venerdì 8 marzo 2019

Human as demi-humans in OSR rule systems

Art by Andrew Krahnke
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack
The Adventurer Conqueror King System has one of the most extensive tool set to build balanced custom class, firstly presented in the Player's Companion and then extended in books and articles (most notably in the Heroic Fantasy Companion with a lot of new classes and some magical systems and the Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu with a lot of racial values).

The class system has also a "custom race" value that helps the creation of demi-human classes.

What we did was to create a "human custom race" in terms of the ACKS class system on one hand to recreate the already presented human classes and on the other to have ready tools for creating new human classes. We already had human with racial levels in Barbarians Conqueror of Kanahu (page 143 of the book Terran Custom Classes).

Why? Well the principal reason was to had a way to recreate the more advanced classes of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in ACKS terms, thinking of this I had also an inspiration to add a little more fluff to this article.

The First Empire (1st E.)
The First Empire, the Empire, the Great Empire was the first to unite Human, Dwarf, Elves and others under One banner, was the first to control the eight seas and the one hundred thousand rivers. The first, and only one, to dominate the world for ten thousand years. The First Empire was truly cosmopolitan, and the various race mixed freely, after ten thousand years the humans of the empire were a little more sophisticated than the barbarian from outside the empire, an unique mix of different bloods, culture and traditions made them special. Only the First Empire Human can hope to follow the paths of the thousands of special martial and magical traditions (classes) that flourished in the First Empire.

1st E. Human Value
1st E. Human
Max Lvl
 Human + Thievery 4 (15 skills) 
 Human + Thievery 3 (10 skills) 
Human + Thievery 2 (5 skills) 
Human + Thievery 1 (3 skills) 
Human (Heroic Spirit)  

*NOTE: the cost of Heroic Spirit is not much (maybe 25 xp) so I decided to balance this to fudge the numbers. I'll lower the cost of  0 Value in Human so to not mess the cost of existing classes, and I will increase progressively the cost of the additional Thievery. To keep it nice I have simply calculated a cost of 100 xp per number of Thief skills.

Giving Humans a Thievery value permit the creation of a great number of custom classes since the Thief skills from the thievery value can be converted in various powers with the "custom powers trade-offs" rule

Here an example class built with this system

Art by Luigi Castellani
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack

1st E. Human Loremaster (hd 1d4, max level 12th)
Mage 4, Human 2

Loremaster are mages specialized in knowledge and languages. They roam the world in search of knowledge both mundane and arcane and so are easily encountered in adventuring party.

The character will have all the ability and spells of the standard mage.

This character will advance to 2nd level at 3000xp, human 2 will give him thievery 2 (5 skills).

Custom Power Trade off (First Draft)
1: 1 skill at 1st level
2: 1 skill at 2nd and 1 skill at 12th
3: 1 skill at 3rd and 1 skill at 11th
4: 1 skill at 4th and 1 skill at  10th

5: 1 skill at 6th and 1 skill at 8th

1st E. Human Loremaster level progression
 Hit Dice 
1d4 Loremastery 
2d4 Prestidigitation 
3d4 Bonus Languages (+4 languages) 
4d4 Read Languages
(at will, casting time 1 turn)
5d4 --------
6d4 Speak with Animals
(1/hour, casting time 1 turn)
7d4 -------
8d4 Speak with the Dead
(1/8hour, casting time 1 turn)
9d4Speak with Plants
(1/day, casting time 1 turn)  
  Loremaster of the words
9d4+1Command of Voice 
   Loremaster of the planes 
9d4+2 Contact Otherwordly Powers
(1/week, casting time 1 turn)
  Loremaster of the ages 
9d4+3 Longevity

sabato 2 marzo 2019

Health Dice a different use of Hit Dice for OSR and 5th edition

Art by Luigi Castellani
from the Spears of the Dawn free art pack
Health Dice
The basic idea behind this article is that Health Dice (HD) are fixed (10+Constitution bonus) and the type of die (d4, d6, d8) is determined by the character class.

Hit Points (HP) are, as before, just based on class and level.

In this system HP will better represent the ability to avoid fatal damage, while HD will represent the capacity of the character to recover HP.

Furthermore HD are recovered slowly and so they will represent the overall status of Health and Stamina of the character.

Number and type of Health Die (HD)
Each character will have HD equal to 10+Constitution bonus (-3 to +3) and the type of dice will be based on their class (in an OSR game we will have: Magic-Users d4, Hybrids d6, Warriors d8).
So a Fighter (d8 HD) with Constitution 13 will have 11d10 HD, a Mage (d4 HD) with Constitution 7 will have 9d4 HD.

HP recovery
As for 5th edition rules you can recover one or more (HD+Con bonus) during a "short rest" (anything from 10 minutes to one hour of rest).

HD recovery
As in 5th edition you will recover half maximum HD for each "long rest" (a full night of sleep) .

Cure Wounds
Cure spells (and  cure spell from wands, scroll and the like, potions and elixirs could make exception) should work in a slightly different manner (specially when this rules are used with the Recharging Spells rules).

Each Cure spell when used on a character will work by instantly giving the effects of a powered up "short rest", a cure spell will consume 1 HD from the receiving character that will recover (1+level of the cure spell)*(HD).

EG: a character with d8 HD will recover 2d8 from a 1st level Cure light Wounds and 5d8 from a 4th level Cure Critical Wounds, while a character with d4 HD will recover 2d4 from a 1st level spell and 5d4 from a 4th level spell.

Wounds, Fatigue, disease and other ailments
Optionally such rules can add a simple way of tracking various long term ailments of the character.

The recovery of some or all the HD can be blocked by specific conditions that can be removed by specific remedies.

Wounds are long term damage that the character will get when he goes to 0 HP, at 0 HP a character is Knocked Out and is wounded or dead.

The severity of wounds can be rolled with various systems. The use of a Death and Dismemberment table is a good option (here an example and some link to other tables: Morte e Mutilazione).

Another very quick system could be this one: calculate the number of hp beyond zero and roll as many HD as needed to match that numbers of points, the number of needed HD represent the severity of the wound. To get back the ability to recover that HP you must first fully heal that wounds. 1HD need 1 day, 2 HD 1 week, 3 HD 1 month, 4 HD 1 season, 5 HD 1 year (heal), 6 HD permanent (regeneration), 7+ HD death.

Diseases and Poisons
A disease will block the recovery of 1 or more HD, each disease will have it's special effects.

E.G.: The red death: who gets this disease will have to do one saving vs death (or a Constitution save) each day for 15 days in a row, for each failed save he will lose one HD (zero HD means death). If the character don't die after 15 days he will recover one HD each day of full rest.

Energy Drain
Energy Drain will take away HDs (instead of levels) at 0 HD the character will die and possibly come back as an undead, such HD will be recovered only by the use of "restoration" or "wish" spells.

Designer's Notes
The idea of this rule come from the necessity to synchronize the rules for magic (presentend in the article Recharging Spells a Vancian optional system for AD&D and OSR)  with the rules for HP.

The overall guiding idea is to change the economy of innate character resources by giving more resources to low level characters and lesser resources to high level character and at the same time without changing the economy of the resources that the characters can use in a single encounter.

The net effect hoped for is to have a more homogeneous feel when playing low level characters (1-6) and high level characters (14+).