Monday, June 29, 2009

Streamlined Swords & Wizardry II

I met with my ex-girlfriend for some tea last night and tried to explain D&D to her. I've tried explaining it to my father recently. They both gave me friendly, supportive looks, nodding their heads as if I was telling them that aliens were teaching me the violin.

I suppose many people these days will have encountered video games and to explain roleplaying you could say it's like a game with no limits, but these people I'm talking about have no conception of video games either. (This is why I value the OSR community, you sort of know what I'm about)

I meet tomorrow with 3 players who don't know what a roleplaying game is. Because of that I've been trying to distill down only what I need to get them going, but without just throwing them in the game. I shared some of my thinking behind it here and my progress to that end here.

So, to be clear, this isn't me re-writing the rules because I'm dissatisfied with the writing or the organization in Swords & Wizardry book-- I actually think they are pretty well done. And I'm not trying to make a Quick Start-- Chgowiz has done great work on one already. Think of this as more like player handouts, things an experienced DM can pass out to inexperienced players to help while explaining the rules and especially move them through the process of character creation. If you can find uses for them other than that I would be thrilled, but that's the aim I have in mind.

So, here I have the explanation of the six abilities and how to roll them. I made some house rule tweaks in here that might make them less universally useful, but I added some text to the three "mental" stats that I think could have been helpful to have in the Core rules.
After that players will most likely want to see the classes. Here is the list of
I had to make some decisions about what to cut and what not (standing toe-to-toe with a dragon probably isn't the best image to put in a newbie's head). I wanted this on one page so I tried to keep what was essential about each class, what distinguishes the archetypes. For example, I don't think you need to know how many experience points it takes to get a cleric to 20th when you're first choosing a character, so the charts are right out. If you'ld like to use this handout, there is room for one more class of your choice on the page: thief, druid, or a dragon borne homewrecker, whatever suits your fancy. Also if you'd like the editable open office files just let me know.

What I like about these streamlined resources is that when they are trying to decide on their class a player may want to see the spells a wizard can cast or what weapons are available, BOOM-- you've got those on separate, single pages right there.

I decided not to put a NPC/Hireling generator on the backburner; I'm still digesting all the wonderful ones I've found on your blogs and trying to decide what I think is essential. I'm also thinking that maybe the best way for these newbies to realize the value of hirelings is to have a little taste of old school adventuring without them.

As for the adventure, I still don't have a map, arrrrgh. How's that for procrastinating? But I have the location in my mind and could probably run it from that if I had to. It is an abandoned convent. The convent has seen several waves of occupiers: the original Sisters of Penitence, humanoids, bandits, and now a nice big hill of giant ants. I'm going to put several hermit cottages on adjacent hillsides and multiple methods of ingress for the players to have to choose fromm. Oh, and also there's going to be a bantling in a well . . . buwhaahahaha!

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