Saturday, September 26, 2015

Optional Wound Point System

I have been playing with a  "wound point system" that I think may be simple to apply.  In most versions of the game Ive played, when you drop to zero you are unconscious and if you fall below zero you are either dead or at negative levels and dying ( depending what way you play this).  I didn’t like that there were no other options other than either you are in combat ( have hit points) or out of combat (zero or below).  I wanted there to be some options for suffering through sever wounds but still able to attack or defend, or  crawl around on the ground unable to fight but  maybe able to grab a potion from a pack and drink it, etc.  So here is what I came up with:

A character may go to negative their Con score  before they die. A character may go to negative half their Con score before they fall unconscious. For every negative point below zero the character attains, that character suffers a penalty to all rolls equal to that negative modifier and a penalty of -10 ft move per negative modifier. Furthermore, a character must make a Con save each round or suffer an additional negative modifier each round ( optionally a Death save).

A character with a 12 Con for instance can fall to negative 6 before falling unconscious and negative 12 before dying. If he gets hit and falls to negative 3 lets say,  all his rolls (attacks, saves, etc.) are at -3 and his move is reduced by 30 ft ( or if out of move ability he can crawl for 5 ft only).

Healing:  The wounded  character ( or another character) must spend one round per negative point bandaging/caring for the character who fell below zero per each negative point the fallen character has attained until that character reaches zero to stabilize them. If they do not spend the entire time required and have to stop, the negative conditions apply and continue to drop again as listed above starting the next round.

 Furthermore, for a more “gritty realism”  I would play that although the character has been stabilized to zero, they  still suffered mortal wounds. Therefore, the character has to recover for  1 day per negative level they attained  naturally until they are healed up (that many days) - cure light wounds not being affective enough to quicken this healing rate.

One option for players who don’t want to tie the wound modifier into the Ability but rather into the Class can base it on the Characters HD instead- so a fighter can go to -8, Cleric to -6 Thief to -4 magic user to -4, Dwarf to -8, etc. before going unconscious and double that until death. …..

Monday, August 31, 2015

Making Monsters Memorable

I remember when I first started playing D&D.  Like many earlier players of the day, my initiation took place in the Caves of Chaos, Keep on the Borderlands. I remember being so excited and scared about everything I encountered in those caves. I didn't know what a goblin or orc or a kobold was and everything around the next corner was a deadly threat.  I remember getting the snot kicked out my party by a group of 7 orcs. Orcs at the time seemed like the scariest thing imaginable. We ran......a lot.  In those days, when dungeons were new and monsters were still scary to encounter, even encountering an orc was a thrill.

But now it seems, the thrill of encountering most monsters these days is gone as seasoned players aren't as fearful of the monsters I set before them. Often I hear " oh, its a troll, get out the torches", " don't touch the rust monster with your metal weapons", and even worse...... "oh, its just more orcs".
Humanoids really weren't all that different back then either- an orc or kobold or goblin or gnoll were pretty much all the same- just a humanoid to kill- some types possessing more  hit points than others.  It was good to see later editions of the game try and give the humanoids each their own encounter personality such as Tuckers kobolds and Pathfinders goblins.

One thing Ive tried to do to spice things up for players, is to change up the abilities monsters have. It spices things up when they come across a gelatinous cube that's touch causes shock damage and can teleport about, or divide in two. Or the Troll that breathed fire and was only damaged by cold, or the kobolds who could spider climb. Ive seen even the most jaded character turn a deep shade of "what the fuc...", and suddenly that glimmer of fear the unknown is seen in their eyes.

Presented here is a table of monsters I mostly pulled from Basic/Expert book and a list of abilities those monsters might possess. Randomly roll for the monster then for its Special Ability or choose to suit your needs.  I don't suggest you do this all the time, but maybe once in a while to keep the players on their toes. Nothing is more fun than when your  players come upon a room of trolls, and roll their eyes as they order torches to be lit only to find out not only are those trolls immune to fire, but their breathing fire down on their asses....

Sunday, January 18, 2015