With Free RPG Day coming up and my schedule being totally crazy, I figured what the heck. Everybody can use some quick pregenerated characters for pick up games or whatever.
They’re all second level characters. 3d6 in order and Hit Points rolled for both levels. And they were rolled up with the official Swords & Wizardry Complete Kickstarter Dice. I didn’t bother putting a name or a gender to the characters. Heck that’s the easy part.
I really threw this together so it ain’t pretty and there might be typo something in there. So you’ve been warned. Enjoy!
Seven Player Characters
I think these RPG Appreciation Days are fun. It makes me take a moment and really think about a game. And for this I’m throwing out a special thanks to Mesmerized By Sirens for coming up with the idea!
For this day, I want to rant about two games. First let’s talk about Space Patrol.
This is one of those games from the late 70’s and brought to us by the folks of Gamescience (better known for their dice). I stumbled across my copy while searching for something else and thought that this was a perfect thing to rant about. The whole books is 25 pages and that includes the inside back cover. Now as game it ain’t that grand as compared to say Traveller. It’s a Sci-Fi game about space and there are no space ships at all and the rules are just down right confusing. But what I do like about old games like this is that they are great source of inspiration. As scanned through the book again, I look at the Character and Alien Creature Generation Charts. And hey light bulb! This is like a very simple Random Esoteric Creature Generator. It’s very simple But hell. It could be tweaked into almost a one page weird monster generator. So hmm that’s a project for the future. I know I sound like I’m dissing the game. And I am. But it really shows a lot of the philosophy of games back then. Especially when it comes to house ruling which you’d have to do like crazy.
As a side note, Space Patrol has one of the best lines ever from a rule book, “SEX-This table is not usually used as sex would hardly ever crop up in a game.” I’m not kidding.
For the second part of the post, I’m going to swing in the opposite of direction with DragonQuest by SPI.
Remember when I said, I found Space Patrol while looking for something else. Well, this is it. Now this came out a couple of years after Space Patrol. While Space Patrol was simple rules that you were almost expected to house rule, Dragon Quest had very very detail rules. Remember, back then SPI published war games and it reflected in the writing and the rules of Dragon Quest. It very dry and very very structured. Heck there was even facing in combat.
You’re going to have to forgive me on this one because I still haven’t found my copy. I’m pretty sure it’s in on of THOSE boxes in the garage. And while we tried to play Dragon Quest a couple of times and failed then immediately went back to D&D. There is one thing that it had that has stuck with me. That was the Spell Backfire Charts. Yeah, I know charts again. I remember the first time I read those and thought, “Oh, man. This is cool!” Bad things happening to magic-users when spells went awry. That’s something that we didn’t have in our AD&D game. So that was quickly pulled into our game. Crap, I don’t even remember what the house rule from back then.
If anything I want people to take away from today, is to not completely ignore these old games. Yes, maybe the art, editing and rules may be total crap by today’s standards. But inside each one there’s probably something that you can twist and tweak and use for own games. It’s like looking for treasure.
Seems like I’m on a monster making kick here. My present the Rat Roach for Swords & Wizardry.
The Rat Roach
HD: 1d4 HP
AC: 9 
Attacks: Bite (1 to 2 Damage)
Saving Throw: 18
Special: Immune to poison, Magic Resistance, Plague Carrier, Hard to Kill.
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30
Many wizards don’t keep the neatest of laboratories and when an accident happens there may be unforeseen consequences. Such is the Rat-Roach. An alchemical experiment went awry created this odd chimera. Part rat. Part Cockroach. Individually, they are more of a nuisance than a threat. But in large numbers, they can cause plagues or worse.
Rat Roaches are immune to poison and have 30% Magic Resistance. When a character is bitten by a Rat Roach, the character must make a Save versus disease at +2 or contract the plague. The first time a Rat Roach is “killed”, it makes a Saving Throw. If successful, the Rat Roach is only severely injured and attempts to crawl away.
What’s 7 feet tall, covered in fur, can easily hide in the forest, and rip you apart with its four claws?
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 6
Attacks: 4 Claws (1d6), Bite (1d8)
Saving Throw: 14
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120
This large four-armed humanoid lives primarily in wooded areas. Quadquatches are generally avoid contact with other species but males can become very hostile and territorial during mating season. Quadquatches have a habit of collecting shiny objects. Occasionally, valuable objects can be found in their nests. Some magic-users can craft invisibility cloaks or other magical garments related to stealth from a quadquatch’s hide.
Stealthy: There is a 3 in 6 chance that a quadquatch can surprise a party of adventurers. Additionally, there is a 2 in 6 chance that the creature cannot be tracked by any means magical or mundane.
That’s right it’s easy. One the things some folks rant about OSR games is the mortality rate of player characters. As GM and a player, it’s just part of the game. But as a GM, I look at it a little differently.
It’s like this. No matter the game, it’s easy to kill player characters. It takes no creativity or it’s not a challenge for the players or the GM. Like I said, just killing characters is simple and easy and half time the time they’ll aim themselves at the gun.
But what’s challenge and much more fun and interesting in my little opinion is beating them to within an inch of their lives. The characters not the players. Leaving them beaten, battered, bloodied and scarred without killing them. That’s an interesting and challenging session.
It doesn’t mean, you should go easy on them. If they pull the ancient dragon’s tail, let it eat them. But just going out on PC headhunt isn’t fun for anybody.
Here endeth my little rant.
There’s a good chance that might be a little OSR style mini-campaign (probably Swords & Wizardry) in the near future but it’s going to be for very few people. That got me thinking about henchmen and hirelings.
First, the easy part. Hirelings are 0-Level dudes. They’re the porters, torch bearers, and trap detectors (for an evil party). They have 1d4 HP, a Save of 18, and no bonus to attack. Armor Class and Weapon damage depends on what equipment they have. They never gain XP. That’s it.
Henchmen are either Fighters, Clerics, Thieves or Magic-Users. HP and Save is determined by their class. Only Fighters gain any kind of Attack Bonus. AC and Weapon Damage is determined just like the Hirelings’. They gain one level per two levels of advancement of the party and expect a share of the treasure.
Don’t bother generating any stats for these guys or keeping track of XP. I’m guessing each could easily fit on a 3 x 5 card. Hell. my very first D&D character fit on a 3×5 card.
And I know somebody will bring it up, just use the normal rules for specialist hirelings. This whole idea came up as easy way to throw some help for the PC’s with a bare minimum of bookkeeping.
Brendan Strejcek made a real cool post a couple of weeks ago about simple corruption for magic-users and I made a comment back then on G+ and well the idea has bounced around in my head and stayed there. So I figured I’d share it here as part of my “Familiars Shouldn’t Suck” rants. I’ve embellished on this idea a bit and twisted it with a Lamentations of the Flame Princess vibe.
Every magic-user has a familiar spirit. This spirit possesses the magic-user. It cannot control him but does drive the wizard to learn more and more spells and perform all sorts of magical experimentation.It is the source of arcane power. It feeds off the magical power summoned by the spell caster and grows in power as the magic-user gains power.
When the magic-user dies, the familiar consumes his soul and erupts from the corpse or even sometimes just reanimates it as demon/eldritch horror of HD equal to the level of the magic-user. Just turn to the Summon Spell and start rolling to see what kind of horror has been added to the world.
And there you go simple and strange. And yes, I know I should have posted this sooner but real life has been really busy of late. Enjoy.