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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Topics: Rules Hints & Tips | 1 Comment »

Mystic Weapons

By Jeff Q on June 13, 2008

Nunchucku – 1d6 – (F,C,T,E,D,H,My) Small, 2-handed weapon that doesn’t lose initiative. Can be used to give +1 in wrestling for choking.

Tetsubo – 1d8 – (F,C,E,D,My,Dr) – Large, 2-handed weapon that loses initiative; pole arm rules.

Sode Garami – 1d4 – (F,E,My,Dr) Large, 2-handed weapon that loses initiative. Can be used to catch the sleeves of the opponent; opponent gets save vs. paraysis.

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Topics: Equipment | No Comments »

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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Topics: Rules Hints & Tips | 9 Comments »

Spell Variations: Wizards’ Panache

By Angelo on July 30, 2002

The Color of Magic was an excellent article from Dragon Magazine issue no. 200 by Dan Joyce. I particularly liked it because it showed how the real game isn’t about rules and dice rolling–it’s about story and wonder. It explained how the mechanics of various spells (do damage, heal, improve AC, etc.) are really all the same, it’s how the spells are perceived that make the real difference. Additionally, I have found it a useful technique to tweak certain spells that seem “broken” for a particular campaign.

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Topics: Celestial & Arcane | No Comments »

Fighter Combat Skills

By Angelo on July 12, 2002

Let’s face it, playing a Fighter level after level can get a little boring. A good DM will include some pretty interesting magical items, but aside from that it’s likely that your strategy in battle tends to be “attack the nearest enemy.” A few things have been tried in the history of D&D to make the Fighter a little more interesting and give players something to look forward to.

The Cyclopedia’s Fighter Combat Options seem to have been a combined attempt at codifying the kinds of maneuvers that characters can make in a board game-like battle, and to give fighters a couple of extra moves so they can do something besides roll 1d20 in a fight.

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Topics: Character Classes | No Comments »

Half-orc

By Michael Wallace on November 23, 2001

  • Prime Requisite: Strength. Other Requirements: Constitution 9, or better.
  • Experience Bonus: 5% for Strength 13-15; 10% for Strength 16-18.
  • Hit Dice: 1d8 per level up to 9th level. Starting with 10th level, +2 hp per level and Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
  • Maximum Level: 12 (36, if optional rules are used.)
  • Armor: Any; shields permitted.
  • Weapons: Any.
  • Special Abilities: Fighter Maneuvers (Lance Attack and Set Spear vs. Charge maneuvers at 1st level; at 660,000 XP, Fighter Combat Options); extra languages (Orc and player’s choice of: Ogre or Goblin); infravision; Hear Noise; Detect by Smell

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Chi Powers

By Angelo on July 30, 2001

First of all, this system may seem a little complex at first, but try to read it and see where it’s going. If it’s too much, simplify to suit your needs, but try to keep game balance (either through the rules, or through who obtains chi powers).

Chi (Ki) Powers

Chi powers increase by (level – level_you_learned_power)/2

Chi powers is an ability added for OD&D, providing much of the same kinds of ideas that psionics/sorcerors do. As psionics in D&D3, chi powers are considered to be equivalent of magic and are subject to similar restrictions (dispelled by dispel magic, cancelled by anti-magic, blocked by anti-magic shell, etc).

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Topics: Celestial & Arcane | 2 Comments »

Modified Mystic or Monk

By Michael Wallace on June 25, 2001

Modified Mystic and Monk from Dragon Magazine 09/1981

  • Prime Requisite: Strength and Dexterity. Other Requirements: Wisdom 9, or better.
  • Experience Bonus: 5% for Strength or Dexterity 16-18; 10% for Strength and Dexterity 16-18.
  • Hit Dice: 1d6 per level up to 9th level. Starting with 10th level, +2/level after 9 with no CON adjustments.
  • Maximum Level: 21.
  • Armor: None; shield not permitted.
  • Weapons: Any.
  • Special Abilities: At 1st level — Armor Class bonuses, increased Movement, Find Traps, Climb Walls, Move Silently, Hear Noise, Martial Arts and Mystical Abilities.

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Exotic Weaponry

By Angelo on June 23, 2001

This post updates and replaces the previous exotic weapons chart.  Morning Star and Flail are both weapons in original D&D that somehow got left out of the Cyclopedia.  Broadsword is taken from AD&D where it is 2d4.  Rapier stats are also from D&D described in Dragon #175.

The optional rules are provided to add something unique to the weapons, so they’re a little more interesting than just finding “a different kind of sword” that different in name only.

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Topics: Equipment | 1 Comment »

Random Encounters

By Angelo on May 23, 2001

Tired of the tedious wandering monster charts in the Rules Cyclopedia that take forever to roll, and seem to produce the same monster over and over?  Try out these encounter tables instead.

  1. Roll 1d20 per day to determine if there is an encounter on that day.  Compare this to the chance of an encounter based on the type of terrain (for example there is a 6 in 20 chance of an encounter).
  2. Roll 2d10 to determine the encounter below.
  3. The DM can assume a 10% chance of bad weather when the encounter occurs.

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Topics: Monsters | 1 Comment »

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