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.

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.

2E Rise of the Runelords - Session 11

The Tomb of Blood Everflowing

This adventure was played on March 4, 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
- Cabell, a dwarven wayfinder (fighter/thief)

Summary: The party investigates the red marble amulet and sets off to an ancient tomb in search of the missing key and the stolen book.

My notes are a bit sparse for this session…
1. Residents of Sandpoint: The party spends a couple of weeks following their return from Thisletop to takae care of a number of things in Sandpoint. The group finally makes arrangements with the mayor for them to buy the rundown manor house that the Green Dagger Gang used for a hideout. The plan being to use it as a lodge for a fledgling adventurers' guild they are planning on establishing. Gabriel did some asking around about the Two Knight Brewery as he is interested in setting up a brewery of his own. Sephara spends some time copying spells into her spellbook, talking with Brodert and Ilsoari.

2. The Harrowing: While Gabell is returning from the armorer's shop, he runs into Madame Mvashti, the venerable varisian seer and historian. She tells him to bring his companions to her shack for a Harrowing (kind of like a tarot reading). At the reading she tells them 1) the locksmith is holding something back, 2) the final answer regarding marriage is still unclear, and 3) a dark pact lies in their future.

3. Chopper's Island: The party spends an evening investigating Chopper's Island. They find the island deserted with the burned and ruined foundations of Jervis Stoot's house. They are unable to move some of the beams that have been lying over the entrance to the old cellar. Vicoren cast Detect Evil and senses the undisturbed evil down below.

4. The Tomb of Blood Everflowing: After spending some time investigating the red marble amulet that was found previously, the group sets off in search of the ancient tomb to which the amulet belonged. Hoping to find the missing key and Ilsoari's missing book, they spend 3 or 4 days traveling north to the southern tip of the Fogscar Mountains. While travelling , the party encounters a large group of bandits that decided a well armed and obviously capable party of adventurers was not to their taste.

The party found the ancient tomb and explored its depths. The place was inhabited by undead and clerics of Norgorber including one that matched the description of the cleric that purchased the key from the Green Dagger gang. They found the missing key and the missing book, however, many pages of the book were torn out. They also found a note suggesting that a group had left the tomb with the torn out pages.

Body Count: The cleric was in the forefront as the party overcame a number of zombies and skeletons. They also overcame two clerics of Norgorber.

Treasure: The possessions of the two clerics and some reward money for returning the key and book.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2E Proficiencies

From a thread at Dragonsfoot:

"Hi Zeb,
I was just wondering: so do you think that the addition of nonweapon proficiencies was, in general, a good thing? I've often found that it limits rather than frees players to try things that they have written down, at least in D&D, and I've never really understood why they were added to the game. Did Oriental Adventures influence 2e at all? What were the thoughts behind making them a part of the game?

Mr. Cook's answer:
"I think they were a good thing. One of the things dreadfully lacking from AD&D was any sense that your character had a real life beyond class skills. This gave players a way to create a more culturally informed background for their character. Well-used and applied, proficiencies were a way to say things like "This is the result of being raised by farmers/wolves/priests/pirates." It got people to think about their characters as something other than being sprung fully formed from the forehead of Zeus. Now proficiencies didn't work as well when they just became excuses to do special things in combat. At that point they lost the sense of making your character more than a class and became another way to munchkinize him.
- zeb"