Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So, what do I want? Part I

I have spoken a lot so far about the sort of elements of D&D I don’t like. So I thought I would begin to discuss the sort of D&D campaign that I do want.

To begin with, a game with simple rules. Specifically?

I intend to use Swords & Wizardry Complete as a base. I strongly considered using Labyrinth Lord or LotFP as my base rules, but even though there are things that I like about both their approaches, S&W complete is a better fit for the Wilderlands, which I intend to use as my campaign background. With the addition of the original Bard class from Best of the Dragon, Vol. I, all the PC classes I want will be available for play. Wilderlands specific classes I intend to bring in later, in case anyone wants to play a Witch, Amazon, Alchemist or Sage, which I don’t really anticipate.

Fast combat. I want to be able to have multiple combats per session. In the area of three to four, which is how I remember a combat heavy session going in the old days.

I intend to use a variant of Daniel R. Collins’ ‘Target 20’ system for combat, which I hope will help with speeding up the calculation of to hit rolls. In addition, I am intending to implement two simple rules for modifiers. Positive modifiers don’t stack (that is, you take the highest of all possible modifiers and apply that modifier only) and there is absolute cap on modifiers of +4. Fighter Str bonus and Dex bonus for attack rolls wwill be exempted.

Simple (to the point of non-existent) skill systems. I don’t want tons of rolling and looking up modifiers on charts. I want to be able to ask the player if their character has a skill from their background and then say yes, or ask them to roll some dice (see Baker’s Dictum). Specifically, though I can’t currently source it, I intend to use the multiple d6/stat system for skill and statistic rolls (roll a 2d6 under the relevant stat for standard tasks, 3d6 for hard tasks and 4d6 nearly impossible tasks). Skills will be a ‘real world’ listing of skills based on background. I don’t want to pin down a specific list, but they will be things like Huntsman, Equestrian, Archery, Knightly training, etc.

No feats or cafeteria list of special powers. I do want to have players to be able to acquire special powers or techniques, but I want these to flow out of their experiences in the campaign, rather than get an automatic new bennie every level.

No prestige classes. No dual classing. No class switching at all. I have seen a few times in my long history where someone took one of these options for ‘character’ reasons, but damn few of them. That’s why I want non-humans as classes, ala Labyrinth Lord or LotFP. In fact, I’ll probably take elements of both racial classes from the two B/X inspired games.

Alternate spell list. I will be giving the spell lists for both Cleric and Magic-user the once over. I definitely want a more Vancian feel for the mage spells, and a more focused version of the cleric spell list. This won’t be quite as difficult as it sounds, as I will only have to deal with a few mage spells initially and the 1st level of cleric spells. I will probably make the cleric spells cast-able at will, like the 3.0 sorcerer.

Next: more stuff I want.

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