Friday, November 5, 2021

Chromatic Dungeons, Part 4 Final Thoughts and Wrap-up

Chromatic Dungeons
Edited to add:  Here are all the parts to this series: Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4.

I am ending my week (or so) with Chromatic Dungeons today. It has been a real treat going through this game.  There is a feeling here of the first time I went through the AD&D 1st Ed Player's Handbook in terms of the potential I feel for my games.  There are some really great ideas here I plan to use, either running a CD game or adopting them for my other Old-School games.

Ancestry & Heritage

Along with such products such as Ancestry & Culture: An Alternative to Race in 5e from Arcanist Press and the new material in Pathfinder 2e, this is the way all games are going to move towards. I could go into the racist history of why "race" was originally used starting with examples from the Victorian age and moving on to practices in educational and biological "research" but the truth is the people that are least likely to change are also the most likely to ignore all of that. So what's the point.  I don't teach fish to read and I don't try to talk to people who have their minds made up.  I am convinced that we will see this in D&D 5.5/5r and it will soon migrate to other, even old-school, games.

I am likely to give it a try in my OSE-Advanced games. I would likely tweak it a bit more to fit my needs a little better.

No Alignments for Sentient Humanoids

Again, this is a sea-change in many games.  I have no issues with it at all.  I have had good orcs for years, and a lot of mostly neutral ones, and scores of completely evil ones.  Yes, yes, insert Tolkien arguments here...BUT as much as I adore the Professor and his works, he is not my DM.  Neither is Gygax, or Arneson, nor any others.  I get to decide what my world does or does not do.  Goblins are already all over the place in regards to alignment for me, I am even getting to a place where Drow might not all be evil. Yes the vast, vast majority of them are demon-worshiping sadists. But not all of them.  Interestingly enough, the one humanoid I have always seen as Always Evil are Gnolls.  Something the Gnoll Sage line rejects. 

Again there are things going on here that are just on paper that I have been doing (and posting about here) forever.

Which Witch to Use?

This is my blog so I want to talk about which witch I would use with this RPG.  Design-wise Chromatic Dungeons can be used with just about every or any version of D&D or clones thereof.  So by that logic, any of my witch books should work fine.  But some work better than others, to be honest.

Chromatic Witches

Given when my Chromatic Dungeons books came in the mail I also got my new Pumpkin Spice Witch mini with some Candy Corn Dice.   So I have always felt that my Pumpkin Spice Witch book for Advanced Labyrinth Lord would be perfect.

Chromatic Pumpkin Spice Witch

Rule wise the Classical Witch or Amazon Witch is a better choice. But in any case, if you are playing CD then use the XP values in the CD books and the powers from whichever book you choose.

Personally, I like the idea of Fleabag coming into a "Home, Hearth & Heart" and having a conversation with Becky my Pumpkin Spice Witch.  She would offer them a PSL (though I see Fleabag more as an herbal tea drinker) and go on about their fur ("It looks so soft! Do you use conditioner? We have one here that I LOVE, it's on the house! Wait, you are not allergic to lavender are you?") and have a nice conversation about witches in the world.

In true Chromatic Dungeons fashion though I think there should be a coven with a witch from every Tradition I have represented.  So Pumpkin Spice, White, Green, Classical, Amazon, MaraAiséiligh, Winter, Faerie, Aquarian, Maleficia, Hedge, and Pagan.  That would be a lot of fun.  Not sure how they would all get along though.  Chromatic coven to be sure.

Pumpkin Spice Witch


Dick McGee said...

Have to admit I haven't used alignment in an RPG in decades and never intend to again, so that's not really an issue for me.

The split ancestry/heritage (or whatever terms you care to use - I think I prefer genetics/ethnicity, or nature/nurture if I'm being snarky) approach to character generation is a decent idea but I doubt it'll be as universally adopted as you say. Quite aside from resistance to change, some game systems just don't build characters in a way that fits well with having a single "heritage" - things with "life path" mechanics where you spend X amount of time in living situation Y before moving on to situation Z for another few years, for ex. Those are more nuanced than a simple "heritage" background already and won't see any benefit from changing.

Still, looks promising overall, and I'll be keeping an eye out for teh advanced rule book at my FLGS.

David Pulver said...

Old school fantasy games like The Fantasy Trip (TFT) (1980) and Dragonquest (1980) never even had alignment. They just say things like "trolls are bad tempered and like eating humans." This does tend to lead to more Evil Empires that are run by human bad guys, of course. Individual alignment probably lingered in D&D because the game didn't really have any other personality-track tracking system.

Removal of innately-evil species does make the old school dungeon crawl a bit morally problematic though: if most dungeon denizens are either innately evil or ravenous beasts, killing them and taking their stuff is easier to justify. If not, better make sure that those dungeon denizens are brigands, slavers, people sacrificing-cultists or the like before you kick down their doors...

Timeshadows said...

Wheelchair bound human raised by uplifted dolphins who identify as cats.
Which traits are available to the wheelchair bound human?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Timeshadows. If that's what you want then the rules would allow it. Just work it out with your GM.

@David Pulver yeah, but for that I always have demons and cultists. Worked well for a lot of Conan stories.

Dick McGee said...

@David Pulver The fact that games from 1980 are legitimately old school at this point makes me feel very old. :) Do RPGs actually *need* a personality-tracking system? Neither TFT nor Dragonquest had one and I think the vast majority don't. The spots where one exists and it doesn't feel like an afterthought are few and far between - Pendragon and to some degree the World of Darkness games are the only ones that spring to mind offhand.

I note that the first (and for a long time only) officially published module for TFT featured a layered dungeon full of dangerous animals, vermin, and traps, then a bunch of ruthless brigands, then more traps and a wizard and his henchmen who were bent on overthrowing the local government. Seems like Steve paid attention to the moral quandaries a lack of alignment could produce, anyway. :)

Me, I prefer undead and aberrations for dungeon fodder. The poor humanoids get saved for mercenary henchmen of Big Bads or invading armies bent on conquest or just giving the area a good thorough plundering - at which point they're pretty much stereotypical adventurers writ large.

Dick McGee said...

@Timeshadows I'm having a hard time imagining what values uplifted dolphins who identify as cats would instill in their human adoptee. Very conflicted feelings about going swimming? A tendency to nap on waterbeds at every opportunity? The desire to eat tuna at every meal?

Alec Semicognito said...

IIRC (after many years) in Vault of the Drow Gygax mentions the possibility of the PCs making alliances with non-evil drow in the city. As long as mainstream drow culture is demonic and sadistic I don't see a contradiction.

Spuddie said...

An affinity for fish

Timeshadows said...

@Dick McGee: Right?! This antiseptic method strains disbelief, IMO.

Timeshadows said...

@Spuddie: lol >^..^<