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Showing posts from April, 2021

D&D's Original Twenty+ Character Stats (versus GURPS)

Players of role-playing adventure games love simple game rules these days. I think that's a good thing, and it's likely to make the hobby easier to enter for newcomers. But what counts as simple? B/X D&D and other early varieties of D&D, and their many, many clones, are often praised for the simplicity of the stats and character features if we compare with later editions of D&D. Yet if we just consider the player-facing matter of the character sheet and the numbers that players need to track, there are a lot of numbers, and the use of those numbers is often opaque. What do you roll for this stat or that stat, if at all, and which die? Some stats are "primary," in the sense that you roll for them or they are determined without reference to other numbers. Some of them are "secondary," in the sense that they are derived from primary numbers by a formula or by consulting a chart. After trying to introduce a few novices to B/X D&D, I realized that

Alternative Spell Rules for Knave

Knave is a light rules toolkit by Ben Milton compatible with old versions of D&D and their clones. It was released in 2018 (before I got back into adventure games). Only recently did I get around to looking at it closely. I think it's pretty neat. One of its best features is the open invitation to modify the rules. One kind of fantasy adventure game rule that I dislike generally is "spells per day" and the related "Vancian magic." The rules of Knave require a PC to have a spellbook and to read it out to cast a spell, but spells work only once per day. Why? I found a lot of alternative rules for Knave on the internet, but none that addressed this issue. I prefer spell rules that make casting spells a risk to resources used at will rather than a built-in power that works X times per day. So, I thought of some alternative spell rules for Knave that suit my preferences. They also give PCs a new use for their INT score. With this rule alternative, PCs can even

From consecutive dice to 2x1d6 grid to d66

In the last post , I was probing for the earliest use of d66 (where the first die counts as the tens place and the second counts as the ones, but numerals go only from 1 to 6). With help from friendly visitors, I was sent looking for the first edition of Traveller , from 1977. They were right! Traveller , Book 3, used a primitive version of d66. There I found this chart, shown below, which may be the earliest use of d66 in the rules of a role-playing game. The book puts it not as Toon 's rules did in 1984, as "tens-and-ones," nor did either call it "d66." Traveller says instead, "Throw two dice consecutively, and index the result to the table." (Book 3, p. 19; table on p. 21) The blank space on the table means no encounter if you roll a 6 for the first die. Notice how the table is (oddly, to me) filled out with blank space for all "first die = 6" results.   On the next page (p. 22), though, we find a table of patron encounters, in which the