Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: BECMI Love, Scroll Inheritance, and the Original Grappling Rules

Holmes Basic D&D (Semper Initiativus Unum) Little Things — “The other little tweak that’s having a big impact is scroll creation, since I use the Holmes rules. It really gives magic-users a feel of not being useless until 5th level, and also helps ‘fix’ their excess of wealth otherwise…. A quirk of this that I’ve been thinking about is ‘inheritance.’ That is, once an M-U has made a scroll, it’s there even if they die. This could come in particularly handy when a higher level M-U dies in the campaign with several scrolls in tact; a fresh replacement (1st level) would still be able to use, say, Web or Fireball or what you will at least once in a game.”

BECMI D&D (Random Wizard) Master Set Frank Mentzer — “And the amount of time investment to get to such staggering levels of power is immense. Last year, I did a quick calculation of the time involved with a very generous experience reward average and determined it would take 7 years (playing twice a month) of real time to get to level 36. In the 80s, I had two players get to master levels of play, but back then we had characters that would go up multiple levels in all night, soda fueled, weekend marathon sessions.”

BECMI D&D (Random Wizard) Immortals Set Frank Mentzer — “If any player character succeeds in the great journey, not merely achieving Hierarch [the highest immortal rank] status but proving his or her superiority by doing it twice-well,  no higher goal can be attained, and no reward is too great. The player wins and his character vanishes. And  that is the final end of this game.”

Role Playing Games (blog of holding) when adventurers aren’t adventuring — “In old editions, money is for getting XP, and for paying the exorbitant expenses the DM levels in order to motivate the PCs to further adventures. In newer editions, money is for buying magic items to increase combat effectiveness. None of these are quite satisfactory to me. I can imagine that, in this system, money is used to vote on what kind of adventures you want to have. Investments in castles or in spy networks or in mystical research are all ways that the player can drive the campaign towards a destination of their choosing.”

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (No School Grognard) Optimum Delving Band Composition — “It’s certainly possible to have successful delves (and more importantly, to have fun) with a delving band made from a shaman, a martial artist, a thief, a druid, and a barbarian. That delving band will find a lot of challenges more challenging than a more conventional delving band, but if everyone is having fun, no one should care.”

OSR (Cyclopeatron) Relative Popularities of OSR Games — This confirms my impression that Labyrinth Lord and B/X D&D is just a fraction of the old school scene.

GURPS (Dungeon Fantastic) Getting the Most Out of All-Out Defense — “This also assumes you don’t need to ensure the attack doesn’t pass you by and hit people behind you. Be a team player – don’t stand in the front rank and dodge missiles and let them hit the people in the second rank. If you’ve got people behind you to protect, go with Increased Defenses or use Parry and another Parry, or a Block and Parry combination, and don’t let the attack get through.”

OD&D (Hack & Slash) On the Original Grapple Rule — “Grappling: Attack as normal, without weapons. The successful attackers and defender both roll a combined number of d6’s equal to their Hit Dice. On a tie, both parties struggle, neither able to take action. If the defender wins, he throws off all the successful attackers. They are stunned for a round. He may take his action as normal. If the attackers win, the defender is pinned and helpless.”

BECMI D&D (Random Wizard) Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, James Ward NTRPGCON 2012 — “I am the proudest of the Companion because… all of these references over the many years right from the original set and campaign games and becoming a baron or whatever. There were never any specific rules. I mean there were all kinds of prices for building a [indistinct] and the [indistinct] and building your castle. But how do you rule? And it’s all, ‘well… whatever the DM wants.’ So I actually had an opportunity to codify that for the first time. I think that was my biggest influence on the game.”

BECMI D&D (Once More Unto the Breach!) End-of-Week Elmore (6/14/13) — “I want the ‘gravitas’ and the ‘warm and fuzzies’ that come from playing Classic Dungeons & Dragons with the actual books from days of yore! And I don’t care who knows!”

Lamentations of the Flame Princess (James Raggi) LotFP’s Better Than Any Man BANNED! — “I may be working in an utterly insignificant field culturally, but still, standing up to this sort of pressure is not only the right thing to do, it feels naughty because the respectable people hate it. And it’s fun to be naughty, and that fun would go away if people were all reasonable… about this sort of thing.”


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