Friday, September 4, 2020

Bat in the Attic Kickstarter, Treasure, Rulings, and the World Outside of the Dungeon.

This is the sixth and last in a series of posts about some of the design choices I made. In addition to explaining what the system is about, it will also help folks in deciding which elements are the most useful to them. One of the goals of this project is to support kitbashing.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter

Due the limited number of pages in the basic rules, I combed through various classic edition basic rules to get a sense of what available. From that I was able to cull a subset of the larger list found in Swords and Wizardry and what I added in the Majestic Fantasy RPG.

Viz is magic in physical form. The concept was developed during a campaign where every player played a mage using GURPS. Ars Magica was a great source of inspiration for the campaign and one of the elements that was adapted was the idea of viz. Since GURPS Magic wasn't the same as the magic system in Ars Magica, it got altered into viz. For those who know GURPS, it functioned as a 1 pt powerstone that dissipated after one use.

When I started running Swords & Wizardry I ported over viz. It still dissipates after one use but now one viz allowed a magic-user or cleric to case a first level spell without losing it from memory. It gives a substantial credit towards the creation cost of a magic item. More viz can be used to cast higher level spells without losing it from memory.

In the years since it worked out well as a source of low powered magical treasure. Plus flexibility of its concept allowed it to be found or harvested in interesting ways, ranging from a dragon's teeth, to a wellspring in the midst of a forest that produces 1d6 viz in the light of the full moon.

Treasure Assortment
In the full Majestic Fantasy RPG, I have an elaborate treasure generation system. I automated it using a program called Inspiration Pad Pro from NBos. Overall the system worked out nicely for my campaign. But not everybody wants to use software at their table. In addition, people don't want to use deeply nested random tables during a session.

I used Gygax's Monster and Treasure Assortments while experimenting with randomly generating dungeons. Unlike my treasure table and the treasure tables in Swords and Wizardry, the treasure tables in those books was a simple list with a 100 entries. Each entry is a complete treasure hoard.

I then realized that a complex sets of random tables can be made much more useful, if they are accompanied by a table of pre-generated results. I am calling these types of tables a random assortment.

For the basic rules, I generated 20 items for a 100d (silver piece) treasure hoard, then repeated this for 200d, 500d, and so on up to 2,500d. If I am writing an adventure and I want to generate something special I used the main set of tables. If something happens during a session or I need something quick while writing. I used the random assortment table.

For those who like to use software while writing or running a session, I wrote an on-line random generator written in html and javascript. This allows  you to randomly roll your own treasure hoards for the basic rules at any value.

Treasure Hoards for the MW RPG Basic Rules

This is the first of two sections of referee advice I include in the basic rules. "Ruling not rules" is an idea discussed by Matt Finch in the Old School Primer. The minimalist nature of many classic editions, results in the need for a referee make a ruling for when a player does something that their character logically could do but there is no explicit mechanic to cover it. There been a lot of discussion about the idea but little in the way of describing the nuts and bolts of how one uses the classic edition mechanics to craft new rulings.

The section address that by talking about the available mechanics and how I use them to create specific rulings. I talk about when to make a ruling, assumptions about character competence, and the relevance of failure. Finally I talk about the elements that go into the ruling: Armor Class, Attribute Bonuses, the To-Hit Roll, Hit Points, Movement, Non-Combat Tasks, and Saving Throws.

The World outside of the Dungeon
Here I briefly cover the different elements that go into my campaigns. Why I focus on the World outside of the Dungeon, along with the various elements that go into bringing it to life, this includes constructing locales, characters, and plans.

Next, I talk about the World in Motion, how you take all that and make it work from session to session. The importance of the initial context, and how to handle the continuing saga as the campaign unfolds. Finally I touch on building one's Bag of Stuff. Material that you have memorized or made notes on to use when the players decide to do something unexpected like go west instead of east. Or decide to talk to the innkeeper on the other side of town, instead of consulting the sage by the waterfront.

The idea of this section to provide a useful framework as a starting point for one's own effort. In later supplements I intend to support these ideas further with various tools and techniques to handle common situations found within fantasy campaigns.

Wrapping it up.
This concludes this series of designers notes. I am currently working on various edits as are result of the feedback I gotten. I will post Rev 02 once that is completed. As part of the final push, I will make a combined document available with all these notes collected together.

I thank everybody who backed this kickstarter, your generous support, help and comments are all appreciated.

Basic Rules for the Majestic Fantasy RPG Kickstarter

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