Rat Warriors for BOP and P&P

Rat warriors are cunning, crude and brutish creatures.  They make excellent minions for one disposed to evil, provided that there’s plenty of delightfully nasty food for them to eat.

Rat warriors are not overly brave, preferring hit and run raids to prolonged brawls. Their preferred weapons are spears, nets and crude short bows.  Rat bites are particularly nasty.  In melee, if a rat rolls a 12, the victim is bitten and must Save or contract a feverish disease that, over the next 3 days, will cause a permanent loss of 1 Might.

Rat warriors are usually led by a chief who is more clever and ruthless than the rest.  This leader often is armored and has an armored personal guard of his closest cronies.

Rat Warrior: 1 or 2 Might

Chief: 4 Might

 

 

Winnie the Pooh – BOP

I have yet to run the Winnie the Pooh adventure I advertised on RPGGeek.  Nobody signed up, and when I went to the gaming store on a Saturday afternoon, it was empty.  Not a nerd in sight:  No Pokemon, no Magic the Gathering, no board gamers.  It was an odd sight. I hung out for a period of time.  Some customers came in to look at board games but left without so much as exploring the play room.

So I left, a little dismayed, but encouraged in the fact that I braved meeting new people. As fate would have it, no people were available.

So I got to thinking that Blood of Pangea might be a better fit for this hybrid Winnie the Pooh/Alice in Wonderland adventure than Pits & Perils.  Rather than squish characters into archetypes, I could let them define themselves.  After all, in the bizarre world of Wonderland, and for that matter, the Hundred Acre Wood, there’s bound to be interesting characters that defy traditional race/class archetypes of OSR games.

That’s not to say that you can’t improvise traditional classes and give them flavor.  Bloody Basic – Mother Goose Edition  does just that with traditional OSR classes but uses European fairy tales as its inspiration.  For example, one of the races you can pick are Little Pigs, which are a stand in for Halflings.  They get bonuses when doing stealthy stuff, because little pigs are always pursued by hungry predators.  Little Pigs also get a bonus for setting traps, such as the infamous boiling pot set in the chimney of the house made of bricks!

There is a Maiden subclass of cleric that has poor fighting skills (using only the simplest weapons). In place of turning undead, she has an affinity with beasts that lets her charm or calm monsters of all kinds.

This kind of creative use of fiction is the stuff that Blood of Pangea is made of.  I want a slightly dark spin on these modern fairy tales, and therefore BOP seems to be the right Operating System for this kind of program.

While Winnie the Pooh won’t be an active NPC in the adventure, I’d like to try and define him a bit, just for fun.  I’ve been reading a collection of Winnie the Pooh stories, in an effort to learn more about the fictional world the characters live in.  So here’s my first attempt to BOP Winnie-the-Pooh:

Winnie the Pooh is a living stuffed bear and best friend of Christopher Robin.  He is very fond of honey and eats just about anything he can get his hands on.  Sometimes he ends up eating his friends’ food, but not out of malice.  In spite of that, he doesn’t get any fatter, or at least he thinks he doesn’t.  He’s somewhat dull witted, but he is quite the poet: thinking up rhymes and songs about whatever situation he finds himself in and involving his friends in singing along.  He’s quite good at climbing (to get bees’ honey!), and loyal to his friends. He invented a game called Pooh Sticks, and his friends enjoy playing it.  

Here is a bear with charisma.  If there’s a Bard in the Hundred Acre Wood, his name is Pooh.  If there’s someone to keep a party together, it is Pooh.   If it came to tasks such as climbing and helping to motivate disheartened friends,  or finding food in an environment where he would easily find food, I would give Pooh an advantage.

Tigger is a playful, bouncy stuffed tiger and friend of Christopher Robin.  His bounciness gets him in trouble with his friends.  He’s a lot more energetic than most other animals.     Tigger can easily find his way home when lost.  He is a picky eater, but has a taste for Malt Extract.

As of the time I write this, I’m not yet finished “The House At Pooh Corner.”   (In fact, there appears to be a prior collection of Pooh stories, title unknown to me, that I’ve yet to read) There may be more to learn about Tigger.  Tigger’s bounciness plays into the introduction of my adventure, where he crushes a rat warrior (but sadly pays the price for it with a severed leg.  Not to worry, he can be repaired!)  Tigger, the happy-go-lucky navigator.

So I’m thinking the PCs can define themselves however they like.  It’s a fairy tale.  If they say they’re knights, then they’re knights.  If they’re anthropomorphic animals (such as characters from The Wind in the Willows), then that’s great!  If someone is a magician, witch, warlock, hermit wizard, then we can play with that too.

I still like the idea of magic being costly and dangerous.  Casting a lot of spells may have consequences beyond spent Might.  Basic cantrips are probably mostly harmless.  If you start messing with the laws of physics then you will get noticed by something or someone.

 

 

 

My P&P House Rules

Here’s some house rules that came to mind after two reads through The Collected P&P hardcover.

Rules that don’t fit the narrative get ignored.  Fun always comes first.

No movement grids.  The battles will be theater of the mind, with props as needed.  If there is a pursuit, divide speed of all participants by 10, and add it to 2d6.  If your movement is 40′, 2d6+4.  The higher roll wins the pursuit.  If one side has an overall slower speed, I may give an initiative advantage to the faster side.

Useful ranges are melee, thrown (daggers and hand axes), near (short bows), far (long bows and slings).  Everything else improvised as needed.  If unobstructed, you can move one range per round: from melee to thrown, from thrown to near, etc.

Thieves may, with a successful hit roll, steal an object off their victims if there is a steal-able item.  This requires a free hand.  I got this from Nethack, where thief and brigand NPCs steal items after hitting the player character.  Thieves can backstab at level 1, adding 1 extra damage to a successful hit.   At levels 3,  6, and 9, add an additional point of damage to whatever the damage roll.

There are no sling-shots as in rubber powered projectile launchers.  Regular slings can be fired with one hand and do not do extra damage.  The easy ammunition of the sling is balanced against the extra damage of the longbow.

Clerics start with a holy water and a small cask of healing beer.  Taking a break after a battle and passing around the beer will restore 1 hit.  The Cleric’s order will refill the cask once per gaming session if he or she  has access to a monastery.

For everything else I’ll use the reference tables or wing it.

 

 

 

Running a T&T solo with Pits & Perils

Here’s the rules I used:

For every 10MR, the monster has one level.  If MR is halfway or more to the next level (15, 25, 35, etc) or more, then add +1 to HP but not exceeding 3.  So basically the minimum HP is higher.

Level 1 saving rolls correspond to a standard P&P save.  For each level over 1, apply a -1 penalty to the dice roll.  If the character has the applicable stat for the SR, add +1 to the dice roll.

For fixed number saving rolls, round them to the nearest saving roll level.  For example, there’s one scene where you add your Luck to your Charisma, and then roll dice to get 36 or higher.  35 is a 4th level saving roll, so roll a -4.

So on with the famous (or infamous) Buffalo Castle:

First contestant is Thrag the Dwarf.  Constitution.  Hand ax, chain, shield.  All room in Buffalo castle are lit, so did not buy any torches.  He meets a troll sitting atop a treasure chest.  Thrag tries to negotiate with the troll, fails, and the troll attacks.  Level 4 troll, 10 hp,  +1 to hit, +1 damage.   The two combatants trade blows until Thrag is worn out.  He tries to flee, but the troll blocks off the exit and crushes him.

The second contestant, Biff the Wise human warrior, sees that Thrag did not return, so enters the castle through a different door.  He brings a battle ax and chain armor.  He enters a magical portal and ends up in a room full of gold coins.  He collects 60 gp before two swarms of killer bees show up.  He gets stung a couple times but splats them all with the flat side of his ax.  Leaving, he encounters a room with a giant swinging pendulum.  He bolts past it without getting hurt, and soon meets a wandering giant. Giant, Level 8, 18 HP, +2 hit, +2 damage.  Biff decides discretion is the better part of valor, and decides to flee. Four killer bees block the exit.  It’s a rough fight but Biff wins his way through, and escapes.

What will Biff do now?  I will find out next time I play.

I think I got the monster conversions and saving rolls correct.  There is no Wisdom stat in Tunnels & Trolls.  Instead there is a Luck stat.  Therefore, for now I think one should use Luck in place of Wisdom.  This makes sense, because solos are often dependent on Luck SRs unless specified otherwise.  I’ll try it next time.

Solo Funnel – Return To the Wumpus Cave

After the previous experiment with a solo funnel, I made some rules changes and decided to try again.  I decided to use the rule for untrained combatants, where the untrained can be hit on a 7+.  All funnel characters are untrained.  As you will find out, this proved to be a deadly rule.

I used the same adventure as the previous funnel.  This time, however, I rolled for daylight hours.  1-2 morning, 3-4 daytime, 5-6 night.  Rolled a six.  Altar Boy lights a torch and they peer in the cave.  Astrologer notices the Manes in the rear of the cave.  Note that these are not the powerful Manes of the Infernal Realms supplement , but rather a 1st level Demon from AD&D.  Rolled initiative, ties go to NPCs.  The distance was 50′, manes advanced to max distance of 30′.  Rat Catcher opens fire with his slingshot, hit.  Stage Magician hits with his javelin.  The rest, except Altar Boy, rush in.  One Manes goes down.

More blows exchanged, Wood Cutter is slain.  Noble’s armor lets him survive this round.

Stage Magician summons image of giant bear entering cave.  Two of three manes fail Save and prepare to flee. Altar Boy fails save and flees into cave.  Rat Catcher fails save and flees into cave.  The rest pound on the Manes as they attempt to flee.  Two go down.  The brave one swings at the Bear, dispelling the image.  It then kills Astrologer and Outcast.  The rest of the party finish off the manes.

Regrouping, they pilfer equipment from the slain. At the first cave junction, I roll odds/even fr path.  They take the east path toward the green slimes.  This time, with no living members with Wisdom, there’s no notice roll.  Four green slimes drop, 3 hits.  I dice off the party members, lowest rolls get hit. Altar Boy, Stage Magician and Noble are slimed.  Altar Boy’s torch goes out.  Without any other source of fire, the two survivors listen in horror in the blackness as Noble’s screams turn to gurgling and then the drip-splat of oozing slime.

With no fire, Trickster and Rat Catcher feel their way eastward to another cave exit, and escape.  Still determined to slay the Wumpus that eats the villagers, they rest up for a week.  Wounds healed.  Between them they earn 3gp, enough to buy a tinder box.  They build 1d6=5 improvised fatwood torches (3 turn burn limit) and return to the main cave entrance.

Heading south at the junction this time, they come upon a stream flowing from a pond and then into a hole in the wall.  Something clicks and the hole closes.  Water begins to backup and then flow deeper into the cave.  Shrugging, they splash their way east into the main cavern and it’s many sub chambers.

Many of the encounters from the previous run of this  map are replayed.  The poison frogs lose initiative, and our heroes retreat.  Simple reaction roll put the frogs not in the mood to pursue.

Skeleton attacks and Trickster smashes it with the Wood Cutters ax.  Once again nothing to make them vulnerable to Ear Seekers.  Leaving the center cave complex, they meet a party of five Kobolds.  Reaction roll 1d6:

1 – Attack immediately, 2 – hostile, 3 – unfriendly, 4 – cautious, 5 – hospitable, 6 – friendly

Rolled a 5.   It turns out the Kobolds are looking for the Wumpus also, but are disinclined to ally up.  Nonetheless, they are willing to trade.  Trickster trades a rope and 10′ pole for two torches.  Agreeing to peaceable terms should they meet again, the heroes head south and the Kobolds go north.

Next cave has a giant spider. Rolled d6 for position,   (1-2 unfavorable, 3-4 neutral, 5-6 favorable) got a six.  It wasn’t paying attention to them at first.  Trickster lights an extra torch and they use the threat of fire to try and circumvent the spider.  Spider cautiously pursues but does not attack. They spend the next turn slowly retreating toward the unknown, and the spider gives up the chase.

Then they find the wumpus in a cave filled with little alcoves.  It’s feeding on rats.  Rolled initiative, heroes win.  Rat catcher gets off a shot but it bounces harmlessly off the thing’s hide.  Wumpus charges and kills him.  Trickster swings with his ax, misses, then he dies. The wumpus lives on to kill more villagers.  The End.

What conclusions can I draw from this?  The Untrained combat mechanic does make the funnel a lot more lethal. I like it.  Even a 1st level wizard knows the basics of avoiding harm better than a 0 level nobody.  So winning the funnel and ascending even to that modest level of combat skill is something to strive for.

I don’t know if I ran the slimes correctly.  All I did was make attack rolls for the drop attack, and then pick random victims.  AD&D green slimes don’t move or pursue, they just drip and then stay there as flesh devouring obstacles.  It was a shame the Altar Boy was hit, else he might have saved Noble from being slain.

First Solo P&P 0-Level Funnel Adventure

Using the chart I created here, I generated a party of 8 ordinary fools.  I then created an AD&D adventure using the random dungeon generator at Wizardawn and customized it for 8 first level players.

I converted the HP of the monsters to 1-3 points per HD.

I then gave the heroes a goal: destroy the Wumpus that has been taking and eating people from the outskirts of your town.

The Cast

Our Heroes (including gear they bought with their chump change):

  1. Altar Boy, HP 3, Candlestick*, holy water, tinderbox, torch (3), backpack
  2. Trickster, HP 3, SP 1, Spells: URGE, knife*, rope 50′, pole 10′, backpack
  3. Stage Magician, HP 2, SP 1, Spells: RUSE, Dexterity, walking stick, javelin
  4. Nobility, HP 3, Sword, fine clothes, leather armor, shield
  5. Wood Cutter, HP 3, Two handed ax, healing herb
  6. Astrologer, HP 1, Wisdom, Dagger, Backpack, torch (3), waterskin
  7. Rat Catcher, HP 2, club, snare wire 15′, slingshot, 20 bullets
  8. Outcast, HP 1, Constitution, Strength, walking stick, mirror, sack, ale
  • – Improvised Weapons break on a roll of 2 or 3.

The Story

They tracked the Wumpus to a large cave in the forest, and entered cautiously.  It was still daylight, and at the mouth of the cave Altar Boy lit a torch.  Peering in, Astrologer noticed figures moving about:  Four Manes demons picking at some hairy remains of some beast.  The demons won initiative.  The demons were not fond of coming into the daylight, and taunted the adventurers from the dark recesses of the cave.

The Stage Magician summoned the image of a great brown bear that came from around the corner and into the cave, advancing on the little imps.  Rolled save vs fear, all failed and fled southward.

Entering the cave, the party found an eastward passage.  Deciding not to follow the Manes, they entered a high but narrow bit of cavern.   There’s a firepit and assorted junk around it, but noteworthy is a magical scroll.  Stage Magician takes the scroll for later study (it’s a Resurrection Spell!).  As they continue, Astrologer noticed something unusual about the ceiling.  Rolled initiative, party wins and scatters and three green slimes drip down from the ceiling.  Half the party was to the east side, half to the west.  Altar boy burned the slimes away with his torch.

Heading east and then southward, the ceiling became lower and some semi-precious gems glistened on the ceiling in the torchlight.  A spear flew out of a hidden hole in the wall and hit Wood Cutter, but the wound wasn’t too bad.

The Astrologer notices some 15 feet up it looks like the wall is fake.  Trickster gets up on Wood Cutter and Outcast’s shoulders and pokes it with his 10′ pole.  The stone wall pushes aside, revealing a small chest.  Trickster drags it out with his pole and it falls to the ground.  Outcast bashes the lock open and they find three gems worth 42 gp.

They slowly explore the ends of a larger cavern, finding a pouch of black sand and some torn clothing, and later a red handkerchief all by its lonesome.  How strange.   Perhaps it was the lost belongings of those taken by the Wumpus.

They came to another chamber and a skeleton charged with its sword.  Wood cutter smashes it to pieces.  Amid some assorted trash on the floor, Astrologer takes a wooden wrist sundial, and a deck of tarot cards.  Trickster takes a blank spellbook with a scorpion on the cover.  Stage Magician takes a scroll case to protect the scroll he found.

Next cavern they find a portrait of a woman on the floor, nothing else.  It was strange but of no concern to the party.  Luckily they left before some unnoticed Ear Seekers (parasites) could climb up their legs and attack them.  Astrologer lights a torch as Altar Boy’s torch flickers toward death.

Later they came upon a cavern with three giant poison toads. Tied initiative. Rolled “intent” for toads, they weren’t hungry yet. Party retreated and headed west out of this cavern complex.

They come to a wide cave with a shallow stream flowing through it.  Four dead Manes and their remains (pun intended) scattered about.  The Wumpus is here.  A large tentacled and hairy beast.  Bigger than a horse and more agile.  The party wins initiative.  Altar boy lights another torch.  Stage Magician tosses his javelin, it goes astray.  Rat Catcher fires away with his slingshot, hit. Nobility, having stayed cowardly in the background so far, decides it’s his time to lead, and charges.  The rest charge.  Astrologer sets the beast on fire with his torch (1 hit).   The beast is agile, attacking with three tentacles and maneuvering on the other four.  There’s some close calls but nobody is hurt yet.

Rolled a save to see if Rat Catcher gets a clear shot, success. He scores another hit.  Two more melee hits.  Wumpus leaps into the stream to extinguish the flame, grabs Trickster and flings him against the wall (2 dmg).

Trickster is out next round, regaining his footing.   Another save for a clear shot, success.  Rat Catcher’s stone flies true and hits.  The rest hack and pound away. The Wumpus is bleeding badly now and flails ineffectively.

Rat Catcher scores the final blow with his slingshot.  The beast collapses.  Satisfied that vengeance was served, all 8 characters return home.

Total game time: 9 turns, aka 90 minutes.

The Mechanics

Improvised weapons break on 2 or 3.  Lucky for the heroes, most had normal weapons.  Wizardawn made a 20 room dungeon, so I rolled 1d20 + the number of rooms explored.  On a 20 or more, they find the Wumpus.  Wandering monster checks every hour.

The Wumpus: I envisioned it a 3HD monster.  Rolled 1-3 per HD, so 7 HP.  Large.

AK: 3 LL: 3/+1 , ME: 30′, SE: L/+1

Analysis

I used the Wisdom stat of the Astrologer as a passive perception test to detect hidden threats so that the party could get an initiative roll, rather than be attacked by surprise.  It worked to their benefit with the Manes demons and the green slime.   It also allowed the Astrologer to find the hidden treasure cache.  He missed the notice roll for the Ear Seekers.  However, as there was nothing to delay the party long enough for them to infect anyone, nobody was attacked. Thematically, the Astrologer worked out well, especially when they found the Tarot cards and Sundial.

The boss monster was too weak.  Going into the boss fight, the heroes had 16 hp and 8 attacks per round versus 7 HP and 3 attacks per round. The level and damage bonus of the large level 3 creature wasn’t enough to make up the difference. Every adventurer survived.  The Wumpus should have been stronger, maybe a higher level, maybe Huge for the damage bonus.  Maybe a choke effect for being grabbed with the tentacle.

The Manes demons, when they fled, fled straight to the room which ended up being the Wumpus room. It made sense to me to have them all slain by the Wumpus.

The single spell of the Stage Magician was excellent.  If the demons passed their saves, they would have some some significant damage to the party with their multiple attacks and good hit points.  If he became a Fighter or Thief, I’d let him keep the spell as a particular quirk for the character, but otherwise have to observe the rules for Fighters.

I have no definitive conclusions to reach about the character generator.  Perhaps more improvised weapons rather than regular weapons.  That way there is an incentive to actually switch to a real weapon when one becomes available.  It’s not like DCC where you start with mostly 1d4 damage weapons and upgrade to 1d6 or 1d8 when you get the chance.  So there needs to be more incentive, I think, to trade up.

The funnel adventure needs to be deadly.  Half of the characters should die.  I don’t think Wizardawn adventures are suitable for funnels when run raw.  I had 8 heroes, and told the generator to make a map for 8.  Perhaps 1.5x the number of heroes, to make the encounters and traps more deadly. I’ll have to experiment.

Lastly, I had to flip through the book quite a bit when deciding this or that.  I will print out some cheat sheets for critical rules and put them into a GM screen.

All in all, a fun and educational first solo Funnel Adventure.

Breadth or Depth? Skills in RPG Games

In fantasy RPGs like D&D or the various OSR clones, a character tends to grow in depth in their particular skills: Wizards learn more spells, warriors get better at striking foes dead, thieves* get better at thieving, and so on.

In D&D, there can be some growth in the breadth of skill.  When Fighters reach name level (usually Level 9), they can become Paladins, gaining some clerical skills.  Thieves* learn to cast spells from Magic User scrolls.  In S&W Complete, Rangers gain clerical and magical user spells.

Generally, I tend to describe the OSR games as games where your character skills grow in depth.  Games like Dungeon World, which uses the same classes as D&D, the character grows more in breadth than depth.  The Fighter can learn to intimidate someone using his Strength rather than his Charisma stat, for example.  There’s always an option to learn a skill from another class, such as the Ranger’s Volley skill or a thief* skill.    There is the option to increase offensive damage using the Merciless skill, but generally when you add to skills in DW, you increase in breadth.

So why am I mentioning this subject?  How your character develops can be important in the style of game your group wants to play.  For a zero-to-hero style of game, where you play a little every week and slowly build your character up, a depth oriented style might be more suitable.  For heroic level play or one-shots, a breadth based development might be more suitable.  You may not care in detail how well a character can pick pockets, but rather whether he or she is good at it.

 

If I had a group that could meet weekly, I would be more inclined to the depth oriented approach as we could observe the characters growing in their niche powers over time.  But, as I play so infrequently, I presently prefer to develop characters in terms of breadth.  The Fighter can fight better than the rest, the thief can do stealthy things better than the rest, and so on.  Maybe the fighter can learn to sneak if he takes off his heavy armor and learns from the thief.  Maybe the wizard learns some proficiency at arms.  Maybe the cleric learns some more worldly skills from the ranger and learns to identify all kinds of animal tracks.  Maybe the thief (under some oath not to steal from the righteous) learns some of the powers of a clerical order.

I’m trying to think of some poetic conclusion to this little essay, but I’m at a loss for words.  Experiment with your game.  See what you and the other players are looking for and go for it.

* I mention thieves over and over in this post, and I must say, I don’t like a thief class. But the thief class is the poster child for character “skills.”  It’s so cliche (and not in a bad way, mind you) that some OSR clones (such as LOFP) call the thief a “Specialist” rather than thief.  

Creating OSR classes in BOP, part 2

I’m going to try my hand at creating classic D&D/OSR classes in BOP, once again.  I want to run a game at the local game store. I’d like to use BOP, but it would be more of a high fantasy setting using material from the OSR universe.  Therefore, I consider this practice for that activity. If I find it to be too awkward, I’ll probably run Pits & Perils or Swords and Wizardry Whitebox.

When it comes to particular skills, I’m going to use an extra die as an Advantage mechanic when that class attempts something it is good at.  That is, roll three dice, keep the highest two. If a situation puts a character at a disadvantage, roll three dice, keep the lowest two.

And as always, non-spellcasters can boost their physical rolls with Might.  I will do Fighter, Thief, Sorcerer (as magic-user), Ranger, and Demi-human race-as-class.

Fighter

Choose a class of weapon: swords, axes, pole arms, bows, etc. When fighting with that class of weapon, roll with advantage.

In Combat, for each point the fighter rolls over the target number, score an additional point of damage.

The fighter gets double the armor value for his armor and shields before needing to repair them.

Thief

When engaged in any task of subterfuge: sneaking, hiding, picking pockets, tinkering with locks and fine machinery, or ambushing someone from a hiding place,  the thief rolls with Advantage.

Sorcerer

As a Blood of Pangea Sorcerer.  Damage dealing spells cost 1 Might per point of damage. Healing spells cost 1 Might per point healed.

Cleric

No clerics.  If someone has the favor of a deity, make an ad hoc ruling.

Ranger

The ranger rolls with advantage when tracking or engaged in wilderness survival activities: foraging, hunting, sneaking, detecting predators, etc.  The Ranger rolls with Advantage when attacking with missile weapons.  The ranger can, for a cost of 1 might, ask a question of any wild animal and understand the answer.

Paladin

As cleric.  A fighter with the favor of a deity.

Dwarf

The dwarf rolls with advantage when discerning features of stonework: traps, slopes, hidden doors.  The dwarf rolls with advantage when resisting magical spells.  Choose either the Fighter’s damage ability or Armor ability.

The OSR games cap the the Dwarf’s ability to move high in levels to balance its special skills.  So I “balanced” the dwarf by making the player choose which Fighter ability to take.  If you have a better idea, please tell me.

Elf

A sorcerer with the Fighter’s skills.  The elf rolls with advantage when resisting sleep, paralysis, and disease.  Elves need only half the sleep other races need.  It costs twice the experience as other characters to increase the Elf’s might or acquire new skills.

Halfling

Halflings roll with advantage when sneaking, hiding, and picking pockets.  They roll with advantage when using missile weapons, and have the Fighter’s damage ability when using missile weapons.  Halflings roll with advantage when resisting magic.

Personally I’m find all this quite tedious.  I played a Halfling in an online forum game of Labyrinth Lord a couple of years back.  While all armor types were available to him,  I went lightly armored (leather) as I wanted him to be able to sneak.  There’s no explicit rules in that game for Halflings sneaking; the fiction informed those tasks when I attempted them.  Anyone who has read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings understands that halflings can move very quietly when they want to.

If I had a game with Halflings, I’d know right off that I’d give advantage of some kind to a sneaky halfling, provided he’s not loaded up with clanking gear.  If he’s a bumbling, clumsy halfling, then I wouldn’t.  But, unless he was played as a heavy footed clumsy oaf, I’d run with it.

Now that I’ve tried this experiment, I don’t like the idea of using OSR classes for BOP.  It feels too restrictive.  Perhaps a class could encompass some talents as part of a narrative.  As far as explicit mechanical classes, I’d have simply Warriors, Sorcerers, and Rogues (a hybrid of the two), and as racial modifiers something special for each species I wanted to run, and be done with it.  I think it would be possible to blend that with the BOP character narrative. Consider my take on Sam Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings:

Samwise is a halfling warrior, skilled gardener and cook.  He can carry extremely heavy burdens for a great distance.  He is resistant to curses and wields a mean short sword.

Fiction fills in the rest. I’m not sure if I’ll run BOP yet at the local game store but now that I’ve dumped my brain on here and sorted out some thoughts, I’m not entirely opposed to it.

Someone on the BOP Google+ forum suggested letting BOP narratives be longer, but only five talents can be pulled from it. 

In such a way, a custom character could be built.  This reminds me of World of Dungeons where you can create a custom character by selecting four talents from a list. If I wanted to skip the narrative and let the players build characters from some master list of talents, they can create their desired character type.

This blog post is getting a little long and, being a light-weight, my second beer is making me unnecessarily verbose.  So I will end this now.

 

 

Recreating OSR classes in Blood of Pangea

Before I begin….

Some terms for folks that are unfamiliar with OSR:

OSR – Old School Renaissance.  Home brewed and independently published games compatible with the classic Dungeons & Dragons, known as D&D.

Hit Dice – A number of dice rolled in D&D and OSR games to determine the number of hit points of a character.  Roll 5 dice for a 5HD character.

On with the show…

One thing I like about BOP is how you create your own character class by describing what the character is good at.  The only real mechanical distinction is between those who can use sorcery and those who cannot.  Those who don’t cast spells use their Might to boost dice rolls for any physical activity.

I’m going to try to replicate the original 3 classes of D&D with BOP’s rules, tweaking only what I have to to get there.  I’m not doing the thief as I see thieves as merely lightly armored Fighters with a bolted on rule set for sneaking, climbing and lock picking.  If you want a thief, travel light.

Fighter

Narrative: This character has exceptional training in the use of all kinds of arms and armor.

Mechanics: When attacking, for each point greater than the target number, the Fighter does an additional point of damage.

(Wow, that was easy)

Cleric

Narrative: The cleric uses the favor of his deity to repel undead monsters and to work miracles such as healing, defense, or giving aid to a friend.

Mechanics: The cleric is a special sorcerer that can attempt to repel or destroy undead creatures with the roll of the dice, and may spend Might to boost that roll. The cleric may heal wounds at 1 might per point healed.   If the cleric’s behavior is inconsistent with the philosophy of his deity, he may be punished by that deity.

Magic User

Narrative: A sorcerer.

Mechanics: Per the standard Blood of Pangea sorcery rules.  Damaging spells may be cast at a cost of 1 Might per point of damage inflicted.

The magic user was the easiest of them all.  The cleric was the toughest.  It is difficult to define the limits of a cleric’s magic.  It tends to be defensive or utility in nature, but higher level spells, such as “Holy Word” from “Dark Dungeons” (an OSR clone) will kill anyone up to 5HD, stun anyone up to 12HD, and deafen anyone 13HD or higher.   If he worships a war god, then surely he can strike his foes down with the power of his god?  Clerics can be fun for role playing in OSR games but I think they’re mechanically silly with their blunt weapons, as though nobody bleeds from taking an iron ball to the skull.

If I were to play with the BOP rules in an OSR setting, then I’d keep the Fighter and the Magic User and ditch the cleric.  The Magic User has damage dealing spells so could, in theory, blast undead creatures if he chose to do so. And the healing spell makes mechanical sense to me.  It is analogous to “Poor Baby” from Tunnels & Trolls.

I like the two character classes: Adventurer and Sorcerer.  The Jock and the Nerd.  Ken St Andre seemed to like it too when he created Tunnels & Trolls:  There’s the warrior, the wizard, and then a hybrid known as a rogue which can do a little of both.

While we’re making characters, let’s make a Tunnels and Trolls Rogue for BOP.

Narrative: The rogue has some skill at arms and magic, but is not very good at either.

Mechanics: The rogue can boost all physical activities with Might, and may cast spells, but at twice the Might cost as the Adventurer or the Sorcerer.  Spend 2 to get +1.  Spend 2 to get one basic spell effect.

In T&T, the warrior has the benefit of additional armor protection. We could replicate that here, if wanted to:  The warrior’s armor or shield can take an additional hit before needing repair.

And lastly when it comes to OSR spell effects, embellish the spells.  Do you fire a bolt of magic light at your enemy, like a classic magic missile?  Or does the target spontaneously break out in bursting pustules, like some curse of disease?   Either way the effect is 1 point of damage per point spent.  Either the light or the pustules might be more impressive, depending on the situation.   When you magically open a lock, does it just click?  Does an ethereal key appear that you stick in the lock?  Does a tiny fairy crawl inside and mess with the tumblers?