Showing posts with label basic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label basic. Show all posts

Monday, January 4, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Dungeons & Dragons, Basic Edition

Monday of the first week of the year and it is back to the day job for me.  Thankfully I planned an easy (for me) one today.  To continue with the editions of Dungeons & Dragons we are now up to Basic D&D. 

Basic D&D Boxed set

The Game: Basic Dungeons & Dragons 

I have told the tale here many times on how I began with Holmes Basic, but the first D&D I ever owned was the Moldvay Basic Set.  I played Basic D&D, just "D&D" to me then,  but soon I and everyone else, were mixing it liberally with bits of AD&D.  Sometimes I think of the days when a Blue or Red D&D Basic book was used side by side with the AD&D Monster Manual and modules.

Spend any time here and you will know of my love for Basic D&D. So there is little more I can say here.

The Character: Áine nic Elatha

The witch class I am pairing with this is the one from Dragon Magazine #43 and using the guidelines set out by Tom Moldvay on what a witch should be. 

Dragon Magazine #43 was published in November 1980; the high point of Holmes Basic, the start of AD&D popularity, and one year before Moldvay Basic was released.  The class is overtly designed for AD&D, but as I mentioned we used Basic and Advanced interchangeably.  I suppose if I am being true to Basic I should drop the bonus spells per Intelligence the witch gains.

Given the time and this tantalizing promise, I can justify making it for a bastardized Basic/Advanced D&D.

The witch from Holmes

Áine daughter of Elatha is a human magic-user (Basic after all).  She is "the path not taken" for me.  My first "witch-like" character was Luna, a cleric that worshipped an unnamed moon goddess. While she would later morph into something else, I soon created other witch type characters, Áine is what that character could have been if I had chosen Magic-user rather than Cleric.

Áine nic Elatha
1st level Human Witch

STR: 10
INT: 17
WIS: 12
DEX: 11
CON: 12
CHA: 11

AC: 9
HP: 3

Spells
1st (1+3):  Change Self, Cure Wounds, Light, Sleep

Equipment
Dagger, backpack, iron rations, water, holy water, darts (3), 50' rope, staff.


Holmes & Moldvay Basic sets

If you are doing this challenge as well please feel free to post on the Facebook group, I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters.

Also, this month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Plastic Polyhedra. They are doing Characters, Stories, and Worlds, so that fits right in with everything we are posting this month!

Do check them out!


Sunday, January 3, 2021

War of the Witch Queens Session 2: Into the Ruins of Ramat

We got a chance to play the second full session of War of the Witch Queens today, our last day of winter vacation.  Today's adventure dealt with leveling up the characters to level 1 and giving them a slight boost in HP.  The characters also got the chance to buy some real weapons and armor.

All in the process they learned about the terrible Ruins of Ramat from the villagers of Wydfield Woodfield.


The party searched the ruined church and found their way down into the underground structure where the clerics had lived and trained.   

They still need to find the spear and use it to defeat the ghost above.  Hopefully, we can get a session in this week, even with work.

The players are learning a key feature of Basic-era D&D.  Sometimes it is better to run away.  

Since everyone is now level 1, I am allowing the players to diversify their characters.  One thief is now an Assassin from OSE-Advanced. The magic-users are splitting up into a Blood Witch, Sorcerer, and Wizard.  I am going to let them choose from a common spell list, and then also a spell list unique to each class. One cleric is going to focus on being a healer.  So I need to get that written up with some ideas. 

For this game, I swapped out my New Big Dragon Game Master's Screen for the Old School Essentials Screen.  Both work great.

The tiles are Dwarven Forge and the temple is from Reaper Minis.

Can't wait to see where we all go next!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Queen is Dead! Session 1 of War of the Witch Queens

After Session 0 the other day we settled on three characters each to run through the funnel of The Witch of Wydfield; or rather the Witch of Woodfield as we kept calling it.

Witch of Woodfield

The adventure went as expected. I had everyone choose one of the "Basic Four" classes; Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, or Thief.  As they played we worked out what specific class each one would end up being.  One magic-user will become a sorcerer, the other a blood witch.  A cleric that worships the Moon might go into druid or might go into fighter, but tell everyone he is still a cleric. It's my youngest. That is what he does.

Witch of Woodfield

I had plenty of copies of Moldvay Basic so everyone had one.  I used my Old-School Essentials book and my GM1a Game Master's Screen from New Big Dragon Games Unlimited.

Since one of my goals is to use as many different kinds of OSR products I can, I think I am off to a good start. Everyone had so much fun they want to play again tomorrow.

I am likely to go with the Ruins of Ramat, this time for Labyrinth Lord. There are also versions for Original EditonCastles & Crusades, and an expanded Castles & Crusades version.  I have not decided which one to use.  Part of the fun is converting.

The characters (and the players) learn the first hint of the overall arc of the campaign; cryptic messages from a possessed girl and the moon (no, really) "the Queen is dead!"

No new hints in the next adventure, but we will see.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Boxing Day: The World of Mayhem Campaign

A couple of weeks ago I posted about getting my 7th adventure from Mark Taormino's Dark Wizard GamesDread Swamp of the Banshee.  It is a great bit of fun and I can't wait to run it.  

I also know exactly what I want to do with them.


The World of Mayhem Campaign and I am going to run it using B/X rules, likely OSE Advanced Rules

OSE Advanced gives me the B/X rules I adore along with some of the rules from the Advanced era I want AND some additional options that were not available to me in either.   


Organizing the adventures from the lowest level to the highest you get a great spread from levels 1 to 14, perfect B/X and OSE levels.


I have talked about this in the past with the first five adventures, but the newer three only support this plan even more.

Arranged like this:

It makes solid coverage of levels 1 to 14.  If anything an adventure for levels 2 to 5  might be good.

With the addition of their Monsters of Mayhem #1, it makes for a full campaign.

I know the feel of these adventures is very much in the spirit of 1st Edition AD&D as well as the OSRIC rule set.  But for me, my "gonzo" gaming years were with B/X.  The rules of B/X were much looser than Advanced and these adventures really need a lighter hand on the rules.

I am thinking of also adding some material from Pacesetter's B/X RPG rules, in particular some of the classes.  Plus the B/X RPG rules play well with OSE, so that is reason enough to use them.  Plus I enjoy combining Palace of the Vampire Queen: Castle Blood from Pacesetter with Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen for a full saga of the Vampire Queen.


I have now run Vampire Queen for Basic, 1st Edition, and 5th Edition versions of D&D.  I think Basic was my favorite experience. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Miracle! I Started "War of the Witch Queens"

It's Christmas, spent some quality time with the family yesterday and today.  We built a new kitchen cart for my oldest to keep all his cooking gear in, made a turkey, got a new laptop (using it now) oh and we started the War of the Witch Queens today!


Started with The Witch of Wydfield.  Didn't get very far though, we just started with session 0.  

We are going to use the Classic D&D B/X rules.  I didn't pick a particular flavor yet but likely go with Old School Essentials.  Right now since this is a DCC adventure for 0 level characters I had everyone roll up three characters.  All very simple. I used the classic Basic rules and had everyone choose Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, or Thief at 0 level.  Once everyone hits 1st level, at 500 xp, I am going to allow them to specialize into OSE Advanced Classes or even something from BX RPG or anything really.  My goal is to say "yes" first and then direct them to something that works.

I had everyone roll 2d6+3 for stats. Yes that makes them all rather low on their abilities, but they are also just starting.  I am going to either allow them all a 1d6 per ability when they get to level 1 or give them 5d6 number of points to distribute amongst all their abilities.  This will in turn make their abilities a touch higher than average.  I am ok with that. I am still playing around with ideas.  I might even adopt some D&D 5 rules and let them add +1 to a stat every four levels or so.

Since they are super low level and below-average at this point I am saying they are all refugees from another village destroyed abut terrible weather.   This is of course the first "attack" of the witches with the Witch Queen now dead.  No queen so the more evil elements of the witchcraft world are running free.

This is going to be one of those only every so often games.  I am not 100% convinced everyone likes the old rules or are they just humoring me. 

I hope to pick up the next session soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Sea Witch Tradition

I have been playing around with a Sea Witch Tradition.   The Sea Witch is a powerful archetype and one that has featured in myths and legends since humankind looked out into the sea.  

Newes from Scotland. Witches brewing a storm in Scottland
Witches brewing a storm in Scottland

Among the media, mythological and literary examples are Circe from myth,  Calypso from The Odyssey, Sycorax in Shakespeare's The Tempest, the Sea Hag from Popeye, Ursula from The Little Mermaid (and from the original Hans Christian Andersen),  Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean, comics, and a story I recall reading as a kid that I have not been able to remember properly.

The Sea witch has power over wind, weather, waves, and various creatures of the sea and coast.  This would include the obvious fish and marine mammals, but also birds associated with the sea. 

Sea Witch Tradition

Witches of the Sea Witch Tradition are members of a very ancient tradition related to the Classical tradition but also the Pagan traditions and Chthonic traditions.  Witches of this tradition honor the sea in both it's capacity the cradle of life and in its capacity to destroy.

Role: Witches of this tradition often serve gods, goddesses, and other ancient powerful beings as their patrons.  Many will often refer to the Sea as a Goddess in and of herself and other Gods of the seas are merely Her extensions and proxies.

Joining this Tradition: Sea witches join this tradition typically very early in life. They will claim they have sea-water in their veins and the sea in their soul.  They feel drawn to the sea and will typically live near the sea if they are land-dwelling, or in it.  They will often grow up in families where many of the members are sailors or fisherfolk.  Some even are related by blood to creatures like selkies, mermaids, or even swanmays or nymphs. 

Unlike most Hags that are part of the Faerie tradition, Sea Hags are part of this Sea Witch tradition.

Leaving this Tradition: Witches rarely if ever leave this tradition. Even when they are physically distant from the sea they still "feel the call of the sea."

Occult Powers

Minor, 1st Level: Familiar. The Seas witch gains a familiar related to the sea. 

Lesser, 7th Level: Breathing. The sea witch gains the ability to breathe underwater if they normally breathe air, or the ability to breathe on land if they normally breathe water. This is a persistent power.

Medial, 13th Level: Shape Change. The Sean witch may shape change as per the Druid ability Wild Shape or Polymorph Self. This may be done once per day at the 13th level. The witch may only change shape to a natural sea animal that is within one size category of her normal size. So a Medium-sized witch may only change to a Small, Medium, or Large animal.

The number of times the witch may do this per day increases with every other level.  So 2 times per day at 15th, 3 times per day at 17th, and 4 times per day at 19th.  The witch may opt to sacrifice one of these times to go outside of her normal range of sizes.  So a 17th level Amazon witch could shift to Huge or Tiny once and her normal sizes the other two (total of 4 shapeshifts per day).

Greater, 19th Level: Raise Storm. Considered by many to be the ultimate form of the Sea Witch's power, the Sea Witch can affect the weather as per the magic-user and druids spells Control Weather and Control Winds.

Major, 25th Level: Longevity.  The witch stops aging.  Her appearance will continue to age but her body and mind will stay the same age she was when she reached this level.  She is also no longer affected by magical aging.  She can still be killed by normal means.

Superior, 31st Level: Apotheosis.  The witch becomes something else. This new form and powers are dependent on the Patron she serves.  For sea witches, her form becomes that of a sea creature.  She becomes something akin to a Triton, a Cecelia, or even odder combinations. 

Special Benefits and Restrictions: The sea witch will honor a god or goddess of the sea. The vow never to willing move further and a mile away from any body of water. Most prefer to be much closer.  Seas witches with a familiar can communicate with marine life and even other creatures that leave near the sea.

Equipment:  The tool of this tradition is the cauldron.  Like the sea, the cauldron holds all possibilities. 

Preferred/Barred Covens: Sea Witches are typically solitaries, but they will often meet up every few years with others. Sea witches also tend to be very territorial, so only one will typically be found in any one natural locale, such as a bay, cove, or other inlets. 

Relationship to the Goddess/Patron: The sea witch views the Goddess as the Sea itself.  "Human" manifestations of Her are but limited projections into the human understanding of what the Sea and the Goddess actually is.

This relationship with the sea also makes the Sea Witch a unique figure among sailors.  Many sailors are very superstitious and among those superstitions and fears are ones regarding having women on ships.  Many feel it is bad luck, others feel that a woman on a ship will cause the crew to mutiny. The witch is exempt from these notions. She is both a welcome and feared member of a crew.  

Male sea witches are a welcome addition to most crews even if they are just as feared and respected.

Source/Views of Magic: Like most witches, the Sea Witch views her magic as a manifestation of the Goddess who is the Sea.  The source of her magic is the endless ocean, the unfathomable depths, the irresistible urge of the sea.  

Archetypes: Most Faerie Witches see little use in the Good vs. Evil axis. The sea is both and neither, so why should they choose?  Most tend towards neutral if a little chaotic.

Other: Sea Witches tend not to hoard much wealth, but they do appreciate treasure. Especially treasure found in the sea or on it, such as a pirate's chest of gold, or something rare and beautiful from a faraway land. Pearls are valued over other gems and gold more so than silver or platinum. 

The Sea Witch
The Sea Witch

Other Traditions

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Mail Call: Dread Swamp of the Banshee

Mark Taormino has done it again (8 times the charm!) and I got my new adventure in the mail today.


Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #7 Dread Swamp of the Banshee came in the mail today.  I have had the PDF for a little bit now and I am really looking forward to running this one!

If you enjoyed the previous adventures in this series, like I have, then you know what to expect here. 



If you love the old-school style modules but want something that is just "a little more" then I highly recommend these.

One day my plan is to run these all with some flavor of B/X since the adventures top out at 14th level.  Though the adventures are very much in the 1st Ed D&D vein and not really "Basic", it's what I want to do with them. 

Maybe when the Advanced books for Old-School Essentials come in I'll revisit this idea.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Current Works In Progress: Basic Bestiary & High Witchcraft

Work has me really busy right now, so I have been slow on getting new material out.  Either in book form or for this blog (except for Halloween).  But I wanted to give an update on what I am working on now.

I recently went through all my research notes, books, and files.  This has been a good thing and something I like to do every so often to keep me grounded in what sort of game I want.  It is far, far too easy in game design to drift away from your core principles into something else.  One example of this power-creep in games, though there are other reasons for power-creep too.  The other is scope-creep and that is when a project gets too unwieldy and becomes much larger than intended. 

Both types have hit my latest two works in progress, so I have been taking a step back to see what I really have.

Basic Bestiary

This is the "Big" project that has my focus now.  The project began with collecting all the monsters from all my witch books, plus all the monsters for Monstrous Mondays, and additional ones I have but have not published.  Once I pull them all together I had over 220 pages with 300 or so monsters with no art (yet).  For me that felt like a "good size" but I got to thinking.  Even if I edit them all and standardize them all, which is no small amount of work, these are all essentially "re-runs" material people have already seen and in some cases paid for.   That didn't feel right to me.  So I started adding more (power and scope creep!) and that is where the issues began.

For starters, I publish most for Basic-era (B/X, BECMI, OSE, LL) and Swords & Wizardry games.  Add in all the other games I post about here I have monsters in six to seven different but still largely compatible systems.  I needed to standardize my monster stat block.  You have seen it's evolution here on my blog. The current and most stable version can be seen in yesterday's Fenodyree.  Essentially a Labyrinth Lord stat block with some other information thrown in that I like to use in my games.   If you go back and look at something like the Wendigo then you can see that there are three different, similar but not the same, stat blocks.   So there is that process now going on.  Some stat blocks like S&W and OSE are great, but far too minimal for me. 

Also since the hardcover of The Craft of the Wise went over so well I decided that the Basic Bestiary needed softcover (Basic) and hardcover (Advanced) options.  Here are the covers as they sit now.  These very likely will change again.

Basic Bestiary cover, version 1 Basic Bestiary cover, version 2

For these covers, I made two changes.  First I switched to Goya's "The Witches' Sabbath" to reflect the feel that this book is mostly witch related monsters.  It also fits better with the quote I use in the Preface, "El sueño de la razón produce monstruos." or "The sleep of reason produces monsters."

I am also going with my own compatibility logos on these since they really have gone beyond one system or the other.  They are still largely "Basic" in nature, but as you can see from my stat blocks they have a little bit of everything in the OGC. 

Switching from Fuseli to Goya also was an outward sign of another issue.   I had WAY too many demons.  Not just demons, but devils and all sorts of fiends.  I also had my own demonic families of Baalserph, Lilim, Eodemons, Calabim, and Shedim.  I mean you can't do as much reading, researching, and writing about witches like I do and not collect some demons.    There really was only one solution.

Split them into two books. 

This actually works well since in my discussions with people there are decidedly two camps. The ones that use demons in basic-era games and those who don't.   This gives both groups buying options.

Basic Bestiary II, Basic coverBasic Bestiary II, Advanced cover

Regardless of whether you buy the "Basic" softcover or the "Advanced" hardcover, the material inside will be the same.  The Basic Bestiary I will be heavy on undead, vampires, fey, hags, and other witch-related monsters.   The Basic Bestiary II will cover demons, devils, and all sorts of fiends.

Right now there is no projected publication dates.  BUT I want to get BBI out and follow up with BBII maybe three or six months later.

Between those two I will also publish my "Last Witch Book,"  The High Secret Order Witchcraft book.


Going back to Rosetti for this one, a perennial favorite of mine.  The piece is "Astarte Syriaca" which harkens back to the first witch coven I ever wrote, the Coven of Astártē Queen of Heaven.

All three books (five covers) will be under my "Basic-Era Compatible" banner to indicate greater compatibility with each other and my desire to use what I consider the best or best of all the systems along with my own additions. Compatibility is key, but innovation is the driving goal here. 

The weakest link right now is The Secret Order book.  I have a ton of material and none of it put together the way I want yet.

Personally, I am really excited about all of these. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It's Free Witches!

 OR...Make that a Free Witch.

Right now DriveThruRPG (and all the OneBookshelf "DriveThru" sites) are having their Halloween Sales.

Now, normally I would be telling you which one of my Witch books are on sale.  And I will, but I have something EVEN BETTER.

Right now if you go on to DriveThruRPG's site you will find witches hats, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and more to get a free download.

One of those free downloads is my The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition!


I could tell you where, but that would ruin all the fun!  Trust me it is there and the Basic Witch, the Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition is now FREE until the end of this month November 2nd.

Grab it and see what I do.

Also, there are plenty of great sales going on.


In addition to the Pumpkin Spice Witch being free several of my other books are on sale.

Help me celebrate my FAVORITE holiday by adding something witchy to your games.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

BaF - The Muse from Basic Witch Games

If you name your publishing label "Basic Witch Games" you are going to get my attention. 

So last night I got a new PDF from a just-as-new company.  The PDF is The Muse and the company is Basic Witch Games.  Now full disclosure, I knew about this class a while back and gave the author a tiny bit of advice about it and encouraged her to add a bit and publish it.  

So ethically I can not provide you all an unbiased review. 

Also, the book uses some of my own OGC, so there is another reason.

But I do want to tell you this is a fun class. It's not for every group, but that is true of all classes really, but for the right group this can be a lot of fun. 

The Muse is the first in what I hope will be more Basic era content from Basic Witch Games.
The class is something of a tempter or even a seducer.  I am immediately reminded of the old Houri Class from White Dwarf.  

The class itself is 14 level B/X style class.  The cover has a nice visual transition from red to blu to cover the red and blue of the beloved Basic and Expert books. In addition to the spells from my witch classes, there are new spells too.  There is also a new magic sword.

Basic Witch Games will be coming out with more material and even a Dark Fantasy / Romantic Fantasy setting. So I am looking forward to seeing what they do. 

So check them out. Spend a buck for this.

They can also be found on Twitter at, @BasicWitchGame

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Craft of the Wise, now in Hardcover

The customers asked for it and so I am going to deliver.

The Craft of the Wise: The Pagan Witch Tradition is now available in A5 Hardcover version.


The Softcover version is Letter-sized, 8.5" x 11".  This works with your B/X, BECMI, or other OSR books.

The Hardcover is A5 sized, 148mm X 210mm, (8.3" x 5.8").  This is the same size as the OSE books and roughly the same size as my Warlock book (which is Digest size 6"x9").




The content and art are the same for each, so the layout is different.



This is an experiment.  If the sales on this are good then I will consider A5 or Digest sized versions of my other Basic Era Witch series books.

You can get it now at DriveThruRPG.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Week of Shadow Begins Today

The Autumn Equinox draws near.  Today we have slightly more light during the 24 period than tomorrow.  On Tuesday this all changes and we begin that slow descent to the Dark.

This week I am going to be looking at and doing reviews on the Shadow Fey, Shadow Elves, and other creatures of shadow.  


Think of it as my prep for Halloween!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Monday, September 7, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Galley Beggar

My thoughts are still on Halloween.  So time to bring back another monster from my younger days.

Galley Beggar

Medium Undead (Incorporeal)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (0)
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil)
Movement: 120' (40') [12"] (Limited to 100' from bones)
Armor Class: NA [NA]
Hit Dice: 1d8 (1 hp)
Attacks: 1 scream
Damage: NA (see below)
Special: Can't be hit by physical weapons (Mundane or Magical); immune to charm, hold, and sleep spells.
Size: Medium
Save: Monster 1
Morale: 12
Treasure Hoard Class: See Below
XP: 5 (50 if bones destroyed)

The Galley Beggar, also known as a Bull Beggar, is a type of ghost found in crypts, dungeons, and even old cellars.  They appear as a thin, skeletal looking ghoul in the poor light of dungeons, but are semi-transparent.  They are incorporeal (ghost-like) and are immune to physical attacks of any sort and any mind-affecting magics.

The Galley Beggar has only one attack, a scream that causes fear (as per the spell) in all who hear it.  Everyone with 100 feet of the screaming monster must make a Save vs. Spells or come under the effects of the fear.  Creatures greater than 6 HD are immune.  A favorite trick of the Galley Beggar is to pull it's own head off of its body and then scream.

The only ways to defeat a Galley Beggar are with Clerical Turning, they will turn as Skeletons (1 HD) or via any magic like Bless, Remove Curse, Dispell Magic, or similar enchantments.  If the bones of the Galley Beggar are found and destroyed (with fire or given a proper burial) then the creature is also destroyed. 

It is believed that the Galley Beggar is formed when a novice spell caster is killed on an adventure and their bodies are not returned for burial.  The Galley Begger will not form until the body has decayed to bones.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Review & Class Struggles: BX Options: Class Builder

Over the Summer Erin D. Smale released his BX Options: Class Builder book as a guide to how to build custom classes for the B/X, Basic-era, style games.  Of course, I had to grab it. I love making new classes and anything that involves a little number crunching is great in my opinion.  

Though I will admit I was at the same time worried that this would just be a rehash of the formulas used in Dragon Magazine #109.  Well, I am happy to report it is not, and there is more to this book than just that.  In fact, the author even points out in the book the original system.   My back-of-the-napkin calculations tell me that for levels 1-14 they both should give you the same numbers.  But more on that in a bit.

I am going to break this up into a normal review and then follow with a Class Struggles.

Review BX Options: Class Builder

The BX Options: Class Builder was released originally has a special edition print version via The Welsh Piper's website over the early part of Summer 2020.  The book later came to DriveThruRPG in a 2nd Editon mid Summer 2020. I will be covering the DriveThruRPG version only today.

The PDF is 82 pages, full-color art covers, with black, white, and blue color inside.  The interior art is all b/w from various stock art publishers from DriveThruRPG.  The advantage of this is the style of the book is very likely to fit into all the other books you might have in your collection.

The book is broken down into two larger sections. First is the class builder itself and the calculations for it. Second is a collection of Classes and Sub-classes for B/X D&D and clones, with the math worked out.  There are also a few Appendicies.

The layout of the book is very, very clean, and easy to read.  The PDF is bookmarked and the table of contents is hyperlinked.

After the Introduction, we get right into the builder itself.  There is a single page of explanatory notes (that is all that is needed) and then a worksheet (a plus for the PDFs!).  


After this, there are descriptions of basic abilities (armor, weapons, prime requisites), special abilities (thief abilities, spells, powers), restrictions and "Locked" abilities.  All with associated XP costs.

These numbers are then added up.  The Base XP is then plugged into one of the four base classes (Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, Theif) for experience levels 1 to 14 (B/X standard).

Simple really.  And that is only the first dozen pages.

The rest of the book is dedicated to "rebuilding" each of the four base human classes and the three demi-human classes.  All seven also include various sub-classes.    For example, the Cleric is built first and the numbers match those found in most clones and the original sources.  Class variants cover new variant classes that add, change and/or remove abilities from the Base class.  In the case of the cleric different types of Gods they can worship are covered.  These are designed not to differ too wildly from the base class.  

After the Base class and Variant classes the Sub-classes, with calculations and full XP tables, are covered.  Again in the case of the cleric there is a Crusader (more combat, less spells) and a Shaman.

This is repeated for the Dwarf (Elder), Elf (Archon), Fighter (Barbarian, Beast-talker, Beserker) , Halfling (Warden), Magic-User (Necromancer, Sorcerer), and Thief (Assassin, Bard, Scout) classes. 

This covers the bulk of the book (some 50 or more pages) and really is a value-add in my opinion.  Some of those classes we have seen in other sources, but others are new or have new ideas.  The Necromancer for example can create golems.  Great if you think that the golems have the spirits of the dead in them or created Frankenstein-style.

Since this system is aimed at B/X level play, the obvious clone to support it is Old-School Essentials.  It is not an "Old-School Essentials Compatible" product as in with a logo, but acknowledgments to OSE are made.  So it would be fair really to compare the overlap of classes between this and OSE-Advanced.

The overlap is where you expect it to be, what I call the common Advanced classes (minus a couple); the Assassin, the Barbarian, and the Bard. There are some "near" overlaps as well. 

The OSE Assassin compares well to the BXO-CB Assassin.  Their XP values do differ, but not significantly so. BXO-CB Assassins have more HP. Both classes have the same skills. 
The Barbarians compare well enough with the BXO-CB Barbarian having more HP again.
Bards have the most differences.  BXO-CB Bards have more XP per level, less HP, and fewer overall spells.   I don't consider any of this to be "game-breaking" or even "game-stretching", just different flavors of the class.  Rename one "Bard" a "Skald" and there you go. 

Shamans are a little bit like Druids and Crusaders are bit like Paladins, but different enough to provide some nice flavor to the game.

The Appendicies cover a number of topics like adding various thief abilities, a break down of the core seven B/X classes, skills, equipment, spell failure, home terrain, animal special abilities and abilities for higher-level characters.

The book is very high quality and has a lot of utility for all sorts of B/X uses.  Working through the numbers it works great for levels 1-14.  If you extend it to level 20 this would affect the numbers for spell casters.  For example, Magic-users in BX/OSE gain spells to level 6, for a 2,400 XP addition.  If you take this to level 20 Magic-users gain up to 9th level spells, this would be 3,600 XP added to the base.  GRANTED this book does not claim to support above level 14, or more to the point, spell levels beyond level 6.

Class Struggles

How does this work in the real world? Or more to the point can it work with classes I have worked on.


Printing out the sheet, which is great thanks to the PDF, I worked out what my own Witch Classes would end up.  Now please keep in mind I am going to do some things beyond the scope of this book so any issues I might encounter are not due to the Class Builder but more likely my use of it.

I already mentioned there are differences in the Bard class. The author even points out that these differences are really expected and that is OK because it will vary on how each group decides to use a particular class.  So with that now as a given, going deeper into this and expecting some variation is fine.

I went through the math on this for my witch class.  I will not go into the details here because I created a Google Sheet you can see for yourself.  Note you will need the Class Builder book to know what these numbers actually mean.  I am going to talk about the cases that vary.




Long time readers might recall I did something similar using the Dragon #109 system a while back.  In fact the spreadsheet is the same with the Dragon #109/Thoul's Paradise test on the first tab and the BXO:CB test on the second tab.

If the Thoul's Test tab is displayed, click on the next tab arrow to go to the Class Builder Test tab.


The "Thoul's Test" goes back to a couple of posts made by Thoul's Paradise that I discussed: 
So a couple issues right away.  Witches cast arcane spells, but they are not quite the same as those a Magic-user can use, there are more divine spells really.  Especially for the Pagan Witch.  
What I opted to do was make the "Witchcraft" spells worth 200xp to 300xp per level. A nice split between what the Divine (100xp) and Arcane (400xp) spellcasters have.

The witch also has Occult Powers. These are spell-like abilities. Since they can be used more often I gave them a cost of 250xp each.  Though 300xp per would have been fine too.

In the end I came up with something pretty close to the numbers I have been using forever and published for close to 20 years.   The differences are so trivial as to be considered error or even "noise."

These are also very, very close to the numbers I got using the Dragon #109 system.   I have not compared it to the system used in ACKS Player's Companion, but my memory of the system and playing with it when it first came out tells me that I should also expect similar numbers.  Especially since the ACKs system and the Class Builder System both use the same BX base and assumptions of 1-14 (or so) levels of play.

Going back to a source the author and I both have used, Breeyark: Building the Perfect Class, I realized that the author of that resource IS the author of this book. The systems are different but are built on similar premises. Also, they should grant the same or very similar results.

The BX Options Class Builder is a very fun book with some great class choices as an added bonus of some worked out classes.   There are no spells offered for the new spell casting classes, but that would have been way beyond the scope of the book anyway.

Monday, August 31, 2020

#RPGaDAY 2020: Day 31 Experience

And here we are at the end of another #RPGaDAY for August.   What new Expeiences has this given me?

From the start, this month has been about my reflection of a Summer with the BECMI rules and Basic-era rules in general.  I spent a lot of time here thinking about what these rules do that is different than what I have been used too over the last few years (read: Modern D&D) and what I was used too back in the 80s (read: Advanced D&D).

My lens for this #RPGaDAY was these experiences. Because of that reading what others had posted gave me a very different viewpoint.  It was not 2-3 blog posts and 5-7 tweets that were all identical and everyone talking about the same thing.  This was nice.  While I was not as responsive as I would have liked to have been to others on this, reading them all was fun.

Since I also spent a lot of time talking about my BECMI/BX campaign, War of the Witch Queens, maybe I'll use that map as a simple dungeon crawl.  Maybe using ideas from my various posts here and when those don't work, well, I am sure I'll think of something. 

Hopefully, next year when this starts I'll be at Gen con again with my kids. That would be really great.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Wilderlands, Witches and Advanced Fantasy

HUGE Kickstart Your Weekend today. So let's get to it!

Old-School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exaltedfuneral/old-school-essentials-advanced-fantasy?ref=theotherside

Old-School Essentials is becoming the game of the year, and the Advanced Fantasy rules are only going to add to that.  There are different pledge levels to join depending which books you already have or which ones you want. Already funded it hardly needs me to sell you on it. Gavin did a fantastic job with his last Kickstarter and I see this one being even better.

The Majestic Fantasy RPG

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/batintheatticgames/the-majestic-fantasy-rpg?ref=theotherside

Rob Conley has been a fixture in the Old-School scene for a while now. He is pulling together all the work he has done for a new ruleset compatible with Swords & Wizardry.  It has a solid late 70s vibe to it and it looks like it will be quite a lot of fun.

The Great American Witch

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greyauthor/the-great-american-witch?ref=theotherside

This one is a bit different, but it really hits all my buttons.  Based on The Great American Novel RPG this one deals with the secret world of witches.  Honestly, that is all I need to know.  Funded quickly it is also way above their goal.  It just looks like a lot of fun.

There you have it! So much great stuff coming out!