Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

My Frankenstein

I was not idle the last few weeks, I was just busy with other things and in places that didn’t have a good internet connection for blogging. Christmas, and work, and other stuff kept on interfering with that. I still worked on my own rules compendium. I renamed it from Gonzo to Frankenstein, because by now it feels less like improvised mayhem, and more like a carefully crafted body made out of parts of other bodies. It still looks weird.

At it’s core it still is OD&D (well, Labyrinth Lord), although the surrounding elements have changed. There is a certain mechanical orthodoxy that I like about the game, and I don’t want to change too much. I want this to be still recognizable as based on OD&D, that is why so far I tried to get around things like spell points or Ascending AC, both of which I find more natural and easier to handle. I did introduce Delta’s Target20 mechanism and a corresponding Fighting Ability score though, mostly because I find a single formula easier than looking up stuff in the tables. This, by the way, is also one of the reasons why no ascending AC so far: the Target20 mechanism uses descending AC beautifully. Also I would have to change ACs on all my monster statistics.
So far I have mostly added to the whole thing (classes, races, spells), purged a few things I did not like (alignments and a few spells connected with them), and then found a lot of optional rules that might come in handy once in a while. True, that does go against the idea of “Simplicity” and “Rulings instead of Rules”, but I try to keep them simple and mostly collect mini-games/subsystems for the sake of variety and ease of use.
That is what I am actually mostly going for: ease of use. Because I am the one editing this system, I slowly gain a good understanding of what different parts really do.

The chapter on combat gained a few more interesting bits, basic rules on how rule some specific combat situations, which all are just variations on a theme (it all boils down to “you get that bonus if you attack with that minus”). I know that this might keep people from really improvising in a battle, but they might show people what is possible.
It’s not like the whole thing is too long anyway. I cut down a lot of superflous stuff, made a few things easier to understand, and so on. The largest part of the whole thing right now is actually the endless lists of spells and psionic powers. I didn’t really want to cut too many of them  because I like variety. The amount of spells is a large part of the game in any case, and the characters don’t really need to read more than the ones they can actually use anyway.

I don’t want to allow players to gain more than a few whimsy spells from their guild, or whatever place they buy spells at. They will either have to research spells or find them on scrolls during the adventure. What sort of a wizards’ guild would just give out what amounts to spells of mass destruction to any PC just waltzing in anyway?

Anyway, so far the largest parts that changed are:

1. there now are 5 base classes that can be played by anyone without requirement and the psion is one of them, all other classes need requirements and/or special DM allowance

2. combat has become easier and has more options, the tables were replaced with a unified system which did not actually change anything mechanically

3. race-as-class now are called paragon classes (yeah, I stole that from 3.5) and cannot advance higher than a specific point, this doesn’t matter too much as multi- and dualclassing is available for all characters. Race/Class combinations are the normal way. I just noticed that my players all had played Baldur’s Gate before and had brought some ideas from there.

4. I reinstated the typical AD&D spell names

Still working on the whole thing. We finally might manage to play again next Saturday, so there it might get tested.

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