Showing posts from 2016

Fighter & Rogue write-ups for "RedNext" (B/X-5e hack)

I've finished my write ups of both the Fighter and Rogue for my B/X-5e "RedNext" hack. Unlike the  Halfling , which was mostly written from scratch, these were a lot easier. Copy-paste from the SRD, trim and re-organise to make it easier to scan and fit into 3 pages each. The Figher (PDF) The Rogue (PDF) There are a few differences from the 5e PHB version though. No sub-classes, no feats, no race to be chosen (since race is a class), skill lists dumped and only the four core classes (+3 optional race-classes), trims a lot of the fat from the character dev mini-game that modern D&D so wants to become. There are two changes I use to cover the difference: A much increased focus on the simple combo of (4 core classes + background)  to define your proficiency and 'adventuring identity' as opposed to a proliferation of classes and long lists of skills (I do appreciate that 5e vastly cuts down on the skill lists. Still a bit too long for my taste). A choic

Monsters/Humanoids as Playable races in D&D

It has been leaked that the forthcoming Volo's Guide to Monsters will have rules for playing Aasimar, Bugbears, Firbolgs, Goblins,Goliaths, hobgoblins, Kenku, Kobolds, Lizardfolk, Orcs, Tabaxi and Tritons. Setting aside my current movement towards even finding elves a bit problematic as a playable race, I can see the case for things like Aasimar, Kenky and Goliaths. But bugbears? Goblins? Hobgoblins? I've even seen complaints that gnolls weren't included. What? These are monsters . I guess it comes out of an assumption that I've grown to wholesale reject - A naturalistic approach to critters. Ie, that gnolls or bugbears are just another intelligent species like any other, albeit one more violent then most.  In other words, they are not really monsters. This approach, populised I suppose by the WoW/Eberron approach to orcs as Noble Savages, to me roundly defeats much of the Raison d'Etre for D&D adventuring - Namely that it is ok to kill these cr

Halfling [Race-as-class] for 5e (RedNext B/-5e hack)

Halfling - Racial Class 5e (PDF) First of all, let me start by saying - 5e may be simple and balanced, but class design is NOT.  Class design is really where the designers put in the highest level of complexity into the system. Lots of unique sub systems (battemaster, warlock), maneuvers that break the action economy in unique ways, implied strategic build paths, etc.  All stuff I want to simplify away with  RedNext  - take away the excess of moving parts.  But even besides that, there is lots to consider - Every level gets a bennie of some sort (in three tiers), some hardcore class defining ones, others thematic. And impact of bennies is asymmetrical from class to class (except 5th and 11th). And all of them have frontloaded abilities that are on the surface overpowered.  Weighing all these up and when to put the big ones is a lot to consider - Making the Halfling took time! Dwarf and elf might be easier purely because I now have a better grasp of the ideas behind clas

Skills in D&D - And in RedNext (B/X-5e hack)

Skills is a problem. Always has been. It's a problem to have them and a problem not to have them. Back in the day, I considered myself a skill-aficionado. The thought that not having skills could be a well-considered feature of a system didn't really occur to me. These days, I am between two stools of appreciating the advantages to not having skills and still liking skills for the way it helps to distinguish and characterise characters. And this is why I don't like 5e skills - they are too generic and basic. They don't actually say anything about the character. We have skills in my 5e group, but I can't see we've used them for much other than 'guess I can add +2 to that roll'. In other words, they might as well not be there. With that in mind, my baseline is a slight modification of the OSR standard: Anyone can more or less try anything. For my 5e OSR document, I edited out all skill references to take as my baseline. Sort of. Actually, ski

Further thoughts on "B/X-5e" hack: RedNext

First of all, in reply to some of the comments on my previous entry as to whether 5e hacks can be considered old-school or not and why I will continue to bill my little pocket project as OSR in my own mind - I like  Greyhawk Grognard's definition: "We play the old games, and the games that feel like the old games." 'nuff said. On to other matters: I guess I am going ahead with this. Yesterday, I took the 5e SRD, split it into six booklet documents. Then I stripped it of all the stuff that won't fit in with my "Redbox 5e" mix. Cosmology guff, classes beyond the four basic ones, all races save dwarf,elf, halfling, feats and skills.  3 for players: Book 1: Characters (45 pages) Book 2:  Playing the game (29 pages) Book 3:  Magic (112 pages) And another 3 for the DM: Book 4:  Running the Game (16 pages) Book 5:  Treasure (63 pages) Book 6:  Monsters (164 pages) Something like this if ever actually printed. Great for the actual table.

5e as the OSR engine of choice

So, recently I've been pondering the right D&D system.  Since then, I've been leaning heavily towards 5th edition as the OSR engine of choice. Now, some of you may say "5th edition isn't OSR, man. It's got feats, and warlocks and dragonborn". And sure, it probably isn't. I am calling it the OSR engine of choice, because I delved into OSR games looking for a system designed on principles that the OSR champions: Simplicity, streamlined, easy to houserule, speed of play, limited amount of moving parts. Now, full blown 5e doesn't exactly meet those requirements, but the free version, Basic D&D 5e, does. The four classic races only, The four classic classes only, no feats. Few modifiers, easy and simple maths, few assumptions on equipment. Lovely really. Use one of the skill variants in the DMG for simpler and better skills and houserule in a stricter healing system and I'd say you have a lean, balanced and fast engine that can stand toe

*Adventures in Middle-Earth Player's Guide" is in my hands.mwuahahah

Just scanning the Overview Chapter so far and I am already seeing stuff to strip mine for my own game. dis gun be good.

Meditations on the right D&D system - how to choose?

I have recently felt a yearning to settle on a proper system as a lens to express and think D&D through. The ones that are floating through my mind are B/X, Swords & Wizardry, 5e, DCC and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery. For pure nostalgia, B/X is the one. And also why I am not feeling it for Labyrinth Lord. I don't really see what it is supposed to offer as a new  iteration of BECMI when simplicity+ nostalgia is a driving force? Less nostalgia and with little better solutions to make up for it that I can tell. 5th edition is the easy choice. It is modern, streamlined, easy to run. But its strength is also its weakness. It is so very tight and balanced - meaning every tinkering has a consequence (although far less than 3.5 or 4e). This sort of system also creates an expectation of balance, 'fair progression' etc. These may be valid concerns, but I'd like a system that flips players into a world where these concerns are trivial. This concern is contradi

Made a logo

For the blog and whatever pdf and such I end up releasing. that is all. 

Fixing the Cleric? Make Sense of the Cleric

Googling "Fixing the Cleric" in quotes give ca 17900 results. Obviously, this is a recurring theme of frustration among D&Ders. So here is take 17901 trying to do the same. Why this keeps coming up is not hard to see - There are no clerics in fiction. It doesn't match to any sort of narrative archetype. The only archetypes it is recognised as is gamist: "the healer". As it is, it falls squarely between the two stools of religious warrior (which is the Paladin) and Mystic (which doesn't really exist in D&D). It's not that divine classes themselves struggle with this. Paladins are an easily recognisable archetype, as are druids. Yet, somehow clerics seem to expertly evade narrative recognition after decades of being a core class in D&D. The Cleric as Gamist Archetype Maybe if they had made the cleric more like the monk, using simple weapons and little armor but being somewhat capable in melee anyway and then jazzed that up with cl

Adventures in Middle Earth for D&D 5e pre-ordered

I just  Pre-ordered Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide and Loremaster's Guide  from Cubicle 7. Probably the first pre-order I've ever done as I normally like to wait for reviews. I am dead excited about this one. I bought The Heart of the Wild  from them, knowing I would likely never play it, just to see their take on this type of area as a gaming setting - and loved it. I have admired the craftmanship of ToR for a while, but also know that my gaming group dislikes spending time on learning a new system and convincing them to switch would be next to impossible. Adventures in Middle Earth not only allows me to pitch a "Middle Earth Done Right" campaign with 5e - But from looking at  their FAQ , it seems they plan on re-tooling classes and backgrounds to suit Middle Earth. Presumably making them much less overt and more setting-grounded flavourful than the 'sling fireball / epic smite'  style of D&D. I am also eagerly anticipating what