Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Creating Player Characters and Non Player Characters

There is nothing I like better than creating a (Player) character (PC) for games. The way I go about it is to be unique with each one or fall back to a version of previously played PC...

I ran Fighter, thieves and clerics mostly for many adventures with an occasional Magic User....

There is always something to said for trying new things
Each PC I create, I tried to find something different that I have never done before. From a hint of insanity to
a personal quirk. I am not big on back stories or spending time on details because the PC could get killed in the first part of the game.  AD&D and other Role playing games are meant to be spontaneous. The PC should be driven by their actions and experiences while playing, not some elaborate back story
  • I have 2 Favorite Characters that I have run for many years, they are retired to the life of an NPC now
    • Cassiodania, a Female Assassin
    • Tornal, the Druid
Cassi likes to pretend she is a fighter, carries 2 swords and 6 daggers
One is a short sword of Speed, the other is a life stealing blade
Of course she is proficient at killing and very cunning.

It is very tough to play a female in a game dominates by men, but there usually was another guy playing a female in our group. It made for some really intense roll playing while bartering with the other female for a Jewel she acquired that I wanted.

Tornal is very quiet, he has ambition and sets goals and will not let anything get in his way.
He carries a Spear (Gungir) given to him from the Gods because he protected a temple from destruction and made an incredible roll to win a boon

Some Examples of concepts

  • I have played a fighter who was full of bravado that he got the party in all sorts of trouble
  • Priest who would take every chance to challenge you to convert to his God.. gung ho to the point of being distracted from the goal they are on.
  • Wizard who wanted to fight, but knew his limits... 
  • Thief who felt the adventure was a waste if he did not collect something from everyone
  • A Paladin with a hint of insanity named Hamlet
  • A Priest of Dionysus who is quiet until he has an idea.... In a dungeon, the thief had failed to pick the lock, one of the PCs ask "Is there anyone good at opening doors?" So my Priest goes "I am good at opening doors." I proceed to the door and tell the DM in great detail that I am pouring oil oil over the door (the party is discussing something else as I am doin this... I walk back to them and ask for a torch, then announce "I am lighting the door on fire with the torch"... then the entire party goes "NOOOOOOO !! do not do that" the DM informs that it is done because I had said plainly what I was doing... (ahhhh, good times)

When I play, I can be everything from the party Leader, to the one directing the action with subtle hints.  I always try to bring my A game... 

At Conventions when playing, I look at the Pre generated sheet if there is one and try to see what my objectives are.. Without a pre generated, I spend the first 10 minutes asking what people look like, what I can use and how I can direct them. 

For instance, In a game, we went into a tent with a fairy circle, the party consisted of a Paladin, Mage, Theif, 2 Fighters, Cleric and a Ranger. I knew from earlier in the game that one of the players was using magic to change their appearance... In this case, a Drow Elf masquerading as a Human... As he went to examine the fairy circle, I kicked him into the circle where all the magic was dropped... this led to a great fight between the Paladin and the Drow... 

There are many ways to prep for being a character in a game... For example, I love to play TOON.. my primary character is a rabbit, Benjamin B. Bunny... His Idol is Bugs... He has a set of exploding dice as his primary gag... before a game, he list what the other players are and then sets up running gags to mess with other players... 

For instance, if you are playing a seas urchin, he may try to make a sea salad out of you... pulling a blender from the bag of many things and fast talking you to hop in with the mayonnaise and other seasoning... then there are other running gags and double takes......

My Advice:

  1. Dig deep, be unique
  2. Find something that makes the character stand out
  3. Don't be afraid to try it
  4. Don't Dream It, BE IT !!!!!

New Purchases

Update on items purchased recently (over the last 3 months)

4 Sets of 10 Sided                                                              1 Set Ankh Dice

Set of books - Paid $16
2 Sets paid 5.99 each
bought 3 others but this is the one I like best
Arctic Camo D6, matches a set of dice I own, waiting on a set of D10s to match these
and three other copies of 1st edition books... 

Currently, I think I am done buying dice, there is one more set I want, but it may have to wait. ... unless the price is cheap. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Game Flow, mechanics vs realism

OK, AD&D 1st edition suffers from some basic drawbacks in the mechanics.

The Mechanics are what makes the game, I have my players make the least of amount of rolls possible. They mostly will roll only for things that directly affect them

Here are some of the way I make the mechanics work for Game Flow...

  • Encumbrance
    • This is the most misused and least understood rule as well as ignored rule.
      • Simply, if you as a person could not carry it, your character cannot, If you think your character can, then you need to prove it. 
      • Reasonable Encumbrance is used as not to waste time during game... 
  • Weapon Speed
    • Throw this one out, this works in 2nd edition where you use a D10 for initiative, but never worked in 1st Edition where you use a D6 and all things happen at the same time. 
      • If your strength is 18/75, you can wield a Two Handed Sword as fast as the thief with a 14 Strength and a short sword
  • Casting Time
    • For the most part, any casting time longer than 3 segments happen at the end of the round and any longer than 7 Segments happen the beginning of the next round if they win initiative. 
  • Ability Checks
    • This rule is not clear in 1st Edition and many people use a D20 and you roll under the ability
    • I Prefer using D6 and rolling under the ability. 
      • When required (basic ability checks are automatically successful)
        • 4D6, Roll under the ability
      • Example
        • Attempting to run across a log over a ravine while chasing someone would require a dexterity check of  4D6 (possible 5D6 if wearing plate mail) with a Dexterity of 15, the roll is made (13 is the total) and the action continues.... A failed roll would not mean that the Player character falls (Unless he rolls all 6's) but possible was not quick enough over the log. By the same logic, all 1's would enable the PC to make up significant ground 
  • Critical Hits
    • For Critical hits, I try to add a bit of realism with a Lucky Shot
      • On a Roll of 20, I have them Reroll 
        • 1-5, Normal Damage
        • 6-10, Max Damage
        • 11-15, Double Damage
        • 15-19, Triple Damage
        • 20, Instant Kill
          • Same apply for Players, but 20 equals Zero HPs
      • On a Roll of 1
        • 1, Weopon Broke, dropped, Lost 
          • Bow String Broke
          • Sword, save vs crushing blow, automatically dropped out of reach for the next 2 rounds
          • Dagger, dropped or missing if thrown
        • 2-10 Dropped, one round
        • 11-19, Lose attack for the round
        • 20, Normal
A long time ago when I first began Dungeon Mastering, I read an article in Dragon Magazine that changed how I approached my passion... 

This is from Dragon Magazine #52

It is my belief that the game should be absolutely portable first. with a minimal of "House Rules" if it takes more than 2 minutes to do any rules clarification, then I am not interested in playing

From The Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st Edition

“It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important.Never hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, if it goes against the obvious intent of the game.... You are creator and final arbiter. 
By ordering things as they should be, the game as a whole first, your campaign next, and your participants thereafter, you will be playing ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS as it was meant to be.”