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Sorcery » Spell slippage? » 5/15/2018 6:43 pm

As I said in another thread, I'm against various proposals to allow spell-casters to occasionally (or more than occasionally) retain the memory of spells cast (or lost during attempting casting). I consider it sheer pandering and "everybody gets a trophy" idiot-proofing, unworthy of the term "Old School play".

By the same token, though, I'm not inclined to make it any harder on spell-casters either. I believe in giving them a fair shot, assuming smart play and/or lucky initiative rolls. I'm also not wild (as a DM) about the idea of tracking stress, worry, etc. for every PC and applying it to the game in each case (it wouldn't be fair to just hose the spell-casters, so I would have to somehow degrade the performance of other classes for insecurity and whatnot). The whole concept seems like a huge drag to me. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/errr.png

I would rather just kill them the old fashioned way - with swords. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png

Hyperborea » A question about the setting as a whole » 5/15/2018 6:31 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 13

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Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'm betting that in the next few years some third party publishers may capitalize on the idea and introduce alternate or converted settings using the AS&SH rules.

I believe that will happen over Jeff's dead body. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/shocked.png

Sorcery » Goodberry versus Create Food & Water » 5/10/2018 11:26 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 11

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Jimm.Iblis wrote:

Ghul wrote:

Yes, and "fresh" is the operative word here. Typically speaking, I give freshness a five-day shelf life on most berries. After that, they are spoiling and no longer fresh. 

I've been a produce merchant. Berries are very quick to spoil, even with modern refrigeration, fungicides, and whatnot. They quickly absorb fungus from nearby fruits, and it spreads on them like wildfire. I've seen an entire cooler display of blackberries go from "fine" to "covered in white gunk" in the span of an  8 hour shift. I'd give a few berries kept in some sweaty hippy's mojo sack an hour or two at most.

In a fantasy world with giant insects, I wouldn't want to be the one carrying extemely fragrant little balls of candy, either.
 

And if some idiot takes fresh berries into a dungeon, you can have yellow mold grow in his backpack. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png

 

General Discussion » Hyperborean Encounter Tables 2! » 5/07/2018 10:23 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 36

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gizmomathboy wrote:

Iron Ranger wrote:

gizmomathboy wrote:

I've taken BA's wonderful encounter tables and webified them:

http://gizmomathboy.com/he_app

I'm about 80% satisfied with them. There are improvements I would like to make but it does what I would like it to.

Does this combine I & II? 

It's only 2. I'm working under the assumption that 2 supersedes consumes and otherwise negates the existence of 1 :-)

That's correct. As much as possible was carried over from 1, except where the 2e gazetteer suggested something should change. And of course all the new monsters, classes, and areas were added.
 

Sorcery » Goodberry versus Create Food & Water » 5/07/2018 4:48 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 11

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One advantage goodberry does have over cure light wounds is that the healing can be split among more than one recipient. The drawback is (again) fresh berries must be on hand.

Sorcery » Goodberry versus Create Food & Water » 5/07/2018 3:48 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 11

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Ghul wrote:

Yes, and "fresh" is the operative word here. Typically speaking, I give freshness a five-day shelf life on most berries. After that, they are spoiling and no longer fresh. 

You're more charitable than me. I take "fresh" to mean "you picked them from the bush immediately before casting the spell". Either way, it puts the kibosh on a first level spell being able to circumvent all survival challenges.

Brock Savage wrote:

Thank you for weighing in on this, gentlemen. Is it safe to assume a caster can't game the system with fresh inedible berries such as juniper or mistletoe?

I probably would not allow goodberry to be cast on inedible berries. Even if you did, the "fresh" requirement (which also exists in the AD&D version) keeps the spell from being used in the inhospitable terrain that provides the most severe challenges for survival. I mean, never mind goodberry; if the PCs are in the kind of terrain where berries are likely to grow, I would probably allow a druid to just locate edible plants for them. In my experience, goodberry is used (if at all) as a minor healing spell.

Sorcery » Goodberry versus Create Food & Water » 5/07/2018 8:20 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 11

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Apart from the fact that not every party has a druid (or other class capable of using this spell), fresh berries aren't found everywhere (especially not in very survival-challenging places like the desert and Arctic regions). Basically, to use goodberry, you have to be in a region that has some natural food available anyway.

Hyperborea » A question about the setting as a whole » 5/05/2018 10:11 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 13

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There is no particular relationship between the setting and the Hyborian Age, and in fact I would say Howard's overall influence on the setting is the weakest of any of the three Weird Tales authors*. It resembles Smith's Hyperborea (with some elements from Smith's Zothique) much more, but only in a very vague and general way. It's a pastiche, but - as Mr. Savage aptly notes - that just means it belongs to YOU now. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

* - I would eyeball the author influences at about 40% Smith, 30% Lovecraft, 15% Howard (at most), and 15% other (Vance, etc.). The people who refer to it as "Conan the RPG" are pretty far off-base, in my opinion, and setting up a burden for the setting it was never intended to meet. For example, in my experience people have an exaggerated view of how rare and weak magic was in the Hyborian Age. But even to the extent that it was rare and weak in Howard's stories, the Hyperborea setting was clearly inspired more by the much more magical Smith settings. So complaining that the magic in AS&SH doesn't work like it does in the Conan stories (even assuming the critic does in fact have much knowledge of the Hyborian Age, which is not necessarily the case in my observation) is rather missing the point.

ETA: These are just my observations as a fan of the game and all three authors. I have no special knowledge of Jeff's intentions with the setting, other than what he's stated publically.

Rules Discussion » Once per day... » 5/03/2018 10:35 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 10

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Unless the item or power had an intimate and obvious connection with sunrise or moonrise, I would rule that "once per day" means a full 24 hours must elapse between one use and the next use.

Players trying to "game the system" by using a power at 11:59 PM and 12:01 AM would not amuse me.

Swordsmen & Sorcerers » Perfect Party? » 5/03/2018 9:42 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 20

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Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I'm looking for new players for my game but we recently had a barbarian, a barbarian/thief, a legerdemainist, and a shaman. It worked out okay. One of the things I'm loving about the old-school renaissance is that these games don't require one to master the character and party optimization mini-game that's been the norm in every iteration of D&D from Third Edition on. Players play what they want and succeed by their own skill. So I guess the answer is, I don't think anything is missing. The players can all be fighters, for example, if everyone is having fun, nothing else is needed.

To enlarge on this: despite its reputation as a "hack and slash" endeavor, in reality Old School play generally revolves around exploration, solving puzzles, avoiding traps, interacting with NPC's, etc. Class is basically irrelevant to these activities. Since there does tend to be a certain amount of combat, I would say a fighter type or two is desirable - but these could be hired NPC's if, for example, the entire party wants to play thieves or magic-users.

If a soi-disant "Old School" referee designs adventures that require some careful balance of classes for success... that's a red flag in my opinion. I would carefully consider whether I wanted to play in such a campaign.

General Discussion » Holy Idiot of Xathoqqua » 4/25/2018 7:21 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 22

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I also think this is a good idea. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

If I were going to use this, I would probably make a table of eight or ten annoying random actions. Then, whenever I rolled for a wandering monster, I would also check for a random action by the fool. If the action rolled was completely inappropriate to the situation at hand... so much the better. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png

Rules Discussion » Xp's for spell/prayer books » 4/20/2018 2:45 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 32

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I have never awarded XP's for spellbooks (although I can't think of very many cases where it has come up, to be quite honest) but I could certainly see awarding the same XP as a scroll of the same spells. If the spellbook was sold, the PC would get XP for the sale price instead.

Rules Discussion » Xp's for spell/prayer books » 4/20/2018 10:33 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 32

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It seems to me that XP for gold subsumes everything that was done to gain it (with the exception of combat, which has a separate award). I have a hard time believing that any system taking note of individual actions during an adventure would be simpler than just dividing the loot and awarding 1 XP for 1 GP; certainly the ideas presented here - whatever other merits they may or may not have - don't strike me as particularly simple, and definitely not simpler than 1 GP = 1 XP.

That really only leaves the rather tired (and, to me, not particularly convincing) argument that "wealth is its own reward". That statement may be true, but it's not especially pertinent for a couple of reasons. Firstly, lots of things are "their own reward". Killing monsters before they eat you is its own reward. So, for that matter, are escaping chains, avoiding traps, evading a stalking monster, and finding the dungeon exit. But we have to award XP for something in a level-based game, whether that something is "its own reward" or not. Secondly, to my way of thinking, XP isn't really about a "reward"; it's a way of keeping score, of evaluating how well the players did in the gaming session that just ended. I've already stated that I believe 1 GP = 1 XP is simpler than any system that tracks individual actions (such as the one in 2E, or some of the ideas presented in this thread). But it has three other merits: it is objective, concrete, and non-specific.

XP for gold is objective because 1 GP = 1 XP is a simple mathematical calculation with no room for bias or arguments. A player can't, for example, argue "I was extra whiny about my PC's childhood traumas tonight, so I deserve a larger Role-Playing Award!" or "The chimney is a really non-obvious way of escaping the dungeon, so I deserve a bigger DM's Choice Award!" 1 GP = 1 XP, and that's all you get (at least where treasure is concerned - but XP for combat is

Campaign » The Tuesday Night Crew vs. Casa de Gizmo's House of Death » 4/19/2018 10:26 am

TPK's from dungeon vermin are the most ignominious kind. Good job! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/lol.png

(Of course, there's a certain amount of bad faith involved in my making statements like that, since I've only ever had one TPK... and that was when the players knew it was the last session of the campaign, and they were trying to get killed on purpose...) http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png

Rules Discussion » Xp's for spell/prayer books » 4/18/2018 6:58 pm

Blackadder23
Replies: 32

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It seems to me the genre is bloody blades and chests full of jewels. The existing XP system supports this perfectly. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/smile.png

Rules Discussion » Xp's for spell/prayer books » 4/16/2018 9:08 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 32

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I divide combat XP among the whole party (barring some really unusual case where a PC truly goes into battle alone), but I award XP for both monetary and magical treasure based on who actually gets it. So if the players make a deal where some PCs get more gold to make up for other PCs getting magic items, the XP awards reflect this.

General Discussion » Where is the Ixian race inspired from? » 4/08/2018 4:36 pm

According to Jeff, the Ixians were inspired by the Stygians from Howard's Conan stories, and also the Necromancers and Torturers from Smith's Zothique stories. They are described as being of Egyptian, Persian, and Scythian ancestry, so I see them as being typically "Middle Eastern" looking. How they attained their unusual height is unknown (perhaps it's better not to know).

Television and Film » The Terror » 3/28/2018 12:19 pm

I read the book several years ago, and thought it was pretty good. I don't know if I can be bothered to watch another TV show though; I think we watch too many as it is.

General Discussion » Ideas for a homebrew adventure (strange artifacts) » 3/22/2018 10:34 am

Blackadder23
Replies: 16

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I don't believe there is any connection between green diamonds and the Green Death (unless the referee decides there is, of course), The Green Death was supposedly caused by dust falling from the tail of a comet. Or at least that's what they say.

Speaking of comets, the map from Beneath the Comet would be a possibility. It just looks like a blank parchment without the light of one particular comet. For added pizzazz, it might include a note along the lines of "modern parchment inexplicably discovered in the center of an eight million year old geode".

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