Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finals Week Thoughts

Just got back from my first final; here's a few thoughts to bide you over until I can get a substantial post in:

I think a neglected facet of the Old School/New School difference is the degree to which character creation and mechanical development is a part of the game in the New School approach to things. In this style of play, actual roleplaying is, to some degree, just testing out and proving the way a character has been created. When you look at it this way, it starts to make sense why homebrewing and, especially, on-the-fly adjudication are anathema to this kind of player. If, to at least one degree or another, a significant part of the game is preparing a character mechanically for what the character will encounter then not knowing how different encounters and situations will be adjudicated must be immensely frustrating. That makes a lot of sense, I think.

In other news, I stumbled across this series (and parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8) on dragons a week or two ago and have been forgetting to link to it. I've seen a lot of complaining (probably justified) about dragons being too wimpy and this interpretation of dragons as mastermind puppet-masters with non-human psychology is a great way to make dragons a real challenge again. The only downside is that the chances of a party getting to fight a dragon are pretty slim, but then that just makes victory all that more sweet, right?


  1. Wow, that's a long series about dragons. Will have to revisit when I have some more time.

    For counterpoint, I recently came across this interesting thread at the odd74 forums celebrating an almost diametrically opposed view of dragons:

    So dragons in the 1974 rules, more so than any other version, are suitable opponents for all levels of PCs.

    (This is also helped by the fact that power inflation by level is so much less in 1974 D&D than in later editions.)

  2. You've really nailed it. In a World of Darkness chronicle I made a handsome, charismatic PC with lots of social skills. During play, the GM kept hand waving role-playing encounters and decided NPC reactions by fiat. I got really frustrated because the skills I possessed should have influenced the NPCs.

    I realized that in that guy's campaign the key was to max out on combat skills because that was about the only way to influence NPCs. "9mm diplomacy" I guess.

  3. Thanks for the link! I hope you stick around to check out more entries about Pellatarrum, which is my attempt at writing a gonzo sorcery world.

    The dragon thing... oy vey. I really did intend it to be a single article, but the damn thing kept expanding like a gas. I feel it's critically important that dragons be SIGNIFICANT, not just a big sack of hit points and XP.

    Dragons are not monsters; they are VILLAINS. That's a critical distinction that I fear many GMs have forgotten. That's why I wrote the series: to make dragons into real characters rather than a block of stats.