Friday, March 11, 2016

Jon Peterson Interviews Len Patt

Jon Peterson interviews Len Patt, who was recently discovered to have initiated many of the rules underlying Chainmail Fantasy, and hence D&D (and hence all of fantasy adventure gaming). Somewhat amusing that while we now have documentation of that fact, since Patt left gaming entirely to pursue chemistry in college, he himself has only the faintest recollection of that time. Jon draws a moving lesson from this at the end.


  1. Yeah, I read that a while back. Awesome stuff.

    The sheer scope of one man's influence is mind-blowing. We should all be inspired by that!

  2. This may not be totally on topic, but it does prompt a thought.

    Assume that instead of giving monsters a given number of hit points H that are reduced by damage each round D so that the monster has an "endurance" of H/D number of rounds in combat, what if the monster had a damage threshold that you had to exceed in a single blow before you could kill it? This would make monsters effectively immune to some weapons - villagers with spears and whatnot - but still the sort of thing you could kill with a two handed sword and a decent STR bonus. It seems like there would be a relatively straightforward way to set such a number so that a given monster would have the same "endurance" against a fighter with longsword and a small magical and/or STR bonus, based on the chance of rolling over the threshold this time rather than the simple wearing away of hit points, right?

    1. In a one-on-one situation you could manage that reasonably well, but it would make combat MUCH more swingy - one dragon dies in a single blow, but the next one survives a half-dozen blows unfazed. The odds would also diverge as you added more combatants, and spells would need a MAJOR reworking or else unsaved fireballs and lightning bolts would basically be instant kills... though I suppose that would be accurate to their Chainmail roots.

    2. That's pretty interesting to think about; but yes, very swingy. On the PC side it would be effectively save-or-die on every attack (and hence arguably no strategic decisions about withdrawing from combat due to injury).