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 Post subject: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:12 am 
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The DCC RPG is going to be a simplified version of the 3E SRD, along with some enhancements to give it a more unique flavor. I thought it would be interesting to look at the table of contents of the SRD and make comments on how it might be adjusted to create a “3E lite” game. (I’ve started a project like this several times, but never followed through to its conclusion.)

In short, this is a bit of a combination guess and wish-list for the contents of the DCC RPG.

I’m doing this by looking at the TOC only, without actual copies of the SRD chapters open, so my comments are more general than specific.

Legal
* If it’s based on the SRD, it has to have something like this.

Basics
* Most introductory RPGs start with this.
* I’m not sure how “introductory” the DCC game will be and I think that parts of this can be trimmed out, particularly if there is anything about how to play nice with others.

Ability Scores
* Must have this; must add Luck and other adjustments.
* Perhaps some major re-write here since some of the stats have different names (e.g. "Dexterity" v. "Agility")

Alignment
* Important for most campaigns, and I've seen hints that it will be particularly important for the DCC RPG.

Armor Class
* Pretty standard; I'd trim out some of the less usual armor types and stick to the "classics" of leather, chain, plate....
* For “retro compatibility” one might consider both ascending and descending AC.

Saving Throws
* Must have this; prefer FRW saves to older edition ones

Death, Dying & Healing
* Must have this in some form

Condition Summary
Environment
Breaking Items & Attacking Objects
Hazards & Obstacles

* This will need to be addressed for adventures; put into a “GM” section.

Basic Character Classes I (Arcane Archer through Monk)
Basic Character Classes II (Paladin through Multiclassed Characters
Basic Character Classes III (NPC Classes)
Basic Character Races

* Classes may be altered and perhaps shortened, but something similar must be here.
* I tend to focus on Fighter, Thief, Magic-User, Cleric as core classes, and those need full write-ups, but specialized classes (e.g. “Ranger”) could be done in a much shortened format.
* There is also the Race = Class question; some blending might be appropriate.

Feats
Skills Overview
Skills I (Alchemy through Intuit Direction)
Skills II (Jump through Wilderness Lore)
Special Abilities

* Major trim-out section. I assume no feats and limited skills, if any.
* There is a spot on the character sheet for “Special Abilities” so I assume some detail is needed on this.

Carrying, Moving & Seeing
Equipment I (Weapons)
Equipment II (Goods & Services)

* I’d thin out some of the unusual weapons and armor. Stick to the basics.

Combat Basics
Combat Actions
Combat Modifiers
Turning & Rebuking Undead

* Some of this needs to be in there. I’d trim out many of the more advanced maneuvers such as Attacks of Opportunity, since those weren’t around “in the day.”

Treasure
* Important! Must have lots of treasure!

Creature Overview
Familiars, Mounts & Companions
Monsters (A) (B) (C) (D) (Dragons) (E) (F & G) (H) (I, J & K) (L) (M) (N, O & P) (R) (S) (T) (U, V & W) (X, Y & Z) (Animals) (Templates) (Vermin)

* Perhaps a limited number of monsters.
* If limited, I'd focus on the "classics" plus a few really unusual ones -- perhaps go back to Appendix N and find a few from those sources.
* Certainly I’d trim out the details. (Smaller stat blocks, shorter descriptions, etc, so conversion to old editions is easy)

Magic Overview
Arcane Spells
Divine Spells
Schools of Magic
Spell I (Bard through Ranger spell lists)
Spell II (Wizard & Sorcerer spell list)
Spells (A) (B) (C) (D) (E) (F) (G) (H) (I) (J, K & L) (M) (N & O) (P) (Q & R) (S) (T) (U, V, W, X, Y & Z)

* A lot of trimming here as well. Shorten the descriptions, eliminate some of the stats for the spell. Perhaps cut down on the total number of spells.
* Spell lists for each class are nice to make each different, but spell descriptions might all be thrown together alphabetically for ease of reference.
* Maybe eliminate spell components, etc.
* Consider getting rid of spell schools

Magic Items
Magic Items (Creating Magic Items) (Cursed Items) (Intelligent items) (Armor) (Artifacts) (Potions) (Rings) (Rods) (Scrolls) (Staves) (Wands) (Weapons) (Wondrous Items)

* Most of this needs to be in there as well. Again, shorten the descriptions.
* Maybe some sort of random magic generator could be added, so that magic items could gain random bonuses, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:01 pm 
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Impressive, Fin! Nicely done. It will be fun to contrast your list against Joseph's final version.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:59 pm 
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Well, also keep in mind that my list is pretty vague. It's kind of like fortune telling, where I could almost make my list appear to fit any final product Joseph comes up with. :wink:

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:19 pm 
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Is this like, "I foresee a crossroads in your future"? :)

Keep in mind that the goal of DCC RPG is not to simplify 3E. The primary goal is to re-envision what D&D could have been if the creators focused their energies on adapting their inspirations to an existing rules set, rather than building everything from scratch. The early days of the hobby have an interesting mix of creative inspirations (e.g., Appendix N) and rules inspirations (e.g., wargames evolving to Chainmail evolving to OD&D). What if there were no need for the rules evolution - what if Gygax and Arneson (or, say, someone else more modern) took the same set of creative inspirations and applied them to an existing rules set?

So, the concept is not "let's make 3E simpler." The concept is, "let's make a modern rules set reflect Appendix N accurately" (as well as other important D&D influences, such as the Hammer Horror movies, but I'm bundling that with Appendix N). This requires re-reading every book in Appendix N (which I've been working on for a couple years), then applying rules -- existing where possible, new where not -- to that body of work.

Now, with that said, some comments on your notes:

Alignment: Clearly integral to an old-school game, as its conceptual antecedents figure prominently in Appendix N. Poul Anderson created the Chaos vs. Law concept, later adopted by Michael Moorcock in his Elric works and eventually codified into D&D as the nine-grid we know so well.

Saving Throws: Can't live without them, as evinced by REH's Conan works. Conan almost always makes his saving throws. :)

Death, Dying, and Healing: Healing is actually an interesting one, as there are many "OSR scholars" who believe the cleric is a Gygaxian invention and doesn't figure prominently in Appendix N. There are clear examples if you read broadly enough - Poul Anderson's High Crusade features a cleric as a main character (and his other works have clerics as important characters), Margaret St. Clair's Sign of the Labrys has a cleric-themed subtext, Sterling Lanier's Hiero's Journey features a strong cleric archetype, Lord Dunsany's King of Elfland's Daughter has a cleric as a tertiary character - but most of these evince turning abilities (often against fey, not undead!) rather than healing skills. Only in Hiero's Journey have I so far found a strong clerics-can-heal theme.

Condition summary, environment, breaking items, attacking objects, hazards & obstacles: Not as important to me...simply because versions of these rules didn't exist until, what, the early to mid 80's? And we all played D&D just fine without them for the first 5-10 years of the game.

Character classes: Which ones were in Appendix N? :) Conan = fighter, thief. Elric = fighter, magic-user. Vance = lots of magic-user characters, and then you have Cugel who was a thief. Fafhrd & Gray Mouser = thief, possibly fighter. Three Hearts, Three Lions = arguably the inspiration for the paladin class but potentially a fighter or cleric model as well. ERB / John Carter of Mars = clearly the archetypal fighter. Lovecraft = magic-users and evil clerics. Merritt = fighters and magic-users/clerics. Saberhagen = magic-users. Zelazny = fighters, weak magic-users. I don't need to go into Tolkien. So I guess we've got fighters, magic-users, clerics, and thieves? As for races, most of the elves in Appendix N are fey-like creatures who hate the touch of iron...

Feats and skills: Conan and Elric seemed to have a lot of feats but, again, if we didn't need them in 1974, we don't need them now.

That's all for now...except to note that magic is a very different conversation. For all the people who refer to D&D magic as "Vancian," how many people have actually read all the books in Vance's Dying Earth series? And then read the Harold Shea series by de Camp & Pratt? At its core, D&D magic has a greater resemblance to de Camp & Pratt than Vance. There are unmistakable allusions to (and outright reprints of) Vance's work in D&D, which earned the term Vancian, but it was in the Harold Shea series that the word "somatic" first appears, and we get the "ingredient system" that D&D spells became by AD&D. To Vance we owe the memorization system, and the term "prismatic spray," and not much more. But both Vance and de Camp-and-Pratt feature something that's missing from D&D now: unpredictable spellcasting. Remember when Harold Shea tries to summon a dragon, and actually summons 1/10 of a dragon (a pseudodragon)? Then on his next casting he accidentally gets 100 dragons? And Cugel the Clever suffers similar misfortunes when trying to cast spells against his nemesis Iucounu? Creating a magic system that accurately reflects magic as it's depicted in the foundational works of D&D is not the same as what D&D spellcasting has become. More on that another day...

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:30 am 
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Joseph, I appreciate such a lengthy post. Your thoughts are like gold here!

goodmangames wrote:
Keep in mind that the goal of DCC RPG is not to simplify 3E.
I’m aware of this, but I was under the impression that it was “starting” with the SRD, so I did as well.

goodmangames wrote:
The primary goal is to re-envision what D&D could have been if the creators focused their energies on adapting their inspirations to an existing rules set, rather than building everything from scratch. The early days of the hobby have an interesting mix of creative inspirations (e.g., Appendix N) and rules inspirations (e.g., wargames evolving to Chainmail evolving to OD&D). What if there were no need for the rules evolution - what if Gygax and Arneson (or, say, someone else more modern) took the same set of creative inspirations and applied them to an existing rules set?

So, the concept is not "let's make 3E simpler." The concept is, "let's make a modern rules set reflect Appendix N accurately" (as well as other important D&D influences, such as the Hammer Horror movies, but I'm bundling that with Appendix N). This requires re-reading every book in Appendix N (which I've been working on for a couple years), then applying rules -- existing where possible, new where not -- to that body of work.
A subtle difference and one that I’ll have to ponder further.

goodmangames wrote:
Alignment: Clearly integral to an old-school game, as its conceptual antecedents figure prominently in Appendix N. Poul Anderson created the Chaos vs. Law concept, later adopted by Michael Moorcock in his Elric works and eventually codified into D&D as the nine-grid we know so well.
My personal preference would be to abandon the nine-grid from AD&D and move backwards to the Law-Chaos axis. Seems to fit the source books better and is simpler.

goodmangames wrote:
Condition summary, environment, breaking items, attacking objects, hazards & obstacles: Not as important to me...simply because versions of these rules didn't exist until, what, the early to mid 80's? And we all played D&D just fine without them for the first 5-10 years of the game.
Agreed. Extra layers of rules not really critical to a good adventure.

goodmangames wrote:
Feats and skills: Conan and Elric seemed to have a lot of feats but, again, if we didn't need them in 1974, we don't need them now.
Ah, but the real question becomes: did Conan and/or Elric have feats or were they operating under a different rules set. In other words, if “feats” are designed to be ways that super characters can “break the rules”, but Appendix N characters can do those things, then they become an aspect of class design rather than a special add-on choice for a player.

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:52 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
Death, Dying, and Healing: Healing is actually an interesting one, as there are many "OSR scholars" who believe the cleric is a Gygaxian invention and doesn't figure prominently in Appendix N.
I think this comes back to people who focus on the "turn undead" aspect of clerics more than the healing part. Clerics who hold the undead at bay are more like those in the Exorcist and are more like a priest from Christianity, and nothing quite like that is in Appendix N. While I wouldn't go so far as to call this interpretation of cleric an "invention" of Gygax, I can see why some would say that it isn't in Appendix N.

goodmangames wrote:
There are clear examples if you read broadly enough - Poul Anderson's High Crusade features a cleric as a main character (and his other works have clerics as important characters), Margaret St. Clair's Sign of the Labrys has a cleric-themed subtext, Sterling Lanier's Hiero's Journey features a strong cleric archetype, Lord Dunsany's King of Elfland's Daughter has a cleric as a tertiary character - but most of these evince turning abilities (often against fey, not undead!) rather than healing skills.
Interesting. Sounds like you’re saying “clerics should be in there but not as we’re used to seeing them" and that one would create a cleric class which was more fighter and less healer. Better against the fey, worse against undead. That would certainly make undead more terrifying. And would fit Appendix N better.

On the other hand, I detect a "clerics aren't in the source books much at all" subtext to your post, even though you say there are clear examples, since the cleric of fiction looks very little like the cleric in most RPGs. This could indicate that the cleric could be relegated to NPC status as a hireling or person to be encoutered who might aid the party, rather than being an actual adventuring member of the party. (To take an example from Tolkien, meeting Elrond at Rivendell had the advantage of getting the party back to full strength even though Elrond didn't take his healing powers on the road with the group when they left. Tolkien put in "safe" spots run by people like Beorn, Elrond, and Galadriel where the party could rest rather than having healers join the party.)

goodmangames wrote:
Only in Hiero's Journey have I so far found a strong clerics-can-heal theme.
One could also argue that removing the Cleric all together as a PC option could be a good move, If the Cleric isn't going to turn undead so much and isn't going to heal so much, then the value of having a cleric class becomes diminished.

Or perhaps I've misread what you're saying? Sometimes I wonder how much I'm interpreting and how much I'm inserting, if that makes sense. :P

goodmangames wrote:
Character classes: Which ones were in Appendix N? :) Conan = fighter, thief. Elric = fighter, magic-user. Vance = lots of magic-user characters, and then you have Cugel who was a thief. Fafhrd & Gray Mouser = thief, possibly fighter. Three Hearts, Three Lions = arguably the inspiration for the paladin class but potentially a fighter or cleric model as well. ERB / John Carter of Mars = clearly the archetypal fighter. Lovecraft = magic-users and evil clerics. Merritt = fighters and magic-users/clerics. Saberhagen = magic-users. Zelazny = fighters, weak magic-users. I don't need to go into Tolkien. So I guess we've got fighters, magic-users, clerics, and thieves?
I notice that you’ve listed “cleric” here but not nearly as much as fighter, magic-user, and thief. I could see a non-cleric model or a much-modified cleric that could make the game quite different from the standard rpg and a lot of fun to play.

goodmangames wrote:
As for races, most of the elves in Appendix N are fey-like creatures who hate the touch of iron...
I really like this interpretation of fey elves. Tolkien elves are pretty cool as well, but there is certainly something more “traditional” about the sidhe vs unseelie conflicts.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:25 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
Healing is actually an interesting one, as there are many "OSR scholars" who believe the cleric is a Gygaxian invention and doesn't figure prominently in Appendix N.


I always thought Archbishop Turpin from the Song of Roland was one of the main inspirations for the cleric class. He doesn't do magic, but he wears heavy armor and beats the snot out of people with a mace.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:42 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
Is this like, "I foresee a crossroads in your future"? :)

Keep in mind that the goal of DCC RPG is not to simplify 3E. The primary goal is to re-envision what D&D could have been if the creators focused their energies on adapting their inspirations to an existing rules set, rather than building everything from scratch. The early days of the hobby have an interesting mix of creative inspirations (e.g., Appendix N) and rules inspirations (e.g., wargames evolving to Chainmail evolving to OD&D). What if there were no need for the rules evolution - what if Gygax and Arneson (or, say, someone else more modern) took the same set of creative inspirations and applied them to an existing rules set?

So, the concept is not "let's make 3E simpler." The concept is, "let's make a modern rules set reflect Appendix N accurately" (as well as other important D&D influences, such as the Hammer Horror movies, but I'm bundling that with Appendix N). This requires re-reading every book in Appendix N (which I've been working on for a couple years), then applying rules -- existing where possible, new where not -- to that body of work.

Now, with that said, some comments on your notes:

Alignment: Clearly integral to an old-school game, as its conceptual antecedents figure prominently in Appendix N. Poul Anderson created the Chaos vs. Law concept, later adopted by Michael Moorcock in his Elric works and eventually codified into D&D as the nine-grid we know so well.


For me, alignment has always been an integral part of RPG... but with a caveat. I believe it does exist and the ability to 'sense evil' is and should be part of the game. Alignment is a way to classify a very complex character into several categories for effects in the game. I do not believe in early Gygax game design where you get penalized for changing alignment (unless you have a restrictive class alignment). But they should play an important role in the game.

Quote:
Death, Dying, and Healing: Healing is actually an interesting one, as there are many "OSR scholars" who believe the cleric is a Gygaxian invention and doesn't figure prominently in Appendix N. <cut text> ... but most of these evince turning abilities (often against fey, not undead!) rather than healing skills. Only in Hiero's Journey have I so far found a strong clerics-can-heal theme.


I am glad you have found enough support to keep Cleric's in the RPG. I will agree with some of your comments that most of the Clerics are more effective against Fey. That comes from the Church vs. Druids/Nature worshipers in the past. That was more of a danger than the Undead who were not as common in stories. I would prefer to keep more of the positive vs. negative focus of Clerics. It would keep more of the proper feel for us old timers. :) If you switch it to more 'fey-like' feel, it would feel like a different game or world. Plus all of our old source books and modules would be FAR more difficult to translate to the new system.

Quote:
Feats and skills: Conan and Elric seemed to have a lot of feats but, again, if we didn't need them in 1974, we don't need them now.


I can agree with dropping feats. I do like the ability to customize characters, but they did make a mistake in 3e with feats. They left the characters are full power THEN tacked feats on top of them creating greater chance for unbalanced classes than before.

After saying that.. I am not sure where you stand on skills? I do like the skill system. Not from a power gaming standpoint, but from a point of an in-game mechanic to further define a character knowledge and skills. We also play C&C and they have a very loose system there and it plays well, but I do like what skills bring to the game.

Example: Thief: Can be good a climbing and hide. Sucks at open locks and pick pocket.

Plenty of flexibility here to tweak characters w/out the creation of 200 separate character classes that could unbalance the game.

Quote:
Magic System ... <cut text>


Your thoughts on the Magic system are quite interesting. I did read the reviews of Cons and it does sound like an interesting mechanic. My only concern is that if it is too random, will it detract from the game? Do not have enough information here to really make a good determination on the in game effect.

I would definitely support the re-introduction of the casting time for spell casters. They are very powerful and one of the big limits to them in old editions was the chance to get the spells disrupted. 3e really eliminated most of that danger for a well designed character. If that would come back to the game it would help a great deal.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:19 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
Feats and skills: Conan and Elric seemed to have a lot of feats but, again, if we didn't need them in 1974, we don't need them now.
I wonder if a similar effect to feats/skills could be accomplished with a simple rule for multiclassing. For example, if one goes with a unified XP table for all classes, when a character levels up perhaps the player could select a new class from any of the four.

So, Conan really could be a fighter-thief. Grey Mouser a thief-fighter-mage. And so on. You wouldn't really need to have a Paladin class at all, as one could simply suggest a combination of fighter and cleric. A Ranger could be like a fighter-thief, only with outdoor thief abilities rather than urban.

Just me thinking out loud...

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:02 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
Just me thinking out loud...

I hear you, and like what I'm hearing.

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Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:24 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
For all the people who refer to D&D magic as "Vancian," how many people have actually read all the books in Vance's Dying Earth series? And then read the Harold Shea series by de Camp & Pratt?


Read the former (in its entirety), not the latter. I'll have to check it out.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:32 pm 
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Wonderful, wonderful books! Here is a good place to start:

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Compleat ... 0671698095


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:33 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
For example, if one goes with a unified XP table for all classes, when a character levels up perhaps the player could select a new class from any of the four.


Yes...if one does that. :) In my mind, the single most important defining difference between game design in 1974 and game design now is the concept of "balance." In 1974, there was really no effort at making the game balanced. Characters died regularly, careless PCs ended up fighting dragons way out of their league, demi-humans got screwed when it came to level limits, higher-level wizards were clearly the best class (if you were willing to put up with being the WORST class at low levels, with your measly one-shot sleep spell), and so on. Nowadays, the value placed on game balance is completely different.

It is hard to express these thoughts in a way that doesn't leave the reader incredulous -- dismissing "game balance" in game design clearly sounds like a mistake -- so I'll just leave it at that for now. In the final product I think you'll see that game balance can be achieved as much through randomization as standardization.

Tavis actually does a great job of articulating this one of his playtest reports (see below), both as a theoretical concept and in an example of real game play:

http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2010/12 ... nt-part-1/

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:24 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
finarvyn wrote:
For example, if one goes with a unified XP table for all classes, when a character levels up perhaps the player could select a new class from any of the four.


Yes...if one does that. :) In my mind, the single most important defining difference between game design in 1974 and game design now is the concept of "balance." In 1974, there was really no effort at making the game balanced. Characters died regularly, careless PCs ended up fighting dragons way out of their league, demi-humans got screwed when it came to level limits, higher-level wizards were clearly the best class (if you were willing to put up with being the WORST class at low levels, with your measly one-shot sleep spell), and so on. Nowadays, the value placed on game balance is completely different.

It is hard to express these thoughts in a way that doesn't leave the reader incredulous -- dismissing "game balance" in game design clearly sounds like a mistake -- so I'll just leave it at that for now. In the final product I think you'll see that game balance can be achieved as much through randomization as standardization.

Tavis actually does a great job of articulating this one of his playtest reports (see below), both as a theoretical concept and in an example of real game play:

http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2010/12 ... nt-part-1/


I have a pretty good sense of today's gamers reliance on balance. Much of my gaming is using the Savage World system. You can always tell on the forums and the like who's a rules/power gamer where probability is important when they try to comprehend, poorly, SW's dice combos and "exploding" dice (especially the d4. They hate it!).

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:37 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
In my mind, the single most important defining difference between game design in 1974 and game design now is the concept of "balance." In 1974, there was really no effort at making the game balanced. Characters died regularly, careless PCs ended up fighting dragons way out of their league, demi-humans got screwed when it came to level limits, higher-level wizards were clearly the best class (if you were willing to put up with being the WORST class at low levels, with your measly one-shot sleep spell), and so on. Nowadays, the value placed on game balance is completely different.
Ah, but the "balance" I'm talking about is simply a number of levels being balanced, not the power of the characters.

What the XP system does is try to balance out the classes. Thieves are weaker so they have lower numbers in the XP chart so that they can level up faster. In my home game, by throwing out XP altogether, I get rid of that feature of the rules and a player is a thief because they want to be one instead of playing a thief because they are balanced. If one player wants to be a 5th level fighter while the other is a 4/1 fighter/mage, I figure that this is okay because they each have similar levels.

I should mention that I house-rule this according to party size. For larger parties I tend to encourage single-classed characters and for smaller parties I tend to encourage dual-classed. This is because I'd like to have some representation from each of the "big four" classes in the group.

Just my two cents. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:02 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
Ah, but the "balance" I'm talking about is simply a number of levels being balanced, not the power of the characters.


I actually liked the concept of differing XP tables. It provides a good mechanic to help balance characters that have a wide array of powers. If everyone levels up at an arbitrary amount then all classes must have similar abilities at each level to keep them in a relevant range.

Thinking back to our 1e/2e campaigns, every character in the group was relevant. No single character so outshined another character that someone felt left out. 3e brought customizations and tweaks to the rule sets, but in the process allowed for a greater degree of power gaming (i.e. rule abusing characters).

I am all for making a more than a passing nod in balancing the character classes. I am also not sure if stepping all the way back from 3e (skill system or something like that) is also the best thing out there. Classic RPG is awesome, but so many players want to tweak their character. A good example is someone in our group that had an awesome thief character in our 2e campaign. He always wanted more of a Stealth Fighter type character that 2e did not really cover (he did not want full F/T multi-class). 3e really did help him achieve that goal (spot leveling a few fighter levels into his thief).

Or if someone wanted to be a stealth fighter... you could either choose Ranger in 3e or mix in a few thief levels. It would be cool to have an in game mechanic to tweak class abilities a bit but still keep old school feel.

I definitely agree with trying to get the entire PH down to 64-pages... that is a great concept. The C&C Players book is very thin also. Creates an easy to run game (I am not the CK for that campaign).

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:13 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
I think you'll see that game balance can be achieved as much through randomization as standardization.

This comment alone makes me twice as interested in the DCC RPG. I LOVE randomization -- I'm pretty much the only DM in my group that still likes to generate treasure randomly, for example.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:20 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
I think you'll see that game balance can be achieved as much through randomization as standardization.

This comment alone makes me twice as interested in the DCC RPG. I LOVE randomization -- I'm pretty much the only DM in my group that still likes to generate treasure randomly, for example.


I am with you... it is actually fun to let the player roll the magic items sometimes. Consult the tables and roll away!

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Oh, don't get me wrong -- I enjoy randomization as well. It helps keep both the DM and the players on their toes, and gives all of us a nice surprise. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Glad you guys like randomization. I love random tables! I've always enjoyed randomly determining treasure, too -- although I typically rolled as the DM. I've never let the players roll -- that's a neat idea...

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:06 pm 
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I say forget "game balance." It's the RPG equivalent of "fairness" in life. Both are impossible to achieve and when such an attempt is made, the results are miserable.

(I hate the phrase "that's not fair" from kids. My eighth grade science teacher set us all strait with the phrase, "who ever promised fairness in life?")


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:26 am 
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JediOre wrote:
I say forget "game balance." It's the RPG equivalent of "fairness" in life. Both are impossible to achieve and when such an attempt is made, the results are miserable.

(I hate the phrase "that's not fair" from kids. My eighth grade science teacher set us all strait with the phrase, "who ever promised fairness in life?")


You have a great point. The only reason I am citing a little balance is the fact that if characters are too unbalanced it does ruin game play for some players (i.e. someone totally steals the show).

I will have to admit that playing a wizard at low levels in 1e and 2e was absolutely brutal. But in a way, it was putting in your dues until you made higher levels.

My game balance note was not as much as it needs to be all balanced (4e.. yuck). But at least something more than a passing nod needs to be done for it. Otherwise all the random and cool tables in the world will not make the game well loved.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:19 am 
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Hamakto wrote:
I will have to admit that playing a wizard at low levels in 1e and 2e was absolutely brutal. But in a way, it was putting in your dues until you made higher levels.
Honestly, the problem with this design logic is that some of us enjoy running low-level campaigns. This means that for the entire campaign the magic-user might "put in your dues" with never the return.

That's part of why I like to start characters off at level 3-4 so that the poor magic-user has something he can actually do instead of the "one and done" of the OD&D MU. At least 3E and C&C have created some 0-level Cantrips so the poor MU has more spells to play with....

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:37 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
Hamakto wrote:
I will have to admit that playing a wizard at low levels in 1e and 2e was absolutely brutal. But in a way, it was putting in your dues until you made higher levels.
Honestly, the problem with this design logic is that some of us enjoy running low-level campaigns. This means that for the entire campaign the magic-user might "put in your dues" with never the return.

That's part of why I like to start characters off at level 3-4 so that the poor magic-user has something he can actually do instead of the "one and done" of the OD&D MU. At least 3E and C&C have created some 0-level Cantrips so the poor MU has more spells to play with....


One word: Scrolls.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on a simplified SRD game.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:14 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
One word: Scrolls.


Don't forget another word. Potions.

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