The World of Xôðûn: The Introduction

Greetings, today I’ll be introducing you to my new campaign setting for my future Original Edition Adventures: The World of Xôðûn (pr. Zō•thūn or Zoh-Thoon). It will be part of my ‘Multiverse of Akar’ series of campaigns, which will also include my old (slightly revised) ‘World of Skârn’ and potentially my  Sword & Sorcery setting the ‘World of Mu’. What follow is a modified version of my initial post at the ‘Ruins of Murkhill’ found here.

I’ll be posting more in depth setting info there, while I’ll be posting various development oriented progress reports, as well as snippets of the world with commentary on them here. But I’ll get to the setting intro plus I’ll post some art to illustrate what some of my inspiration is art-wise.

The World of Xôðûn is my new setting that is inspired by my new found love of Original Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (OeD&D/OD&D). It’ll take elements from my old ‘World of Skârn’ setting that I used for my Rolemaster United play-test campaign. There are certain elements that never came into play & they really don’t fit into the ‘more vanilla flavored’ setting that ‘Skârn’ evolved into. I decided to take those more fantastic elements out of ‘Skârn’ & add them to ‘Xôðûn’ instead, so they can be important again and not just be forgotten window dressing that they had became.

Red Monika010

Red Monika of Battle Chasers: Night War by Joe Madureira

I’ve been reading about Dave Hargrave’s Arduin & it struck a cord with me, though I am not sure that I want to run his system in total, I might include some of the elements from it in my OD&D campaigns. The core reason I doubt I’ll ever run it is that it is a bit too crunchy for me; but that said it did plant a few seeds that helped give birth to inspiration from which ‘Xôðûn’ bloomed.

arduin_trilogy

The classic Arduin Grimiore Trilogy by David Hargrave [image from DMDavid Blog]

I’ve always been a fan of mixing science fiction with my fantasy, which might explain my love manga, anime, European comics & RIFTS. It has also fed my growing interest in Blackmoor & even the Gamma World setting. I pull inspiration from these sources, as well as the fantastic art of Vaughn Bodē, Frank Frazetta, Russ Nicholson, Dave Trampier, Jim Roslof, Simon Bisley, the comics Battle Chasers & the films ‘Fire & Ice’ and ‘Wizard’ by Ralph Bakshi. Toss in music like Metal, Punk & Hip Hop and you get an eclectic cauldron frothing with potent inspiration.

bode08Frazetta art01Russ Nicholson art

Art by Vaughn Bodē.                        Art by Frank Frazetta.           Art by Russ Nicholson.

Though the above inspire me creatively, that doesn’t mean those influences will bleed through in total, just certain elements gleaned from them. Be it a vibe from one to flying sky sharks (Battle Chasers & the Seven Deadly Sins) to cyborgs, robots and or androids (Anduin, Blackmoor & Made in Abyss); sky islands and flying airships.

Dave Trampier incineration-3aJim Roslof D&D

Art by Dave Trampier.              Art by Jim Roslof from Basic Dungeons & Dragons.

If I ever publish this setting with House-Rules for OD&D at some future date, I know it won’t have anime/manga style art in it – I’d rather have art inspired by European sci-fi comic art or if I would even consider a cartoon-y style it would be more in the Bakshi & Bodē style. I am a very visual guy so I tend to see things in pictures than in prose. I want the ‘World of Xôðûn’ to have that gonzo feel that disappeared from Skârn as I continued to develop it. Skârn will be part of the growing Multiverse I’ll be developing for my campaigns – of which Xôðûn will be the core of as I move forward for my future campaigns.

Simon Bisley artRalph Bakshi Fire & Ice

Art by Simon Bisley.                               Frame from Fire & Ice by Bakshi & Frazetta.

Ralph Bakshi Wizard art

Background frame from Wizard by Ralph Bakshi.

Well I hope this post shines a bit of insight into what inspires the World of Xôðûn. As soon as I decided to take the more fantastic elements out of the ‘World of Skârn’ and incorporate them into the World of Xôðûn – my creative engines have been on fire. I finally feel excited about digging deep & writing up a fantasy setting and do some preliminary art to help be better visualize it, so I can get it onto paper & on screen.

In my next post about the World of Xôðûn I’ll post some inspirational images that helped me figure out what I wanted for this setting & ultimately will inform my future maps for it. Beyond that I’ll post about some of the inhuman races who dwell in  the World of Xôðûn with basic stats for them. See you then, fin.

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Original Edition Role Playing Appreciation Day + Dieselpunk OD&D Style

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Greetings, I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to Dave Arneson & Gary Gygax (may their spirits rest in peace) – thank you both for creating this game that gave birth to a vast & wonderful hobby that I love. Though I never played Original Edition D&D until recently, it has become my preferred Role Playing Game to run. Though I can use it by-the-book and enjoy it immensely but I love how easily I can tweak it to fit the style of campaign I want to run.

 

Though some OD&D fans hate it when someone says it is a “Toolbox”; but it is. That said you should run it By-the-Book first and frankly I’ll likely do it when I want to run a grim & gritty campaign. With Original Edition D&D you are given a frame work to build upon in the 3LBBs & can take elements from the various OD&D supplements or house rules to tweak the core to become something you want for a specific style of campaign. Sure you can do that with other editions (especially the old TSR editions), but things become increasingly harder with the WotC editions as you have more subsystems baked into them to deal with to do so, where as that is not the case in OD&D.

 

In my last post I gave an example how you can use OD&D to run a Cyberpunk game within the common tropes baked into it. I plan to eventually run such a game once I figure out the house rules needed to tweak it to do so & find a new group to do interested in this kind of campaign. In this post I’ll give you another style of campaign that interests me that I’d love to run via OD&D – Dieselpunk.

 

Like in my Cyberpunk post I’ll discuss how you can run a Dieselpunk campaign based on the common tropes of OD&D: Dungeoneering, Wilderness Exploration, and Domain Play, though Magic, Races & Monsters won’t play much of role in a ‘straight’ dieselpunk campaign; but can in one that mixes supernatural elements such as in Mummy & similar pulpy films.

 

  • Dungeoneering: Unlike in cyberpunk, dungeoneering is actually fairly easy to do, especially if you use films like Indiana Jones as an inspiration. Delving into lost tombs is a common trope, as would be sneaking into guarded lair of some villain and either defeating them or stealing something of great import from them.

 

  • Wilderness Exploring:  Is likewise easy in Dieselpunk, searching out lost tombs within a tropical jungle or vast desert is a common trope. If you add more sci-fi elements you can even have them visit the Moon or Mars and explore them.

 

  • Classes & Races: This is one of the difficult parts of OD&D to convert to a Dieselpunk campaign, as the Magic-User, Cleric, Elf, Dwarf & Halfling are not applicable unless you are including supernatural aspects to the campaign – the same goes for monsters, outside the human’s mentioned in the lists. Adding a Thief class is advisable as they can fill the role of a Tomb Raider type character. It’d be easy to house-rule other iconic roles into classes to fill the holes left by the above classes and races.

 

  • Magic: Again, like the above – unless you are running a Dieselpunk campaign with supernatural or fantasy elements, magic will not play a role.

 

  • Domain Play: Is another OD&D trope hard to implement unless you choose to run businesses or criminal or even secret political organizations at higher level. But this can be interesting & fun style of play, especially if you can mesh it with high level adventures. You can play espionage based campaigns as well at this level emulating a Dieselpunk version of James Bond.

 

  • Combat: This like the Class trope above will take work, as you need rules for more modern weaponry & transportation. An easy fix is stealing from WWII Operation White Box by Pete Spahn, you can get the PDf  here from DriveThruRPG. I am using it as inspiration for my 1940s based Dieselpunk Post-Apocalyptic supernatural campaign; which will allow me to use all the traditional OD&D tropes. But you need not buy the above if you are willing to house rule what you need.

 

Lastly with Dieselpunk you can do the straight pulpy adventure games to sci-fi heavy games with Cyber-Nazis, Robots & even alien invaders or supernatural campaigns populated with Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster & other classic monsters of Gothic literature & the classic films based upon them or their remakes (I love the pre-Tom Cruise Mummy films).

 

As I’ve said above you can do this with other editions of D&D, hell you can easily do this with other rules but I like how using Original Edition D&D creates a wonderful and simple framework to build any campaign I want to run. With OD&D I don’t need (for ease) D20 Modern, Future & Apocalypse to run my OD&D powered Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural/Fantasy fused Dieselpunk gonzo campaign. Though I do suggest Pete Spahn’s WWII White Box game you don’t need it – just use your imagination & home-brew the mechanics you need.

 

Well I’ll end this post by thanking the people within the OSR community that have lit the fire of love for Original edition D&D within me. If it wasn’t for Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy RPG and Swords & Sorcery, I’d never have been inspired to look into OD&D, and thus fall for it. Sure I like B/X D&D, but OD&D is my preferred flavor of Dungeons & Dragons. I’ll play in other editions of D&D, but I’ll only run OD&D, B/X D&D or a few other rules-light games, but OD&D will be my game of choice. Let’s celebrate Original Edition Appreciation Day every May 5th, with plenty of OD&D games, blog & Vlog-posts from now on; which is what I’ll be doing from now on. Original Edition Adventures forever! Fin.

 

Malîk-Rešef Tenebrous

 

Original Edition Cyberpunk Style

Greetings, this will be the last post prior to Original Edition Appreciation Day of May 5th. I posted a thread in one of my favorite gaming forums a few posts on this subject & figured that it’d make an interesting blog post as well. I have been a fan of Cyberpunk media & games since I first saw the classic Blade Runner in the 80s. I used to run games using Ironcrown Enterprises’ Cyberspace (still a favorite of mine) and played in a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign briefly in the early 2000s.

If any of you have played Cyberspace or Cyberpunk 2013/2020 you will know the common tropes of Cyberpunk – at least in context of gaming. In the Cyberpunk literary milieu you have a Dystopian near future Earth, it’ll either be set in a nation under tyrannical government rule that oppresses it’s citizens, where the protagonists are revolutionaries – something it shares with general Dystopian literature. Where it differs though is that how machine and man interfaces and how this plays in the rebellion. The more common Dystopian setting in Cyberpunk is where the government is either wholly corrupt and ineffectual or have collapsed and running cities has fell to Corporate councils.

Cyberpunk city-scape by Dennis Chang

Cyberpunk Cityscape by Dennis Chang

Whereas in the first example players would be revolutionaries in the second and most common setting, the players can be corporate agents, freelancers, police, media personalities, criminals, mercenaries or revolutionaries of some sort – depending on the campaign.

Now how does this apply to Original Edition Dungeons & Dragons? Good question, since OD&D/OeD&D is ultimately a toolbox it can be used to construct any type of game, from Sword & Planet campaigns inspired by the Barsoom tales to Space Opera like Starwars to Dieselpunk style campaigns. The thing you need to do is use OD&D tropes as the basis to build upon to create the campaign you desire.

Since this is a Cyberpunk themed post I decided to break down how I’d do things by taking key tropes of OD&D and using them as a framework; such as: Dungeoneering, Wilderness Exploring, The Endgame or Dominion Play; Magic, Classes & Races.

  • Dungeoneering: This kind of trope could be emulated via raiding Corporate R&D complexes, Criminal Headquarters & the like. Toss in defeating or bypassing Guards or Mercenaries and gathering things like Intel, technology or other needed experiments, “freeing” prized employees from a patron’s rival to actual sabotage or theft. Accumulating “loot” as in gear/prizes from heists, to stock interests, credits, drugs, property or info you can sell, can lead to advancement.

 

  • Wilderness Exploration: This is harder to emulate in a cyberpunk campaign, but not impossible. Take finding a hidden installation in a wilderness cloaked by some high tech means or even a low tech façade. The Intel you received for a job says the hidden complex is on an isolated piece of land between 20-120 square miles or acres owned by the target. You land at the edge of the land & sneak through the region exploring until you locate the hidden complex. Or you leave the installation & your vehicle get’s disabled and you are forced to explore the wilderness evading pursuers in order to escape with your “loot”; acquiring a vehicle to get to a local town & find your way home with your “package” intact. Thus it can be done.

 

  • The Domain Campaigning: In a cyberpunk campaign domain play is a far more intriguing option as you are not actually ruling a domain in the OD&D sense, but instead you could be running a business or organization of some sort. It adds a different flavor to what is typical in OD&D. In fact the players can run separate elements of an organization if they so choose, managing their turf or business interests;  yet you can then go on high level side jobs that have great rewards but huge risks both locally and internationally.

 

  • Magic: Now magic & magical items will not play a traditional role unless you are running a Cyber-Fantasy campaign based on Shadowrun. Instead of magic spells would be specialized programs in which a hacker can utilize to combat black ICE (anti-intrusion programs) that protect a target’s computer data system. Sleep or Slow (?) can stop a number of Black ICE programs or counter Hackers employed by the target from attacking you. At lower levels you have limited ICE Cracker “Spell” programs and need to utilize thief like subterfuge skills to bypass them. Depending on your hacking subsystem or if you have a pilot/driver character not doing things at the time, instead of being bored with nothing to do they could run the hacker through the prepared hacking session while the main referee can run the rest of group via the on site situation. Instead of healing spells you can have injections of nano-surgeons fixing internal damage turning lethal damage to temporary exhaustion. Magical items will either be specialized hacking Ice Cracker programs or high tech weaponry or armor that make you harder to hit & deadlier.

 

  • Classes & Races: These can be home-brewed based on traditional classes & races. Fighting-Men can be ex-soldiers turned mercenaries, organized crime enforcers or hit-men or even corporate black ops security members. Magic-Users become high tech hackers on a net run with some thief skills for use while in the net. A Thief is a spy, a saboteur, a thief or street level goon for a local organized crime family, then you’d have a pilot/driver/tech person, who also pilots drones and vehicles, plus can do minimal hacking – more focused on defense than intrusion. With Races – you’d have androids, bio-engineered beings & cyborgs – not quite androids but not quite human. Cyborgs are often highly specialized towards combat, so rarely are hackers or pilots.

When it comes to equipment this is where you either steal from your favorite Cyberpunk system or construct your own lists how ever you desire to fit the needs of your setting. One thing that will also need to be figured out is modern combat, including vehicle combat and movement rules. Such things can be ripped from Modern or Sci-Fi based OSR games and tweaked for your needs.

Another trope I didn’t cover above is monsters – this can be dealt with in two ways. Take monsters from the ‘Monsters & Treasures’ book then reskin them as potential  bioengineered or robotic threats, into elite mercenaries or cyborgs. The other way is use them as fantasy themed Black ICE programs that the Hacker needs to bypass or defeat to achieve their missions goals.

Something fun as a side game would be having your players run a  group of hackers do hacking runs (using what ever system you devise to run such a game). Each player chooses a net avatar to use & go on hacking runs on a target either for themselves or a patron. Then the game can be run smoothly without need for solo sessions or dual referees. You could also run a campaign inspired by Sword Art Online or Log Horizon for something more fantastic. Though this wouldn’t be a strictly Cyberpunk campaign but might add a twist without trying to emulate Shadowrun if you want to mix Fantasy in your Cyberpunk indirectly.

Well this is all have for this post, I’ll be back on the 5th of May for my Original Edition Appreciation Day post, until then I’ll see you later, Fin.

[Edited: For clarification & accuracy.]

More musings about Original Edition D&D

Greetings, I wanted to cover a few topics concerning Original Edition D&D in this week’s post; one being stats and more pertinent to my future campaigns – races. In my previous post I had mentioned I’ll be using default OD&D races and adding a few of my own as well. This is still the plan but I wanted to cover a few assumptions that I glossed over & give you a better idea why  I am going with those By-the-Book (BtB) assumptions and not just ignoring them.

In my mind and frankly most fantasy fiction inspired by Tolkien no matter the setting, Elves, Dwarfs & Halflings are rare. Sure you’ll have a few of those races living in some bigger human communities but they are not really explained why; especially since their kindred live in often isolated communities away from humans. So that got me thinking, why would a non-human live in or be found in a human community?

The biggest reason is trade, the second biggest would be they are either refugees, slaves or exiles dwelling in those communities. Of the three demi-human races only Halflings would dwell in close proximity to humans to be seen in them on a regular basis. This is likely based on the fact they seem closely related and often share similar cultures. Plus it is far safer to dwell near a friendly human community than away from its protection.

In the ‘World of Skârn’ this general assumption will hold true, but the Elfin & Dwarven communities will be far more isolated from the Human communities with very little interaction between them. Both Elves & Dwarfs will not the “traditional” animosity that is common in most Tolkien derivatives, instead they simply rarely interact with one or another.

Elves are the nobility & defenders of the fey lands which dominate most larger ancient forests & jungles in the world. They are guardians of the Fey creatures dwelling in these forest/jungle realms and of these forests sacred Heart Trees. As such High Elves rarely if ever leave these forest realms & their Wood Elf kin only leave on quests for their rulers or to chase down enemies to their realms. So Elfin adventurers are extremely rare & this are limited in their advancement as such.

The same holds true for Dwarves as well, they keep to their mountainous homes & only leave on the rare quests for their king, to trade with a nearby human community or are exiled. Thus they two are limited in their class & level advancement.

True to Tolkien’s influence Halflings rarely leave their quiet shires except to trade; those to do, will like Elves & Dwarves return to their home community to take up a craft, get married and raise a family among their own kind.

Since this is the case these races will rarely be seen in human communities unless their is a very good reason for it. Unless they have been enslaved or are refugees, only the rare adventurer or trader will be ever encountered outside their home communities. There are three exceptions concerning Elves:

  • Half-Elves, that are are found in Arkhonia; that are the product of breeding programs by the vile Witch-King between his Elfin & Human slaves.
  • The D’Jôlî, one of the ‘Forsaken’ – a nomadic races of formerly Elfin peoples that wander the world either by ship or clan based wagon caravans. All D’Jôlî-Human parings produce pure stock D’Jôlî children for some unknown reason.
  • The Varôsî, another of the ‘Forsaken’ – they live in refugee enclaves through out the Khalidûran continent, they produce a number of Half-Elves.

Both the D’Jôlî and the Varôsî have lost their homelands and have been ‘Forsaken’ by their Elfin kin – thus the class restrictions & most level limits do not apply to them. Though the D’Jôlî are most prone to abide by level limits as they eventually chose to return to their roaming clans – bringing back both wealth and stories.

I’ll discuss other races in my next blog post but now I’ll turn to discussing stats in my future campaigns. In OD&D stats in the three Little Brown Books (3LBB) go from 3-18, with very little in the way of direct impact. Since I’ll be using the standard roll 3d6 down the line character generation – I wanted to discuss the assumptions in my own personal campaigns will be.

These assumptions are simple – a stat of 3 is the very lowest one can have in a given stat to be effective as an adventurer & at ones class. A 3-10 in Intelligence means you are smart enough to do tasks related to your class and you only know the languages allowed by your race – often just your local native tongue. For tasks that require a roll under a stat not directly related to your class abilities (such as casting a spell, using Int as the continued example) – you need to roll under a three or fail at that task.

So a Magic-User with a 3 intelligence will know their native tongue (unless a Elf) & be able to cast spells, but have a rough time remembering deep lore. A Fighting-Man with a Strength  & Constitution of 3 with be able to do his or her class required tasks but will be hard pressed to complete strength or constitution checks, such as force up a portcullis or survive a system shock check, plus would have 1 less HP a given level.

Where as characters with a stat of 18 will be masters of the various tasks required by their stat, such as remembering some obscure lore needed for an adventure or to be able to lift as old and rusty portcullis with little effort.

Having low or below a 9 in a Prime Stat for a character’s chosen class the XP penalty will range from a -10% (7-8) to -20% (3-6) so advancing to a higher level will be markedly slower with a very low Prime Stat; where as a character with a high number in their Prime Stat will advance quicker. But no matter how low your stat is you can be competent in your core class abilities and make those rare task successes even more sweet that if you have an average or high stat during those checks.

Though playing a character with very low stats will not be ideal and often be much more difficult, in the end it’ll give you something to overcome and thus a fun story to tell; such as Stromgar the Weak won the day by overcoming his weakness and lifting up the old and rusty portcullis so his comrades could escape. Where as Athelwin the Mighty with a strength of 18 doing the same deed won’t be as memorable.

Though playing with average or higher stats is ideal, one needs to look at the fact at in the cased of OD&D 3LBBs you can play a character with low stats without being overly burdened by the situation. But also remember your average starting HPs are 2-8 if you are a Fighting-Man depending on your Con stat & 1-7 for all other classes – so you may not be stuck with that potentially sub-par character for very long. Give such a character a chance & you might end up create some wonderful memories if you do. Well I’ll end this post so I can go cook dinner, see you next week. Fin.

 

 

 

Original Edition D&D and Skârn

Greetings, I wanted to discuss how Original Edition D&D is impacting my revision of my home-brew campaign setting of  Skârn in this post. The ‘World of Skârn’ has gone through a variety of incarnations since 2010, when it originated as a simple local region called the Kingdom of Drün. Since then, the  ‘World of Skârn’ has gone from it’s humble origins to something vastly different,  eventually morphing into what became a vast Frankenstein monster of a setting; that was home to dozens of cultures and alien near-human races culled from a number of disparate settings that I had developed over the years since 2010.

As I am beginning my process of revisions (I already have the coastlines on two panels of a larger map done) and have decided that since I’ll be running my future campaigns with the Original Edition D&D or potentially Delving Deeper RPGs. I knew that I’ll want to incorporate tropes common to OD&D/DD into my setting as I continue those revisions. So much of what I had in my setting will be mined, rewritten and used in my new version of Skârn.

The thing I had to do is reorient myself to how OD&D or DD default assumptions differ in comparison to 5e D&D & other fantasy RPG rules I’ve read over the decades. As I said in my first post, I do know now that I did not want the mechanical crunch of RPGs like 5e D&D, Rolemaster or HARP. I also knew that wanted to get back to the whole  “Points-of-Light” vibe OD&D, Basic, B/X & even 1e AD&D had in their settings – thus I wanted a setting where small bastions of civilization shine from the midst of vast primal wilderness. But how to get there? Especially since the ‘World of Skârn’ had grown so big and bloated.

One of the big things was that I did not want to do was go back 2010 era ‘Skârn’ of the ‘Kingdom of Drün era’ as that would get rid of much of the gonzo fun elements that became Skârn to me; nor did I to cleave too close to the most current bloated version of the setting.  To get to that sweet spot in between those options I had to decide where to either cut or rewrite content to reach my desired goal; so I decided to make a check list of things I planned to include in my current version; which is below:

  • I wanted to pare down the pantheons & create a unified cosmology for ‘Skârn’.
  • I wanted to have a better map with hexes or a hex overlay, that better fit the needs & new focus of my campaign.
  • I wanted ‘World of Skârn’ to hue as closely to default assumptions of OD&D without sacrificing the gonzo feel of what it became.
  • I wanted a reason things were based on those assumptions that made internal sense to me so I could explain them to my players in a convincing manner.
  • I wanted to pare down the number of unnecessary and often redundant races that populated the ‘World of Skârn’. Though I still wanted some fairly unique races rooted in ‘Skârn’ I did wanted to cleave close to OD&D default assumed races, for the player characters – at least initially.

To that end I printed out my PDFs of OD&D so I could better read the rules and thus better understand the default assumptions and how they will work in the ‘World of Skârn’ . Another one of the biggest things to consider is what is the OD&D default movement mechanic and how it’ll reflect how it’ll effect mapping and thus exploration in Skârn. Also another thing that I decided to take into account the “Monsters” of OD&D – both those actually with stats but also inferred in the old illustrations. The write-ups on the monsters tell you a lot about the default assumptions about OD&D & it’s assumed style of play.

The more I’ve worked on the prep for my revisions via posts in my main blog during the #My30DayWorld campaign & reading through OD&D & Delving Deeper, certain things became more apparent to me. That things in ‘Skârn’ will become more influenced by Sword & Sorcery than the more ‘arcanepunk’ influence that had influenced it via the likes of Eberron, Iron Kingdom & Battle Chasers that ‘Skârn’ had morphed into.

I love Sword & Sorcery and the old Talislanta RPG, so the current ‘Skârn’ will have a darker more alien feel than it had become with the 5e D&D & Rolemaster United campaigns I ran in ‘Skârn’. Unlike the previous incarnation there will far more exploration and less detail out of the box – but there will be a solid foundation rooted in my old designs that I can plant into the campaign via relics, lost lore and rumors.

As I update this I decided I wanted to give some more concrete examples how things will differ from my old version of Skârn. The encounters with local castles, wizard towers & cleric monasteries/temples will be played up. To be required to joust or duel (depending on the culture) or go on a treasure hunting geas from a magic-user or a quest from a Cleric will give added avenues for adventure and potential role play.

Another element from OD&D though not explained in the rules but inferred to, will be the addition of Amazon cultures, hordes of berserkers, nomadic tribes, bandits & pirates aplenty. To justify this I took a trope from one of my older settings I never finished based around the idea that several vast empires just fell or did so in recent history –

One of the big causes was the second God’s War which devastated most of the civilizations in the world, radically changed elements of it & led to an increase in barbarism. Barbaric human & inhuman tribes have begun to dominate what were vast ordered highly civilized lands. Ruins haunted by the monsters, bandits & the undead are common. Though civilization is slowly creeping back it is highly isolated with the players exploring lands that have stated to become reclaimed by nature and have legends passed down over the last century spurring a lust for adventure.

Another trope that will play an important role in my revisions at least initially is the limitations placed on Elves, Dwarfs & Halfling player characters. Though likely designed to give players additional reason to play humans, I found a rationalization for them that works for me – the majority of Elves, Dwarfs & Halflings that adventure are not only rare but their magic-users & clerics will rarely leave their homelands as they serve their communities best in them.

Does that mean that there will not ever be Dwarf or Halfling magic-users or clerics in my campaigns? No, it’ll just mean that we’ll be doing campaigns centered around their communities if my players want to play those kinds of characters. I’ll have some home-brew races to give my players options for playing non-human Magic-Users & Clerics, but they too will have limitations depending on what abilities they have & to show their rareness.

The one class I am allowing all races to freely & unrestricted advance in is the Thief Class. If you are a Thief you are living among Humans as a outcast from your non-human community.  Whether you started as a Thief or began via your default racial class restrictions initially if you became a Thief you did so because you were exiled when you returned to your community for some reason or were exiled before you took up another class.

It is from this sort of situation where the allowance for Dwarfs, Elves & Halflings can open options to achieve higher levels & take up classes not default for them in the 3LBB OD&D or Delving deeper. But in order for this to occur the player in question & i will have to work out details of why this is & why I should allow it. Elves, Dwarfs & Halflings rarely adventure & are rarely seen in human settlements unless on diplomacy or trade. This will also apply to other non-human races as well as I want Skârn to keep to the OD&D/DD default tropes & human centric Sword & Sorcery vibe I desire for it.

Well I’ll end this post this update so I can run errands.  I’ll be back next week as I continue towards the Original Edition Appreciation Day on May 5th. Fin.

 

Welcome to my new blog.

Greetings, I am Malîk-Rešef Tenebrous and welcome to my new blog ‘Musing about Original Edition Adventures’. I grew up with a love of role playing – especially for Dungeons & Dragons. Over the years I’ve played in a variety of RPGs & ran a select few (Cyberspace, D&D 5e & Rolemaster United); but I’ve gotten sick of the crunchy – rules heavy games I used to play & run.

I instead wanted to get back to the basics – where rules were meant to help the referee to adjudicate rulings; but not be a straight-jacket on ones creativity and by giving you mechanical rules to represent things that you should be role playing in character instead of rolling dice. Original Edition Dungeons & Dragons is the former – a toolbox for a Referee to use to use or disregard depending his or her needs.

Can you role play with crunchier rule systems? Sure you can but you have to work around the mechanical rules to do so. This blog is not meant to demonize other more rules heavy/crunchy RPGs – it is meant to extol the virtues of Original Edition gaming.

Beyond using OD&D/Oe D&D – I want to discuss various house rules I may use depending on which campaign I run for my players, as well as discuss elements of my various campaign settings I am either developing or modding for my own campaigns and review other RPGs based on OD&D.

Original D&D

Original Edition Dungeons & Dragons by Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson in 1974

The above is the classic Original Edition D&D (AKA 3LBB), though I do not own a copy of the 1974 edition I do have a PDf of them. The more I read through the OD&D PDFs the more I grow to love the simplicity and ability to modify it to your needs via house rules or with both official TSR OD&D Supplements (Greyhawk, Blackmoor & others) plus more modern versions using Wizards of the Coast’s (WotC) D20 3.5 OGL from a variety of awesome publishers like Campion & Clitherow (Seven Voyages of Zylarthen) and Night Owl Workshop (Guardians & others).

Well I’ll end this introductory post for this new blog. I’ll not post too often until I am finished with the #My30DayWorld event campaign on my main general Geekry blog : Musings of a Hooli-Geek. Fin.

Malîk-Rešef Tenebrous