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A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:47 am
by Congzilla
After going through the book several times I couldn't find the answer to these.

1. Poison damage. If a monster's damage is listed as 1d6 + poison. What does the poison actually do?

2. Climbing. In the climbing section it never actually states how many feet a human sized character can climb in a round.

3. Morgansfort says for 2 - 8 characters. How many characters are the default encounters assuming there are, and what is the best attribute to use to scale them?

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:21 am
by SmootRK
Poison is generally a "save or die" event, or as described per the specific creature. There is a high degree of flexibility. He who creates the creature can describe the effects of the poison, including save bonus/penalty.

Also, on p.141, is an optional "save or die" rule where such poisons instead cause 1d6/round for 6 rounds, giving time for remedies/magic to be given. Also, these figures can be tweaked to make certain poisons more/less virulent. I personally use this rule for any basic creatures (core rules) that has poison, and when I create new creatures (such as those found in the Field Guide) I tend to be a bit more verbose about describing the effects of poison in a given creature (having a general dislike for 'save or die' situations.. but this is just my opinion here).

Climbing... nothing official here that I know of. I generally change the 'tens of feet per round' movement rate to 'feet per round'. Seems simple enough for my purposes.

Old school games allow for a high degree of flexibility in number of characters. Some players are saavy and utilize guards and guard animals, hired help, henchmen, and general role-play to bolster their party strength in various ways. Other gamers just think in terms of their immediate powers. There are no formulaic ways to calculate accurately the 'power level' of old school games. I would say to leave the encounters intact, and unless the character are just steamrolling through the adventure, just work in terms of adding an extra foe or two, upping HP 1 each, or stuff like that. You will quickly get a feel for what they can handle.

Remember, OLD SCHOOL does give much thought to balance on an encounter by encounter basis. Perhaps in totality of an adventure, but not in a per room way. Characters are free to march right into the dragon's lair at first level and suffer a fiery death. The world is dangerous, and characters expecting balance are certain to do stupid stuff when they ought to be smart and run.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:41 am
by Joe the Rat
Heh, it doesn't discuss climbing speed anywhere except for flyers.

To borrow from the d20srd, go with half their base move on "easy" climbs (ropes, lots of handholds, etc.). I think traditionally the thief's climb walls (sheer walls, remember) takes about a turn.

Edit: Smoot's feet per round is a good one too.

Fewer characters (and lower levels) means it will be tougher. But the slice of the experience pool will be larger. One of the things players learn is how to gauge their ability to survive an encounter. "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run." As GM, you can eyeball this and drop hints that maybe it's time to cut out and recover.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:48 am
by Congzilla
I guess the save vs death is what sparked the poison question. For example the sea snake says it's poison is save vs death as do a couple other snakes and spiders. But a few just say 1d6 + poison with no indication of the effect of the poison.

As for the encounter size I am planning on using 2 players to start and wanted to make sure the encounters weren't written assuming four. Which would make sense, it is east enough to cut encounters in half or double them. I was trying to avoid the 4 hour work day of 4e where after two encounters they have to go rest for a day.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:20 am
by SmootRK
Old School games assume a lot more death of characters than the newer editions work with. Your players and yourself should understand it will happen, and perhaps have standby character rolled up and ready to go.

Also, stress to your small party, that they must Must MUST adventure smartly. Employ help. Get a couple of guard dogs for camp, make friends that they can call upon at times, expect to try to negotiate with creatures met (instead of march in and kill), pit one side of dungeon against another, set traps, and expect running... lots of running.

I cannot stress more that this game and others based upon the older edition premises, are not like 3e or 4e and many of the basic assumptions of encounter balance and "player centric power" just do not factor in. The GM is in control, and guides the collective gaming experience. And there should not be any sense of "player vs GM" mentality. This is not the objective of play here.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:53 pm
by JoeCarr28
Heh ... just finished the old AD&D module "Against the Cult of the Reptile God" using by-the-book Basic Fantasy. We had a grand total of 14(!) player character deaths throughout the course of the adventure. That was with a party size of 6-7 (+ a powerful NPC). Only two player characters made it all the way through from start to finish.

Who needs a character funnel, eh?

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:22 am
by SmootRK
JoeCarr28 wrote:Who needs a character funnel, eh?
Indeed. BFRPG 1st level is a meat grinder.
When your 1st level characters has average HP like 5 for fighters, 4 for clerics, and 3 for MU and Thief, you can expect a lot to drop.

fyi- I use max HP at first level (and I houserule AD&D style HD: d10 fighters, d8 clerics, d6 thieves, d4 mu) to help in this aspect. Second level and beyond, one must roll normally.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:50 am
by Congzilla
I had adapted that rule for starting HP as well. We started running the Morgansfort campaign last night with 3 PCs. The cleric got dropped to zero HP against the Giant Bombardier Beetles, I had only used two of the four beetles or it would have been a bloodbath. I used the optional death rule and the other two characters were able to drag her to safety and stabilize her. Then in the next encounter the fighter got dropped to 1 hp killing a second Grey Slime.

Luckily one PC brought rope and spikes and they were able to make their way back up the pit trap they had fallen into and escaped back to Morgansfort without any other encounters.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:24 pm
by saskganesh
My group of new players did well against the grey ooze and the ghouls as they rolled really damn well. However, with the yellow mold trap and the bombardier beetles they almost all died.

And the skeletons in the final crypt. They did not have a cleric and did not have blunt weapons. Hwoops. I've never seen players retreat from skeletons ever before but there it was...

I used max AD&D hitpoints, one time kicker (hit) potions, death at -10 etc, helpful NPCS, and I still had to be gentle.

Use the monster morale and reaction roll rules. They make a big diff.

Re: A couple rules questions

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:30 pm
by ScootyPoot
I actually feel really dumb for asking this question. But what does it mean when it says "1d2" or "1d3"? I don't recall ever seeing a 2 or 3 sided dice. Now I haven't driven the 40 minutes to the gaming shop to find out, but I figured I would ask before I did. At least if there are 2 and 3 sided, I won't be on an hour and half fool's errand.