Wednesday, September 29, 2010


and as usual, not enough answers. I'm still stuck on how I want to treat Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, and if/how I want to tweak Gnomes to differentiate them from Dwarves, mechanically speaking. So here's a quick brainstorming session with no resolution.

1) Change nothing. Leave the mechanics the same and integrate bi-racial characters into the lore.

2) Throw out half races all together.

3) Doing a little thievery from 3e, have Gnomes be able to cast a cantrip per day and remove their magic saving throw bonus. I am on the fence about this for a few reasons. Originality for one. More importantly, what does a race of people who are all (or nearly all) capable of casting a cantrip per day look like? What if each of us could perform some minor feat of magic every day? I sure as hell wouldn't have to go to Goodyear if my damn tire runs flat. Regardless, it does give 'flexibility' to a Gnome. Meaning, it easily explains them as a 'tinkering' race that can use magic in their crafts and other pursuits.

4) Re-imagine. Change any or all of the races in question into a new trope. Think fey "lawn gnomes," changelings, some sort of lycanthrope (Human by day, Orc/Elf by night or some other cycle), maybe mimic OD&D's Elf race/class and have a Half-Elf/Orc choose to "be" a Human/Elf/Orc per day or adventuring session. Basically, a total overhaul.

So what option is best? My ultimate goal is to help differentiate these races. Gnomes and Dwarves have very similar mechanics, Half-Elves are watered down versions of Elves, and the same with Half-Orcs. So is a chance necessary to introduce meaningful choices, or is it a moot point?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bi-racial Characters

It is odd to think of Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, etc, as bi-racial. It is such a loaded term in our PC real world, but no one bats an eye at it when playing RPGs. Either way, that is not the main topic for this post.

I was getting ready to do a write up for Half-Elves and Half-Orcs when I realized that they both suck. What is a Half-Elf really? It is a lame concept both mechanically and stylistically. Mechanically, you get a watered down version of Elf bonuses with a slightly wider selection of classes. In the EMP campaign, they are further reduced to just sucky Elves since there are no class/race/level restrictions.

As far as style goes, the popular conception is that "they seldom fit into either society." So I guess this is the emo generation version of a role playing character despite its assumed accuracy according to what some bi-racial people probably face in their lifetimes. Regardless, it ultimately feels like fodder for campy dramatics, grandstanding, and look-at-me RPing.

Half-Orcs are actually significantly better than the hippy light Half-Elf, but they still fall down in both categories. Mechanically, they work almost the same as Elves and Half-Elves with infravision and enhanced detection rolls while only missing paralysis resistance. Their ability modifiers do differentiate them while at the same time shoehorning them into fighter roles (bonus to STR and CON, malus to CHA). So you get a "combat" version of an Elf or Half-Elf.

For style, they do get points for at least being a crossbreed with an evil humanoid. It is much easier to create something unique by smashing together two dissimilar things rather than two similar races. It takes some effort, but they can be more than just "ugly humans" or brutish warriors. Granted, you can say the same thing for Half-Elves (or any race/stereotype/trope), yet, Half-Orcs at least have a better perceived conflict between a human and orcish ancestry.

So I am left with a few decisions here. As far as mechanics go, I can leave them be and just have the roles stay the same or I can work to create a meaningful choice here. As far as style and game lore, I can work with both but the Half-Elves especially would need a solid re-imagining. Or I could just tank both races all together and get much closer to the  roots of the game.

EDIT: Looking back at the rest of the races, Gnomes and Dwarves kind of fall into this sameness trap. The major difference is their class selection, again gone with this EMP campaign. Perhaps I will have to revisit these races and help differnetiate the Gnome, perhaps by taking their ability to be Illusionists from the standard rule set and converting that into something for the EMP rule set. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspiration From Microprose

Inspiration can strike from odd places. One particular source of ideas for creating this Early Modern Campaign setting and general feeling is the 1992 Microprose game Darklands, a contemporary in the great era of games like X-Com and Civilization.

Darklands is a sandbox RPG set in the Holy Roman Empire in the 15th century. The setting concept is unique and very enjoyable. Essentially, you are playing in 15th century Germany as imagined by the people of the time. In effect, superstitions, rumors, myths, and legends are all real. So pagans really do meet in Covens to sacrifice the un-Baptized to summon demons, Gnomes live in deep mines, and Dragons roam the countryside along with all the other things that go bump in the night. More interesting, 'magic' is performed through the intercession of Saints and alchemists can create wondrous potions with a philosopher's stone.

The mundane is covered as well, from encounters with pilgrims and traveling clergy to corrupt Raubritters (robber barons of Medieval Germany) and a well presented, historical social structure. Travel on foot by road or overland is long and perilous, whereas the best way to make a long trip is on river transportation. Cities are named historically and linked by the actual rivers in Germany, making for a good representation of actual geography. Other touches go a long way to making a fun, believable setting, such as how camping in the woods on an estate owned by a local noble runs the risk of a confrontation or the fact that not every village is friendly (and might house witches preparing for a coven!).

The game is also emblematic of sandbox play. There is no hackneyed plot development right in the introduction, no call to arms or quest to complete soon as you press Play. You can go a good while playing around before you even find the first thread of the overall plot. Plus, the game doesn't end after the final confrontation, allowing further play.

It's amazing that the game captures so many aspects that I want to have in this EMP game. A marriage of the realistic with fantasy, a strong nod to actual history (all the Saints are the real, Catholic ones), and open ended game play. A strong tone is set that parallels low level play in D&D, namely, at the beginning of the game, you are very mortal. However, there is nothing stopping players from tackling any challenge and even having a chance at success right at the game's start. For example, dealing with a Raubritter by challenging him and his retinue of men in their own keep is suicide until your characters gain in strength. However, you can still attempt and succeed at assassination and sabotage, either sneaking in to fight the Raubritter in his bedchamber or setting fire to his keep. Darklands is a great representation of many of the tenants of D&D in video game form.

The game itself can be found at your local abandonware site, like I don't think Microprose will mind anymore.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Halfling


Requirements, Ability Modifiers, and Ability Min/Max are all by the book.

Racial Characteristics are the same as the LL version, with the following changes:

* Halflings may disappear in the wilderness and Hide in Shadows on a 5-in-6 chance with suitable outdoor cover. Halflings receive a +1 to Hide in Shadows when underground. There are no further modifications to Skills.

* Halflings receive no modification to initiative rolls (initiative will be covered in a future section).

* Halflings recieve +1 to attack with missile weapons

* Halflings gain a 2 point advantage to Armor Class when facing creatures greater than human sized. [We can incorporate the hit point rule to define these creatures as anything with a HD type greater than a D8.] [The decisions about ascending or descending armor class has not been made yet, so the wording on the AC bonus remains vague. But the absolute value is set].

* Halflings may only speak their native tongue unless they have exceptional intelligence or are taught another language.

* Halflings receive +2 to DEX saves, +4 to CON saves, and +4 against any magical effect (not cumulative with the prior two saves).

Game Lore

Halfling civilization took form in Iberia and they are believed to be the first creatures living there even before Human migration. These diminutive people quickly spread out from their homelands and established themselves as wanderers, explorers, traders, and travelers. Filled with a sense of wanderlust, they feel equally at home enjoying good times in their hillside homes or enjoying all that the world offers.

Halflings have been pervasive in Human history. Halfling traders brought first brought grain from Egypt into Rome, were a economic and cultural link between the Moslem and Christian worlds, traveled the Silk Road with Marco Polo, sailed with Columbus to the New World, and are keen on penetrating the interior of Africa. Their influence is so far and wide that the Halfling language is practically the lingua franca for traders, explorers, and diplomats far from home.

Halflings are found in nearly any profession that offers them the opportunity for good riches or a good adventure. Despite being small in stature, they have been known to show great strength and ingenuity when underestimated.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Gnome


Requirements, Ability Modifiers, and Ability Min/Max are all by the book.

Racial Characteristics are the same as the LL version, with the following changes:

* Gnomes retain their enhanced detection abilities as per LL rules, but there are no modifiers to Skills.

* Gnomes may only speak their native tongue unless they have exceptional intelligence or are taught another language.

* Gnomes receive +2 to DEX saves, +4 to CON saves, and +2 against any magical effect (not cumulative with the prior two saves).

Game Lore

Gnomes are a cousin species to Dwarves and share some of their characteristics but are still a unique people. Where Dwarves would ply their arts for practical purposes, Gnomes would tends towards the fantastic. Their homelands exist in the Alps and Pyrenees along with the hills and lowlands that connect them. Living in these mountainous regions and spending much of their time underground, Gnomes developed a different relationship with ancient Human civilizations.

Gnomes enjoyed relative peace and quiet with their neighbors in Hispania, Gaul, and Cisalpine Gaul through much of the Republic years of Rome. They were accused, at various times, of supporting both 'sides' through history, such as Hannibal over the Alps and Julius Caesar in Gaul. Regardless, Gnomes traded extensively with their Human neighbors but were able to resist Romanization and Christianization by virtue of their mountainous homelands.

Some people, and many Gnomes, say that these stout people were the true Renaissance men who brought about Europe's rebirth instead of the artisans of northern Italy. In modern times, Gnomes share dominion of the Alps with the Swiss, helping to reform the Swiss Confederacy's army and technology, and are associated with the Basque peoples of the Pyrenees, much to the chagrin of both Spain and France.  Gnome adventurers and tinkerers are found throughout Europe and are appreciated for their talents with less prejudice than many people have of the Dwarven race.

Monday, September 13, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Elf


Requirements, Ability Modifiers, and Ability Min/Max are all by the book.

Racial Characteristics are the same as the LL version, with the following changes:

* Elves receive their +1 to Hear Noise and can detect secret doors on 1-2 on a D6, but there are no other modifiers for skills.

* Elves may only speak the Elven language unless they have exceptional intelligence or are taught another language.

Game Lore

The Elves as a people developed as hunter gatherers, ranging out into the forested fringes of Europe from Ireland through northern Germany to the steppes of Russia. There are even rumors of Elves who migrated beyond the great Asian land mass and into the jungles of the Orient and Far East. Rumors from the New World even place Elf-like beings across the Atlantic as well.

Elves developed their civilization and society in relative proximity to early, pre-Roman humans, with a mixed history of competition, cooperation, and warfare that characterizes the typical clash of civilizations. The Romans viewed the Elves as 'barbarians' just as much as native humans in the ever expanding frontiers of the Empire. The Elves varied in their response to the Romans, with integration, extinction, and migration all being common.

Over time, Elven people began to more closely resemble their human neighbors, even to go so far as to cross-breed in enough numbers that Half-Elves were recognized as a race unto itself. However, a backlash was in the making.

The Dark Ages was just as trying for Elves as it was for humans, with the upheaval of Muslim conquests, the Migration Period, and the changes in society since the decline of the Roman Empire. With the Black Plague and recurring famines of the 14th century, Elven society took a dramatic step.

Blaming the seemingly irreversible tide of civilization, Elves sought to retreat from the strife and suffering that seemed common in a period of ever more frequent peasant revolts, the Hundred Years' War, and recurring epidemics and famine. This retreat was literal, with the majority of Elves picking up and moving farther away from cities and feudal lords and back into the wilderness of their ancestors.

Today, Elves have struggled to re-integrate into a semi-nomadic, hunter-gatherer society. A heavy reliance on Druidism and nature magic has helped them adjust, but it remains to be seen how this experiment will ultimately impact the race as a whole.

Elves who take up the life of an adventurer will find many opportunities to exploit their keen senses, talent for martial arts and magic use, as well as their connection with nature.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scope And Perspective

When I write lore for the campaign setting, my main goal is to NOT over specify everything. I have to fight back the urge to write tomes upon tomes of flavor and history. In the end, I want the game to be open ended for the players to decide their place. I don't want to have races or ethnicity or classes railroaded into my Vision. I'd rather keep it vague and poorly defined and let it become more concrete through actual play.

The lore will be written from a "human" perspective. What I wrote in the entry for the Dwarf race is a good example, I hope. It covers a period of over 2000 years (~1000 BC to 1600 AD) very briefly and is limited in perspective. Ultimately, there would be nothing written and very little myth from farther back than that outside of the ancient cultures in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China.

I'm also writing with the assumption that there is a certain level of general knowledge of our shared, actual history and geography. While I know that is not the case, I will try my best to make it transparent during game play.

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Dwarf


Requirements, Ability Modifiers, and Ability Min/Max are all by the book.

Overall, I am not going to change races much from their fantasy norms and established LL rule set. The only flavor changes will be to incorporate and locate them with the pseudo historical Early Modern Period.

Racial Characteristics are the same as the LL version, with the following changes:

*Dwarves retain their "2 in 6 (1-2 on 1d6) chance of detecting traps, false walls, hidden construction, or noticing if passages are sloped." This ability is only applicable in dungeons, castles, and other buildings and constructions. There are no other adjustment to skills.

*Dwarves may only speak the Dwarven language unless they have exceptional intelligence or are taught another language.

*There are only going to be 3 saving throws, based on Constitution, Dexterity, and Wisdom. [I am throwing around names for them in my head, for now I will just refer to them as CON DEX and WIS saves.] Dwarves receive +2 to DEX saves, +4 to CON saves, and +4 against any magical effect (not cumulative with the prior two saves).

Game Lore

In ancient times, Dwarves lived around most of the Mediterranean world outside of the early Human empires in Egypt and Mesopotamia. With the rise of Etruscan, Carthaginian, and Grecian tribes, some Dwarves integrated with the emerging human civilizations and others migrated through northern Europe and into Eurasia and over the Ural Mountains.

Those who stayed enjoyed good relations with their human neighbors, engaging in commerce and trade. Many early engineering feats accomplished at this time were with the help of Dwarven knowledge. As the Human Mediterranean peoples grew and clashed, Dwarves were eventually pushed out and away. The final blow came with the end of the Roman Republic and the dominance of the Roman Empire and its eventual acceptance of the Christian faith, over 1000 years ago.

Dwarven people are a tough and adaptable folk and find pride in making their homes in inhospitable lands to call their own. Most major Dwarven settlements today are found in the Atlas Mountains and escarpments of North Africa, the cold northern mountain climes of Scandinavia, the Caucasus region around the Black Sea, and the Ural and trans-Ural areas. While old enmities have died down, most Dwarves are still apt to live in their close knit, isolated communities.

The adventurous types are found scattered across Europe, Asia, and Africa, plying their respective trades. While a gruff and surly people in general, their skills are appreciated by many.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Races

Character Races

Racial requirements for stats remains by the book, except there will be no difference for male and female characters. The requirements have to be met both BEFORE and AFTER stats have been modified for race.

All character races have every class available to them with no level limits. 

That is a pretty radical departure from LL and 1st edition. Ultimately, I want players to have lots of options. I'm not overly concerned with the 'balance' achieved with level limits nor the fantasy styling that says Dwarves don't cast spells or only Gnomes and Humans can be Illusionists. I will give something back to Humans since they now share the formerly unique quality to be any class and achieve any level.

'Balance' is arbitrary and over-rated. What exactly are we balancing? One of D&D's core features is that every class offers a significantly different play experience. Balance is one of those concepts that is mostly useless for D&D. You can't run any kind of statistical analysis or use objective criteria in a game that is open to player and DM interpretation and collaboration. Ok, my Fighter variant is unbeatable in situation A, but a well run game should have nearly infinite situations. The obvious cases, like a class that has D20 for HD, casts spells, and can fly at will, are just that, obvious.

Realistically, if someone can pull off amazing rolls and be an Assassin/Paladin, all the more power to them. According to their abilities, that type of character would be 'better' than a plain Fighter. Yet, a sandbox game is, ultimately, more based on player skill rather than character skill. Let the Assassin/Paladin be stronger than a Fighter; the players are pulling the strings and the game world reacts to the player's decisions, not the character's stats.

Perhaps not every person is mature enough to see this. Maybe they have played in games where the play is mostly tactical and consists of miniatures and fights in hard coded rules and situations. Well, then they are not really playing D&D, at least, not the type on which I would want to base a campaign.

As for style goes, that is an easy one. Each game world has its own style. If the DM chooses to mimic Tolkien fantasy or any established D&D setting, so be it. I'm creating my own style here, just as every DM should. Once you are in the realm of fantasy and fiction, the rules are all malleable. Sure, you sacrifice some of the familiarity and commonly held conceptions that transcend gaming tables, but you gain variety.

Monday, September 6, 2010

S&W White Box: Recap; Session 13, 8/30/10

Here's a session I did make. It's been two delves now that the party has come up short on EXP and gold while facing heavy fighting. Hopefully, that big haul is just around the corner...

Sunday the 2nd of Flocktime, CY 576

Cast of Characters
Galathos the Swordsman (3rd level Fighting-Man)
Gloin the Dwarven Warrior (2nd level Fighting-Man)
Old Man Halgron the Priest of St. Cuthbert (3rd level Cleric)
“Willim” the hired lantern-bearer/porter
Unnamed hobgoblin brave
Unnamed hobgoblin brave
MIA: Brother Samuel the Adept of St. Cuthbert (2nd level Cleric) 

Readying themselves for conflict the party stepped past the southernmost pit and…peered down the southern corridor. Not detecting any orcish presence they decided to head west down a long corridor that doubled back east. As they marched along Gloin realized that the corridor they were following was set at a slight but steady and prolonged incline. With Galathos mapping their progress they quickly realized that something odd had happened. The corridor they were following should have brought them back to where they had been, but instead was leading them to foreign territory. Confused, they re-traced their steps and decided to investigate the sloping passageway at a later time. After all, they were charged with attacking the Bloody Axe orc tribe in exchange for the favor of the Flesh Render hobgoblins.

At this point they headed east, stopping to investigate a room in which they found nothing of value and then continued north. After passing a set of stairs descending into the darkness they came to what one of their hobgoblin companions described as the territory of “bull men”. Their guides told them that the area was very dangerous and that the tribe kept away from the “bull men”. Realizing that their companions would not continue on in that direction they turned back and went east back at the room they had explored. They discovered that once again their path took them to the “bull men” where they turned back towards the intersection with the pit traps.

Apparently, their presence had been noted and by this time the Bloody Axe orcs were waiting for the party. As the adventurers turned the corner of the corridor they were following they were ambushed by five orcs. In the confines of the corridor the melee was quick and deadly, with the adventurers besting the orcs but losing one of the hobgoblin braves in the process to friendly fire (taking Galathos’ ranseur in the neck brought about an end to his short career). After regrouping, the party continued into the adjacent room which contained a series of brass levers and bells and a second door. Leaving the odd items alone they focused on the other door exiting the room. Listening at the door, Galathos and Gloin were able to hear the sound of footsteps echoing in a corridor.

Busting through the doorway they came to a split corridor with a group of orcs facing them from each side. A prolonged battle ensued, with Galathos and Old Man Halgron taking on the first group of orcs and Gloin and the remaining hobgoblin taking on the second group, with Willim the porter trying to stay out of harm’s way.  Eventually the battle came to an end, with the bruised and bloodied adventurers defeating the eight Bloody Axe warriors. Noting the courage and skill that the hobgoblin brave had demonstrated in battle, and in recognition of a particularly lucky and brutal strike that turned the tide of the battle the party christened the hobgoblin “Kritiquar”, a name that the humanoid seemed to greatly enjoy.

As the party was licking its wounds, the porter came under fire by an orcish archer from the room they had cleared. Pulling the unnarmed servant safely out of the line of fire, the party met the orcs in the doorway where they eventually managed to bring them down. After looting the bodies of their meager possessions and bundling up weapons to sell back in town the party returned to the main staircase. Sending Kritiquar on his way back to the territory of the Flesh Renders, the party ascended to the surface.

Coin: 8 gold orbs, 20 silver nobles, 50 copper commons
KIA: 16 orcs
Treasure: 30 gp worth of sundry orcish equipment
Experience: 86 each (258 total)

Friday, September 3, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Hit Points

Hit Points

Hit Points will remain the same as specified per class in the LL book.

The big change will be the consideration of mass into Hit Points. Essentially, by adding mass as a factor into determining hit points, we can make giant monsters truly dangerous without having to touch Hit Dice and all the mechanics based off of that. The design change here is made to the dice value of Hit Dice.

For example, an Elephant is listed as 9HD in the LL book, meaning 40 hit points on average. I find it disturbing that you can kill a 6 ton beast so easily. I know hit points are an abstraction, but I want an army that fields elephants to be fearsome, rather than having a mobile target that takes 10 arrows or bolts then dies.

So we start with the assumption that something with roughly the same mass as a human uses d8 hit dice and work from there. As a tentative working system, we can increase the die used every time mass doubles. So, d8 is for an 80kg human, d10 for a 160kg monster, d12 for 320kg, etc. This will create odd dice after this point, but that just means we use a digital random number generator to create D14 or D34. The elephant example (full sized African males weigh in around 5,500kgs) above would have 9HD at D20 for an average hit points of 95. Now we are talking about something fierce! Of course, this monster's to-hit, damage, saving throws versus effects, and susceptibility to effects by HD are all unchanged.

This affects monsters mostly and will require some hand waving for monsters that don't have real life analogues in which to base their mass. In addition, it does have one major impact on PCs.

All characters Hit Points are determined by summing HPs gained from chosen class and race. Bonuses from exceptional Constitution are only added once. Hit points from race never change during play.

Upon reaching a new level, only class hit points are added to the total.

Hit Points Due to Mass by Race

                 Race Hit Points
Gnomes, Halflings     1D4
Elves, Dwarves, Half-Elves     1D6
Humans, Half-Orcs     1D8

There is a little fudging here since the weights are pretty close to each other, but it works well enough and helps differentiate the player races.

By giving players 2 dice worth of hit points at first level, there is no need to have a house rule for max HPs at first level or for re-rolling results of 1 or 2. With the use of 2 dice and the mini-bell curve, the majority of players will have the same amount of hit points as if they were given one full hit dice worth of HPs with the potential to have much more. A Half-Orc or Human Fighter could, with a little luck, have more than 10 hit points at first level.

This system for hit points satisfies a number of design goals. It integrates the concept of mass into hit points, allowing for a more 'realistic' treatment of large monsters. In addition, it gives players more survivability at first level without resorting to simply giving away maximum hit points for everyone. It also helps differentiate races and offer more meaningful choices.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

EMP: Section 1 Characters - Stats

So in an effort to develop this EMP campaign, I am going to go straight through the rule book. Here at the beginning, it will be more rules focused. Once I progress to the classes, equipment, spells, etc, more world building will come into play.


Ah, character generation. I am going to go mostly by the book here. The main difference will be breaking up bonus structures. For instance, Strength will help with weapon damage, but Dexterity will help with to-hit. I mostly want to get around the concept of dump stats by having each stat offer some bonus to every character class, even in small ways.

Players roll 3d6 6 times and may arrange according to taste. I will use a general chart for stat bonuses and penalties, with a few exceptions for Skills since they will be based on a D6:

 3 = -3
4 - 5 = -2
6 - 8 = -1
9 -12 = +0
13-15 = +1
16-17 = +2
  18 = +3
STRENGTH modifies weapon damage as well as feats of strength, such as forcing doors. This score will also assist in climbing walls. (Note: Thief skills are going to be heavily reworked. They will be generalized for use by all characters, but then Thieves will have the best chance of succeeding on their rolls, especially in iconic Thief skills.)
DEXTERITY modifies Armor class, to-hit, saving throws for avoiding effects, along with Picking Locks, Picking Pockets, Moving Silently, and Hiding in Shadows.

CONSTITUTION confers a hit point modifier per hit die and modifies saving throws against effects against the character's body. It also determines resurrection and system shock survival.

INTELLIGENCE governs the number of languages a character may speak and their ability to read and write. For Magic-users, this will also govern their spell learning probability and Magic-users of exceptional intelligence may also memorize an additional spell per day.

WISDOM offers a saving throw modifier to effects against a character's willpower along with modifying their ability to Find and Remove Traps and Hear Noises. Clerics and Druids with exceptional Wisdom may also cast more spells per day, while those with below average Wisdom may find that they are not always successful when attempting to do so.

CHARISMA confers a reaction adjustment during an encounter while determining the number and morale of retainers and henchmen. Characters with high Charisma scores also start play with more money due to their force of personality granting them additional resources through inheritance, patronage, or a well perpetrated scam.

Experience Bonuses for Ability Prime Requisites remains by the book.

Overall, the design goal here was to offer something for everyone in every stat and offer meaningful choices for the distribution of stats. This does have a downside though. For example, a thief would need a good Dexterity AND Wisdom score to gain bonuses to all of their skills or a Fighter would need Dexterity AND Strength for the full bonuses to hit and damage.
One important factor here that is not yet apparent is the role that number of languages will play into World Building. As mentioned before, the EMP campaign will be human-centric. This will mostly manifest itself during game play, but one concession is made in the rules themselves. Non-humans do not start off speaking Common; therefore, players who choose a non-human race will at least require an Intelligence high enough to gain 1 additional language.

Other effects of these statistics will show up in the sections on Skills, Saving Throws, and Spells.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Early Modern Period: Introduction and Required Reading

I've decided to develop a historical fantasy campaign set in the early 17th century. Not like I have any plans to run this thing any time soon, but researching and building are fun in itself. The Early Modern Period (EMP) campaign will be a blend of historical realism and D&D fantasy. My "source books" will be scholarly, consisting of research into the time period. The creative side will be implementing the fantasy elements into a (hopefully) coherent and fun setting.

For reference, my primary sources are the Seventeenth-Cen​tury Europe, Second Edition: State, Conflict and Social Order in Europe 1598-1700 (Palgrave History of Europe) by Thomas Munck, The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy by Peter H. Wilson, and Pike and Shot Tactics: 1590-1660 by Keith Roberts. I'm sure that body of work will expand over time. There are also plenty of other resources sprinkled throughout the net, but the authoritative research will only be in published scholarly works.

I plan on using Labyrinth Lord (LL) with the Advanced Edition Characters (AEC), so essentially 1st edition rules. I'll get started with world building and rule building by going through the LL books section by section and develop the rules and setting holistically. That should provide a strong framework going forward.

Feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions!

My Stack Is Bigger Than Yours

We moved our game night to Tuesday to accommodate changing work schedules and as a result we are sharing Games HQ with 3 (!) other groups. I will only make 1 comment when comparing tables:

On our table, we each have a little 25 page digest sized booklet of Swords and Wizardry and the DM has 3 hardcover AD&D books. Each PLAYER at the other tables had more than our entire group, including 2-3 different players handbooks and source books. One person walked in with his hands cupped at his waist and books stacked up to his chin.

It's definitely not the size of the stack, but how you use it!