Saturday, March 23, 2013

Delving Deeper

During my lull in activity the free pdf of Delving Deeper finally came out. I had been waiting for it for a long time, since I am such a fan of the LBBs. I have to say, it does not disappoint. I should qualify that: if you want a good, true clone of the LBBs, it does not disappoint. It doesn't make any truly radical digressions from the source material. It merely makes it more understandable and usable by beginners.

Anyway, this isn't intended as a review. The pdfs can be downloaded free here, so go grab them and see for yourself. They are awesome. One thing, though: these are "no art" pdfs, which in a strange way fits with the nostalgia of the early edition experience. Sure there was artwork in the LBBs but it was akin to studyhall doodling and rarely bore any correlation to the topic discussed on the page it occupied. I tended to ignore it for the most part, and the no-art of DD plays right into that.

Some House Rules

These are some ideas that have been rattling around my brain for a few weeks. Getting DD made me want to get them written up (however roughly). I'm going to share them here. I've done countless OD&D house rules, but these strike me as different. These are more subtle and (I think) more in line with OD&D power levels. Please let me now what you think. Obviously they can be used with any version of OD&D.

Stat Determination
Roll 3d6, assign where desired. Repeat for remaining stats.

Hit Points
Re-rolled at each level. If the new roll doesn't exceed the previous total, keep the previous total. Note that this is per level, and so applies even when a +1 or +2 is indicated on the class table.

Fighters begin knowing two fighting styles. They add an additional style at levels 3 and 6. There is no benefit to taking a style more than once.
Fighters add +1 to all damaged caused. This increases by +1 at 4th level and again at 8th level.

Clerics add +1 to their rolls to turn undead if their WIS is 15+.

Magic-users with an INT of 15+ have a +1 bonus which may be used in two ways.
It may be subtracted from a targets Saving Throw;
It may be used to increase a level-dependent variable of a cast spell. For example, a 5th level magic-user could cast a Fireball that does 6d6 damage.
The bonus may only be applied once per spell cast. So in the above example, he could cast a 6d6 Fireball, or a standard 5d6 Fireball, but force his target to subtract -1 from his Saving Throw roll.

Each time a thief adds a new hit die, he also improves in his illicit skills. At levels 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12 the player selects one of the eight thiefly skills listed on page 14 of the Adventurer's Handbook. He now rolls a d8 when using that kill. The roll needed to succeed is still 3+.

Fighting Styles
There are four fighting styles a character may be proficient in:
Sword and Shield
Two Weapon
Two-handed Weapon
Sword and Shield is the standard. Note that it refers to any one-handed weapon and not just swords. This style allows the combatant to subtract his shield's bonus from his opponents to-hit roll.
Usable by Fighters and Clerics.

Two-weapon refers to the skill with wielding a weapon in each hand. The player rolls 2d20 when attacking and keeps the more favorable result. Note that only one of the attack rolls actually counts, even if they are both good enough to hit.
Usable by Fighters only.

Two-handed Weapon is the use of a larger, heavier version of a standard weapon, which requires two hands to wield properly. When such a weapon hits, rolls 2d6 for damage and keep the better result. Any weapon may have two-handed variant which may be used with this style.
Usable by Fighters only.

Missile refers to any thrown or mechanically propelled weapon. Proficiency in this style confers a +1 to-hit and damage.
Usable by Fighters and Thieves.

Armor is considered either Light, Medium, or Heavy for rules purposes. The Armor Classes are Light 7, Medium 5, Heavy 3. Construction material is irrelevant in determining AC, thus you can have Heavy Leather that is AC3. Construction material may be considered where specific types of damage are concerned, such as an electrical attack against someone in chainmail. These will need to be considered on a per case basis.
Magical armor subtracts its bonus from the enemy's to-hit roll. The armor class itself remains fixed.