Saturday, December 10, 2016

Back in the Ring

Well, it has been a while since my last post. This semester was rough on both me and most of my players, to the extent that I didn't get to run anything for over a month, but I just finished the comeback session of my AD&D campaign. Despite all of us being a little rusty with the rules and mechanics, and one of the four players that showed up having to leave before the session proper, we all had fun. I even have that endorphin rush that accompanies my best runnings; while I wouldn't count this one among my best, it was pretty good considering all of the factors that were arrayed against it. (Plus, the pizza this time was excellent... and one of my most regular players recently started working at the nearest pizza joint.)

This campaign in particular was one I've been itching to get back on its feet. According to the notes of one player, the last time we played it was in June. 😧

However, I used the intervening time to do some work on the rules. My goal throughout was to streamline and organize the rules as much as possible, while still leaving the majority of the content in the Player's Handbook valid rules-wise. Some of the changes I've made include:
  • Simplifying the equipment lists a great deal. I used the equipment tables from the Rules Cyclopedia (and some from the Cook & Marsh Expert Rulebook) as a baseline, only adding extra items where absolutely necessary. I removed a lot of extraneous weapons from the "standard" list (the bloated ones from the PHB can still be used, if a player insists), as well as removing a lot of armor; there is now only one armor type for every AC value (from 8 to 0).
  • Organizing the spell lists by class. Clerics (and paladins), druids (and rangers), and illusionists all use the spell tables from the AD&D1 Players Handbook, while mages (and bards) use the spell tables from the Expert Rulebook; this does mean that they do not have a finalized list beyond 6th level yet, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
  • Adding the assassin and monk from The Scarlet Brotherhood as core classes, while removing all specialist wizards except the illusionist. This leaves a total of 11 classes - three for every group except wizards. I'm considering adding another wizard class to balance it out, but I'm not sure yet.
  • Adding Comeliness as the seventh ability score; it's rolled like any other score, but will increase or decrease when Charisma does. It basically functions as described in AD&D1's Unearthed Arcana.
I also tried out the method of awarding experience by damage, detailed by Alexis Smolensk here; it worked well for my fighter and thief characters when the party fought a displacer beast, but the druid (who only got in one hit) came up short. I'm considering combining this with the optional rules for class-specific experience awards in the AD&D2 DMG, to allow some additional reward for difficult non-combat tasks.

Finally, I stayed up until 3:00am last night (Friday) creating a custom character sheet, incorporating all of my house rules. Both my players and I were very pleased by the results; I'll try and post it sometime soon after I add a page for henchmen and animal companions (the current sheet fits everything else on two pages).

Hopefully, getting to run will give me some inspiration for additional posts. I'll be traveling out of town closer to Yule/Christmas, but until then I'll try and whip something up.

(P. S. I used For Gold & Glory as my rules reference, and my PHB and the one owned by one of my players was used by them. For the most part, it worked; I'll definitely be using it instead of my stack of 2e core books going forward, at least for running at the table.)