Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Basic/Expert Core Rules: Looking for Proof-Readers

Edit: the response has been much quicker than I expected and I think I have enough people helping out now. Thanks to everyone who's offered their assistance!

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm working on a layout for the B/X Core Rules book. To ensure maximum quality and rules accuracy, I'm looking for some people to read through the laid-out PDF and give feedback on errors.

So, if you're passionate about B/X, a real pedant for grammar and/or rules, and would like to help out with this project to create a clean, clear, 100% accurate rules reference, please get in touch! (Comment on this post, contact me on Google+, email me at the address in the sidebar on the right.)

In return for your assistance, I'll put your name in the credits of the book and you'll get a free copy of the fancy-looking, illustrated PDF, when it's done.

Fight on!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Basic / Expert Core Rules: Layout in Progress!

Wow, this project has happened so quickly -- and almost out of nowhere! -- that it feels weird to say that I'm working on a properly laid-out version of the document and talking to illustrators about filling it with beautiful art! And yet, that is the current state of affairs.

And, I must say, I'm super happy with the results. I believe this book is a real step up from either Labyrinth Lord (my current go-to B/X clone) or the original B/X D&D books, in terms of ease of reference. All the rules for each topic are collated into one location and presented on a single spread (no page flipping!). I was actually surprised, combing through B/X in such detail, as I did, to discover how many little rules were hidden in out-of-the-way locations. In my book, all these orphans are reunited with their families.

As a little indicator of progress and a hint at how things are laid out, here's a preview of the book's table of contents.

I'm hoping to publish it in PDF and print form (digest size) some time this summer! Alongside, I'll release a plain text (RTF, I guess) document of the rules, fully OGC, for other people to play with.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Basic / Expert Core Rules: Initial Finished Release!

I've reached a major milestone with the Basic / Expert Core Rules project, which I announced the other day: with a blustery Saturday morning and v0.7.0 of the document, I've reached the point where I consider the core rules document tentatively complete! (Of course, that's not to say that it really is complete. It's entirely possible that I've missed really obvious things out.)

The Documents
Yes, it's become three documents now.
  1. Basic / Expert Purist Core Rules: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cdbkwE7i2t9ONJZjrO5ausQVHzq_o2rHV1SjVYzYlbc
  2. Basic / Expert Augmented Core Rules: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qVj20Y0mlDIvMYSls54fTBUGxx8UGyjXR7JaR9IkkyA
  3. Standard Combat Charts: https://drive.google.com/open?id=19jMX-mopwwOQzuUVB9hquDsdAW0QlE-lbmwM49-h2eo
1 is the real core. 2 is the core plus a few extra, optional rules to clarify certain situations. 3 is the standard attack and saving throw charts. (I separated those out as all those tables were making editing the other docs sluggish!)

Project Goals
  1. A rules document that focuses on quick and easy reference for experienced players. Existing clones vary in the readability of their presentation, especially regarding ease of quick rules reference during play.
  2. A 100% accurate clone of the Basic / Expert rules. Existing clones modify certain elements of the rules, so a really pure clone is missing.
  3. A 100% Open Game Content version of the combined Basic / Expert rules, presented in a plain text format. This can serve as a foundation for house rules documents and tweaked rule sets.
  4. A document containing purely the rules of the game, not including character races/classes, equipment lists, spells, monsters, etc. These commonly vary between campaigns, so are better presented in a separate booklet.

Checking Everything
So now the basic document is complete, I want to make sure that it achieves the goals set out above. Goal 3 is already done (see the OGL at the end of the document), but the other goals will require some checking. This is where input from other people -- especially B/X aficionados -- would be really appreciated. Given the scope of the project (see the goals above) is anything missing, when compared to B/X? Is anything wrong?

And Then What?
Once I'm happy that the documents have met the goals I've set, I'll publish them properly, in the following forms:
  1. A laid-out PDF, focusing on usability. No fancy graphics or artwork.
  2. A raw text document for others to use and edit to their hearts' content.

...and then, if I feel like going further with this, I do rather fancy doing up nice, illustrated editions. I might also get to work on a standard equipment document to go with it.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Jungle Megadungeon: Monsters Part 4

A few more monsters which may be encountered in or around my imaginary snake-cult temple ruins in a jungle megadungeon...


Winged Serpent
HD 3, AC 5, Att: bite (1d4 + poison), Mv 120’ (40’) (flying), Ml 8, Al N, XP 80

Originally bred by the snake-cult's sorcerers, these beautiful yet deadly monsters still nest in treetops around the temple complex, hunting in the jungle below. Their sinuous, 7’ long bodies are azure with yellow diamonds; their feathered wings are white with violet tips; their eyes are indigo with yellow slit-pupils.


Poison: a victim who fails a save becomes rigid -- utterly paralysed -- within 1d6 rounds. Death follows, after three turns.

Crystal Serpent
HD 6 (damage and energy resistance), AC 1, Att: bite (1d8 + poison), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al NE, XP 1,070

10’ long cobra statues of pure, transparent crystal, constructed by sorcery and placed as guardians around the tombs of the temple complex. Passing under the watchful gaze of a crystal serpent requires a save versus spells; failure awakens it to attack.

Poison: one who fails a saving throw versus petrification, when bitten, is instantly turned into crystal, along with all equipment. (The spell stone to flesh can restore characters who suffer this fate.)

Damage resistance: non-magical piercing or slashing attacks only inflict a single point of damage (plus STR bonus, if applicable).


Energy resistance: crystal serpents are unharmed by mundane fire and take half damage from magical fire.

Hydral
HD 5 (plus 10hp per head), AC 6 (body) / 3 (heads), Att: 3-5 x bite (1d6 + constriction), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 9, Al N, XP 500

12’ long, rainbow-banded, multi-headed snakes bred by the cult of Thaa as companions and guardians. Hydrals are not poisonous, but their multiple heads attack in unison each round, making them dangerous opponents. Each head may target a separate opponent, within 5’.

An individual hydral has between three and five heads. Each head has 10hp, separate to the creature's main hit point total. Attackers may choose to target a head specifically, in which case damage is subtracted from that head's hit point total. If all heads are killed, the hydral is slain.


Constriction: if two bite attacks hit a single opponent in a round, the hydral’s body and tail wrap around and begin to tighten around the victim. The target suffers 1d8 damage per round and a -2 penalty to attacks and Armour Class. Only one target can be constricted at a time.

New Project Announcement! Basic / Expert Core Rules

Sounds like another clone! (Rejoice / weep.)

Well, sort of. Here's what I have planned:
  1. A rules document that focuses on quick and easy reference for experienced players. Existing clones vary in the readability of their presentation, especially regarding ease of quick rules reference during play.
  2. A 100% accurate clone of the Basic / Expert rules. Existing clones modify certain elements of the rules, so a really pure clone is missing.
  3. A 100% Open Game Content version of the combined Basic / Expert rules, presented in a pure text format. This can serve as a foundation for house rules documents and tweaked rule sets.
  4. A rule set augmented with commonly used rulings for situations not covered by the core Basic / Expert rules. All such additions are clearly marked as optional extras.
  5. A document containing purely the rules of the game, not including character races/classes, equipment lists, spells, monsters, etc. These commonly vary between campaigns, so are better presented in a separate booklet.
          So, as you can see, this isn't a clone in the same sense as Labyrinth Lord, say. It's a partial clone, focusing purely on presenting the core rules of the game in an easy-to-reference form. The project was born out of my frustrated love for two existing B/X clones: Labyrinth Lord and LotFP. The former is my game of choice, but (to be honest) the way the core rules are written and laid out is a mess (e.g. check out Attacking and Melee Combat on p53). LotFP, on the other hand, while impeccably written and laid out, modifies the core B/X rules in quite a few ways, so isn't much use when running a B/X-based game.


          The other reason for this project is simply that I really enjoy playing around with this kind of thing :)

          So far, I've written up two sections:

          1. Basic combat procedure.
          2. Other combat issues.

          The text is a chimera of Labyrinth Lord, LotFP: Rules & Magic, and my own writing. (Thanks to the Open Game Content generosity of Daniel Proctor and James Raggi!)

          v0.1 is online now. Check it out!

          As the "v0.1" specifier indicates, this is a super early, incomplete version. There are lots of sections still to write and lots of things still to do. (For example, I need to go through and compare everything with B/X to check for errors / omissions.) Bearing that in mind, though, feedback on the document is most welcome! Feel free to comment on the document directly or send me a message.

          (I plan to do a properly laid out PDF version, too, but only once the basic text is finished.)

          Friday, 16 June 2017

          Jungle Megadungeon: Monsters 3

          I'm on holiday on a Greek island. I'd been planning to do a bit of writing for the next issue of Wormskin, during some period of lounging beside the pool, but the blazing hot weather just isn't conducive to thoughts about a dank, moss-festooned forest. So instead my thoughts have returned to the megadungeon in a jungle that I started planning a while back. Here are some more monsters that might be found lurking in or around the ruined snake-cult temple.

          Alabaster Serpent
          HD 3, AC 5 (reflexes), Att: bite (1d4 + poison), Mv 120’ (40’) (slithering / climbing), Ml 9, Al N, XP 65

          Slender, 5’ long serpents of pure white, with eyes of violet, bred by the snake cult as dangerous guardians. These snakes are no longer found in the wild, but the priests of the cult placed many inside clay jars, in suspended animation, to attack any who disturb them.

          Poison: a victim who fails their save versus the venom of an alabaster serpent enters a state of violent spasms, losing one point of DEX per round until death (when DEX reaches 0).


          Mummified Crocodile
          HD 8, AC 6 (scales), Att: bite (2d6 + drowning roll), Mv 120’ (40’) (on land / swimming), Ml 10, Al N, XP 1,560


          Husks of great river reptiles, stuffed with reeds and incense, their eyes replaced with opals engraved with hieroglyphics of death and magic (worth 300gp each). These monsters lurk submerged in rivers, ponds, and canals around the temple complex, waiting to attack intruders.


          Surprise: lying beneath the water's surface, a mummified crocodile is easily overlooked or mistaken for a log. They surprise on a roll of 1-3.

          Drowning roll: if within 10’ of water, a victim of a bite which inflicts 8 or more points of damage must save versus paralysis or be dragged under. On subsequent rounds, they cannot attack and suffer automatic bite damage. A successful STR or DEX check is required to escape.




          Path Guardian
          HD 2+2 (death cry when killed), AC 9, Att: 2 x claws (1d6), Mv 120’ (40’), Ml 10, Al NE, XP 47


          The reanimated corpses of local, tattooed tribespeople, captured and sacrificed to the snake goddess for trespassing on the lands claimed by the cult. Their final hours of life saw them tied to totem stakes with thongs of crocodile leather, force-fed potent psychedelic poisons, and left to die. In death, they were decapitated and long, bronze barbs inserted into their hands to act as claws. They lie inert beside the totem where they were sacrificed, but rise to attack any who venture near.

          Death cry: upon death, a path guardian’s chest splits open, emitting a piercing wail. This triggers a wandering monster check.

          Wednesday, 24 May 2017

          Dolmenwood: d30 Encounter Tables

          I wrote a few posts with ideas about Dolmenwood encounter tables ages ago. I wasn't really satisfied with those big d100 tables, though, so the topic which has still been on my mind. The latest iteration is based on d30 tables, per region of Dolmenwood, with separate tables for night and day.

          I've rendered the basic tables -- just a generic on- and off-road tables -- as a PDF for people to check out. It also includes references to the book or issue of Wormskin where the monster appears.

          Clicketh thou here to view the PDF.

          Obviously, this is all still very rough and will be greatly expanded in the future, but I thought people may be interested to see the direction I'm going in with this.