Saturday, October 25, 2008

James Wyatt is Hardcore

I've acquired the habit of carrying a 1e Dungeon Master's Guide to meetings at work. James calls it the Gygaxian Bible, and I think there's something to that.

Anyway, while waiting for someone to show up to our meeting, I rolled up a 1e character using James' 1e Player's Handbook, which he had also brought to the meeting. Determined to delve into the full AD&D experience, I puzzled over the weapons vs. AC chart to pick out two weapons for good old, 7 Charisma, 7 Intelligence Algar the half-orc fighter.

As I looked over the table, James said, "I had a unified table that combined weapons vs. AC with the standard combat matrices."

So yes, my fellow gamers, someone did use those tables. James Wyatt: more old school hardcore than you.

(And as an aside, I found something rather interesting about the tables that makes me want to use them. It's kind of neat to kit out your fighter with a scimitar for orc hacking, and a halberd to pull out when a high AC or big monster shows up. OTOH, I once asked Gary if he used those tables, and he insisted he put them in AD&D only because some people on the TSR staff insisted gamers wanted that level of realism and detail.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Magic Item for... ME!

I love playing fighter/wizards. Here's a little toy I've invented for my own use in 4e, to help out that multiclass combo:

Runeshield Level 2+ Magic Item
This iron shield is covered with arcane runes. In the hands of an arcanist, these runes glow with yellow fire.
Level 2: +1, 520 gp
Level 7: +2, 2,600 gp
Level 12: +3, 13,000 gp
Level 17: +4, 65,000 gp
Level 22: +5, 325,000 gp
Level 27: +6, 1,625,000 gp
Property: This shield functions as an implement for any arcane class, but its wielder must be proficient with shields of the appropriate type in order to use it as an implement. It adds the listed enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls for arcane powers that use implements. Note that the enhancement bonus applies only in this situation. It does not apply to AC or Reflex.
Property: The shield grants a +4 bonus to AC against opportunity attacks provoked when you cast an arcane spell.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Skill Challenges as Tool for Putting Demogorgon on Dungeon Level 1

Here's a stray thought about skill challenges. Back in the 1e days, you'd hear all sorts of stories about dungeons where Orcus and Tiamat stomped around on level 1. Meeting those monsters is, obviously, instant death.

In 4e, you could do the same thing, but if you want to give the PCs a chance to live, use the encounter as a skill challenge. You could even make it a level 1 (or whatever is appropriate) challenge to give the PCs a chance and work the big bad guy into the story.

For instance, the PCs open a door to a summoning chamber in the abandoned wizard's lab, and out bursts Demogorgon. Before he returns to the Abyss, his two heads demand that the PCs do him a favor. Cue the skill challenge (success, you're in Demogorgon's debt; failure, he eats a few PCs).

There's no reason why the superstars of D&D's monster world can't show up early in a campaign, and the skill challenge system is a good way to use them in situations other than combat.