A blog about my 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign using Paizo's Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

Please note that there are spoilers throughout.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have added Perception as a new ability score as described in "Notice Anything Different?" from Dragon Magazine #133.

The number of d6's rolled depends on the race and class selected. Everyone starts with a base roll of 4d6 and keeping the highest three. If you pick elf or half-elf as your race you may roll an additional d6, and if you pick thief, monk or ranger as a class you may roll another d6. You always only keep the three highest. So, if you are making a half-elf ranger you get to roll 6d6 keeping the three highest.

Bonuses/Penalties for Perception: Perception of 3 or 4 gives a -1 penalty to surprise while 17 and 18 give a +1 bonus to surprise. Rangers get a modifier to Tracking of 18=+2, 17=+1, 4=-1, and 3=-2. Thieves get a modifier to Detect Noise and Find Traps (but not remove traps) of 18=+10%, 17=+5%, 4=-5%, and 3=-10%.

Perception checks are handled by rolling a d20 (+/- modifiers) under your Perception stat.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Roleplaying Intelligence

Page 15 of the 2nd edition Player's Handbook:
... the true capabilities of a mind lie not in numbers - I.Q., Intelligence score, or whatever. Many intelligent, even brilliant, people in the real world fail to apply their minds creatively and usefully, thus falling far below their potential. Don't rely too heavily on your character's Intelligence score; you must provide your characters with the creativity and energy he supposedly possesses! (emphasis mine)
I don't remember having read something like in any other edition.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finding Secret Doors in 2E

It was only recently that I discovered that 2nd edition does not have rules for finding secret doors. The only rules that appear for spotting a secret door is that that elves and half-elves have a 1-in-6 chance of spotting a hidden or secret door when they pass within 10 feet of it. One could also use the dwarves stonework ability if it was relevant. However, there are now rules for everyone else.

Here's what Steve Winter, who was part of the development team for 2nd edition, said about this--

This is a significant quirk of 2nd Edition.

Zeb hated the idea of secret doors being found with dice rolls. The only reason we kept the thing about elves and dwarves was because it was a legacy of 1st edition. This is hinted at (in a toned-down way, I assure you) in the DMG passage about elves and no one understanding how they notice concealed doors without looking.

Aside from elves, there is no check to find a secret door. You simply point to a wall and you automatically search 20' of it in 10 minutes.

This is closest to correct, only it's not even meant to be automatic. Players are expected to tell the DM what they're doing. Like the DMG states, "characters tap, thump, twist, and poke" until they hit the right combination. Further down the page, it states clearly that "It is a good idea to note how each particular secret door works and how it is concealed." That's the rule. To find a secret door, players must literally find it.

This goes back to the earlier discussion of narrative. We placed a heavy emphasis on it. Creative narrative always was meant to carry more weight than any dice roll.

This didn't sit well with everybody, as evidenced by the Int check described in the DL product. That's a kludge tacked on by someone who didn't like the tap/thump/twist/poke approach. It's not the 'standard' rule.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2nd Edition Specialty Priests of Desna

I don't know if this will get me in trouble or not. While I am use to reading legal documents such as underwriting agreements, purchase and sale agreements, and nondisclosure agreements, the OGL baffles me.

The name "Desna" and some of the associated fluff are intellectual property of Paizo Publishing and this is in no way intended to challenge Paizo's IP or any trademarks. This is just a conversion for use with 2nd edition AD&D. Go buy their stuff... it's all awesome.

Desna is the goddess of dreams, stars, travellers and luck

Wanderers at heart, the faithful of Desna travel the world in search of new experiences, while always trying to live life to its fullest. Their temples are light, open affairs, with most possessing a skylight to allow in the night sky and a significant number of astrological charts to mark important celestial events.

Minimum Ability Scores: Wisdom 12 and Charisma 12. Wisdom or Charisma 16 or great is +5% XP, Wisdom and Charisma 16 or great is +10% XP.

Races Allowed: Elves, gnomes, half-elves, halflings and humans.

Required Nonweapon Proficiencies: Astrology.

Recommended Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Gaming, Reading/Writing, Religion.

Weapons Permitted: Starknife (favoured, see below), club, knife, lasso, net, quarterstaff, sling, sling staff.
Note: Besides the starknife, these weapons reflect "weapons of opportunity", the sort of weapons characters can make from things found on the road. The priest doesn't have to find his weapons but these weapons are the sort that he could make from found items.

Required Weapon Proficiencies: Starknife.

Armour Permitted: None, no shields.

Spheres: Major - All, Astral, Chaos, Charm, Divination, Elemental, Healing, Protection, and Travellers. Minor - Animal, Creation, Guardian, Plant, Weather.

Additional Powers:
- Turn Undead: As a cleric of same level.
- Power over sleep: receive a +4 bonus for saves against sleep spells and effects.
- Found Mark - Placing a mark, typically the goddess' symbol, in some remote, distant place (appropriateness to be determined by the DM), earns the priest the favour of Desna and will be under the effect of a Bless spell for the next 24 hours.
- 1st Level: Can cast the wizards spell Suggestion, the priest can use this spell once per day in addition to his other spells. At 4th level twice per day, 8th level three times per day, etc.
- 3rd Level: Can use Traveling Dream (see below) once per day.
- 4th Level: Star Slinger - At 4th level or later, the priest can spend a second weapon proficiency for the Star Knife. The second proficiency enables the Star Knife to act as a boomerang and return to the priest on any missed thrown attack. There are no additional benefits for the second weapon proficiency slot.

Traveling Dream (Divination)
Functions as the wizard spell Wizard Eye. Upon casting the spell the priest falls asleep for its duration. If the priest is woken the spell ends.

New Spells:
Dream Speak (Divination)
4th level Priest Spell
As wizard Dream spell.

New Weapon:
Starknife cost 20 gp, weight 3, size M, type P, speed factor 2, damage 1d4(S-M) 1d6(L), Range S1 M2 L3

Friday, May 14, 2010

Can I do this?

I was going to post my version of a 2E specialty priest of Desna. However, I am unfamiliar with some of the specifics regarding the OGL and Paizo's IP. Anyone know if I would be offside if I post it here?

Monday, April 12, 2010

2E Rise of the Runelords - Session 12

Into the Mushfens

This adventure was played on March 30, 2010 and featured:
- Toran Stargazer, a human thief,
- Vicoren Brightshield, a human priest of Desna,
- Arug, an Alaghi pitfighter,
- Gabriel Solomon, a Chelaxian swashbuckler,
- Sephara 'Na, a half-elven magic-user, and
- Evo, the human Conjurer.

Summary: The party travels to the muddy village of Lonely Shore and follows Brodert to an ancient Thassilonian pyramid.

1. To Lonely Shore – Returning to Sandpoint from the Tomb of Blood Everflowing there is a note awaiting Sephara from Brodert saying that he had gone ahead to the village of Lonely Shore to set up a base for investigating a ruined pyramid. The party spent a couple of days preparing and then set off to the village which was located on the edge of the Mushfens.
2. What a nice place – Arriving at the small, muddy village of Lonely Shore the party meets Brodert and makes plans for journeying into the swamp. In the lone inn in the village, the party meets Evo the Conjurer who joins up with them.
3. Into the Mushfens – The journey into the swamp is uneventful even though it is rumoured to be the home of Bullywugs and Marsh Giants.
4. The Black Pyramid – Finding the black stepped pyramid the party fights a pair of fungal ogres and finds a trapdoor in a recessed face on the top level. Dropping down into the pyramid the most of party fights a giant worm-monster which infects Arug with a disease. They then find a runewell and some sinspawn which are quickly defeated.
5. Never Split the Party – Unwilling to drop down the trapdoor into the pyramid magic-users trying a secret side entrance where Evo quickly dies a mysterious death.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My House Rules As They Currently Stand

The current house rules and rules clarifications/interpretations for the 2E campaign:

CHAPTER 1: Ability Scores

- Ability scores will be determined by rolling 4d6 and keeping the highest three. Roll two separate arrays of six results. You may then pick which array to use. The chosen array may be arranged for ability scores however you choose.

CHAPTER 2: Races

- Unchanged.

- Races from The Complete Humanoids Handbook will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, I am biased against all but the half-orc (it is a pretty weak bias though as I typically say "yes" if it is something a player really wants to run).

CHAPTER 3: Classes

- Wizards: All Wizards will begin the game with Read Magic and Detect Magic in their spellbooks plus 1d6+1 more spells. The % to Know Spell roll must be made as the player selects each spell.

- You begin with maximum hit points for you first level. After that you roll normally.

CHAPTER 4: Alignment

- Unchanged.

CHAPTER 5: Proficiencies

Weapon Proficiencies

- Ambidexterity, Blind-fighting and Tumbling can only be taken using a Weapon Proficiency slot instead of Nonweapon proficiency slot. I also reserve the right to make any other nonweapon proficiencies require weapon proficiency slots if they have a combat effect.
- Ambidexterity costs one weapon proficiency slot.
- Blind-Fighting costs one weapon proficiency slot and is available to warriors and rogues.
- Tumbling costs one weapon proficiency slot and is available to warriors and rogues.

- All options from The Complete Fighter's Handbook will be used. Options from other Complete Handbooks will be considered on a case-by-case basis (and I am usually inclined to include them).

- Remember that only single class fighters (unless specified by a kit) can specialize with a weapon.

Nonweapon Proficiencies

- Intelligence: Number of Languages has been supplanted by Number of Bonus Nonweapon Proficiencies. Each of these bonus slots can be either used for either a language or nonweapon proficiency available to the character. Single class warriors (fighters, rangers and paladins) can also use these bonus proficiencies as weapon proficiency slots.

- Nonweapon proficiencies from the various Complete Handbooks are available, however, the DM reserves the right to exclude certain proficiencies if they harm play or do not fit the setting.

- Humans gain two additional proficiency slots which may be used for NWPs or languages (but not weapon proficiencies).

- Being able to speak a language and read & write a language are two separate Nonweapon Proficiencies of the General Category. All characters begin being able to speak Common and their racial tongue (if any).

- The "Alertness" and "Observation" proficiencies as listed in various Complete Handbooks are moved to a General Proficiency and available to all classes.

- Nonweapon proficiency checks use a gradiated difficulty system of Normal, Difficult, Very Difficult, Heroic and Impossible:
- Normal checks are as given in the PBH - roll a d20 under or equal to the adjusted ability score.
- Difficult checks have a -4 check modifier
- Very Difficult have a -8 check modifier
- Heroic checks have a -12 check modifier
- Impossible checks require a roll of 1 on a d20

Sidebar: I have been considering moving to a system very similar to the Omni System for nonweapon proficiencies.

Nonweapon Proficiencies are to be interpreted broadly, essentially as a broad skill or knowledge group. When utilizing a NWP, it is the player's prerogative to inform the DM of how that NWP is being used, and how it is applicable in a given situation. The DM will judge if it is a proper use of that NWP. You can always try to do something covered by a nonweapon proficiency even if you are not trained in it so long as it makes sense. The rule of thumb I use is that you make the same proficiency check but it is one step harder (normal becomes difficult, difficult become very difficult, etc). Of course, there are some nonweapon proficiencies that don't make sense to use untrained.

CHAPTER 6: Money & Equipment

- You receive maximum starting gold pieces with which you can buy starting equipment. If you are using a kit remember to check if it has a different starting gold limit.

- Remember that armour impacts certain DEX checks as given in The Complete Fighter's Handbook.

- Encumbrance will be in effect. Table 47 from the PHB details Encumbrance by category.

CHAPTER 7: Magic

- Material Components for Spells: In an effort to simplify the bookkeeping with regards to spell components I am going to add a new item to the equipment list - Arcane or Divine Materials. They are the catchall for material components for spells. If your wizard casts a spell that requires a 100 gp pearl, I am not going to make sure you have it on your equipment list but I do want you to make sure you have at least 100 gp of Arcane Materials on your character sheet which can be used. If there is no cost listed for a spell that has a material components assume the cost is equal to the spell level x 10 in gold pieces.

- Copying spells into a spell book takes a number of pages equal to the spell level + 0-5 pages (1d6-1) for each spell and each page costs 50 gp. It takes a day for each spell level to copy it.

CHAPTER 8: Experience

- XP will be awarded based on goals achieved. At the end of each session XP will be awarded based on what was accomplished relative to the adventure path. Sidetrek adventures will be worth less XP. Henchmen receive half of the awarded amount. Prime requisite bonuses or penalties will then be applied to the XP awarded.

CHAPTER 9: Combat

- Movement: The movement rate given based on a characters encumbrance is how many squares they can move in a full round action (12 = 12 squares, etc). Remember that you can move half of your movement rate and make a melee attack or missile attacks at half the normal rate of fire.

- Movement and Initiative: Even though movement is ongoing throughout a combat round sometimes it is important to know when someone is where. Therefore movement gets its own initiative modifier. If the characters base move is 12 then each 10-ft (1 square) has an initiative modifier of +1, if the base move is 6 then each 10-ft (1 square) is +2.
If the only action is to move then this modifier is added to the initiative roll and the result indicates when the move action is complete.

- If the character's action it to move and attack both the weapon speed and move modifier are added to the initiative roll to determine when the attack occurs.

- This can also be used to determine if a character can get past a bodyguard, etc. Use the roll + the appropriate amount of movement initiative modifiers to determine who gets to a square first.

- Remember that you cannot move and cast a spell in the same round.

- Charging: While initiative (including all appropriate modifiers) determines when a charge occurs, a weapons length supersedes initiative to determine who attacks first. Longer weapons attack first during a charge or receiving a charge.

- Some weapons have reach:
- Can Attack from 2nd Rank - lances, spears, most polearms.
- Can Attack from 3rd Rank - awl pike, whip.

- Missile Fire into Melee: The person firing the missile weapon gets to choose which system to use. System 1 is the default as given in the DMG where the actual target is randomly determined based on size. System 2 is making a called shot (-4 penalty) to the attack roll an the target gets cover from his opponents.

- Death & Dying
0 hit points = unconscious but stable. Healing will return the character to positive hit points by the amount healed.
negative hit points = unconscious and dying. When your character’s current hit points drop to between -1 and -9 inclusive, he’s dying. A dying character immediately falls unconscious and can take no actions. A dying character must make a system shock roll each round. If they succeed they are stable. A successful Healing Proficiency check or healing magic will also make a dying character stable. If they fail the system shock roll 3 times they are dead.
Negative hit points equal to -10 = dead. When your character’s current hit points drop to -10 or lower, or takes Massive Damage (see PHB pg 106), he’s dead.

CHAPTER 10 to 14

- Unchanged.


- Kits will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, to be approved by the DM. I am pretty open to kits though and will likely only prohibit a kit if it doesn't fit the setting.

- The Reaction chart on Page 140, Table 59, will be used for NPC reactions to such things as diplomacy, intimidate, bluff, etc.