plate etc.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Weapon Problem

I just can't take Blueholme' weapon deal.   Having all weapons do 1d6 is fine, if all monsters do 1d6 (with a few exceptions) and if everyone uses d6 for HD as well (as OD&D originally was set up).  But, if you're going to add variable damage for monsters (as Blueholme does), and variable hit die types, there's no reason to keep weapon damage at 1d6 universal.

For damage, then, I just made Light Weapons 1d4,  one-handed normal weapons 1d6, and 2-handed weapons d8, and heavy lances and heavy crossbows 1d10.  Not a huge difference.

I also decided to port in a feature from the original Chainmail man-to-man combat system.  Each weapon gets a RATING from 1-12.   It's a combination of length and weight.  So, daggers are Rating 1, pikes are RATING 12.  

On first contact, the character with the higher rating strikes first.  On subsequent round, the character with the lower rating strikes first (this actually works nicely with the Blueholme phased turn sequence).   And if one weapon is 4 or more points lower than another, it gets 2 attacks, 8 or more points lower it gets 3 attacks.   Also, I set up the "Reach Weapon" distances based on the same rating.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Neutral Cleric Problem

One issue I need to deal with in creating a Blueholm campaign is the neutral cleric problem.  The game is set up to have 5 alignments (LG, CG, N, LE, CE).   But, clerics must be either Good or Evil.  There's a real mechanical difference between the two types:   Good Clerics cast the positive version of the spells (Light, Cure Light Wounds, Remove Disease);  Evil Clerics cast the negative versions of the spells (Darkness, Deal Light Wounds, Inflict Disease).    There is no provision for neutral clerics.

I decided to make up a list of gods, taken from the OD&D book "Gods, Demi-gods and Heroes".  Surprisingly these gods aren't given a default alignment.   I just picked 3 gods that seemed to fit each one of the alignments for 15 gods total.   I didn't want to get into a theological structure, having done that many times in the past and having seen no in-game result of this structure arise. 

I really don't know what to do about the Neutral Gods and their clerics.   The system doesn't support it at all.  Perhaps when a neutral cleric reaches a new spell level, roll randomly as to which version of the spell the god grants?  (Maybe fudging Cure Light Wounds).  Maybe have magic-users acting as clergy of neutral temples? 

P.S. Asking the Question answers it: the main reason I do these posts is to clarify my own thinking.  Yes, the obvious solution is roll randomly for Positive or Negative Spells, but reserve CLW.  If you want all healing spells, be good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Blueholme Review:

As I've said, I'm interested in running a more old school game, after looking at our ACKS and Wilderlands logs.   I'm most interested in a stable baseline to build upon, with an easy framework.   I've bought a couple copies of the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules, which is a retro-clone of the original D&D basic set by Eric Holmes from 1977, the version I started playing with, only expanded to level 20 characters.   While the fundamental D&D-ness of the game is clear and foremost,  I decided to make a review of what the noticeable unique features, good and bad are.

Ability Scores:

Ability scores are so unimportant, it's almost comical.  
Strength:  if you are a fighter, high strength gets you more XP, and that's all it does.
Wisdom:  if you are a cleric, high wisdom gets you more XP, and that's all it does.

Intelligence:  really key for magic-users, like super important in your choice and number of spells in your book.   Everyone gets bonus languages from INT.

Constitution:  you can get bonus hp from high (15+) con, otherwise nothing
Charisma: tells you number of henchmen, that's it.

DEX: high dex (15+) gives +1 to hit with missiles.  Combat order/initiative goes in order of DEX score.

There are no standardized bonuses for most of the "usual" stuff.

4 classes,  Fighter, magic-user, thief, cleric.

Fighter:  highest hit die, best hit progression, all armor and weapons, some damage bonus at highter level
Cleric:  turn undead, spells (at second level), all armor, blunt weapons, makes healing potions.  Clerics actually have spell books too (but all spells of level included).  Evil clerics only cast reverse versions of spells, no neutral clerics
Magic-User:  wide range of spells, weak in combat, makes scrolls easily.  Magic missile isn't an auto-hit. 
Thieves: skillful and weak.

Multi-classing:  all multiclasses permitted (except good aligned cleric-thieves).  Neat method where just add 2 classes xp to get next level target.  No mention of racial limitations.

RACES  (called SPECIES in book)
Any creature from the monster section is available as a classed character (at DM's discretion).  DM has to decide classes, scale the abilities of creature to level-system.  Pretty darn cool,

COMBAT:  initiative a little different:  surprise attacks, then spells, then missiles, then melee, then move.  In each phase go in descending DEX order.
Level draining undead grant a saving throw.

Weapons:  biggest weakness of system.  Every weapon does 1d6 damage that's it, except some go at range.  The "optional variable system" just makes everything worse--daggers strike twice and do worse of 2d6 damage.  Medium weapons strike once and do 1d6.  Heavy weapons strike once every other round for better of 2d6.   I would not play with either weapon system, but it's really the only turd in the book.

OVERALL:  I kind of love it, except for the weapons.   It all fits into a short 120 page booklet (including a crap load of monsters and spells).    Additionally, it's fully compatible with OD&D, and any of the basic sets, and with minimal adaptation most of the ACKS and AD&D stuff that's around.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

What am I thinking?

So the Krondor D&D5e campaign is chugging along.   I'm looking forward to the Colville Stronghold book and implementing it in the game.   I can see us doing another dozen or so sessions.

After 6-7 levels, what do I think about D&D 5e?   There are some things I really like.   The fact that low level henchmen and guards are consistently useful is a big plus.   It is a lot more in line with my play style than D&D 4e or even 3e were,  the strict control of AC and the slow increase in attack and skill bonuses are really good features.

The thing I don't like is the tedious details that all end up with the same results.   I'm hesitating to roll up my replacement character for Walter, just because I don't want to face the task of working through backgrounds etc.    Likewise the immense monster stat blocks are a headache I don't need and slow down adventure prep immensely.

I recently re-read many of the logs from the Wilderlands of Hack campaign and the ACKS Gatavia 3 campaign, and realized that the whole Old School Spectrum (OD&D, Basic D&D, AD&D1 and 2 and any of their numerous clones) are really what I want to play most.   It's less stats heavy, and generally faster all around.

The Krondor campaign isn't going as I had hoped.   I really wanted it to be more sand-boxy, with players taking the initiative on the activities.   I think that the problem is with the rotating DM structure.   How it has developed is a set of 2 parallel games with overlapping characters.   One campaign is Andrew's set up dealing with the threat of the mind-flayers and intellect devourers off to the west.  The other is mine on the developing of a realm in Nearbog, and the factions of Newport (which has been neglected lately--especially since Flex Macho died, and Midnight retired, leaving most of the threads lost).

As I said, I'm not ready to quit, but feel like I want either to totally DM a campaign or just play in one, not both at once right now.  So, I have started to work on something else for the future.   I'd like to run another old school game as sole DM, at least at first or most of the time.   Who knows, by the time we're done with Krondor, my mood might be very different.   The system I'm using is called "Blueholme", which is a clone of the Holmes basic D&D from 1977, expanded to 20 levels.   I'm adding some stuff from Wilderlands of Hack campaign to it, and have redone other things, but it's a good baseline (I'll share more later about the system).

That's what I thinking, game wise.

Friday, March 30, 2018


Based on a You Tube Video (The DM's Craft by DM Scotty)  I made 10 primitive huts out of cardboard seeding pots.   They didn't turn out as spiffy as I would have liked, but they are serviceable.   So, if we need a primitive village set-up, we're all set.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Behold my swag

Did 2 hours of intensive shopping at "Cold Wars" on Saturday.

First:  Some miniatures:   dismounted Norman Knights with Swords,  Halberd Guys, and Knights with Big Weapons:
Second:  Cobblestone Mats:  4 18"x12" rubber mats with a cobblestone pattern, probably going to cut them into a series of roads/streets sections.
Third:  A resin cottage (which I bought because I mis-read the price tag) and a cave-hole piece
Fourth:  A church model--took a chance on this one, it is 15mm scale, but it is a model of a big church, so it should be good for a medium-sized 28mm church

Fifth:  A collection of small furniture pieces:  round table, fireplace, bookcase, beds, and a set of metal bases.
Sixth: the Game Master of Crusader game gave me a copy of the ruleset, which he had written and published back in '92.  It's fun and fast.  I had an extremely good time.