Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shards of the Malachite Throne

The following features a significant elucidation regarding an old and dear friend's current state in regard to our common hobby. If warranted, more of these houserules and manifestos, both mine own and others, will be posted here.

All the talk of 1st, 2nd, BECMI, etc has pretty much got me tinkering with my own ideas. I'm going start by laying the foundations for my own set of house rules. First, some preconceptions, notions, and general philosophy, a manifesto in a way:

I am not writing this for commercial publication.

I am writing this for my own entertainment and ideally the entertainment and enjoyment of my friends and family.

I will not be running games at conventions, tournaments, or for total strangers.

I will be running games for friends and family, and the occasional friends/family of friends.

I will be running games for mature sapients with integrity and self-esteem, groups of friends who know one another's foibles and know when to cut one another a little slack.

I don't believe in balance.

I do believe in fairness.

I'd rather say yes than no to a character concept, however bizarre, skewed or bloated.

But work with me on it.

Everyone should have the same options.

Everyone is capable of reading their options, evaluating them, and choosing those which suit them, their character concept, and their play-style best.

That said, here's a few basic ideas, one of which you both saw coming, several of which I'm stealing from Ashermandrabaal, another is retro-Jade Mask.

Thieves, Assassins and other Griftmaster classes fight on the Cleric/Druid chart. [reasons previously expressed for this have been the inability of thieves/assassins to do anything in game. -Editor] On that note though, I'm thinking of upgrading casters to the Thief/Assassin chart.

I'm killing half attacks. They're a headache. Attacks will progress 1/2/3 and every fighter sub-class (Cavaliers included as a fighter sub-class) will eventually wind up with 3 attacks. Appropriate modifications to Weapon Specialization to follow. I'm eyeballing a soft-cap of 5 attacks factoring in Weapon Specialization and Ambidextrous characters.

And for my most radical notion:

You pick your stats. I've exercised this option a million times in the past, it's never failed to add a layer of enjoyment to the game. I trust everyone reading this e-mail or sitting at my table to know the difference between a character concept and power mongering, and we've firmly established that every character is mortal no matter what their stats are. I'm tired of watching people playing the dice's character when they could be playing their own. And if you really want to roll your stats anyway...choose any method that ranges from 3 to 18 and go with it, that's how you picked them.
I thought about points, or neat rolling methods, and methods for advancing stats later, and none of that is really D&D to me. I've got 3rd Edition and Warrens and Wyrms if I want that.

On the note of stats, you can't raise them above your racial maximum without magical or divine aid. Racial max will always be equal to 18, plus or minus any bonuses or penalties from your race. So no race will, for example, have a racial max of 15 in a stat unless they have a -3 to that stat.

As to how one would raise stats... If, during the course of play, a player feels a stat should improve, I'll work with them on how and why. As an example, a player might decide to start with lower stats than he'd like to end the game with, to represent youth and unfulfilled potential on his character's part. I'm all for that. Another player may trace his character's lineage back to Hercules and feel every so often another point of Strength is appropriate. I'll be happy work with them on that too.

Comments and opinions are welcome, whether on the manifesto or on the starter game options. The thing I'm aiming for is part system and part house rules, and my plans are to mix in stuff from BECMI, 1st and 2nd Edition and Hackmaster...which I think we're all doing. I just feel the need to try and blaze my own trail and recapture the feel of my old campaigns.

- The Jade Mask

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