Friday, September 18, 2020

GURPS, AD&D, Might & Magic I, and Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

Two video games I've played a lot of remind me of two different tabletop role-playing games I run.

Might & Magic I is a lot like GURPS

In M&M1, Stats are very important. Your Might really does determine how hard you hit. A high Speed is critical to go first. Accuracy determines if you hit at all. And so on.

Each race has costs and benefits that more or less equal out. Some are better choices for certain classes, but all things being equal, it doesn't matter all that much.

M&M1 has a "fight economy." Each fight is very challenging. Generally, you can rest after each and every fight. Restore fully heals all HP, and restores all spell points (SP). It cures many conditions - sleeping, paralyzation, and blindness, to name a few. This costs you a unit of food for each character, and you can only carry 40 food each, maximum. A few conditions hinder rest - resting is bad while poisoned, and useless to help with being stone, dead, or eradicated (!).

Some places, it's too dangerous to rest. But if you can retreat to a safe spot, you can rest and recover.

Thus, each fight is a war of attrition between the PCs and foes. It's very easy for them to flee, and very hard for the PCs to flee. You have little incentive to do anything but just slug it out, and it's always worth deploying your best magic if there is any chance at resting after. Healing spells are just for keeping you going during a fight.

If a fight is tough, you usually have to slog it out because attempts to retreat waste actions and don't usually work.

If a fight is easy, you generally make it so by expending replenishable resources such as powerful spells.

You may have to use up some magic items to win a fight, but you can generally buy powerful consumables in town.

Only if a fight is trivial do you continue on - even a loss of a few spell points or a few hit points can spell the difference between victory and defeat in a later fight.

You drop at 0 HP, and only die if an mass-damage attack hits the whole party while you're unconscious.

That description matches my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game in many respects.

The only real difference is that GURPS has a few more cumulative losses and conditions that you cannot just rest and recover from. If you're used to the pace of DF, you're used to the pace of M&M1.

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is like AD&D.

This isn't a big stretch, as Wizardry I is clearly modeled after D&D.

Stats are important for determining class and race. They seem to be helpful in play, but they're not really critical. They modify the class and the weapons and so on, they don't provide the basis for them.

Races and classes are different - some are just better than others. They're harder to qualify for. (Also, it has the first "prestige" classes every - classes you can't start as, but can eventually quality to switch to - Lord and Ninja.)

Wizardry has a fight economy, but not only do fights have an economy, so do delves. Given a fully-healed party, you never are any better off than you are the moment you step into the dungeon. Each fight costs. You benefit in an individual fight by deploying the biggest hammer you've got to smash your foes, but each time you do so you cost yourself the ability to do so later. You use up valuable spells you can't replace except by in-town rest, you use charges off of magic items you can't recharge (during a delve, sometimes ever), and you take damage you can't always heal.

You die at 0 HP.

This is very AD&D-like. AD&D delves are a race between expendibles and HP vs. your goals. Use up the former too fast, and you don't reach your goals. Use them unwisely, and the same happens. You need a combination of luck, skill, and appropriately powerful characters to win.

Just something that occured to me while I was playing M&M1. And it seems like CRPG Addict beat me to the punch on the comparison of games before, too! Oh well. At least I was able to tie it to GURPS and AD&D directly.

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