Ascending AC for Basic D&D

Basic D&D is an old beast that uses descending AC and THAC0. When I was starting this campaign and going through the rulebook I quickly came to the conclusion that I don’t want to do table lookups every time monsters are attacking the PCs. That would get tedious very quickly. I’ve played a lot of D&D 3.x which uses ascending AC and attack bonuses that make the whole attack and defense system very straight forward to use.

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d12 Magic, Spells

Spells (so far) are based on D&D spells and modified to d12 system. I might start writing original spells sometime but at the moment I’ll use what is available.

Spell Stats

All spells have following stats.

  • Casting Difficulty (10+)
  • Learning Difficulty (10+)
  • Resisted (yes/no)
  • Target (self/single/multiple target/area)
  • Range (touch/range/line of sight/plane/unlimited)
  • Casting time
  • Duration
  • Description (including scaling effects)

As general scaling effect for all spells that can be resisted, extra degrees of success can be used to give the target penalty dice to the resistance roll. Continue reading

d12 Magic, Spellcasting

Second part of the magic rules.

How mages cast spells and what skills they use and all miscellaneous weirdness and little things that come from using magic.

Magic Skills

  • Channeling
  • Advanced skill used to cast spells
  • Mages channel energy from Sea of Chaos/Hyper dimensions to power their spells
  • No specializations
  • Energy Manipulation
  • Advanced skill used to control magical energies
  • Used to prevent side effects or control them
  • Specialization
  • Resistance, resist hostile spells
  • Control, preventing and controlling side effects or manipulating ongoing magical effects
  • Store, temporarily store channeled energy to gather enough for big effects Continue reading

Outsourcing world building

Here’s a tip for all lazy GMs, outsource some or most of your world building to your players.

Today I ran the first session of my d12 play test campaign with approximately 1 hour of preparation. I think this will go down a lot as the campaign gets properly underway. To use this approach you need lots of random encounter tables and lists of names and other useful things.

For example today I needed to lay down the basics for the campaign. During the character creation session I sketched really rough map where we had one large city in the middle, river going from eastern mountains through the city to sea at west with one large lake on the way.

Add names for the city, lake, make up couple of additional cities (port, mining town in east) and name them. The world is ready.

Now comes rumor list. Rumor list is basically a list of small adventure hooks, one or two sentences that tell something interesting that is happening in the world. I aimed at 20 rumors but time run out and the player started to show up so I had only 18. I put those on a list to roll on and at the start of the session characters made information gathering rolls. On success they could roll from the rumor list to get adventure hook.

At this point things you just start listening what the players are talking and take real or mental notes about stuff. When they decide to do something based on the rumors you have heard something they thought about the rumor and quite likely gave you more ideas for the game. Based on all this you just go with the flow and see what happens. The players get to drive the play forward and you don’t have to spends hours preparing an adventure the players are not interested in.

Another component of this style of play is to have random encounter/event tables (lots of them). I had Vornheim and Runequest Cities on the table and they both contributed to the session. Another thing was lot of names.

The plan is that after couple of sessions the players have enough adventure hooks and loose ends from the sessions that I don’t have to do any preparations, the players take care of that.

d12 Setting, Dyson Sphere

I’ve finally got a definite idea for the campaign world using d12 rules. It’s going to be about exploration of recently rediscovered Dyson sphere, more specifically Dyson shell. I’ve stated that the game is going to be space opera (among other things) so hard science can take back seat and I can do cool stuff based on concept.

Basic idea is that The Guild has discovered a lost Dyson sphere world and has invited all different factions to participate in its exploration. The Guild is of course interested solely in profit and control of interstellar flight and trade while other factions have their own motivations.

The Dyson sphere was built to be a paradise world and giant lab by the previous human civilization that was lost in wars long forgotten with enemies unknown. This of course means that there is lots of strange stuff waiting for someone to find it.

Enter greedy, ambitious, trigger happy explorers (i.e. player characters) supported by various factions and the game should roll with its own weight.

d12 Quick Character Creation

I got an idea of how to make characters quickly for my d12 rules. My original idea was to provide ready templates that listed bunch of skills the character gets after rolling attributes but this is simpler alternative that requires no effort on GMs part to create the templates.

First, we remove the untrained skills rule, meaning that all characters effective have all skills at rank 0. No rolling with penalty dice if you don’t know the skill.

Then roll your character’s attributes, 2d6 in order to Fighting, Tech, Operator, Education, Willpower, Empathy, Wits, Agility, Stamina and Strength. Pick name, equipment and fill other details you want and your character is ready to play. Everything you do with your character is simple attribute roll and you can purchase skills later with experience.

This is useful if the game is more like old school dungeon crawl were PC death count is high and new characters are needed regularly. It is faster than for example Pathfinder RPG character creation, of course in Pathfinder your not expected to change characters like socks.

This kind of play starts with just few stats on paper and simple idea who the character is (like soldier, merchant, scholar). The player discovers through play and his actions who and what his character is exactly. I like this kind of organic character growth. Another theory is that the character must prove his worth by staying alive before he can get access to advanced game mechanics.