• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[OD&D] Thoughts on, Questions about, and Potential House Rules for OD&D

The Sword Emperor

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I've been inspired to check out OD&D. After reading several threads, including Old Geezer's pontification threads, and reading several sites, and checking out OSRIC (which I know isn't OD&D, but I"ve read up on the differences), I've had some thoughts, and questions, about OD&D. I've also thought up some of my own house rules I might want to use. I'd like your thoughts on all of this.

Thoughts
Reading about OD&D cleared up a major point of confusion for me. See, I have always thought of roleplaying games as stories about your characters experiencing fantastic adventures. The idea of an antagonistic relationship between the referee and the player sounded absurd, and I found the behavior restrictions placed on classes like the paladin to be absurd. Now, I’ve gained a greater appreciation for a different kind of playstyle.

On OD&D, and other games like Shadowrun, the referee is there to challenge the player, not the character. When I think about it that way, many things make more sense. The idea of the game as a game of logistics and resource management helps solidify a distinctly different kind of game. This is the kind of game where player characters behaving badly because they have low intelligence, or ignoring a troll’s weaknesses that they’re aware of, just doesn’t work out as well. Their character will probably die, and they’ll reroll a new character, and have to do it all over again. From level one, no magical equipment. And the stakes just get higher as you gain levels, because if your level 8 magic user dies, you’re coming back at level 1, with none of his previous spells or magical equipment (unless the party saved them and gives them to the new guy).

You can roleplay, but generally it shouldn’t get in the way of your adventuring party’s planning. The only time roleplaying is enforced is when the rules penalize you for going against them; the paladin’s code of conduct, the alignment experience point penalties. The paladin will weigh the advantage of violating his alignment against the penalties for doing so, and it’s based on a character distinction – this is a character who has chosen to follow a certain code of behavior, and will be punished (or punish himself) for violating it.

This kind of thinking is revolutionary for me. It’s going to affect how I play Shadowrun. It’s also changing my views on min-maxing. Really, min-maxing makes perfect sense in this kind of game. Why not? You can roleplay however you want unless the rules dictate otherwise – so just give yourself as much mechanical advantage as possible (unless you have a need to challenge yourself more than the referee plans to present).


Questions
How do attack rolls work? You refer to your class’ “roll required to hit armour class” chart, roll the die, add up any modifiers the referee finds appropriate, and see if the resulting roll was high enough?

Is there a general design principle behind the AC tables? Like any rhyme or reason/logic?

How do you balance the issue of realism in this game? I mean, suppose my players expect that the monsters have a food source, which would lead the party to figure out strategies like poisoning the food, cutting off the supplies, tempting the monsters with better fare, or raiding the monsters’ supplies to replace their own dwindling rations. If I tell the players, “You find a McDonald’s on the fourth floor, complete with meal prices in copper pieces” (to paraphrase a story from Old Geezer), they’ll stop thinking about the monsters’ food source. But that means it’s one thing they can’t strategize around. If I do that a lot with the dungeon’s structure and inhabitants, I’m concerned that my players will not think very hard about how to proceed through the dungeon, that they will feel less challenged, less need to be creative.
A counterpoint I’m considering is…
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/2008/12/with-new-old-eyes.html said:
“Stop worrying and love the dungeon” … All too often, we forget that this hobby is, first and foremost, a recreational activity meant to engender fun and excitement. It’s not supposed to be a scientific exercise to create a rational and plausible world simulation, although there are those of us who seek to achieve that exact goal. If you are the type of person who gets enjoyment out of such an exercise, then, by all means, continue to do what you do. However, if you’re the type of person who finds themselves bogged down by such matters as ecology, realistic construction feats, inter-societal co-existence, and plausible economic systems, then relax, close your eyes and repeat the above. The dungeon is always going to be funky, quirky, illogical and implausible. You can control how funky, quirky, illogical and implausible, of course, but never feel the need to completely eradicate all of these charms from the dungeon. If your players truly wanted a realistic subterranean locale to explore, they’d have taken up spelunking, not fantasy role-playing.
Like, that seems like a good middle-ground, although I’d like some advice on how to achieve it. Or, if you’re the kind of referee who runs games with McDonalds’, orcs rising from black ooze, and dwarven construction crews sealing off unfinished levels of the dungeon, could you please tell me how you balance that freedom to construct your dungeon as you will against a player’s concern that critical thinking, and by extension resource management and logistics, won’t be rewarded? You might also look at this as a general question about dungeon design.

What are some reasonable explanations for why a dungeon would be ten or twenty levels deep? I find it helps me to populate and design the dungeon. Also, refraining what I just said above, what are some design principles you use to explain bizarre things? Does it always come back down to “Just say it’s the ruins of a place built by a mad wizard and nobody will question the dungeon’s design”?

I want to just run a short fantasy adventure, but I am concerned about ruining the logistics of the game.
How should I adjust for making a one-shot dungeon? One that I expect the players to clear in one to four sessions?

Advice on tactics in combat? Inspired by http://black-vulmea.blogspot.com/2012/03/grumbler.html
To paraphrase OG, the rules of combat are written by wargamers for wargamers.
I’d rather the players come in with the right expectations.
I’ve read that the 3x3 block of characters, with heavily armored people on the front and back, is the optimal way to proceed in combat. But suppose I’m playing with only four or five people; even with hirelings, will they be able to pull that off reasonably? Am I going to crush them horribly if they don’t have enough characters to meet some minimum threshold of character count envisioned by OD&D’s designers?
Also, I really am looking for general advice for how to be tactical/strategic in OD&D’s combat system. I’ve never run with a combat system this abstract, and my only war game experience is a few Warhammer Fantasy battles.

The prerequisite for getting XP from gold and items: you must get to a safe location, and in the case of an item, dispose of the item. Correct?

Line of sight, for anything, including hand axes and magic spells, requires being in the front rank unless the ranks in front of you are occupied by creatures that are significantly shorter than yourself (i.e. a human wizard standing behind a dwarf fighter could still throw a sleep spell), correct?

How could anybody get their maps wrong, i.e. significantly different from the referee’s? I mean, the referee describes the dimensions of the room, and the player fills it in to match. It seems simple enough. Or is there something I’m missing with my armchair musings?

In OD&D, the only purpose for most stats is to serve as prerequisites for certain classes, and to give bonuses to XP if they were above a certain rating (except Charisma, which is awesome). The point was that players should be excited to see what they end up playing; that there was something fun about the randomness. Is that correct? If so, it seems strange to have stats at all. I mean, why not just roll a d3 (later d4, with the thief added) to see what class you end up as (and, if you like the bonus XP, roll a d20, and a 20 means you get the bonus XP)? It just seems like a lot of rolling, with a lot of variability, for statistics that are mostly meaningless except in the extremes. Or am I missing something about the design decision of the six stats?

In regards to play balance between the classes, I notice this claim being frequently made: if a wizard tossed a fireball at an equivalent level fighter (accounting for how much higher level the fighter would be, given the quicker XP progression), then the fighter could survive the fireball, and then chop up the wizard. However, my understanding, coming from 3rd edition, is that wizards’ dangerousness is more in his utility spells at higher levels: the ability to stop time, or entomb somebody in ice, or wreck havoc upon an entire village with a hurricane, or summon a gust of wind to knock someone into a pit, or make himself immune to whatever the fighter tosses at him. Are these issues not a concern in OD&D, and if so, why?

What is level drain meant to represent in character? I know it was introduced to scare the hell out of the players, but I’m trying to figure out how it could be represented in game. The best I can figure is that it literally drains the experience that the character has gained, making him forget how to do things as well; that, and/or it represents a kind of karmic drain. It literally disrupts your place in the world, making your god angry at you (if you’re a cleric) and metaphysically disrupting the plans you’ve laid (explaining why, if you were, say, the lord of a keep, it might come to ruin if you were level drained; things just start going against you).

What should I do if the player asks to know something that their character might know, but they don’t? For example, the players come across some berries in the woods and wonder whether they should eat them. I could tell them, “try them (or serve them to your hirelings) and figure it out” or “go ask a sage/ranger/druid”. That’d keep the player=character knowledge structure intact; but I could instead let them make a roll to see whether they know. I just wonder whether that opens up a can of worms. The same issue applies to astronomy, monster knowledge, and all sorts of other things.

If the DM is challenging his players directly, and death is followed up by just resurrection or creating a new character, then where is the thrill? I mean, won’t players just resort to trial and error, knowing the dungeon will always be there? Sending wave after wave of characters? These are the thoughts that ran through my head. And I hope the answer is that, well, trial and error will make things more difficult, and losing ten characters in a row, to succeed on the eleventh, likely isn’t as exciting as seeing one character succeed and improve. Thoughts?

What’s the point of having levels? Resource management? The idea that the reward is access to cooler stuff? Or is it perhaps inherently tied into the end game that never manifested until ACKS?

http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/04/on-oracular-power-of-dice.html This Grognardia article suggests that the referee divests himself of some power by putting a lot of power in the hands of events beyond even the referee’s control. Inclined to agree.But concerned about the classic “rollplaying” conern.

Resource management and logistics are a major part of running OD&D. Could you give me some general advice on implementing them in designing and running a game? In particular, I would like to know about time management; Gary Gygax once wrote an editorial claiming that time management should be an integral part of the game (as if it was the most important part of running a good game). However, the editorial didn’t explain why it was important or how referees should go about implementing it.

Has anyone had an adventure where the players just go “we give up”? As in, the referee found that, in designing the game world-first, instead of revolving around the PCs, it was just an unwinnable situation for the PCs?

Why do they say three characters may walk abreast in a 10’ dungeon corridor? Why not more? Why are dungeon hallways assumed to be 10’ wide?

At least in OSRIC, the rulebook says that characters can “listen” for only so many rounds before they strain themselves. Does that make any sense?

I’m not sure what “surprise” is meant to represent. Is it hesitation? If so, then I’d expect characters would normally check for surprise whenever they’re about to engage, but a well-informed character might have an easier check, or not need to roll at all; and someone planning an ambush while the other party was unaware likely wouldn’t need to check at all (but might if, when they spring, the other party is actually aware). Thoughts?

Why do you roll for your opponents’ initiative? This might be an OSRIC-only question.


Houserules I am Considering
No XP for monsters. I want the adventurers to focus on completing the dungeon, so I will award XP only for treasure, usually: maybe give XP for killing special “wanted” monsters or completing quests.

Anybody can detect and disarm traps, generally speaking. I mean this in the general sense. If I describe an area, my descriptions will usually include a hint about the trap, such as an unusually clean space in the floor, or strange erosion around parts of the wall. Further inspection, on my cues, should give some idea of what they are dealing with, and ways to test for the kind of trap. If they figure out what kind of trap they are dealing with, they can (and must) use their player ingenuity to overcome it. In the case of anything requiring remarkable nerve, precision or timing, I will probably call for a roll to see whether the character accomplishes what the player wants to do. So, here, a trap is everything from a spike pit covered by leaves and disabling a bomb that just dropped into the room.

I have several ideas on how I might portray the thief’s ability to detect and disable traps. A thief requires only one round to make an inspection for traps, whereas other characters require several rounds, or perhaps a full turn. For disabling traps, 1) they can disable complex traps that others could only destroy, opening possibilities to use the trap later or leave no sign to others that the trap was disabled, 2) they have a higher chance than others at succeeding on the nerve, precision, or timing roll (represented by either improved odds on the roll, or a secondary roll if the first fails),. An idea that could work for detecting and disabling: they get a saving throw to mitigate the effects of a trap they don’t notice or accidentally spring, owing to their extraordinary ability to adjust on the fly to deadly traps.

I roll for the PCs’ hit points and give the players only a general idea of how much HP they have. This would increase tension in the game, but it might make players overly cautious or confuse them about how well they’re doing, or interfere with their strategic thinking.

No attributes: no Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. They’re irrelevant except at the extremes, and useful only to decide which class you play (which I don’t care about), and give the impression that you’re judged in your skill by that attribute.

Players do not need to meet prerequisites to join any class. I’m more concerned with players making intelligent decisions within a framework they choose for themselves. Conversely, I can think of one reason to have class prerequisites: in a resource management game, if your character dies, the logical thing for the party to do is to give the replacement character the same gear that the old character had, if he’s the same class. I find this modestly weak, because you can limit equipment to the hands of higher level characters, and characters might lose their equipment anyway when they die, and I’m sure there’s a bunch of other reasons it doesn’t matter too much.

I’m not sure what I want to roll for when the PCs attempt something. I’m thinking of rolling (or having them roll?) d100, modified by the character’s race, class, and circumstances. I’m just not sure what to make the base target number for success. I’m thinking, “roll 10 or lower”, with modifiers for an average task easily pushing it to 50% before considering modifiers for race/class.

I am largely indifferent to the idea of adventurers leveling up and going on to become conquerors and then kings (see what I did there?). I’d likely either eliminate the assumption that higher level characters take on more responsibilities, or better codify it in a way that makes the PCs’ levels come with interesting restrictions. I’ve heard that ACKS does put some oomph back into the end game. I wonder if I’d enjoy that enough to adopt it, or if it’d throw off the dungeon explorer vibe.

Falling always has a chance of damaging objects. Weapons and armor can be destroyed through regular use, though it’s unlikely to happen.

This is more of a long-term thing, like something I’d do if I made a regular campaign: I like the idea of giving players the option to take on codes of conduct, in a general sense. A fighter can belong to a martial tradition, like paladin, or school of combat; a wizard specializes in a school of magic; a demi-human race is subject to certain behaviors; most people have no alignments, but can become a champion of an alignment. Any such decision comes with a general set of principles of behavior, and perhaps some hardline rules. Characters that keep with them get bonuses based on their tradition (a tactician might be able to hire more hirelings, and/or command a higher loyalty and morale rating; a mage school gets more spells of that school; the paladin is… well, the paladin). Of course, there’s the drawbacks to being part of whatever it is, and they come with their own penalties if violated. I’m reminded of Hackmaster, which does something similar. In Hackmaster, you can take flaws: violating them costs you build points when you level up. My favorite one is Slovenly, which in addition to the obvious in-character effects, has a metagame effect that requires you handwrite your own character sheet on a piece of scratch paper and must use that record sheet for the entire game.

Finally, here’s an alternative to hit points (and another long-term thing). Instead of hit points, characters have a “Likelihood of Survival” rated somewhere on a d100% scale. This is an abstract measure of how likely the character is to survive any given obstacle, whether it be a trap or a hand axe, and is a measure of skill, luck and the favor of the gods. This base rating is modified by the given circumstances, and will, in any case, gradually degrade as the character is faced with, and overcomes, more obstacles. It also degrades as the character spends more turns in the dungeon. This encourages clever players to complete the dungeon efficiently, but cleverly, as wasting time means they’re less likely to survive threats deeper in the dungeon, and doing things badly also means they’re likely to suffer. Clerics don’t use (or don’t just use) “cure [x] wounds”; they pray to the gods for favor, and if the gods are willing, they grant it. Also, I could imagine anyone swearing an oath to a god in hopes of surviving something, and possibly getting a bonus in exchange for being duty-bound to doing something (for which backing out of later has terrible karmic consequences). Failing a survival roll means the character is dead or, if you’re the kind who likes negative hit points and “dying”, then on their way out. If you go with the latter, then a dying character rolls against their “likelihood of survival” every turn, and every turn it drops by a certain, significant percentage. This means that characters who stay longer in dungeons are playing a bigger gamble, and part of resource management becomes about keeping the likelihood of survival high. The likelihood of survival naturally recharges with downtime, as the character spends time resting and contemplating how things could have gone better, what to do next time, praying for the favor of the gods, and so forth. One last bit of flavor appeal: there’s something delightfully wicked about letting players see a numerical representation of how likely their characters are to survive, and watching it gradually dwindle. It’s not that different from what hit points do, but it’s easier for me to look at it this way and come up with interesting ways of playing into the resource management aspect of the game.
 

Elph

Registered User
Validated User
No attributes: no Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. They’re irrelevant except at the extremes, and useful only to decide which class you play (which I don’t care about), and give the impression that you’re judged in your skill by that attribute.
I just rolled two new characters for the fun of it:

Str 6
Int 11
Wis 6
Dex 12
Con 7
Cha 7

Str 15
Int 5
Wis 7
Dex 7
Con 8
Cha 10

These poor bastards already look different from one another, even without any mechanical considerations. I immediately pictured the first one as a slimy and cowardly thief type, and the second one as a dim-witted but somehow endearing fighter. You could obviously spin these sets of stats in any way you like, but that's where my mind went in about five seconds. The point is that if you don't already have a character concept in mind, rolling for stats can help you not only to decide what class to play, but how to characterize the individual as well. There are a million different ways to randomly inspire character generation, but rolling for stats in order is as viable as any other. Although you could easily play OD&D without ability scores at all, maybe that's something to consider before chucking them out.
 

apparition13

Registered User
Validated User
I'll second Elph, and add that quickly rolling stats is really useful for portraying NPCs. Not having the stats useful for anything after chargen I can get behind though. Level should be king, IMO.

I'm leary of the save-or-die replacement for hit points. With HP you have a reliable indication of how you are doing, and what kind of buffer you have, so it's easier to decide when to stick and when to run. With what's basically a save or die roll, that's gone, and with it one of the resources that players can manage. I think both aspects would reduce the fun; random death rolls make players nervous, and reducing a resource to manage takes away their perception that they can have an impact on what happens.
 

Elph

Registered User
Validated User
What is level drain meant to represent in character? I know it was introduced to scare the hell out of the players, but I’m trying to figure out how it could be represented in game. The best I can figure is that it literally drains the experience that the character has gained, making him forget how to do things as well; that, and/or it represents a kind of karmic drain. It literally disrupts your place in the world, making your god angry at you (if you’re a cleric) and metaphysically disrupting the plans you’ve laid (explaining why, if you were, say, the lord of a keep, it might come to ruin if you were level drained; things just start going against you).
Consider that in OD&D, characters don't gain any new abilities with levels, apart from spells. Thus, characters don't really "forget" anything when they lose a level; rather, they're too shaken by the encounter with the undead to perform at maximum effectiveness. You can easily handwave the spellcasting issue by saying that after the undead attack, the characters are simply too weak to cast the most powerful spells they know (assuming they lost a level that gave them access to a new level of spells). After all, in the Vancian model, spells are basically small demons that you cram into your head; you really need to be in full command of your faculties to master them.

This is the first time I've heard that a Lord could actually lose his keep along with his level. The Lord's castle is not actually a function of his level, however; the loyal followers he automatically attracts are. Maybe the shaken and weakened Lord really would lose the support of his subjects, depending on their loyalty? :) Sounds almost Arthurian to me...

That said, there are several ways to modify level drain without completely removing it. At the moment I like Talysman's XP rules; your experience doesn't actually decrease when you lose a level, and you can regain the lost level after any expedition, as long as you earn at least 1 XP and your total XP indicates you should be of a higher level.
 

The Sword Emperor

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I understand the concern about the save-or-die mechanic. Some clarifications
1) In terms of odds of death, it should roughly emulate hit points. What I mean to say is, a level 1 Magic User has, at most, 4 hit points. If a monster hits him with a weapon, he suffers d6 damage. It's effectively a save-or-die because there's a 50% chance the MU will be knocked unconscious, put to "dying". If the MU takes 3 points or less, he survives, but his odds of dying from the next attack are significantly higher.
The idea with this percentage system is that there is a base chance of survival, and things like armor, class, and the kind of attack modify it. If you pass your check, you survive, but your odds of dying from the next attack are significantly higher.
They amount to basically the same thing; the difference is how you present it, and possibly how you calculate a person's chances of survival. You wouldn't have a proper armor class anymore; you'd basically have the equivalent of a different HP count depending on the situation. I imagine your odds of dying being roughly similar to what you get with hit points. So, although it sounds like it's rougher on a person than hit points, it's actually just another way of saying something similar, but one which might paint a clearer picture (especially for new players, but that's beside the point).

2) Yes, this means a person could theoretically have a modified survival chance that's higher than 100%. It's tempting to say that a 100 always means you are hit, but I don't know if I would actually say that. Point is, the longer a conflict goes, the more likely you are to die.

3) On further reflection, yeah, I'd keep the idea that failing the roll means you're unconscious/dying, instead of straight-up dead.
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I'd have to see the specifics of the proposed "survival save" mechanic to be sure, but I'd be very leery of anything that has the potential to shove resource management to the tactical level, or to ameliorate the long-term consequences of resource expenditure on a per-encounter basis. OD&D is a game of logistics, and anything that encourages resource management on a per-encounter basis rather than a per-dungeon-dive basis hurts that.

Regarding some earlier questions:

What should I do if the player asks to know something that their character might know, but they don’t? For example, the players come across some berries in the woods and wonder whether they should eat them. I could tell them, “try them (or serve them to your hirelings) and figure it out” or “go ask a sage/ranger/druid”. That’d keep the player=character knowledge structure intact; but I could instead let them make a roll to see whether they know. I just wonder whether that opens up a can of worms. The same issue applies to astronomy, monster knowledge, and all sorts of other things.
The lack of separation between player knowledge and character knowledge in OD&D is often vastly overstated. The game assumes that PCs know things that players don't all the time. When a PC swings her sword, the GM doesn't ask her player to describe exactly how she's doing it, and impose penalties if her technique is off. When a PC rides a horse, the GM doesn't demand that her player describe proper horse-riding technique in order to avoid being thrown off. While the threshold will obviously vary from game to game, you have to assume that the PCs possess procedural knowledge that their players don't simply to render many aspects of the game playable; the question isn't whether such "character knowledge" exists, but how much of it you're prepared to presume.

If the DM is challenging his players directly, and death is followed up by just resurrection or creating a new character, then where is the thrill? I mean, won’t players just resort to trial and error, knowing the dungeon will always be there? Sending wave after wave of characters? These are the thoughts that ran through my head. And I hope the answer is that, well, trial and error will make things more difficult, and losing ten characters in a row, to succeed on the eleventh, likely isn’t as exciting as seeing one character succeed and improve. Thoughts?
At low levels, this is wholly intentional. Some folks like to claim that character optimisation isn't a thing in OD&D, but they're mistaken; character optimisation in OD&D is merely an evolutionary process rather than a designed one. You toss low-level PCs into the reaping machine until you happen upon one that emerges from the other end more-or-less intact. This approach is gradually disincentivised as you grow in levels, since new characters always start at level one.

What’s the point of having levels? Resource management? The idea that the reward is access to cooler stuff? Or is it perhaps inherently tied into the end game that never manifested until ACKS?
Below level 9, having character levels serves two purposes:

1. As I've discussed in some of the recent threads you've mentioned, XP is really about having a point-scoring mechanism. Most players like to score points, and the shape of play is strongly influenced by what actions score the most points. You've recognised this yourself with your proposal to eliminate XP awards for non-"boss" monsters and award XP only for successfully recovering treasures. However, this only goes so far. While many strongly score-motivated players would be just as happy to pursue point-scoring actions even if the points were just a number, others will tend to lose interest over time unless the points actually do something. That's what character levels provide.

2. As per the preceding discussion regarding the pack-of-lemmings approach to dungeon diving, character levels also encourage a gradual transition in one's approach to play. At first level, you're free to play characters recklessly, since the penalty for character death is minimal - you just create a new character who's exactly as powerful as the old one. As you rise in levels, however, the penalty for character death grows, as you have more and more to lose by being booted back to level one. This creates a natural progression from the young, reckless (and probably doomed) newbie adventurer to the cautious, strategically minded veteran.

Beyond level 9, levels serve a very different purpose, albeit one that's not germane to the type of adventures you're talking about. OD&D is pretty terrible about laying out its assumptions, and one of the major ones it never gets around to articulating is that the domain management stuff that kicks in at level 10+ is intended primarily for solo play. The idea is that characters who reach those levels would become semi-retired and fade into the background; players of high-level characters would keep track of what they were up to via occasional one-on-one discussion with the GM, while creating new characters for day-to-day adventuring. Bringing the old, high-level characters out to play was meant to be a Big Deal.

(Incidentally, this is also why class balance is so out of whack in the context of party-based play at high levels: the game was never designed to support regular party-based play for level 10+ characters.)

Regarding one of the proposed house rules:

No attributes: no Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. They’re irrelevant except at the extremes, and useful only to decide which class you play (which I don’t care about), and give the impression that you’re judged in your skill by that attribute.
You've overlooking a couple of major functions of attributes:

1. From Strength: encumbrance. When XP awards are determined primarily - or, in your case, solely - by the amount of treasure you can carry out of the dungeon, carrying capacity is a big deal, and a major factor in the logistical side of the game.

2. From Charisma: number of hirelings and hireling loyalty. As noted in previous threads, the primary function of hirelings in OD&D is not to provide more meat-shields, but to provide more logistical resources. The number of hirelings you can recruit matters a great deal, as does how likely they are to betray you and run off with any treasure you assign them to carry, since both of these things directly influence how much treasure you can carry out of the dungeon - which, in turn, determines the adventure's expected XP payout.
 
Last edited:

MoogleEmpMog

Registered User
Validated User
I would suggest trying to run OD&D rules as written at least a couple of times before you houserule it. It's a robust platform for houserules because of its relative simplicity, but the rules it has are remarkably good at facilitating the kind of play it was created for... provided you know what that is. And you do, which is an advantage a huge majority of early D&D players didn't have. :)

My suggestion is to give it a whirl. Make a dungeon level or two, have players roll up characters (this takes only minutes) and see what happens.

If the base system is sound for what it's supposed to do, and OD&D is, and you're serious about using it for what it's supposed to do, which you are, then houserules are best developed from play rather than before it. What you and your players dislike will probably not be what you expect!

Really, the only "house rule" I would use from the start is to let players know ahead of time how you're handling miscellaneous actions not covered in the rules, simply because it's the kind of thing most anyone used to RPGs from 1980 on will expect to be there.

I believe Old Geezer likes to use 2d6, high rolls good, low rolls bad and the referee assigns ad hoc modifiers if the character has a reason to be good at what he's trying. This has the advantage of leaving attributes largely flavor outside of qualifying for classes.

I'm a fan of roll under attribute + level, 3d4 for moderate tasks, 3d6 for hard tasks, 3d8 for heroic tasks, 3d10 for legendary tasks and 3d12 for superhuman tasks, roll an extra die and take the three lowest if the referee decides the task is part of your character's core competency. I know some people like to roll under attribute, or attribute + level, on a d20. Some people port skill or proficiency systems from other games.
 

Supplanter

Retired User
Damn, Prokopetz. For an artsy-fartsy Nobilis player, you sure are smart about this stuff.

I am, for srs, loving your contributions to these OD&D threads. :)


Jim
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Damn, Prokopetz. For an artsy-fartsy Nobilis player, you sure are smart about this stuff.

I am, for srs, loving your contributions to these OD&D threads. :)
Heh. Thanks. I don't enjoy OD&D-style play, but that doesn't mean I don't understand it. :eek:
 
Top Bottom