Thursday, July 30, 2015

Saving Throws: How many is too many?

In my game, I prefer the one universal saving throw category advanced by S&W White Box and perhaps a few other OSR ripoffs as well.  While I find the saving throw categories that Father G. devised back in the 70s to be as charmingly quirky as the next old schooler, they've always struck me as rather arbitrary, needlessly complex, and, ironically, uncomprehensive.  Instead, at my table everyone needs an 18 to save against everything.  Everyone.  Against everything.*

This doesn't mean that all saving throws are created equal however.  When I, as MC, declare that a save is in order, I don't just say "All right dickheads, make a save".  Oh no, there's always a descriptive component to the save.  Often it's "save vs. death" or "poison" or something standard like that, but it can also be extremely specific as well, here's a list of saving throws that I can remember offering to my players:
save vs. poison
save vs. traps
save vs. death
save vs. parallelization
save vs. nausea
save vs. libido
save vs. flesh-eating bile
save vs. watching-your-innards-spill-out-on-the-ground
But it really doesn't matter: in most cases the descriptor has no bearing on the saving throw. You still need to roll an 18 or higher.  As a fer instance, no PC class or race in my game has any advantage over another in watching their innards spill out on the ground.  You're still just hoping to roll an 18 or better.**

However, there are circumstances where I'd allow a bonus based on the characters race, class, or personal experience.  Thieves, I'd say, might be offered an advantage on saves vs. traps.  Or elves saving vs. libido; everyone knows how virtuously dull they are.  They get a +12 bonus in addition to level and any applicable wisdom bonus.  If, despite all that, they still manage to blow their save I'd offer them best 2 out of 3.

*You do, in most cases, get to add your level/hit dice to your die roll.  Possibly other bonuses.  Keep reading. 
** Gutless beings such as water elementals or stone golems would likely be immune to this sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kickstarting the Rants: CKG Incoming!

No, the title of this post does not refer to some cloud fundraising operation used by unappreciated creative types to raise undeserved cash for their unworthy projects.  Rather, I am trying to figuratively kickstart my blogging endeavors by purchasing a book that I am certain will irritate me to the point where I will be forced to eloquize my misery in print.  Which is to say, I've just ordered the C&C Castle Keepers Guide,* so be prepared for a boatload of ranting when this puppy finally arrives.

I have in the past tried to express my appreciation of the Castles & Crusades game, and yet somehow each effort has yielded a blathering screed on the various stylistic deficiencies of the game's rulebooks.  Plus it doesn't help that C&C chose to join the Rogue camp.

But at this moment, I am truly and deeply open to the possibility that I will actually be impressed with this tome when it arrives.  It is my deepest hope that the Trolllord pensters have learned to hold their hands steady in the presence of a thesaurus.  And that the artwork of P.B. Radley will reveal that he may actually be in possession of a soul, or is at least able to fake it on paper.  Occasionally.  And I even have some faint glimmering hope that the content of the book might have value too.

However, none of these are my expectation.

I expect to loathe this book because the authors and artist have failed to tailor their work to my particular preferences yet again.  But my deepest fear is that I will loathe it because it will have nothing to offer.   What if they boisterously purple prose of the original C&C PHB has been tempered and replaced with something rather banal?  Will the content shine through or will it be found wanting?  What if it's just plain old boring?  That would be worst of all.

* CKG doesn't quite roll off the tongue like DMG, eh?