Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Which 1st edition modules should I review?

If there are any of the 1st edition adventures I listed yesterday that anyone would especially like reviewed, war stories written about, etc., let me know!

I'll get to some of my favorites as I go, but I'll prioritize by request.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My 1st edition module collection, listed

I decided to do an inventory of my 1st edition AD&D/D&D adventures, just to see what I have. There are holes in this collection, but some are just adventures that never grabbed my interest (C3+, for example, or some of the N series). Others I'd love to get my hands on, like the CA series, CB1, DA3 and DA4, or a copy of ADQ1-7 to replace the one that someone stole from me in High School. Others I owned but got rid of (WG7 Castle Greyhawk, for example), and others I own out of nostalgia mostly.

Where I did a review or something, I linked to it below.

I have at least one copy each of:

A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity
A2 Secret of the Slavers Stockade
A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords
A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords
A1-4 Scourge of the Slavelords
B1 In Search of the Unknown (Monochrome and color versions)
B2 The Keep on the Borderlands (Otus minotaur version, Willingham minotaur version)
B3 Palace of the Silver Princess (PDF printout of the orange version, green version)
B4 The Lost City
B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan
C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness
CB2 Conan Against Darkness
D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (monochrome)
D2 Shrine of the Koa-Toa (monochrome)
D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (color)
D3 Vault of the Drow
DA1 Blackmoor
DA2 Temple of the Frog
EX1 Dungeonland
EX2 Land Beyond the Magic Mirror
G1-2-3 Against the Giants
G1, G2, G3 Monochrome Reprints (from the Silver Anniversary boxed set)
H1 Bloodstone Pass
H2 The Mines of Bloodstone
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City
I2 Tomb of the Lizard-King
I3 Pharoah
I4 Oasis of the White Palm
I5 The Lost Tomb of Martek
I6 Ravenloft
I8 Ravager of Time
L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
L3 Deep Dwarven Delve (from the Silver Anniversary release)
M1 Blizzard Pass (no pen, anymore, and the pen text is barely readable)
M2 Maze of the Riddling Minotaur (same)
M3 Twilight Calling
MV1 Midnight on Dagger Alley (I have the Magic Viewer . . . somewhere)
N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God
N2 The Forest Oracle
N4 Treasure Hunt
OA3 Ochimo the Spirit-Warrior
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits
S1 Tomb of Horrors
S2 White Plume Mountain (monochrome, color)
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
S1-4 Realms of Horror
T1 The Village of Hommlet
T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
U2 Danger at Dunwich
U3 The Final Enemy
UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cave
UK2 The Sentinel
UK3 The Gauntlet
UK4 When A Star Falls
UK5 Eye of the Serpent
UK7 Dark Clouds Gather
WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
WG5 Modernkainen's Fantastic Adventure
WG6 Isle of the Ape
X1 The Isle of Dredd (blue cover, red cover)
X3 Curse of Xanathon
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield

And a bunch of Dragonlance adventures. All of DL1-8 plus 11-12.

And I'm pretty sure I have I14 Swords of the Iron Legion but it's not cataloged with my modules. It may be with my FR stuff or sold off. Probably the former.

I also have:
Physical copies of the first year or so of Dungeon magazine.
Ruins of Undermountain I and II
Vortex of Madness
Return to White Plume Mountain
Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
and possibly some other stuff. Some of those are 2nd edition AD&D,

That doesn't begin to list game settings. Yeesh. I'm not even going to try to list all of that right now.

I trailed off near the end, or with series that I didn't enjoy after a while. The C series, the RPGA adventures, and Dragonlance, to name a few, are incomplete because of declining interest in them.

But that's not bad. And like I said, "at least one of." I'm surprised how many copies of S1 and S3 I still own, despite giving some away. Mostly I kept originals too tattered to foist off on others, and the most pristine copy I could find new or used.

Not trying to brag or show off here. I was just thinking, what do I really own from the old stuff? And I figured I'd share it once I'd typed it for easier reference.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Revised GURPS Magic: Magic Resistance

This is technically an expansion, not a revision, of an existing spell. This exists in my Felltower game.

Normally I don't like to multiply by fractions, but Improved Magic Resistance is a +150% modifier, and I'd like to keep the character point cost and energy cost consistent with each other.

Magic Resistance

As written in Magic, p. 123, except that this does affect using magic items and potions.

Cost: 1 to 5 to cast. Same cost to maintain. For 2.5x cost (round up), the subject gains Improved Magic Resistance (see p. B67)

Item: An Improved Magic Resistance item costs 750, not 300, per point.

Note that B67 says "you may roll against HT + Magic Resistance to resist the effects of magical elixirs" but DF1 says " Targets with Magic Resistance must fail a HT + MR roll for drinkables or fumes to affect them." The specific genre rule - the one in DF - absolutely trumps the general case - the one in Basic - in my game. Must fail trumps may roll. If you want to guzzle healing potions while under Magic Resistance, you need the Improved version.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Poetic and Prose Edda print recommendations?

Can anyone recommend a good, complete, reader-friendly book version of the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda?

Bonus points if it also includes Egil's Saga.

It's about time I finally read the thing, having read so many bastardized versions, edited versions, kids versions, and homage-to versions of the Norse myths (including one by David Drake, two by Glen Cook, and others.) I'm interested in seeing the original material, such as is out there. Without learning 13th-16th century Icelandic, though.

Reading all of this in text form off my laptop screen, like from Project Gutenburg, is pretty intimidating. I'll get distracted - print will be better, and printing that out will cost me way too much in ink or toner.

The libraries my inter-library loan system only have the edited and shortened version of the Prose Edda.

I've heard good things about this version: Edda (Everyman's Library). I may get that, but it doesn't have all the bits that I want, as far as I can tell.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Simplified Rapid Strike and Dual-Weapon Attack

Last night, Doug Cole did a very thorough analysis of Rapid Strike vs. Dual-Weapon Attack, trying to figure out a fair way to merge the two and make DWA a special case of RS.

It's well worth reading, and with tweaks well worth implementing.

Naturally, I have a simpler solution.

A while back, when GURPS Martial Arts wasn't even on the drawing board yet, my players and I tried the following rule, which I put up in the comments. I've edited it for clarity. Where this version contradicts the comment, this version takes precedence. I wrote quickly there, but took my time here.

Dual-Weapon Attack is a special form of Rapid Strike (see p. B370). You may use this if you have two ready weapons or unarmed strikes. If you direct both attacks against the same defender, that defender gets a -1 to all Active Defenses against the attacks, even if one of the attacks misses. If you direct both attacks against the same defender, however, you may not make either half of the Dual-Weapon Attack into a feint - splitting your foe's attention works against this!

And that's it. That works with all of the existing rules options for 3+ attacks, multiple defenses, Dual-Weapon Defense, etc. It just nixes DWA as its own thing. The benefit of a DWAs are small but can be significant - the built in (and free!) level of Deceptive Attack, the fact that if you drop or break a weapon or critically miss with one attack, the other proceeds normally (they're simultaneous), for example. You really need Ambidexterity or Off-Hand Weapon Training to make it work, generally, which I don't think is even slightly bad.

How does this work in actual play? It was fine in playtest for our "Universal Combat System" stripped-down system. I still use this in my DF game. You won't notice this, because very few monsters and so far no PCs use two-weapon attacks. The rare times someone has done a shield bash-and-strike I've run it this way.

I don't have time today to write up DWA as a technique in this fashion using the Technique Design System, but it would be based on RS (so -6), give -1 to all defenses (-4), require 2 ready weapons (+1), only gets the defense penalty vs. one target (+1), can't be split into a Feint/Attack vs. the same target (+1) for a -7. I'd have to think if there is another +1 to be had from other limitations. I'd personally require you to pick a single weapon and single strike type (swing, thrust, whatever), like Targeted Attack, and give styles with access to this via a Perk the usual limitations they have already in their style writeups.

If there is a difference between Doug's rule and mine, it's that his is attempting to be mathematically consistent with the rules at written. My is attempting to be simple, yet largely consistent with the intention of the rules as written. I don't really care so much if you end up with different numbers than before, as long as there are less special cases and no great harm is done dropping one.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Revised GURPS Magic page

I'm starting to compile all of my Revised GURPS Magic posts into a single page, with links to the various posts. The rough version of the page is up here:

Revised GURPS Magic for DF

I'm doing a full summary of the posts for my players, but I can't distribute it as it would violate the copyright of SJG. Having full-text spell replacements as drop-in errata on my gaming table (in lieu of scribbling in the margins of the book) is one thing, distributing it is another. Therefore, it's not going to be distributable. Still, making the page might keep all of my "Revised GURPS Magic" posts accessible to everyone.

So if you're playing DF along at home at like my rulings, you'll have one place to find them all. And not by accident, so will I.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Use Max HP or Current HP?

Tim Shorts asked this question about sleep yesterday - in D&D 5e, do you use the current HP or the max HP of creatures to determine how many HP of creatures are subject to sleep?

Here is the simple guide I'd use for all such effects, in all D&D-compatible systems.

Use Current HP when determining what happens to that creature. A sleep spell worth 7 hp will put you to sleep if you have 7 HP or less, no matter what your max is. An AD&D-style Power Word: Kill spell will kill you if your current HP is exceeded by the spell's effects.

Use Max HP if HP are used to determine an offensive effect. An 88 HP dragon would do an 88 HP of damage breath attack even when it's down to 1 HP.

Pretty simple. Effect on you? Current HP. Your effect on others? Max HP. Done. This approach opens up a lot of interesting tactics and makes a weaker fighter more vulnerable to more spells, and a weak monster still a full-strength threat. That's win-win.
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