Monday, July 27, 2015

Alternate Turn Undead Mechanics

I got a great question from commentator Nathan Jennings the other day (in the "Best Combat Algorithm" thread; link). Definitely not something I'd considered before, so it intrigued me. He wrote:
Question (perhaps worthy of a blog post?): I know you don't like clerics. But, for the sake of a nice reader like me, can you imagine how the turn-undead mechanic could be cleaned up?
Let's look quickly at the Turn Undead table in OD&D Vol-1:


Notice that the places where the results are numerical are very narrow; just 3 cells long/wide. These values can be modeled with a table-free mechanic of rolling 2d6 + 2(Cleric level - Undead hit dice), needing a total of 9+ for success. (Recall that in OD&D skeletons are 1/2 HD [treat as 0], zombies 1 HD, ghouls 2 HD, etc., adding 1 for each type.) If we extrapolate this, then the "T" values in the table effectively get replaced by 5's and 3's, easy but not automatic success, and when the roll is automatic then you get "D" results.

If I used clerics in my games, then I might consider taking out the unnecessary multiplier of "2" throughout this formula, and simply roll 1d6 + Clr level - Undead HD. Success, as usual for 1d6 rolls, is 2-in-6; that is, a total of 5+ indicates success. Impossible results are "N" and automatic results give the "D".

But here, let me meta-turn Clerics themselves: I get "D" and the problem disappears. :-)

I love questions like that; thanks, Nathan!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Completed X Series

I finally completed my collection of the X-series modules for the D&D game (at least, the part of the series that I care about). Sweet!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Grimm Legacies

A nice review of various recent books considering the legacy and evolution of the original Grimm Brothers books of fairy tales. I particularly like the call for a "tone licked clean", especially in the context of an Original D&D style game, where the raw material is very curt, and the work is given life through live play and story-telling. (Thanks to Jonathan Scott Miller for the link.)

Rescuing Wonderful Shivery Tales