Thursday, September 12, 2013

In Which I Find a Dead Tree Copy of Little Wars

While driving through town today, I decided to stop in at 2nd & Charles and see if I could find something to spend my credit on. Something game related, preferably.

There wasn't much in the way of older rpg material there, today. Some 2e stuff. Buncha 3e stuff.

Old Warhammer stuff. The wargame, not the RPG.

And someone had dumped a shit-load of Rifts!

Curiously, people are always dumping shit-loads of Rifts at 2nd & Charles. 

Then I spotted a small little book, almost hidden.

Little Wars: Including an Appendix on Kriegspiel by H. G. Wells. With an Introduction by Michael J. Varhola and a Foreward by Gary Gygax.

The Ur-text of Wargaming! Woo-hoo! It's the 2004 Skirmisher Publishing edition. I was just thinking a couple of days ago, that I wanted to get a copy for my library. So, I snagged it!

From Mr. Gygax's Foreward:
"Consequently, Little Wars influenced my development of both the Chainmail miniatures rules and the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. For example, it established the concept of a burst radius for cannon rounds, an idea that was translated into both the Chainmail catapult missile diameters and the areas of effect for Fireballs in D&D."
For those interested, the text is available online Here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Haven't Pimped Anything in Quite a While... The Latest LotFP Indiegogo Campaign

It's already funded. Good luck on those stretch goals!

So, for any of the Old School inclined Playtesting D&DNext...

How's it working out? After looking at the latest playtest package, while there's some stuff I like, it's still not turning my crank. It does look like a shift back toward player skill, interacting with the environment instead of a character sheet, etc. Too many fiddly bits, for my taste, though. Over-designed. I expect the final result to be a bit much, to say the least.

How does it run at the table?

Friday, September 6, 2013

In Which Michael Moorcock Sneaks into The Forgotten Realms

So, I've been reading the Cyclopedia of the Realms. My 1e Realms box set is, according to The Acaeum, a first printing. I'm about 30 pages in and have noticed a few editorial snafus. A few more than I would have expected, in fact. At any rate, here's a rather amusing one.

Quite early in the Cyclopedia, starting on page 10, we have the Religion in the Realms section. The authors give an overview of the main deities, then talk about some not so main deities. Among those latter, we get a short section on the Elemental Lords: Grumbar, (God of Elemental Earth;) Kossuth, (ditto of Fire;) Akadi, (Air;) and Istishia, (God of Elemental Water.)

Now, the idea of Elemental gods, kings, or what-have-you goes back quite some way. At least to the renaissance and Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The idea shows up on more that one occasion in European Occultism and there are several variations.

Back to the Cyclopedia. Page 18 gives a chart with Classes and the typical gods they worship, then a smaller list of some professions and the powers they sometimes venerate.

For Sailors, we get the following list:

Straasha is, of course, the Elemental King of Water from Michael Moorcock's Elric series. I can only assume they meant it to be Istishia. Whoever was responsible for that chapter may have substituted what was, to him/her, a more familiar name for the concept.

Or, in Ed's original campaign, he may have ported over Mr. Moorcock's version of the Elemental Lords and the writer/editor gaffed in not correcting the reference in the "Official TSR Version" of the Realms.

Not really surprising. Several of the Forgotten Realms deities come from other mythological sources.

And I could hardly fault Mr. Greenwood for swiping ideas from Mr. Moorcock, for the sake of his home campaign. Many of us did so!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Disarming (Again!): in 1e/OSRIC

I spend an inordinate amount of my idle time thinking of ways to do various combat maneuvers in D&D. Since I'm about to start a 1e campaign (in the Forgotten Realms, by request, no less) I've once again, headed down that particular rabbit hole.

Here's my new Disarm maneuver for AD&D:
A Fighter attempting to disarm an opponent must state his/her intent before making their "to hit" roll.
If the defender is 3 or more levels higher than the attacker, then the attempt succeeds on a roll of a true 20.
If the defender is within 2 levels of the attacker, higher or lower, then the attempt succeeds on the roll of a true 19, or 20.
If the attacker is 3 or more levels higher than the defender, then success is indicated on a true 18-20.
If the attacker is 8 or more levels higher, then a true 17-20 succeeds.
In all cases, the target number must still be a "hit" vs. the defender's AC, save that a true 20 will always succeed.
Whether or not the attempt to disarm succeeds, no damage will be taken by the defender. 

There. I think that does everything I want it to do. I considered altering the target number if a Large Shield was employed by the defender, but then I would have to consider the number of opponents attacking, nearby defenders, etc.

Damn! I forgot about Monks! But, I'll think about that later.