Tuesday, 13 December 2016

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last.....

NOTE: This is NOT the actual OSRIC cover.
Which is a pity.
Things have been slowly digesting and percolating in my tiny brain, and I've come to a realization which is long overdue.

Pretty much all my tinkering and messing around with fantasy roleplaying game systems over the years has been, essentially, an attempt to recapture the joy I had in playing AD&D, while trying to avoid the things about AD&D that irked me. Of which there were quite a few, but not so many as to be insurmountable I think. The rules are now easily available again, both as reprints of the original books (expensive) and via the OSRIC project (cheap). I have a nostalgic fondness for the old books, but I think OSRIC is a more useable and accessible resource.

This full-page illustration, in fact.
OSRIC is available as a very convenient A5 paperback for $13.50 or as a full size hardback including a full-page illustration by Your's Truly for $26.00.

So anyway, I've decided to dip my toe back into the murky waters of DMing, and return to my first love..... mostly.

These are the modifications I intend to make to the rules:

  1. I discard dual-classing; everyone can multi-class, as long as they have the minimum requirements. You can start a new class when training to go up a level, but from then on all XP (and hit-points) is split between all your classes — there'll be none of this taking one level in a class to get its benefits and then ignoring it forevermore.
  2. I am keeping the demi-human level limits, so only human characters will be unlimited in all classes.
  3. I will adopt the Character Background idea from 5e to determine the sort of basic range of knowledge the character has, along with the "Good At" skill system at the rate of one slot per 5 whole points of INT and WIS. The idea that a character can only perform a certain skill (like picking locks, or tracking) if they have a certain character class is stupid and dumb, and I'm doing away with it.
  4. All characters start with the standard range of Thief Skills at 50% of the ability of a 1st level Thief. Only Thief characters can improve from this level though (though if one or more of the character's "Good At" slots is applied to one of those skills, I guess it could be improved by level gain... we'll see).
  5. I will replace AD&D's Descending Armour Class and attack tables with the d20 model Attack Bonus and Ascending Armour Class. They're easily calculated: 20 – THAC0 = Attack Bonus, and 20 – AC = AAC.
  6. I intend to adopt the Advantage/Disadvantage system from D&D5e, because it is elegant and works very well indeed.

I've made a new dust-jacket for my A5 copy
of OSRIC so that I can give it the
cover I prefer as well as hopefully making it
a bit sturdier and durable.
There may be some other bits and pieces I've forgotten or haven't determined. For example, I haven't yet decided whether to stick with AD&D's slightly baroque saving throw system (easier to use 3rd-party stuff), or go with a much simpler single save with CHAR-based bonuses/penalties (easier to use in play). Probably the latter.... but maybe not.

The campaign will begin with the party operating as a "snatch" team, working for a Big Fucking Wizard to find and retrieve things the BFW wants or needs. I'm thinking of starting the campaign on about 10,000 XP, but if anyone desperately wants to start at first level, far be it from me to say nay.

Character creation will be by my Character Generation Wheel, using 3d6. For a change, I'm not placing any restrictions on character species.

I'm not averse to trying out Crabaugh's Custom Character Class Creator, though I have a suspicion it could be used for Evil. I'll be keeping a very, VERY close eye on anything created by that means.