Category Archives: Legacy D&D

Some Ramblings on the OSR, RIFTS, and more

1
0

A couple of years back the OSR was a mystery to me. For me it was strange that people put so much work and effort into reviving such an old game as the original editions of D&D. Back then I was burned out on all things d20 System, and the only old edition of D&D I knew was AD&D 2nd Edition, which I didn’t really like.

Then I started looking into what the OSR actually stands for. I checked out games like Swords & Wizardry, White Box, Lamentations of the Flame Princess and I started to realize that the original D&D was a very different beast from a game like AD&D. Over the years I learned to appreciate the simple elegance of such games. Nowadays a lot of the games I am excited about are actually part of the OSR.

I also admire the creativity in the old-school scene. I am regularly amazed what awesome things you can create using a mechanical base about as old as myself. White Box (especially the version by Seattle Hill Games) has become my go-to game. Whenever I need to run a game without any prep, I can just pull the digest-sized book out of my bag and start running. I am really glad I eventually overcame my reservations for all things OSR.

Recently I had another look at RIFTS, a game which I had a weird love-hate relationship to. On the one hand I love the setting and I have very fond memories of the time when I played in a RIFTS campaign. On the other hand I always hated the rules. I found them confusing, I felt the system had way too many fiddly bits. For years I was looking for alternative rulesets to replace the dreaded Palladium System.

While I was pondering the idea of using one of the OSR games I learned to love over the past few years to run a RIFTS game, people actually reminded me that RIFTS was actually a D&D-based itself. The Palladium System was probably the first successful “heartbreaker”. It’s basically a set of house rules for D&D (or AD&D if I am not mistaken) that were turned into a new game.

So I gave RIFTS another read. While rereading the Ultimate Edition of the core rules I realized that RIFTS doesn’t actually have that many rules as I remembered. Basically it’s a pretty simple game and the fiddly bits (like thousands of small modifiers during combat etc.) can easily be handled by good book keeping. And in the heat of the moment hand waving a few things might work as well.

The rules in RIFTS are also meant as guidelines, you don’t need to follow slavishly. Use what you need and disregard the rest. Make up rulings if needed, and keep the game flowing. I guess this might actually be quite playable if you approach it like the OSR games I mentioned before. My mistake in the past was that I approached it like a more modern game, which it definitely isn’t.

The layout is still pretty pedestrian, the organization of most books is still confusing, but the mechanics aren’t actually that bad if you take the right approach. You just need to play it fast and loose, instead of worrying about the rules too much. But I guess I’ll know more after actually running it again.

Last but not least I want to talk about my ongoing quest to run a SF campaign. For basically forever I tried to come up with an awesome SF campaign which I could run for my friends. I think I already found the perfect system which I can use, but the hard part is making up my mind what kind of setting I actually want. Should it be near future, or rather far future? Is there FTL or is humanity restricted to just one solar system? Should I use our own stellar backyard or come up with stars of my own design? Hard science or space opera. The problem is that I love all the options and I have a hard time deciding what to use and what to throw out. Since a lot of options are mutually exclusive I can’t have both…

Normally I would ask my friends first, to find out what they would like best, BUT this time I decided to take a different approach. I want a setting I am happy with first and foremost and then find players interested in playing in this universe. Over the last years I too often tried to please everyone, which lead to campaigns I was not fully invested in. I don’t want to repeat this with my SF game. Do you guys have any advice how to solve that issue?

So, that were my ramblings for today. We’ll get back to our regular programme next week. Stay tuned. Zwinkerndes Smiley

Let’s Talk Again About RIFTS

0
0

Over the weekend I kept thinking about RIFTS and how I could run it without having to rely on the clunky Palladium system. After some googling I stumbled upon a post where someone mentioned he ran RIFTS using OD&D. At first I was wondering how one could do such thing, but after some more careful examination I came to the conclusion that its not really a bad idea.

If you look at it, Palladium is a lot like D&D (I think it could be most closely be related to AD&D) with a BRP-like skill system thrown in and with all pretenses of balance thrown out of the window. I actually don’t mind the last aspect. Balance in RIFTS or the lack thereof is what makes RIFTS fun. And believe it or not, a simple Operator can easily shine in a group of Cyborgs, Juicers, and Cyberknights.

This might sound a bit weird, but I guess you might take a basic framework like Swords & Wizardry (or a similar D&D retro-clone), add a simple skill system, and build the RIFTS OCCs with it. Isn’t a Ley Line Walker just a Magic-User with some special abilities thrown in for good measure? Mega Damage could be a problem, but you either follow RIFTS’ example and add MD and MDC to the system or you convert all damage to normal damage. In RIFTS 1 point of MD is equivalent to about 100 points of normal damage, but I am sure a ratio of 10:1 or even 2:1 would work fine and actually make it more easily playable.

I haven’t talked to my group of players about this, BUT if they are interested in the RIFTS multiverse, I might try to use OD&D to run RIFTS. If that fails, I can still rely on Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage World version.

What do you think about my plans? Do you think this might actually work, or do you believe I am as mad as a hatter? Please share your comments below.

Happy New Year … and I got Darkest Dungeons in my White Box

2
0

Wow. That title is a mouthful, but let’s not digress and get to the matter at hand! At first I want to wish all the readers of Stargazer’s World and all current and former team members a great year 2017! May it be better than the last one. For me 2016 started with the death of my grandma, who was very close to me and went on with a lot of disappointments and hard times. One the plus side I finally moved together with my girlfriend which I eventually married!

On the roleplaying games front things have been hit or miss too. I had some great sessions during the year, but I also burned out on some games repeatedly. Luckily the year ended with a success!

Yesterday night I ran a game of White Box for a group of friends while celebrating New Year’s Eve. I wanted to keep things simple, so I chose Charlie Mason’s excellent White Box RPG for the rules and created a set of pregen characters inspired by the awesome Darkest Dungeons computer game. I wish I could say this was my original idea, but instead someone else had basically done the same for Lamentations of the Flame Princess before. I stumbled upon the idea on reddit a while back.

For some reason I am really thrilled by the idea of running a mega-dungeon at the moment (feel free to recommend cool megadungeon products in the comments below), so I started working on my own. Ok, I haven’t progressed that far yet, but at least I had enough material to run my players to the first level of said dungeon.

The characters I created were already 3rd level and had a slightly higher AC than usual (I used LotFP’s starting AC of 12) and gave them some pretty cool and unique abilities and item. The game was not meant as a tough challenge but more like a fun romp through a dungeon while eating, drinking and being merry.

My players and I enjoyed the game very much and we already scheduled a new session where we want to explore the rest of the caves and dungeons. In the long run, I want to create my own mega-dungeon or use a preexisting one and run through it using the awesome Fantastic Heroes & Witchery which my friend Marcus recently introduced to me!

Update: I just uploaded the pregen characters to the blog for your perusal. Please note that these characters are heavily houseruled and far from balanced. They are roughly based on the classes in the White Box game mentioned above, but changed to suit the inspirational material and my tastes. You can check the PDF out here.