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Showing posts from March, 2010

Age of Conan - Revised Thief

I have revised the way I'm going to run thieves in Age of Conan. Philotomy's version is great and works out well for games with just the "core four" classes and no multiclassing, but it falls apart when you introduce bards and assassins, both of whom get thief abilities at lower levels. There's not enough of a discrepancy between levels for that to make a difference, so bards and assassins get real, serious benefit over thieves.

In thinking of this, it occurred to me that I've made almost everything else in AoC work off of 2d6, so why not thief skills as well? I then found Doc's Bottom Drawer, an excellent OD&D resource site where he does exactly this. His take on the thief wasn't 100% what I was looking for, but it gave me a huge head start. So I flipped his thief skills table around to be roll over rather than roll under, made a couple minor tweaks (Age of Conan doesn't have demihuman races, for example) and placed it into the document.

A…

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Parity in Demihuman Races

I don't know why, but it always bugged me that elves in OD&D were handled differently than the other two demihuman races. Where dwarves and hobbits merely advance as Fighting-Men with level limits, elves get to choose every game session whether they want to be a Fighting-Man or Magic-User.

To be honest, I like this version of multi-classing. Sure, it's somewhat "gamey," but it's just a neat idea of a character shifting his or her focus every so often to the skill set she needs the most, and it points to a certain alien mindset to the demihuman abilities that isn't shared by humans. But only elves get the option.

Later, dwarves and hobbits get the option to simultaneously advance as thieves and fighting-men, but elves then gain that option as well as the option to advance simultaneously in all three classes, or they can stick to their "every other session" method.

In thinking about this, I came across a passage in Supplement I: Greyhawk (page 5)…

Age of Conan, Session 5

Vengeance of the Golden Skull, Part 1:

After a few days back in Messantia, the group is beginning to get restless and look to go their own ways.

Lukas, the Hyperborian assassin, gets a message from an old friend begging him to meet at a bathhouse in the Dustbiter district for something of the utmost importance and secrecy. Meanwhile, Merhotep is given a new mission by the Nemedian Chroniclers: they fear political instability in Argos and wish him to meet an information broker in a bathhouse in the Dustbiter district. Finally, the Bossonian Archer (whose name is now escaping me) receives a new mission from the Aquilonian court: while Aquilonia is relatively stable due to the method of Conan the Great's abdication, they fear political instability in the surrounding kingdoms--Ophir, Turan, Nemedia, and Argos. They want the borderer to investigate rumors of this instability by meeting (you guessed it!) a man in a bathhouse.

While surprised when they run into each other there, the three a…

Converting Adventures Is Not Rocket Science

All-too-often I see DMs who run OD&D, B/X D&D, or any other version of classic D&D fretting about needing to prep to DM tonight, but not having anything ready.

Also all-too-often these DMs lament the fact that they have a shelf full of 3.x modules that they don't have time to convert.

"Time?" I think. "What time?"

Seriously, folks--the beauty of old-school, classic D&D is that it's so damn flexible, fast, and loose. ANY adventure can be converted completely on the fly, if the DM has any passing knowledge of the system in which the original adventure was written.

I'll take it a step further, and demonstrate how to do it with a humanocentric swords-and-sorcery game, which even requires that you remove demihuman races and humanoid monsters such as orcs, goblins, etc.

I am running a game tonight--a Conan game using OD&D--and have decided to use one of Mongoose's modules for the game. This is so easy to do it's not even funny. In O…

Thoughts on an alternate Chainmail-based combat.

Chainmail Man to Man combat functions off of 2d6, consulting a matrix cross-referencing the weapon with the armor type, and checking for a target number.

What if one could do away with the matrix? This thought has occurred from some design decisions made working on my current Sci Fi game for the O.R.C.S. rules (the system that powers Spellcraft & Swordplay.

The method for doing so is pretty basic.

Each weapon in Chainmail has a class rating (daggers are class 1, swords are class 4, etc.) Instead of consulting the chart, use this class rating as a bonus, with one caveat: weapons with a class rating higher than 6 gain a bonus equal to half their class rating (Round down) + 1. So a two-handed sword gets a +7 bonus, while a flail has a +4 bonus.

Next, convert armor types into a "hit" penalty.*

No Armor = 0
Leather/Padded = 1
Shield Only = 2
Leather + Shield = 3
Chain, Banded, Studded, Splint = 4
Chain + Shield = 5
Plate = 6
Plate + shield = 7

The basics: Roll 2d6, adding weapon bo…

The Age of Conan - Sessions 3 and 4

The first adventure ended successfully. In session 3, the group finally made their way across the river, overcoming a number of traps left for them by Sar'Wik. They battled more pygmies and more croc-things, one of which almost killed the Aesir. They discovered a coin and a fresco both bearing the face of a beautiful woman wearing a crown, the fresco identifying her as the Queen, which they all found odd because until now all of their references had been to a King. The woman also bore a passing resemblance to the young man Sar'Wik.

At length they came to the palace. It getting near dusk, they took up a position atop one of the guard towers and settled in for the night.

After night fell they witnessed a group of creatures apparently emerge through the wall. These creatures the Stygian identified as ghouls, and theorized that they were not walking through the wall, but through a gap in the wall. The group opted to let the creatures go, as they were no immediate threat and battlin…