Monday, January 21, 2019

Wargames at U.S. Naval College

Over at the OD&D Discussion forums, rustic313 shared some excellent photos from a visit, inspecting some of the wealth of information on use of wargames for training and preparing officers, from the 1880's, through WWI and WWII, to the present day. Amazing stuff. Check it out and consider visiting if you're near to RI.


http://odd74.proboards.com/thread/13356/naval-college-museum-wargaming-exhibits

https://usnwc.edu/NWC-Museum

Monday, January 7, 2019

OED NPC Generator

I uploaded a batch of new code updates to the Arena repository on GitHub (see link below).

First and foremost, there's a new application there, NPC Generator, to conveniently create OED-compatible NPCs that are complete and playable at the table. This includes all the basic races and characters classes, multiclassing for elves, simple magic items, OED feats, spells memorized, names, suggested personalities keyed off alignment, etc. Unlike the other applications, these creations use a random heuristic without simulating the NPC's entire adventuring career (which is currently not feasible for thieves & wizards; maybe someday). As usual, it's an old-school program for old-school gaming; local desktop based-only, with a very minimalist command-line interface. (Java compiler required.)

Secondly, I overhauled the Marshal program (which generates complete listing for bands of Men in the wilderness, including fighter leaders that are generated by simulating their entire adventuring career) to have more streamlined and useful output. Previously, it would print very long reams of lower-level officers in detail; really, a lot more than could reasonably useful in-game. Now it prints only the top 4 leaders (think: captain, lieutenant, two sergeants), which (a) seems more obviously useful, (b) fits much more conveniently on a digest page, and (c) better simulates historical listings (e.g., Civil War company-level rosters).

Meanwhile, the Arena and MonsterMetrics applications work the same. In particular, MonsterMetrics has gone through regression testing so as to confirm that monster EHD (Equivalent Hit Dice) recommendations are the same as they were before.

As always, this code is released with the open-source GPL v. 2 license, so feel free to download, copy, share, edit, fork, use as the basis for a web program, etc., etc. Of course, there's always more work that can be done. But this has streamlined a lot of my game prep, so hope it might helps some of yours, too.



(P.S.: OMG these kinds of programs would be so much simpler if it weren't for multiclassing!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

OED Update (v. 1.05)

The last time I posted a new version of the OED House Rules was over a year ago (in September, 2017). Since then I've had the distinct pleasure of getting to run a regular campaign with a great group of cunning players here in New York City. Of course, as players "bang" against the rules in real time, some adjustments have been made. In fact: I've gotten pretty liberal about letting the cosmos jitter in supernatural ways between sessions, and thereby try out new rules on a regular basis, sometimes just for a single evening. Nonetheless, it seems like our favored ruleset tends to get more stable over time, so the New Years seemed like a good time to publicly update it.

Below are some of the more interesting (I think) rules edits in this version, 1.05. Of course, there may be other more minor edits to be found if you look really closely; and I'm always updating the endnotes with more comprehensive historical references, justifications, and side-comments for why we've chosen to do things this way.

Player's Rules

  • Highlight that humans get unlimited level advancement.
  • Dwarf/elf detection keyed to stone/wood materials.
  • Allow 3 retries for thief & wizard skills. 
  • Make spears specialty attack from 2nd rank.
  • Make ranged attack modifier −1 per 10 feet.
  • Adding a new class costs 1,000 XP.

Judge's Rules

  • Added guidelines on advertising for hirelings, expected pay, etc.
  • Light rules made a bit more generous based on recent research. 
  • Insanity Cards recommended for sanity mechanic (link). 
  • Rapelling/rope break rule made only in case of sudden jolt.
  • Wandering monster checks increased to every 15 minutes.
  • Critical hits possibly only for those above 1 HD.
  • Poison: Death in 1-6 rounds (so curatives can help).
  • Healing: Simplified to level + Con bonus per week of rest.
  • XP Awards: Explicit note to use EHD from OED monster database.

Get version 1.05 on the OED Games website.

Enjoy, and hope you have a happy New Year!

P.S.: Have you been watching the conversations on the Wandering DMs YouTube Channel? This past weekend Paul and I debated the utility of the Thief class in old-school D&D. We plan to be back Sunday Jan-13 and regular alternate Sundays after that (1 PM EST).