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HolmesandWatson's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 878 posts (1,736 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 4 aliases.


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Was digging into the history of T1 - The Village of Hommlet over the weekend. That was some interesting reading. I'm going to posit (in another Black Gate post) that there were two reasons (one business, one gaming) that The Temple of Elemental Evil was delayed so long.

Step 17 coming this week. Then we'll explore some other parts of the book. I've also been reading Gygax' book on GMing, but it's not as smooth.

My post on S&W vs. Pathfinder has turned out to be the second most read post of the entire year over at Black Gate. I've started putting together a similar post looking at reasons to make the opposite choice (personally, I LOVE character creation and all the options).

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Skeld wrote:

I've never heard of Matt Finch or his four zen whatevers, so I have no opinion on it other than it sounds like more gaming-related naval gazing.

I attribute the resurgence of Old School Gaming and retroclones to the fact that Old Guysnwere nostalgic for that thing they played when they first started gaming, the fact that the thing they were nostalgic for is long out of print, and that the OGL can be interpreted in such a way to allow enterprising individuals to recreate that thing (with maybe a couple "improvements").

When I talked about people turning this into a wedge issue, I didn't necessarily mean you. This topic comes up a lot. Old School and "modern" gaming are still fundamentally the same. Only the mechanics (and rules codification) are different. PF has so many nods and callbacks to OD&D that it's humorous. People playing Old School games and Pathfinder are still doing basically the same thing. The differences are (mechanical and) small. Laborious discussion amounts to making mountains out of mole hills.

I don't agree Old school games and Pathfinder differences are small. Compare it to watching a college football team, running a wishbone, play a team running a run and shoot - they're both football, but they're sure as heck not similar.

You could at least read the Black Gate post that is the basis of this whole thread. Matt Finch's distinctions are the core of it. You aren't going to change your mind, but you may end up acknowledging some of the points.

Steve Geddes wrote:

In 4th edition, one of the design features was gaining high hit points at first level and then a more gradual increase from there. From memory, even kobolds had 20 or 30 hit points. A party of five first level 4E characters would probably find fighting two 88 hp monsters tough, but not as much as you would expect.

There were other changes as well, of course - so it was generally much easier to hit things (that had much more hit points than earlier editions). The end result being that combats often lasted eight or nine rounds (with lots of hits chipping away at the enemy's hit points).

It's tricky to eyeball a 4E monster's stats and convert it easily. Another change was 4E's 1-30 level range rather than 1-20, so even character level doesn't translate very well. In my opinion, 4E characters are considerably tougher than other edition PCs early on, but considerably weaker at higher levels.

Wow. That is certainly a difference in scaling. Certainly as far as conversion goes. I guess, to the extent it didn't mess with the theme, I'd ignore what the monster was and look for something more in the CR-appropriate range. So, undead Ogres would probably be out. Though maybe something tough if there is an alternate mode of entry. Force the party to choose how to get in.


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Skeld wrote:
Are you getting paid for clicks? If you want to have a discussion here, why don't you post the substance your article here instead of pimping some third party website?

No, I don't get paid a cent. It's a really long post to put up here (well over a thousand words), and I can't incorporate graphics here. So, I refer to the OP.

Skeld wrote:

I don't get why people try to drive a wedge between "old school gamers" and "modern gamers." I started gaming in 1985 and I run games basically the same as I did then. The mechanics are different, but we had different games with different mechanics back then, too.

The things that have changed for me are:
Time - I have a lot less of it, so I leverage published adventures/campaigns instead of creating my own stuff;
Money - I have a lot more of it and I can afford to buy gaming books, miniatures, maps, tools, etc.;
Technology - I have a tablet that I can store all my books on and access the internet.

Beyond that, I still use pens/pencils, paper, dice, and imagination. That's like 95% of it.


Talking about something isn't 'driving a wedge' unless you take a tone that makes it that way. I don't think I did that.

The game isn't played the same as it was. There wouldn't have been the movement for retroclones if the two styles were the same. Do you disagree with Matt Finch's four 'Zen Moments'?

I'm not saying either S&W or Pathfinder is better. But I'm working on a follow-up post that looks at a more modern approach in light of the OP. Running a S&W game and at the same time re-reading the PF rules for the next campaign, beginning at character creation ,there is a difference in approach and play. Just as there's a difference between playing an MMO RPG and a pen and paper RPG.

Football and baseball and basketball are different than they used to be. Stuff changes. I play Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry. You can like different approaches and even try to merge them, like Creighton Broadhust talks about in his blog.

But the distinction is there and I find it interesting enough to write about.

Have no fear - I'm not taking a break from the thread again.

I'm going to be contributing to a new RPG column for (I already write a mystery-themed one there) and I'm getting some stuff together before launch in a couple months. Today I was working on a post related to game balance/level appropriate challenges. I'm both for and against it.

Though I use Goodman Games' 4th Edition module, Forges of the Mountain King as an example of ridiculous unbalance at the beginning.

I didn't look into 4th Edition. Are characters overpowered at 1st level? One of the first encounters is with two undead Ogres with 88 hp (or so) each.

The first time they are killed, they rise again at half hit points. That seems like a heck of a way to start things off. Shortly thereafter, there is a live Ogre, with 112 hp.

That's awfully extreme, isn't it?

HolmesandWatson wrote:

Have no fear - I'm not taking a break from the thread again.

I'm going to be contributing to a new RPG column for (I already write a mystery-themed one there) and I'm getting some stuff together before launch in a couple months. Today I was working on a post related to game balance/level appropriate challenges. I'm both for and against it.

Though I use Goodman Games' 4th Edition module, Forges of the Mountain King as an example of ridiculous unbalance at the beginning.

I meant to post this on the 'Role Playing Mastery' thread I'm running, not here. Sorry about that.

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Have no fear - I'm not taking a break from the thread again.

I'm going to be contributing to a new RPG column for (I already write a mystery-themed one there) and I'm getting some stuff together before launch in a couple months. Today I was working on a post related to game balance/level appropriate challenges. I'm both for and against it.

Though I use Goodman Games' 4th Edition module, Forges of the Mountain King as an example of ridiculous unbalance at the beginning.

Several stretch goals have been added - they've already unlocked the first one (reproduction of the new cover).

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Terquem - gamers at my S&W table act like they're 12 years old some time. I think that's as close as we'll get!

Here's a post on the Kickstarter which I wrote for

Shipping (and stretch goals) isn't up yet. My current Complete Rules is 144 pages. I can't imagine this reprinting, even with two additional adventures, is going to be too much longer. This thing shouldn't be half the size of Bard's Gate.

BTW, instead of using the Sleep spell, I had the shaman use Charm Person on the fighter instead. It failed and the shaman was chopped down immediately thereafter.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I meant the cover. The regular version's cover is changing. Does anyone know if the leather version will be different?

I was just commenting on the kickstarter itself. But Bill Webb wrote in reply to a comment:

"Leather book comes with a regular copy, but no, it is silver foil stamped."

I think that means it will have a reproduction of the new art cover.

Thanks for the comments on the Sleep spell. Since everybody is 1st level, they were pretty much out of luck no matter what. I do like the "Not kill them" idea, at least. Maybe some Goblin torturing going on.

The party tried to kill the one awake Goblin with the Rogue and Ranger shooting at him with bows. If they had an instant kill, I was going to let them try to sneak up on the others and see how things went.

The Rogue had one of the worst-rolling sessions I have been a part of. He only had two successes, and he had somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 incidences. He missed both bow shots at the sentry, which resulted in a full blown fight - including that shaman.

Yesterday, a new Kickstarter for a third printing of the Swords & Wizardry rules funded in about 15 hours. Last month, I wrote a post over at on why I chose Swords & Wizardry and old school gaming over Pathfinder and a more modern approach for running my latest game.

There will be a follow-up post, talking about the merits of Pathfinder over old school as well. Thought folks might find it interesting, as it did well at BlackGate.

Same text with minor changes to game play examples. But there will be two new adventures included.

I'm looking forward to the stretch goals, as this thing funded in less than a day.

We had our second session in my S&W game last night. The party was undamaged, though the dwarf fighter marched up to a door covered with purple moss, yanked it open and was immediately rendered unconscious. The thief grabbed him with a grappling hook on the second try and the party dragged him out of the room.

The World of Warcrafter (playing a Ranger) again commented that she is still thinking like an MMO player and hasn't re-oriented herself to the pen and paper style. That's something I'm watching in the decision making processes.

I need to dig into the S&W rules. The Goblin Shaman had a Sleep spell, with no save. It can't just put the whole party to sleep, ending the adventure...

Glory Hole Dwarven Mine was a Judges Guild delve for AD&D.

Axe of the Dwarvish Lords was a TSR module for AD&D.

Erik Mona has said several times he dislikes dwarves. A dwarven AP seems unlikely, sad to say.

Terquem - I had players explaining stuff to me when I ran a couple of PlayByPost games here on the Pathfinder forums. And I had limited options to just the Core Rulebook!

I just ran a Swords & Wizardry session today at lunch for 3 players with a total of two sessions experience between them. I was trying to figure out the AC table (I'd been using the descending system, and this adventure used ascending). Nobody was an expert in this game. But the Cleric rolled a 1 and lost her mace while fighting a zombie. Everybody laughed!

I would just find the system/rule set you like and go with it, whether you're GMing or playing. And let the chips fall where they may. I plan on taking the S&W group over to Pathfinder after we finish Grimmsgate. Then I'll see which system they liked more - the older, rules-light one, or the weighty, complex Pathfinder one.

I try to reference things by Gygax' book because that was the idea behind this thread. But you need a sense of context for some of it. Like the ridiculous requirements in his Outline of Mastery.

I didn't work that hard on my Master's Thesis!

Welcome to Terquem and Rannik. And also to John Robey. I hope you'll have a shorter time span between posts this time around!

Seriously, it's great to see more folks engage in the conversations around this topic. We're near the end of Gygax' steps, so the conversation has drifted a bit, but I think the posts are still germane to those interested in the original posts about Gygax' steps to role playing mastery. And I think they're still interesting.

And I'll try to work in some other material from that book that wasn't part of the 17 steps.

Was browsing through Pathfinder's Strategy Guide, written by head Kobold Wolfgang Bauer. The book, which is pretty neat, is designed to help those new to RPGs (it's still got useful stuff for experienced players). I came across this sidebar:

The purpose of all the rules in the Pathfinder RPG is to help you
breathe life into your characters and the world they explore. There’s
no “right” or “wrong” balance of combat and narrative modes in a
Pathfinder game session. The right balance is the one most enjoyable
to your particular players and Game Master. The rules are your toolset, and you can adapt them to suit the type of play you most enjoy. Above all, have fun!

Specifically mentioning "combat and narrative modes,' it directly addresses balance in what we've been talking about as old school vs. modern approaches to RPGing. And it specifically incorporates that balance into the purpose of Pathfinder rules.

And it specifically supports Rannik's last sentence!

MendedWall12 wrote:

Roll 2 twenties and hope for low numbers!!!! UGH! That goes against every fiber of my gamer being. NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Make it stop.

Yeah, it was a strange read. That, and using a d6 for damage, with 1-2 and 6 resulting in damage...

The "Zones" idea was interesting and struck me as a bit more old schoolish than modern movement.

Doom Pool, Momentum, I figure there must be other alternative systems somewhat like this out there, but I've never seen one.

Once I get a handle on it and the Conan core rulebook comes out, I'll write a Black Gate post on the system. Definitely nothing like my RPG upbringing.

On an unrelated note, I backed the new Conan RPG, coming from Modiphius. It uses the 2d20 system, which I was totally unfamiliar with. I downloaded the quickstart quide from RPG Drive thru for free.

This is a very different way to play from D&D/Pathfinder. For me, at least. I didn't get most of it on the first try and am going to read it a few more times. Combat seems to be handled quite differently from old and new school.

I will say that I expect the Conan content aspect to be phenomenal.

Was reading the Conan RPG rules (1st Edition) and came across this:

The first and most important rule of Conan the Roleplaying Game is that if you do not like it, change it. Games Masters and players should work together to create involving, exciting and, above all, fun stories. As such, you do not have to memorise every rule in this book in order to enjoy playing Conan the Roleplaying Game.

BTW, if you're a Conan fan (and I think REH is still the best fantasy author we've seen yet), Mongoose's Conan (both editions), which uses the d20 OGL, is fantastic reading.

Digitalelf wrote:
I'm a stickler for the rules myself. And in general, I tend to dislike seeing things like what Frog God Games did in the example above.

This aspect of rules discussion is more GM-oriented. I'll swing it the other way and mention that the very first of Gygax' Steps to Role Playing Mastery is to Know the Rules (as a player). The following is from one of the very first posts in this thread:

1 Study the rules of your chosen role-playing game. Being intimately familiar with the rules structure is essential to understanding what you are doing, and understanding is the foundation of mastery.

He makes the point that simply memorizing a bunch of passages is not sufficient. Memorizing does not mean understanding (I like that phrase). It is not enough to know what is in the rules, but how the components all work together with each other. He discusses the problems faced by the rules writers, such as taking the make believe of dragons and spaceships and making them seem real. Quantification and mechanics must translate into an experience that brings to life the game environment.

As a player, whether the rules are inadequate or overwhelming, you must understand both the rules and the spirit of the game (Step #3). It is this accepted combination that leads to such exasperation with rules lawyers who focus solely on Step 1 and have no use for Step 3.

An adept GM can help overcome player shortcomings in the area of rules knowledge. But if the player consistently makes mistakes with movement or feats during combat rounds, the gameplay will be impacted negatively. Likewise, forgetting that a paladin has smite evil available can be the difference between success and failure. Two players understanding the rules for flanking is going to be much more effective than if only one does. Hard to flank by yourself!

There's certainly some merit in a point of view that says, 'If I take the effort as a player to learn the rules and how to make them work in the game, the GM shouldn't be changing them at a whim!'

Elf - I'm guessing that, because the module was written for 3rd Edition, then updated for Pathfinder, they kept the half-races in for S&W out of ease of conversion.

I'm mostly a 'follow the rules' for the foundation, but as with most things, there's middle ground. If I change the flying rules mid-game, that's probably not fair to the player. But if I decide that I need an Elven Cleric for something, I'll go with it.

Tim Kask, who was (I think) the second person hired by Gary Gygax (after Rob Kuntz) at TSR and one of the first players and contributors to D&D, says the following in the introduction to the S&W Complete Rules:

For thirty-five years, I have been telling role-playing gamers to ignore rules that they do not like. The essence of RPGing is in the story, not the accomplishment of arbitrary goals and benchmarks. We all take part in creating the story; the GM writes an outline, tots up a list of “plot elements,” and then sets the players loose to fill in the details. This has never changed.

What you hold in your hand are guidelines; this is one set of “rules” that has an internal integrity that makes it work. Is it the only way to
play? Certainly not; from the very beginning of role-playing GMs have
been encouraged to extrapolate and interpret, to make the game their
own. If a given rule does not seem “right” to you, then ignore it!

Or, better still, change it! Make your game or campaign your own. All
GMs need to worry about is keeping a “logical reality” active in their
campaigns; the players rely on that logic to find their way through the
perils and puzzles of the adventure.

The truest test of whether or not you are doing it right has always been
two-fold: are you having fun, and do your players keep showing up every
session? If you can answer yes to either, you’re on the right path. If you can answer in the affirmative to both, you have the “right” of it. From the very conception of RPGing, the whole idea was to have fun. We showed the world a new way to do it, but we never said there was only one way.

I don't go as far as Tim (it's too loosey-goosey for me), but it's certainly very much out of the Dave Arneson/Dave Hargrave approach to the game. And that's pretty much at the roots.

I was looking through Frog God Games' 'The Lost City of Barakus,' as I hold out hope that the Swords & Wizardry group will want to roam around that mini-campaign after the current adventure wraps up. The following was in a sidebar:

Frog Gods, why can’t you stick to the rules?

Yes, we break the rules (again) in this book. We are assuming (and you know what that does) that you are using the Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset with this product. Now, there are certainly other OSR rules that can be used to enjoy this adventure, but we like the think we have a pretty good set to take care of your needs.

However, with that said, we break the rules as set down in the Complete rulebook. In this adventure, you will find half-drow, half-orcs, halfling monks, etc. We are strong proponents that story should trump rules. As long as it makes sense! So, we play a little fast and loose with racial restrictions.

If this causes a problem for the Referee, simply use a similar
race to emulate the NPCs found within this adventure.

Now, the S&W rules set is theirs. And Barakus (which was a 3rd Edition classic from Necromancer Games) is theirs. So, they can do anything they want with it, willy-nilly. But I think they approach it exactly the right way.

'Story should trump rules. As long as it makes sense!' Yes. And they offer a simple, self-contained solution for the GM if they don't want to step outside the rules.

It's a little thing, but I think it's deftly done.

For coverage of actual early games and sheer amount of information (including some speculation), Kent David Kelly's 'Hawk and Moor' series is tough to beat. Five lengthy volumes, plus another book on the Steam Tunnel incident.

These books deserve more attention than they've received.

Designers & Dragons is a great reference.

In another Creighton Broadhust post I liked so much I'm going to do a Black Gate post around it, he talked about what 'old school' meant to him. I think he's got a pretty solid approach in wanting to run games with that story-telling, early style of play, with the plethora of customer characterization options and deep combat mechanics of Pathfinder. That hybrid, that merging, is an approach that works to incorporate what some people think is the best of both gaming systems.

"The rules in Old School games are often much lighter and play is quicker than later editions. For me, I like the rich depth and complexity of systems such as 3.5 and Pathfinder.

I like the customisability of players’ characters (and their enemies) and the tactical options available for combat. I don’t necessarily see this as incompatible with an Old School style of play – it’s just a challenge to marry the two"

Now, if you think options and rules bloat is out of control in Pathfinder (I've commented on that throughout the life of this thread), you aren't necessarily viewing it the same way he is. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Most of us have acknowledged there are merits in both approaches. They can be manipulated (I think it's easier to run a Pathfinder game with old school principles than the other way around).

Because I do like to interject Gygax' own thoughts as often as I can (seeing as how that's the point of the thread...). MendedWall's comments reminded me of something I read just recently in 'the other book,' Master of the Game:

However, when these things are added to the equation, we begin to reduce playability as we increase the amount of realism. As previously noted, too complex or complicated a system of any sort will raise the simulation level toward realism but reduce play­ ability.

It will dispel the suspension of disbelief because of the time and detail demanded, and will likely detract from all other aspects of the game as an entertainment vehicle. The correct balance between realism and playability is very much a matter of group taste, but there is a median level beyond which the vast majority of enthusiasts lose all desire to participate.

Master GMs must be able to discern the proper level of realism and complexity for both their milieu and their players.

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Haven't had a chance to digest the most recent posts, but welcome to Quark Blast.

And stuff like "magical tea time" and "story stick" is kinda snippy. We've maintained a positive tone, even while disagreeing. Let's keep it that way, please.

This morning's weekly post over at is RPGing is Storytelling. Which I think in line with Gygax and Arneson's approach.

kyrt-ryder wrote:

More options DOES give you more options, but only when the system makes it clear that these are extras not limitations.

When the game then goes on to have feats made for such mundane things as tying your shoes... You lose that.

Welcome Kyrt. Nicely said. Which would lead me to assert that it's a case of educating the player and the GM. Which would certainly tie back to Gygax' Role Playing Mastery points. Though I don't have the opportunity to cite anything at the moment.

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I'm in a discussion thread here with some grognard with a scary name...

Digitalelf wrote:
Arturius Fischer wrote:
Having more options gives you more options, and having less takes them away.

I have to really disagree with this.

I'm sure your experience (or perception of the game) has led you to that conclusion, but it has been my experience that in a more rules heavy system, where there is a rule for everything, the players (on both sides of the screen) tend to look solely to the character sheets for available options, and thus if an option is not written or somehow listed on the character sheet, that option is simply not available to the character. With a system open to more interpretation, the options available to the players are limited only by the player's own imagination, and not constrained by some completely arbitrary number on a sheet of paper.

Welcome back Arturius!

I've pondered digging a bit more deeply into this debate, as I've been on both sides of it in the past year. I originally favored 'more options gives you more options,' but with my recent delve into an old school approach, has swung me more around to Elf's side, that basically, anything is in play in an open ended, less rules system. With the GM really being the determinant of what goes. If the GM disallows a lot of stuff, then they are reducing options. If they are pretty broad minded, then they are expanding them beyond the rule limitations.

I think both sides can validly establish their view. The Player's imagination and the GM's permissiveness are the core of the 'rules light' assertion.

Hi Steve - welcome!

I didn't mention the table for S&W minimums since it felt to me like it was just a mention of the Original Edition ones and the minimum for XP bonus was the only thing listed with the class descriptions.

But fair point.

3d6 in order - that's a tough one. Any rerolling or other way to replace a low score? Just curious.

Found another interesting post from Creighton Broadhust of Raging Swan Press (who I posted about a couple of days ago). This is one he did in which he used old school design principles to create Pathfinder characters.

I like the idea! As I said in my Black Gate post about choosing S&W over Pathfinder for my new game, I am still a huge Pathfinder fan and I like a lot about it. So working both approaches into character design appeals to me. (And I updated the post to talk about our first session. We added a complete RPG newbie into the mix).

S&W Complete Rules doesn't use Prerequisites/class minimums. I like Minimums. Of course, I'm the GM and I won't be the one who doesn't get to play the class of their choice if the rolls aren't good enough. But there's something that appeals to me about a class having minimum scores and trying to achieve them.

I probably would let the players move the score around, not roll them straight, which increases the chance of meeting the Minimums. But no point buys.

It was fun having the newly created party buying their supplies. They discussed lanterns vs. torches, how much rope, a 10' pole (they passed), holy water - I told them gear was important in S&W. The fighter originally bought plate. But by the time he got all the other gear he wanted, he had to drop down to chainmail.

Welcome TriOmega(I thought I posted this earlier but apparently it didn't take).

I like the idea of using the role playing to modify the die roll - whether it's a feat, skill check, attribute - whatever.

I did a bit of that in our first S&W session this past Monday.

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Digitalelf wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Hah. Oddly I had a PC who could boost the party thru oratory and I gave part of that speech a couple of time!

What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin.
If we are marked to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.

Seeing Kenneth Brannagh give that speech in Henry V made me a Shakespeare fan.

Welcome Drahliana.

Yeah, I remember running across a lot of ways to die in the stories of the early Gygax games in the Hawk and Moor books by Kent David Kelly.

We had our first session last night. The two players who rolled up characters ahead of time (with me) forgot to bring them! The host's wife, who has read fantasy but never RPGed, jumped in, and their 12 year old daughter came in to watch and "helped" her a bit. The daughter had the most common sense of the whole group.

It was an overland trek and the most marked characteristic was the Thief and the Ranger pushing the other one to lead, investigate, crawl in the burrow, etc. They are coworkers, so it was a social thing more than an RPGish one.

But without a doubt, the highlight was when the group, walking along a path beside a cliff wall, reached a wooden door, with vines sort of disguising it, tacked up to branches across the top and decided the best move was for the Ranger to knock on the door! This came after another "No, you go" between the Thief and Ranger. So, no sneaking in or looking for traps.

That rang the alarm bells in the vines, the Ogre and Bear that lived there charged out and the party was split, with two characters running "ahead" on the path and the other two running back the way they'd come (they'd hung back). The party was split.

Regarding our recent discussions of balance, a party of first level characters ran into an Ogre and a Bear. Having already defeated three 1st level bandits earlier on the trek. Old school involved multi-level challenges.

Surprisingly, in a quick read-through of Gygax' 'Master of the Game,' I didn't find anything related to character creation: which I figured would be somewhat related to our discussion of dice rolling vs. role playing.

There was in interesting piece on skill changes affecting the entire system (and gameplay), but I'll save that for a separate post.

Gygax does get into game design and systems balancing, which I never thought about. He provides some interesting info.

There is definitely enough interesting info in his Game Mastery book to do a thread similar to this one. He's even got a couple "lists" I could work from, as we did here.

And just a reminder that my point in bringing all this up wasn't to say old school is better than modern gaming. I've played a lot of Pathfinder but am only starting up my first retro game.

Just discussing the differences between the two. And trying to keep it in relationship with Gygax' Role Playing Mastery Book somewhat.

There's zero role playing in the PF Adventure Card Game, but it's my favorite board game (though I am absolutely stuck on a scenario in the app). And I don't role play a lick in Age of Conan. Just looking at the concept in terms of pen and paper.

I found a bit from Gygax' GM book (Master of the Game) I'll try to copy into the thread.

Jeff - I don't like metagaming (which we talked about waaaay back in the thread), so that's a drawback to old school gaming. Though, if you're using a mix of role playing and dice rolls, you can mitigate that somewhat.

If it's not game critical, wonder if you can modify/remove the trap, and make up for it somewhere else? Or is that not playing fair?

Welcome Quark Blast.

That does seem kind of dumb to take all context for the trap out of the game and play it that way. To poor effect!

Welcome MadScientistWorking.

I agree with Elf that more modern systems lean towards relying heavily (or entirely) on the dice roll mechanic. Which takes out the story telling/role playing aspect. I plan on using a reasonable combo of the two, with the story telling providing good or bad effects on the dice roll (when the latter is needed).

GreyWolfLord wrote:
My opinion is that you can play almost any D&D (or pathfinder) with that mindset.

Welcome to the thread, GreyWolfLord.

You mention something we've touched on but not explored in real depth on this thread. The GM has the ability to "shape" the game in almost any fashion, depending upon how they run it.

Except that in a rules/options heavy system, the player expects to be able to do anything in the rules/on the character sheet. So it's a skill check to Find a Trap or Bluff someone successfully. And it's incumbent upon the GM to convince them to do it in an old school type of way.

Not saying it's impossible, but the system is set up that way in those types of games/editions. Similar to how some players seem to get upset when the GM doesn't allow certain character creation options.

This type of thing generally happens less often in a 'rules-light' type of system.

I don't recall if Gygax talked about this in the book(s).

As Tim Klask, then Matt Finch said, "Rulings, not rules."

thejeff wrote:

Meant to say earlier, I'm kind of surprised none of them went multiclass. It was always a common solution to the "but I can't do anything at 1st level" problem. It may just not be how they think about multiclassing.

M-U/thieves were always my go-to, back in the day.

I suggested an elven Fighter/Magic User to the WoWer, but she didn't bite.

Also, making the Thief an Elf or Half Elf to gain the 1-4 secret door roll, but the PC Gamer didn't go for it either. They just went with basic race and class options. Which could be lack of pen and paper experience.

Whereas, I took the dwarven fighter/cleric (which isn't a player option in the rules, but mentioned for NPCs).

We'll see if they change anything before we start Monday night.

thejeff wrote:
Yeah, that's a pretty useless spell list. Kind of odd too. OD&D, which S&W supposedly emulates, didn't have a Druid (or a Ranger for that matter). If it's bringing the Druid in from AD&D, I would have expected more of the Druid's spell list to make it in. The main Druid go to spell was always entangle. Shillelagh was a decent back up to get you pretty good magic weapon.

I'm not a SW expert. But there's a White Box edition, which seems to be just the core part of Original D&D. The Complete Rules, which I'm using, incorporates stuff up to 1st Edition. And it's got a few other 'non-authentic' additions to smooth out the game.

Entangle (which I used a ton in Neverwinter Nights) would certainly be helpful.

Regarding another point you made: For me, the retro/OSR angle for this upcoming game is because I want the two new players to have a more story-telling approach to pen and paper RPGing. And a rules-light retro is the way to achieve that. Something far away from the MMO/PC experience. Which Pathfinder would more resemble.

Elf - Most of my rules memory starts with AD&D, so going through S&W is really pulling stuff out of the memory vault!

We didn't find much help with the spell list. And the +1 to hit for Faerie Fire is at the GM's discretion.

Level 1
Detect Magic
Detect Snares & Pits
Faerie Fire
Locate Animals
Predict Weather
Purify Water

Though there are a couple useful ones at second level.

The player mentioned that in WoW, the Druid is recommended as a good hybrid - helpful with either melee or spells.

But in S&W, the spells don't do much early. Shape changing doesn't occur for several levels and at 1d4 HP and leather, they probably won't last long in melee.

So, while maybe a good choice because leveling occurs so quickly in a PC game, it's going to be a tough hall in S&W. A Ranger seems like a more powerful outdoor-oriented character. But I'm letting them play anything they want within the rules. Fun is the goal.

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