Showing posts from May, 2020

CAUSALITY: Ecology, Gonzo, and Randomness in Dungeon Design

Basic Concepts If you've been in the D&D circuit long enough, you've probably heard of "Dungeon Ecology." For the uninitiated, Dungeon Ecology is a reference to the element of dungeon design that takes into consideration that you have living (usually) creatures living in closed environments. You've got two polar opposites on this spectrum: total plausibility and utter chaos bereft of any semblance of verisimilitude. It's easy to picture the latter: You travel down the derelict halls of the ancient catacombs, the measured clanging of your iron footfalls echoing down the path. Taking a turn at the end, you see three elves in pink spandex. Immediately, they begin hurling water balloons at you while a Bugbear plays solitaire. Nuts, yeah? This is clearly a medievalesque crypt. Where'd they get the spandex? The balloons? Let's try another. You enter the room. The odor of feces, piss, and straw fills your nostrils as you spot a few goblin infants resting

Why Customization Kills My Fun: GM-Facing Vs Player-Facing Complexity

Part One: My Trek to the OSR. (Skip to Part Two if you'd rather just talk shop) When I first joined the RPG hobby, I was enamored by system complexity. I'm not like many in the OSR who come from a background of long nights with D&D in their youth, experiencing the rollercoaster of developments in the system through the years. I grew up on Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Star Wars (not the prequels, mind you), Stargate, and a scant few fantasy novels that I'd sneak in from time to time. By the time I entered the Tabletop Role-playing scene, customization was all the rage.  My experience growing up with MMORPGs and JRPGs made me a perfect candidate for the build-obsessed WotC era D&D player. I spent hours upon hours engaging in whiteroom theory crafting exercises, trying to eke out the highest maximum benefits for games that hadn't even started yet. Compared to the peak of 3.5e (which I probably would have adored were it my first introduction), Fifth Edit

Death, Wounds, and Dying Test Material

Taking Damage: If your HP is greater than zero after taking damage... You were grazed at worst.  You found the means to adequately defend yourself.  So long as your HP remains above zero, you're able to stand your ground effectively.  Suffering a critical strike may require MORE energy to defend yourself properly than usual (as reflected in the increased damage), but does not automatically wound you.  This is best thought of as that moment in a fight when a defender has to scramble in order to just barely parry an attack.  They still have the opportunity to turn the tide, but the moment is probably against them. If your HP is equal to or less than zero after taking damage... Oh, shit.  You're vulnerable as fuck.  You're winded.  You're running out of steam.  The adrenaline just isn't cutting it anymore.  Taking damage at this point means that you're actually suffering harm.  Take 100% of one of your Class Hit Dice.  This is the full pie of Negative Hi

Fleshing Out DCC Clerics using Lesser Key to the Celestial Legion by Donn Stroud

I started a Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign and we now have a Cleric. I surfed through the DCC book for information on what an Appendix N Deity might be like, and.. All I got was a chart of names, weapons, and Unholy Creatures by Alignment.  This was the only actual complaint that I've ever had with DCC. It just didn't give us much on gods. Patrons are another story. So, I picked up this gem and started reading. It's a supplement for DCC by Donn Stroud that provides an opportunity to flesh out religions in DCC. Using the book and some of my own tweaking (barely any), here's what I came up with regarding the worship of Pelagia, the Sea Goddess. The tenets, weapons, and Unholy Creatures are mine, but the rest was randomly generated using the supplement. Pelagia, Goddess of the Sea. AKA The Scorning Tempest, The Brine. Core Tenets: The weak willed need not our aid. The storm is to be weathered. Do not falter. Revel, weep, and sing. Life is short and brutal. Unh