Showing posts from April, 2024

The 3 Mile Hex - The Natural Unit for Exploration

There will be interludes between the AD&D Appraisal series, to keep my own writing motivation going. I was going to do a 3-mile hex post outlining the virtues of it, but turns out Silverarm did that already and stole all my points  (even down to the "Outdoor Survival also uses 3 miles") and added more points I wasn't aware of myself. So go read that excellent piece and come back here. What I instead want to talk about is how the 3 mile hex is a very close fit to our natural sense of distance and visualisation and how the that makes the 3-mile hex the perfect blend between immersion and usable game artifact and how to actually bring that into your game.  Minaria hexmap. Scale: 1 hex = 50 miles. Not what we're going for here. A while back, Noisms contemplated the difficulty of creating a sense of wonder in journeys . The difficulty with journeys in RPGs is the scale of it. It becomes too big, and thus too abstract, to visualize, to immerse oneself into.  I tried, un

Appraising ADVANCED D&D - Part 1 (Ability Scores)

It's time. A detailed and opinionated appraisal of the best, or possible second best, version of Dungeons & Dragons ever made. I mean of course Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Second Edition. There are many things to love about the Classic D&D line (B/X, BECMI, Cyclopedia). Its streamlined, narrow and intuitive numbers. Its focused presentation. The way it knows, better than any other version of D&D, what it wants to be and then just executes that vision. Its superb chassis that makes it as good for running as-is, as it does for extensive houseruling. It is thus perhaps a tad ironic that many of the things there are to love about Advanced  Dungeons & Dragons are diametrically opposed to the reasons for loving Classic D&D. Extolling the virtues of Classic D&D often end up as an implicit critique of AD&D. And many of the reasons for playing AD&D are a stark rejection of the virtues of Classic D&D. Nonetheless, I want to be understood here. When I

Mystara / Known World Review

I've been anticipating reviewing "Mystara" as perhaps the most difficult of the setting reviews.  Unlike most settings, it never really had a dedicated setting book. As the default setting for the "non-advanced" Classic D&D line, it grew from a couple of pages in the Expert Set published in 1981 up and ended as an AD&D in 1995. It is, perhaps moreso than any other setting, a product of organic development which grew and changed radically over the course of its different release cycles.  Unlike the ham-fisted attempts at development and expansion in other settings (Forgotten Realms with its Time of Troubles, Maztika and Kara-Tur getting tacked on to the edges with cheap glue and then destroyed for 4e altogether stand out), this somehow worked out well for Mystara. Perhaps because it is so non-premeditated and basically a collection of different authors having good ideas they wanted to throw at a setting and a setting that is very receptive to such tre