Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Average Joe in New Basic D&D, or W. of the C. and I have something in common after all

As you already know, the latest Basic D&D rules abide by the old AD&D standard for rolling abilities: roll 4d6 and take the best 3.  But it also has a rule that, if you can't be bothered to roll your own dice you can just take a default set of "standard" ability scores and assign them to your character.  The standard scores are:
What's really astounding to me is that several years ago--a few years before I started this here bloggery-do--I was trying to devise anti-munchkinry character generation rules for AD&D, when I came up with the exact same idea, to the extent that the numbers are even strikingly similar.  Here's the standard set of ability scores I came up with back in '07:
The only difference is that they lowered the ceiling from 16 to a 15, which is in keeping with their whole "15 is max" ethos.  I'm pretty certain that we used the same approach to determine our standard abilities, whaddaya' think?

I came up with my standard by rolling thousands of sets of characters, ranking each character's abilities from highest to lowest and then averaging the ranked numbers in order to find an "average" character.*  In fact, I called the rule the "Average Joe Rule" and some perk was offered for taking the default ability scores instead of rolling your own, though I don't remember what the benefit was.  Of course, my players were so repulsed by such a notion that they never acknowledged its existence. Oh well.  But if nothing else--and assuming that all this isn't just a colossal coincidence--the Wizard-boys seem to validate my statistics, which is nice.

*Seriously, there were over 100,000 "dice rolls" involved, though Excel did all the heavy lifting for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Undead PCs

A few years ago I got into a debate with someone somewhere on the interweb--I think it was Rients--about what happens if you roll a 1 for your Hit Points and your Constitution is in the penalty zone: can a character be dead at inception?  Obviously that's not very satisfying, and yet hand-waving a minimum of 1 HP or re-rolling until you achieve a more arithmetically-pleasing result both seem like cop-outs.

Your new character sketch
Then, suddenly, just moments ago, it came to me in a flash: when your Con penalty puts your brand new, freshly rolled PC's hit point total at 0 or less then he/she is undead: you get to begin your adventuring career as a zombie!  The perks:
  • You get to re-roll your hit points using 2d8 and ignoring your constitution score.
  • No more worrying about things like drinking water, oxygen, and sleep or charm spells.
  • Stick with this long enough and you get to be a freakin' Lich.
And some cons:
  • Your appetite for brains might be a bit off-putting to your adventuring colleagues. 
  • The cleric in your party can use Speak with Dead to force you to reveal embarrassing events from your past.
  • Until you reach 9th level -- Vampire -- you might as well forget about getting laid; it absolutely will not happen.

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Basic D&D

Over the long weekend I celebrated American Independence by watching Copa Mundial on Univision--screw ESPN and its staid British commentary--and reading what other bloggers have to say about the newly released Basic D&D fantasy adventure game.  In order to keep my sheep credentials up to date, I thought I should follow the herd and compile my thoughts on the matter but, as a devotee of Advanced D&D, I can't really take anything called "Basic" seriously.  So, in lieu of my own analysis--which might require me actually reading the rules--I offer this cartoon by  Daniel Clowes:  
by Daniel Clowes, patron saint of outsiders