Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Been A While...

...but I'm at a point where I have stuff to blog.

A week or so ago, I was checking out the /r/lfg subreddit and several people were remarking that they'd love to learn D&D but didn't have anyone to teach them. I can't remember the last time I played with completely new players and thought that it might be a neat little thing that might get me back to my roots as a DM and break up the drudge of graduate school.

Once everyone immediately jumped on board and we quickly set a date to start playing (Tuesday afternoons as they are all in Europe--which is another neat wrinkle--and that's one of my days off from class), I realized I had to have something to run. So here is the deal.
Ninja Birds abound in the as-yet-unnamed
land of adventure and mayhem.

I'm going to be running Swords & Wizardry Whitebox with the following bits bolted on:
  • I'm going to be using the encumbrance and movement rules from Lamentation of the Flame Princess
  • Tenkar's Luck rules
  • The Reputation mechanic from Mongoose's Conan d20
  • The Holmes five-point alignment system
  • Jeff Rients' Carousing rules
  • Some tweaks to ability score bonuses to satisfy my inner statistics nerd
  • An ebb and flow mechanic in combat where if one side ends up rolling a streak of high (or low) numbers, good (or bad) things start happening to the battlefield.
But the biggest change to the game will be the classes. I talked about this on Google+ back in June, but I am going to do it for real for real now. The basic premise is "what if the basic character classes only apply to levels 1-3?" Once a character reaches 4th Level, they will move into a new class, more specialized in what they want to do. And I am doing it in tiers: Basic (1-3), Heroic (4-7), Super Heroic (8-12), Legendary (13-18). So you could go from Fighting-Man to Knight to Paladin to Divine Champion. I'll likely post the new classes here when I gin them up. Fortunately OD&D advances somewhat slowly so I have some time.

From a DMing standpoint, I'm in the first year of a doctoral program. I don't have THAT much time to work on the game. Zak S.'s Vornheim and somewhat freeform world generation concepts will be invaluable to me. A lot of my early work will be working on (and stealing) random tables. And even though some might think that first time players should get a "traditional" experience, I'm not at all interested in running a "traditional" sandbox game. To start, I'm going to focus primarily on Fiend Folio monsters. And any other "normal" animals will get a weird treatment. I'm also a fan of the Empire of the Petal Throne concept of PCs
being "barbarians" in a new and foreign place. I want this to be a bizarre, hostile world. Bizarre to the point where it will take them learning about who is what before they can truly realize what's good and what's evil.

So, I'll be posting more, I think. I committed to having the house rule document to the players before the weekend is over, so I'll likely post a link to that here as well.