Alternate Rulebooks

By Angelo on August 3, 2009

As you know, the original Dungeons & Dragons game has long been out of print. Even if you can’t get your hands on one of the older rule sets, you can still use the free substitute Basic Fantasy (initially released in 2006).  For those of you who prefer AD&D 1st edition, you can try out OSRIC (also initially released in 2006).

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Critique of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

By Angelo on December 31, 2007

With 4th edition just around the corner, I thought I’d give my impression of 3rd Edition and the d20 system.

Good Ideas

The d20 system has several good ideas that make it easier to understand and more easy to play.

  • Positive AC. A larger AC being better than a smaller AC makes more sense.
  • Magic. I like the idea of the effectiveness of saving throws being based on spell level. This makes more powerful magic inherently harder to avoid than less powerful magic, and it makes a lot of sense. I never liked the way a sixth level spell like Death could be simply shrugged off by a Save vs Death Ray, the easiest saving throw to make.
  • Saving Throws. Having saving throws based on “reflex” or other descriptions of how a character may actually avoid a situation is clearer.

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Handling Poison

By Angelo on May 3, 2001

The purpose of this document is to provide the DM with a system for handling poisons that can be as complicated or as simple as desired. Different ways of handling poisons range from instant death (as found in the Dungeons and Dragons game) and the simple 1 point of damage per round (as found in video games like the Ultima series). These are both very simple, but not realistic ways of handling ALL poisons. Some games have cumbersome charts that still have their limitations. And even with a chart, poisons shouldn’t be completely random. So hopefully this document will help the DM come up with a satisfactory method of handling poisons. This is by no means a scientific analysis of poison or any attempt for reality. This is merely for game play. See the rest of this entry…

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Dungeon Master Tips from the Astral Plane

By Angelo on September 8, 1999

This is just a list of guidelines I made for myself as a young gamer. Most of these should be obvious, but maybe we need a reminder from time to time.

  • Concentrate on role-playing monsters, think less of numbers
  • Create characters with different personalities
  • Create strong villains who fight intelligently
  • Don’t let all monsters always fight to the death
  • Don’t tell the players everything
  • Don’t give the players suggestions
  • Don’t let the players be in control, be fair, and don’t go ahead until you’re ready
  • Keep game rythm in mind and have encounters as neccessary
  • Keep monster menu, not a chart, and choose from this
  • KISMIF (keep it simple, make it fun) – see Dragon Magazine issue no. 175
  • Action is more fun than architecture
  • People are more interesting than buildings
  • Don’t create lengthy battles with unworthy adversaries

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Optional Rules for Classic Games

By Angelo on September 6, 1999

Written by Angelo and Jeff

Here are some optional rules that you may want to adopt in a more basic type campaign (which I find more fun). When deciding on a rule, go for whatever is more fun or will make a better story-line in the game.

Attributes

Even though it may not be fair to my old players, I think I might adopt this system also. Just roll 9d6 for each phsyical (STR, DEX, CON) and mental (INT, WIS, CHA) attributes and then let the players choose where they want to put them. Allow players to trade 2 for 1 between the 2 categories. If you want, you might consider just rolling 10d6 for each category to give a better chance of getting good scores. Also, don’t roll ability checks much, if at all. Too much rolling dice makes the game too random and not enough story. If you can’t base it on a saving throw, you probably shouldn’t roll it. How creatures react to players should be based on how the players have acted, not on a charisma check. See the rest of this entry…

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