Friday, March 29, 2019

20 questions about OSRenstein

Somebody pointed out this post to me and suggested I should answer the list. Some of these have been covered already, but who cares? Let's go!

1) Ability scores generation method?
Roll 3d6 and record the sum result for each Ability in order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and finally Charisma. If none of your rolls is 13 or higher, then raise your lowest roll to 13. You may swap two Ability scores. Notate your Ability score modifiers under STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, and CHA.
You have two derived stats: Luck and Load.
Your Luck score is 2 + your highest Ability score modifier.
Your Load is 5/10 + your STR modifier (ex: a +2 STR generates a Load of 7/12).
Players also choose a few things for their characters: race, background, class, and class kit. These are all from more extensive lists than I can reproduce here.

2) How are death and dying handled?
NPCs reduced to zero Hit Points are either dead or mortally wounded, GM's call. When a PC is reduced to zero Hit Points they fall unconscious and must make a Constitution saving throw or die. Similarly, if a PC suffers more than half their total Hit Points in a single blow they must make a Constitution saving throw or die.

3) What about raising the dead?
There are no Raise Dead or Resurrection spells.

4) How are replacement PCs handled?
When a character dies, the player can make a new character with half of the XP total of the previous character, round up.

5) Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
PCs act before NPCs. If two PCs are fighting each other, then the one with fewer Hit Points acts first - if they're tied then their actions are resolved simultaneously.
In combat scenarios with large groups of enemies or a major "boss" villain use a shuffled deck of cards. Each NPC combatant gets a single card draw, and each PC draws a number of cards equal to 1 plus their DEX modifier, minimum of 1 card. Once everyone has their cards, the GM counts down using the card values starting with Ace then King, Queen, Jack, 10, and so on. For tied cards, PC actions happen before NPC actions. Unless PCs are fighting each other, tied actions are simultaneous. Players still only act once, but high-DEX characters get more chances to act earlier in the round.

6) Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Fumbles, no. Hits, Yes. When a player rolls a result 10 points higher than what they needed to hit with their Attack roll, and when a player rolls a 20 on their Attack roll - the only exception being that when a player needs to roll a 20 to hit, no Critical is possible.

7) Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Helmets are situational to some critical hit effects. Wearing a helmet by itself gives no bonus, but not wearing a helmet with heavy armor reduces your Armor by -1 (because you've given your opponent an exposed target to aim at).
EDIT: I changed this in my rules. Helmets give +1 Armor now, with the exception of heavy armors like Plate (described above) because those have helmets.

8) Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
No fumbles, and as a GM I find this boring, as a player I find it frustrating. No.

9) Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
Talking is always preferable to fighting, running is always better than fighting to the death, and some opponents shouldn't be engaged at all.

10) Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
Yes, but they drain Hit Dice, not levels.

11) Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Yes, definitely.

12) How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
Players are responsible for tracking their gear and Load, but the GM can call for an audit. Anything not written down isn't there. Carrying too much has immediate consequences.

13) What’s required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
The PC has to have enough experience points to attain the next level and then conduct a Rest, no strenuous activity for 6 hours. No training costs, though learning to speak or read a language takes time. Learning wizard spells takes time, and the spells need to be "found." Leveling up can happen whenever the character can Rest.

14) What do I get experience for?
A successful encounter. The GM determines success but shouldn't obfuscate the conditions of success. An encounter that can't end in combat or hostility should be clearly stated as such. At the end of the session, the GM multiples the number of successful encounters by the number of players present and this is the base XP award. Every time during the session that the GM was impressed, entertained, or genuinely surprised by a PC action should also be tallied and added to this encounter calculation. A session with 4 players and 4 encounters where the GM was surprised or entertained 3 times would be worth 19 XP, or (4x4)+3.

15) How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Any character can potentially find a trap. If a PC is actively looking for one this might require a description of how they're looking to automatically find one, but a Skill Check could be called for if the player or GM is more interested in moving things along. Activating a trap would require a Saving Throw.

16) Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Yes, retainers are suggested and followers are given to every class once they reach 9th level. Morale and reaction both are 2d6 rolls, higher rolls are better than low.

17) How do I identify magic items?
Wizards can identify magic items at 1st level. They must spend 6 hours with the item without interruption, no spells or material components required. If you don't have a wizard in your group, you may need to hire one!

18) Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
Potions and scrolls might be the only magic items you could purchase since they do not require a great expenditure of power from their creators. Hedge wizards and sorcerous academies would sell these. More powerful magical items would likely not be sold unless the person didn't know what they had.

19) Can I create magic items? When and how?
Any wizard of 5th level or higher can make magic items. The more powerful the item, the more time and money is needed to create the item. At minimum, a wizard can make a 1st level scroll for 25sp after one day of work. Potions take weeks to make, and more powerful magic items take months.

20) What about splitting the party?
There are no rules for it, but if you're the player you can have your characters do whatever you want them to.

Monday, March 25, 2019

OSRenstein: Curses

Curses are meant to be horrible, twisted magical effects that imperil a character and steer them toward removing the curse. I don't know how many cartoons I watched and books I read when I was younger where a character was cursed and they did everything in their power to release themselves from the spell. In AD&D, curses have always been lame in comparison. Usually a Curse spell bestows a -1 to hit, not good but pretty minimal in the grand scheme of things. If I'm playing a wizard, I might not even care that I am cursed.

Of course, the problem with curses in literature is that they're always unique and they always affect characters in such a way that their life cannot move forward unless they remove the curse. This is difficult to pull off with a gaming group, you would always need to tailor a curse for individual characters, or maybe even players. The other type of literary curse is the one where the cursed character is going to die from the curse. The two stories that come to mind when I hear the word curse involve dying characters: Thinner by Stephen King, and How Spoilers Bleed by Clive Barker. This is easier to pull off.

Curses should be debilitating and should hang over the player's head, making them fear the death of their character, and the easiest way to do this is restrict their character's Hit Points. Thus, a Curse reduces a character's maximum Hit Point total to half (round up) and while affected by the Curse the character cannot regain Hit Points from non-magical healing methods. A major Curse might slowly reduce the character's maximum Hit Point total as well!

This part of the rules isn't written yet. I just wanted to share this idea before I write it definitively.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

OSRenstein: the XP formula!

At the end of the session, multiply the number of players by the number of successful encounters. This is your base Experience Point award total for the session.
A successful encounter is one in which you challenge the players' characters. Taking opportunities that you can't possibly foresee doesn't necessarily count as an encounter. For example, spontaneously deciding to assassinate an important NPC isn't a successful encounter but escaping alive from any guards or militia protecting the NPC could count as one.
During a game session, keep a tally of all the times a player does something you enjoyed or does something inventive you didn't account for. At the end of the session add this tally to the formula.
In this way all characters increase in level at the same pace. The only way a character might go up in level slower than someone else playing in the same group is if they miss a session, or their character joined the group at a lower level.
A session with four players and three successful encounters that had two things you liked would be worth 14 XP for everyone playing, or (3 x 4) + 2 = 14.
Always be honest with your players about the XP Formula and how you are applying it. If an encounter would only be successful if the characters avoid combat, tell them before you even introduce the encounter otherwise they'll feel cheated in the aftermath.

Leveling up
When a character rests, if they have enough XP to reach the next level then they receive all the benefits of the new level.
Before 10th level, characters increase their Hit Dice each time they level up. The player rolls their new Hit Dice to determine their new Hit Point total. Their CON is applied for each level of the character. Thus, a 4th level wizard with a +1 CON who has just attained 5th level rolls 5d4+5 to determine their new Hit Point total. If the new total is less than the old, the character can add their CON once to their old HP total. This way a character’s Hit Points always rise when they go up in level.
After 9th level, Hit Dice doesn't increase and Hit Points don't always go up - but they still never go down. When the player rolls their Hit Dice they begin adding a bonus number of Hit Points to their final total. For example, 10th-level wizards receive +2 to their Hit Dice. The same wizard above would roll 9d4+11 (+9 for CON and +2 for 10th level).

New characters
When a character dies, the player can make a new character with half of the XP total of the previous character, round up.

The XP Formula is something I created to incentivize moving the plot forward. This is derived from the number of players because large groups sometimes don't allow every player to have equal time - I played a game with 7 other PCs for years and some weeks felt like I accomplished nothing because my character didn't have "screen time" - and on top of this, the formula also allows the GM to track how fast they're progressing their own game. With only 2 or 3 players, if you're not progressing through encounters fast enough than it allows you to self-correct and push the players to act more. Additionally, a GM might decide they've bloated their game with too many incidental encounters and now they can look at the formula and decide to cut the fat from their role-playing banquet.

Leveling up when resting comes directly from Dungeon World and rolling Hit Dice to determine your new Hit Point total is another mechanic from Stars Without Number.

Monday, March 18, 2019

the combat of Dark Souls

Something a friend told me years ago was that he hated Armor Class because it doesn't make sense in a realistic manner. Thick heavy armor wouldn't make you more difficult to hit, in fact the opposite, and it would be worn to lessen the damage when you do get hit. Something that Dark Souls doesn't always do very well, but it does follow the idea that heavy armor slows you down. Armor is only a marginally good thing to have, especially if your character is kitted out for speed. This is why you see so many people play Dark Souls wearing little to no armor whatsoever. A lot of armors give different benefits however. Some provide bonuses against magic damage or poisons, while doing next to nothing for physical damage. By comparison, armor in Dungeon & Dragons just gives a static bonus to your Armor Class.

Combat in Dark Souls is pretty straightforward, but still has a lot of depth. When confronted with an enemy's attack you can choose to block, dodge, or parry. Blocking is pretty easy, and is the default method of handling most attacks. You get hit and your shield or weapon takes some of the damage off. Dodging requires a little player skill because you have to dodge away from the attack, and that's not always in the direction you might expect it to be. A successful dodge avoids all damage, but failure means you get hit and more often than not your armor only takes off a little amount of damage. Parrying negates the attack completely, but can only be performed on certain attacks and is difficult to pull off until you "git gud."

To Parry a Boss

If basic combat in D&D is a question of blocking, dodging, or parrying then I think traditional Armor Class would have to go away. Armor would continue to be rated as light, medium, or heavy in order to see if/how movement is affected but would do nothing to evade being hit. In fact, the heaviest armors would make it quite easy to be hit. But armor would negate some amount of damage based on its weight.

Here's my game theory ramblings now.

By reducing the die type of damage dice you effectively hobble the damage coming in and still keep it relatively random. Light armor would reduce damage by one point, medium armor would reduce the damage dice by one size dice (i.e. a d8 becomes a d6), and heavy armor would reduce the size of damage dice twice. An attack inflicting 1d10 damage normally would do 1d10-1 against an opponent wearing light armor, 1d8 against medium armor, and 1d6 against heavy armor. If an attack does multiple dice of damage then it could lose dice once being reduce to d4s but no damage could be reduced below 1d4. Shields would act like medium armor, but actively blocking with one would require a save or else you can't do anything else this round like attacking or drinking a potion or casting a spell. In other words, the force of the attack staggered you momentarily and you have to wait until next round to recover.

Dodging would be a Dexterity-based roll against the opponent's attack roll, and maybe the size of the weapon would act as a modifier. Small weapons are easy to dodge, large weapons are harder to dodge. A successful dodge would negate damage and set you up to act first in the next round.

I don't think I've ever seen good rules for parrying, and in Dark Souls a successful parry riposte can be a devastating attack. Parrying would have to be an attack roll against the opponent's attack roll, and of course could only be performed against a traditional weapon like a sword, ineffective against claws or bites or anything weird or unusual. A successful parry would give you an opportunity to attack and your opponent gets no ability to react, which means some opponents could do it to you too.

I'll have to think some more about this.

Friday, March 15, 2019

OSRenstein: skills and saves

Saving Throws are used to evade some immediate danger or avoid some perilous hazard. If you need to know whether or not the scorpion’s poison overwhelms you, or if you can dive away from a Fireball spell, you make a saving throw. The GM will tell you when you should be making one.
In general, Saving Throws apply as reactions to events that are happening, and are not used to overcome obstacles that need patience or applied knowledge.

In order to succeed at a Saving Throw, the player rolls 1d20 and adds their character's relevant Ability.
Strength for muscle or power saves.
Dexterity for speed, reflexive, or agility saves.
Constitution for resistance or endurance saves.
Intelligence for thinking fast saves.
Wisdom for willpower or concentration saves.
Charisma for personality or charm saves.
Rolling 20 or above indicates success and that the danger is avoided or the action goes as planned.

When failure happens, the GM will narrate the outcome of the failed Saving Throw describing how the characters are affected.
A GM never rolls dice to resolve NPC or monster actions, or negative elements of the environment such as traps - if they involve a PC, the player rolls. Otherwise the GM will make a swift and fair judgement call that moves the story forward and abides by the logic of the unfolding fiction.

Skill checks determine whether your character succeeds at a field of expertise. Failure at the roll means that your character either botched it outright, succeeded in a way that was unhelpful, or was foiled by some unexpected outside influence. The GM will describe the results of failure.
To make a skill check, the player rolls 2d6 and adds his character’s relevant Skill level and Ability modifier. If the total equals or exceeds 10, the check is a success.
Awkward circumstances or bad tools might apply penalties, though usually not more than -1 or -2. By the same token, exceptionally good equipment or a favorable situation might grant bonuses of up to +2 to the roll, or even more if the stars align perfectly. If you lack even level 0 in the relevant skill, you suffer a -2 penalty to your roll.
The relevant skill and attribute modifier will usually be obvious in the situation; attempting to bluff a lone bandit would involve Deception and Charisma, while trying to roll underneath the falling bars of a portcullis would rely on Acrobatics and Dexterity. When in doubt, the GM will tell you what to apply.

If a character needs to overcome an obstacle that isn't covered by a Skill check or a Saving Throw, then the GM will ask for an Ability Check. This works exactly like a Skill check, but the character only adds a relevant Ability modifier, decided by the GM based on circumstances.

There is a gradual level of difficulty associated with each of these checks.

Saving Throws are easy to make, most players are going to succeed at these more than 50% of the time. Saving Throws are always reactions, and failure always leads to injury or harm.

Skill checks are a little more difficult, they require the character to be a little specialized in an area before they can be attempted and most skill checks start with less than 50% chance of success. However, a truly specialized character with a +3 ability modifier and a maximized skill level will succeed at a skill check 99% of the time. Skill checks are always actions.

Ability checks are the most difficult as they almost always only succeed with less than 50% chance of success. Ability checks can be either reactions or actions, but as a rule of thumb failure does not injure or harm the character.

The Saving Throw mechanic is taken from the Black Hack, and skill checks and skill levels were inspired by Stars Without Number.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

OSRenstein: languages & literacy

Starting characters can speak their native language, and they receive additional Languages based on their INT score.
When characters start learning a Language, they add points to it as if it were an ability score modifier.
Every time a Language you don't know is spoken and you wish to interact with the speaker, roll 2d6 and add your WIS plus the Language number.
On a 12+ you understand what was said and can communicate successfully. On a 10-11, you can choose to understand essentially what was said but are unable to communicate, or you can't understand them but your point is made successfully. On a 9 or less, you misinterpret what was said and you sound like an idiot.
Whenever you roll a 12 or higher, you add 1 point to the Language - you cannot add more than one point per day. After the Language has received 5 points, you've learned the Language and no longer need to roll in order to be understood.
Having at least one point in a Language means you can understand basic and simple ideas like "where is food?" and "can I sleep here?" but complex ideas like "can you help me scout this mountain?" or "let me show you how we should ambush those bastards in the valley!" or "don't kill him, we need to interogate him!" will require a roll.

Almost every Language has a Literacy, and every Literacy is different with some being more complex than others. Some starting characters receive Literacy in their native language, and some classes begin with multiple Literacies.
To learn a Literacy your character must invest a considerable period of time, and you must track the time spent doing so. Most Literacies take 3000 hours to learn, assuming you're learning from books. Having a tutor can cut this time in half to 1500 hours, and having a skilled tutor can cut this time in half twice, or 750 hours. A character can't spend more than 8 hours a day learning a Literacy, any time tracked beyond that is wasted.
A skilled tutor is any character who knows the Literacy and has a combined INT, WIS, and CHA modifier equal to +3 or higher. Additionally, a character with a combined INT and WIS of +3 or higher will cut the time required to learn in half again!
When you try to translate written text without any training, make an Investigation+INT skill check. With a successful roll, you will understand the basic message of the script though nuances may be lost. A failure could mean that you miss something crucial in the translation, your translation is time-consuming and delays something important, or you can pick up a word or two but simply have no clue what it really says, GM's choice.

I strive for simplification in most of my rules. I'm not sure if I always achieve it. In this case, I think learning a language should be difficult and have a barrier, it shouldn't just be something you add to the character because you leveled up. At the same time, I want to make it easy to communicate in simple terms because nobody likes funneling conversations through a translator, or relying upon magic all of the time. A player who spends time having their character try to learn a language should be rewarded for their effort.

Anyone who has played Apocalypse World will recognize the success-fail states of the dice roll above as originating from there.

Monday, March 11, 2019

OSRenstein: combat!

This is an excerpt from the combat rules page of my rulebook. One of my 'things' is that the GM keeps a deck of playing cards in front of them, this gets used for all sorts of things.

When combat starts, the PCs act before NPCs. If two PCs are fighting each other, then the one with fewer Hit Points acts first - if they're tied then their actions are simultaneous.
In some combat scenarios, the GM may want to give the PCs a challenging foe who acts before them, or a large group of enemies whose actions happen throughout the round. For these, use a shuffled deck of cards.
Each NPC combatant gets a single card draw, and each PC draws a number of cards equal to 1 plus their DEX, minimum of 1 card. Once everyone has their cards, the GM counts down using the card values starting with Ace then King, Queen, Jack, 10, and so on. For tied cards, PC actions happen before NPC actions. Players still only act once, but high-DEX characters get more chances to act earlier in the round.

Combat is measured in rounds, each round being roughly 6 seconds long. During a round, each character takes a turn fulfilling some sort of action. When all characters involved have attempted an action, the round ends, and if the conflict needs to continue then a new round begins.

During their turn, a character may move and commit to an action. Actions can include making an attack, pulling gear from a pocket and using it, casting a spell, activating a magic item, or some other activity that requires attention and care.
Some actions are called Free Actions, and these can be performed at any time, usually in reaction to something else that is happening.
A player can also choose to Hold their action to act later in a round. A player may hold their action until the end of the round, effectively acting last, or they can use it to interrupt an NPC's action, or to act in tandem with another player. A player cannot interrupt another PC's action, they happen simultaneously or based on who has fewer Hit Points.

To attack, the player rolls 1d20 and adds their Attack score and the attribute bonus associated with the weapon being used, either STR or DEX unless the weapon is magical. If the total is equal or greater than the target's Armor, the attack hits. Circumstances can apply other penalties or bonuses to the Attack roll.
If an attack hits, the player then rolls the damage dice associated with the weapon and adds the appropriate attribute bonus. This damage is then subtracted from the victim's Hit Points. NPCs reduced to zero Hit Points are either dead or mortally wounded.
Hit Point damage represents the wearing down of a target’s stamina and energy. Only the last handful of hit points represents an injury that does serious physical damage.

Being attacked is similar to making an attack. The player rolls 1d20 and adds their Armor score. Opponents always have their own Attack score and the player needs to roll equal to or higher than their opponent's Attack score to evade, dodge, or block the attack. A player may also choose to Defend as their action. If they do this, their Armor score is +4 until the next round.
When a PC gets hit, they take damage just like when they make an attack. When a PC is reduced to zero Hit Points they fall unconscious and must make a Constitution saving throw or die. Similarly, if a PC suffers more than half their total Hit Points in a single blow they must make a Constitution saving throw or die.

The PCs have the potential to make a Critical hit when they attack. This happens in one of two ways: when a player rolls a result 10 points higher than what they needed to hit with their Attack roll, and when a player rolls a 20 on their Attack roll - the only exception being that when a player needs to roll a 20 to hit, no Critical is possible.

Friday, March 8, 2019

OSRenstein: wizard abilities

Detect Magic: Wizards can detect the presence of magic simply by concentrating and looking at an object. In game terms, this costs an action and the wizard can move no faster than a slow walk while doing it, but it costs no MP. If a wizard touches an object that is magical or a person under the effect of a spell, the wizard automatically and instantly detects the magic without needing to concentrate or look for it. This detection only allows the wizard to sense the presence of magic, the wizard learns nothing about the effects or spells used unless they spend time trying to identify the magic.

Identify Magic: A wizard can discern the properties of a magical item by spending six hours in careful meditation with the object. This process allows the wizard to determine all of the magical properties of a single magic item, including how to activate those functions (if appropriate), how many uses of magic remain, and what sorts of spells were used in the item's construction. The wizard does not need to spend MP, nor do they need to be secluded; as long as the wizard is allowed to handle the item without interruption or distraction, it only takes time. A wizard can also identify magic on a creature that is under a spell, but most living things will not sit still to be examined for six hours without some form of restraint.

I like the idea of having a wizard that could specialize in a school of magic and not be required to lose access to certain divination spells which seem like general utility wizard abilities. Also, giving wizards special magic-related abilities that they can perform 'at will' means that I could potentially run a game where wizards start with no spells.

The reference to MP? I'm using Magic Points to cast arcane spells, which is an idea taken from the psionics system in Stars Without Number.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

OSRenstein: clerics' Turning ability

Clerics can Turn wild beasts and unholy creatures by holding their deity's holy symbol aloft and commanding the creatures back. At any time the cleric may use an action to make a Turning attempt. Clerics can attempt to Turn any creature with the Animal, Un-Dead, or Demon trait. This Turning check uses 1d20 and adds the cleric's Hit Dice and WIS modifier - unlike a Spell check, this roll doesn't suffer penalties for wearing armor.
The base roll needed is 8 or higher to turn animals, 10 or higher to turn un-dead, and a 12 or higher to turn demons. The Hit Dice of the target is added to the number needed to successfully Turn them. For example, a Demon with 3 Hit Dice will only be Turned on a roll of 15 or higher.
Animals and un-dead that are successfully Turned will try to flee from the cleric until the cleric is out of sight. If cornered or trapped, the Turning ends and the creature will likely attack the nearest opponent. Demons that are successfully Turned are not compelled to flee, but cannot willingly approach the cleric. If forced to approach the cleric, or cornered by the cleric, the Turning ends and the Demon may act as it pleases.
An attempt to Turn a creature that has already broken free from being Turned will automatically fail. Failing a Turning attempt doesn't count as breaking free from being Turned, and the cleric may attempt to Turn a creature (or creatures) as many times as they wish.

My take on simplifying a cleric's Turning ability. Also, I would point out that being able to turn animals is influenced by Dungeon Crawl Classics, but seems like something priestly characters should have always been able to do.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

OSRenstein: the Feat die

Warriors don't have an Attack score, instead Warriors have a Feat die. The Feat die is an extra dice that is rolled when a warrior attacks, the result of the Feat die is added to the Warrior's attack roll, in this way the Feat die is a rollable Attack score. The number of sides on the Feat die increases as the warrior levels up.
Prior to any attack roll, a warrior can declare a Feat. This Feat is a dramatic combat maneuver within the scope of the current fight. The Feat does not increase damage but can have some narrative or strategic effect. For example, a warrior may try to disarm an enemy with his next attack, trip an opponent, slide down a bannister and crash his shield into three opponents at the bottom, temporarily blind an opponent, and so on.
The warrior’s Feat die determines the success of such a maneuver. If the Feat die is a 3 or higher, and the attack hits, the Feat succeeds. If the Feat die is a 2 or less, or the overall attack fails, the Feat fails as well. It is possible for an attack to hit but the Feat fails, in this case the warrior still inflicts damage for a successful attack.
The Feat die does not increase in size beyond 10th level, and never receives Advantage or Disadvantage.

Dwarves have a d3 Feat die they use when fighting. This acts exactly like a Warrior's Feat die but is different and separate from a Warrior's Feat die, a Dwarven Warrior would roll both and use the better result of the two. Unlike the Warrior Feat die, the Dwarven Feat die never increases in size.

This mechanic originated as the Mighty Deed Die from Dungeon Crawl Classics. I really love the simplicity of giving fighters the ability to use special combat maneuvers without having to fiddle with a list of feats. I always despised that characters might have to specialize to disarm somebody, and then might never get the opportunity to disarm someone. Being able to execute a maneuver in the heat of the moment is so much more heroic. And fun!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

OSRenstein: how to make a character

1) Roll 3d6 and record the sum result for each Ability in order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and finally Charisma.
If none of your rolls is 13 or higher, then raise your lowest roll to 13.
You may swap two Ability scores.
Notate your Ability score modifiers under STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, and CHA.
Then generate your Luck score (2 + your highest Ability score modifier) and your Load stat (5 + STR / 10 + STR).

2) Select a race and write down any special abilities your character possesses.

3) Select a background and notate any abilities and learned skills from your chosen background (skills start at "0").
Generate your starting silver.

4) Select a class and write down any abilities inherent to the class.

5) Select a class kit. Notate the special kit ability amongst your class abilities, any equipment your kit comes with, and add skill levels where appropriate (skills start at "0" and receiving two of the same skill during character creation increases it to 1).

6) Generate your starting Hit Points (HP) by rolling your class Hit Dice and adding your CON modifier (do not decrease your HP rolled if the CON modifier is a negative).

7) Purchase additional equipment using your starting silver, if desired.

I want the chapter structure of my book to mirror the Holmes Basic Rules, despite the fact that I'm deviating from many of the B/X concepts. Still, starting my book with a good old character creation checklist seems like the best way to dip players' toes into the rules. This is how the checklist currently reads in the pdf.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March 2019

I thought I was going to start writing in this blog more but it turns out I've been writing some other things instead. What are they? Well...

  • OSRenstein is my homebrewed set of rules for fantasy role-playing. As of right now I have 39 pages written. This is what I'm pouring most of my energy into. I want my players to have the rules I'm using and have them all in a single reference document as well. The influences on these rules are varied, but most of them originate within the OSR and it's a frankensteined set of rules and house rules so...
    OSR + frankenstein = OSRenstein

  • Kosranon is my setting book. That's not the title but it's what I've labeled it as on my hard drive. I may be putting all of my energy into OSRenstein right now but I want to publish this book. It's going through a lot of revisions as I build it, right now I only have 8 pages written and a large hex map which I think I should scale down. However, there's lots of notes on my blog here, but I consider those 'rough draft' ideas and a lot of it has been revised or will be altered in the final book.

  • Hexvouna is my megadungeon. This thing will likely never be finished! I have no idea how much I have written as I have multiple notebooks, several emails I sent to myself (and emails between Arnold K and myself), and a few posts here and there about the thing. It's been in my brain ever since I was GMing the Dwimmermount megadungeon at the time and kept thinking it didn't make sense that Dwimmermount didn't have a central staircase that connected most of the levels. Then I saw this post by Dyson's Logos. My next step for Hexvouna is likely to track everything that I've written down and start organizing it into a cohesive collection of information, then editing and fleshing it out.
  • I would like to commission a few artists, and I definitely need someone who's good at layout and design to help me out once I bring Kosranon to completion, but at the moment I'm just writing. I don't want to start spending money on art and publishing resources until I have a nearly complete book.