Friday, July 26, 2013

Top 10 Troll Questions (from the Random Wizard)

Where have all the OSR bandwagons gone? Anyway, here is one by Random Wizard (as pointed out by Brendan over at Necropraxis). 10 questions about the game:

(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?

Race as class. If someone (including me) wants a bit more variation, we use this as a guideline. As a result we have more than the standard classes to choose from.

(2). Do demi-humans have souls?

Yes. And why shouldn't they? I want them ghosts and undead.

(3). Ascending or descending armor class?

Descending, RAW in the Rules Cyclopedia. I never understood the problem with it and really don't see the need to change it.

(4). Demi-human level limits?

Yes. I try to give players a reasoning for that. In general, I believe it's more important to understand a rule first and only change it if I see the need for a house rule. Level limits are not among those rules and even human classes might have them (we have a Noble as class, as soon as he reaches name level, he goes back to his family to rule and maybe marry someone).

(5). Should thief be a class?

Yes, but house ruled in this case. A specialist has definitely a place in our game. It's more of an all-rounder with an option for specialization and the ability to cast spells (progressing like a 1/4 M U, starting at level 4 with his first spells...). The players like it.

(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?

Yes, as per the optional rules in the RC. There was a need to tweak some of the skills and the system, though. A bit like the 3rd Edition does, but using a [modified ability score + d20 vs. difficulty] instead and additional skills are only every 5 levels.

(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?

I don't think so. Fighters might have an edge in the beginning (and even that is debatable), but later on they should be able to kill each other without much effort, given the right circumstances. The idea of Weapon Mastery actually supports this, because a fighter will be able to deal that much more damage on higher levels. But even without that I believe them to be rather equal.

(8). Do you use alignment languages?

No. Read a lot of interesting approaches to it, but it still doesn't click.

(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc...)?

Yes. The players have to spend the gold to get xp for it (be it carousing or a career) and objectives are more or less handled like HackMaster suggested it (there is a Most Valuable Player, xp for mission goals and for good ideas, etc.).

(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ?

I couldn't say which one is the best, we all know it's a matter of taste. I stick to the Rules Cyclopedia, because it's the last incarnation of the original D&D and very complete at that. HackMaster is what I know about 2E ADD. I do like it, but it's too compartmentalized for my tastes. Did some 3E, but we didn't get along. All variations are ripe for looting, though. 

Bonus Question: Unified XP level tables or individual XP level tables for each class?

Individual tables. As I see it, individual tables give an indication of how difficult a class is to play, but not necessarily how fast they advance. Especially if you go with xp for objectives and "player skill", they are no longer evenly distributed and a skilled player will, even with a difficult class, advance fast.


  1. Interesting comment about wanting to have ghost elves and orcs. I did not even think of those ramifications.

  2. It changes a lot, from a DM's perspective and, as you wrote, in a setting. I still think they should have souls. And orcs, too. What reasons are there to justify them being soulless? What implications does it have if they don't? What is a soul to begin with? What is it in game terms? Does this go along with Gygaxian Naturalism? (I don't think so...)

    This is hard stuff, going into weird philosophical territory fast. It is a good question indeed :)