Saturday, July 27, 2013

Random Wizard Questions

Random Wizard: Top Ten Troll Questions for Your Game
  1. Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no? I prefer Race as Class to differentiate demi-humans from Humans. Most of the class features/abilities of the four Human classes are not culturally relevant to the demi-human races (no concept of religion for Elfs, taboos on Magic for Dwarfs, I don't normally use Halflings), demi-humans also have a different alignment axis than Humans (instead of the standard Neutral, Lawful, Chaotic). Class merely defines initial character capability though, so it is still possible to subvert these arch-types through character development in play.

  2. Do demi-humans have souls? Sort of. Elfs are human babies stolen and raised in the Elflands, usually their soul is owned by another Elf. If they manage to get it back and spend too long away from the Elflands, then they can potentially become Human again. If they stay Elf, as they grow older in seasons or more experienced they sometimes go through the metamorphic process that begets Dwarfs. The question seems to be geared more to whether or not they can be raised from the dead. I don't typically include Raise Dead/Resurrection magics in my Classic D&D games, so that aspect doesn't really apply.

  3. Ascending or descending armor class? I prefer Descending Armor Class (9 to 2), but can cope with Ascending as long as there isn't too much bonus inflation. My players typically prefer Ascending. We sometimes compromise with TARGET 20.

  4. Demi-human level limits? Traditionally yes, but I don't think I've ever had a demi-human player in a game that reached them. They are important for determining at what point an Elf character might start transforming into a Dwarf, and start over with a new Class progression.

  5. Should thief be a class? It's available to Human characters in most of my games, I sometimes rename or remove it for cosmetic reasons (Clerics are also victims of this). Thief Abilities are treated as Saving Throws.

  6. Do characters get non-weapon skills? A character's background might grant them some professional abilities to differentiate them from other members of the same Class. Characters can learn useful and marketable skills through play. Skills are only adjudicated through die rolls if there's a potential for failure and only advance through use (they are not level-dependent).

  7. Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)? Player Skill is the only thing that typically determines this. I don't think Class balance is particularly important when Player Skill can level the playing field.

  8. Do you use alignment languages? Yes, and there are also Class languages. If a Player selects an Alignment for a Human character than they can learn the language through play (or choose it as a bonus language if they have a high Intelligence and begin play with it) and converse in it freely with other Humans of the same alignment that know the language. Same goes for the Class languages. Speaking an Alignment language in the presence of other alignments can invoke hostility. Both have written forms and function as normal languages (it is theoretically possible to learn more than one, if you can get someone to teach it to you. You don't forget it or change it if your Alignment shifts). The Alignment of Demi-humans serves as their Racial/Class language. Monsters work this way too, so Amoral Lizardman is a different language than Neutral Human and a Disciplined Dwarf doesn't automatically speak Lawful Werebear.

  9. XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc...)? XP for Gold Pieces spent.

  10. Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ? I play a heavily hacked version of D&D that probably most closely resembles the Rules Cyclopedia (with some LYB Arduin thrown in), so that would probably be my preference, followed by Holmes. I don't really think any edition is intrinsically better, some are just more suitable to the style of games I run.

Bonus Question: Unified XP level tables or individual XP level tables for each class? XP level tables by Class.