Friday, March 4, 2011

Celebrating Gygax

Today is the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death.  If anyone doesn't know what a Gary Gygax is, you need to look it up.  Jeff Rients on his blog mentioned some homework:

"Start with a core set of rules, the older and crappier the better.  You can use an RPG but some half-baked wargame works even better.  Produce a two or three page document with suggestions for improving the rules/adapting them for RPG play and an outline for a campaign.  Expand this to a 50-100 page book.  Use the latter document as the basis for all your campaigns for the next decade or three.  Run one to six games a week, refining your work as necessary.  Publishing any of it is entirely optional."

Done and done.  Except for publishing any of it.  I'm still in the process of writing a clone, but it's not finished as of this writing.  A short blurb:

I wrote this because I want a different "feel" for D&D, one that I don't believe the mechanics support well in their current form.  I want to bring the violent action and feel of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and David Gemmell to the mix.  I want the otherworldly horror of Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft.  I want to renew a sense of wonder to the player, when you sat down and played your first game of D&D.

Choose from 10 unique races, not just another variation of elf.  Some are the same as you're used to (shaken and stirred a bit), others are very different.  Humans are now distinct by nationality and race. 

You are not your stuff anymore.  Your damage increases by class and level, not by acquiring a higher-damage weapon.  This is logical and consistent with the pulps we are emulating.   

No skills!  Your character is unique and does have abilities all his own, and the rules allow anything to be attempted without fiddly rules.  The Thief class is now more useful and fun than in earlier iterations of That Fantasy Game. 

Experience points and Treasure are more logical, consistent, and reward actually doing things.  Magical treasure is now something to be truly in awe of -- not because of raw power, but because of the effects.

New combat mechanics allow for any action to be taken, with instant effects -- not just “+2 to Armor Class!”  Unhorse your foe!  Throw your opponent into a group of enemies and bowl them over.  Hurl your sword at someone and have it pierce him like a spear!  Shatter weapons and shields!  Simple, quick grappling rules allow you to wrestle with your enemy in style!  46 Combat Maneuvers make the Fighter class fun again! 
Almost infinite variety.  We have 43 character classes with different types of Spellcasters and Priest-types.  Unique mechanics allow selection to be a breeze!  Get a character up and running in 10 minutes!  Variety like you've not seen in either kit or prestige class!  Yet easier than any edition!

New spells, contained in the same Vancian spell slot system, but now with full power over your spells and how they're cast!  Options for variants allow for a richer magic system!  Eight different schools of magic are detailed, and clerics now have access to “Prayers,” instead of spells.  It works the same, just renamed!

New monsters!  Old monsters with a unique twist! 

All this together with a unique fantasy setting.  Make a name for yourself in the magical land of Andurantha!

Not Old School, not New School, but rather Alternative School.  Backwards compatible with most editions of D&D. 

Optional rules allow you to play it your way! 

Getting anyone to playtest this might be interesting.  Most people have fallen under the sway of WotC or Paizo, and have little patience for anything else.  A weekly game?  I wish!

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