Back when I discussed our shift to Rolemaster I admitted I don’t really like D&D. That’s not quite true. I like D&D a lot except for a few things but they become deal breakers. More and more I’m finding myself writing a heartbreaker for another try at “old school” gaming…probably more a retro-clone supplement more than a full on game.
That said, given we didn’t play last Friday and thus have no gaming update to make I thought I’d throw some markers for a retro-clone 1st generation derivative I might write:
Flatten the Hit Point Curve: While I have no problem with increasing hit points I do have a problem with the D&D curve and it’s a fairly common one: At first level even a fighter can be killed by a house cat and by 10th level the average Magic-User is roughly on par with a White Dragon in hit points (24 vs. 27). There are a couple of ways to accomplish this: separate wound and fatigue points or just a flatter curve.
Lack of the Ability to Be Good at Things: I have discussed before why “skills” aren’t anti-old school when they are seen as what the character is good at as opposed to what he can do. In City States of the Apocalypse I tried using the Tunnels & Trolls saving roll and talent system but they didn’t work out well due to poor design (and DMing) on my part. Today I read a post on using FATE Aspects in C&C that was similar to my idea but not as game breaking. I think I’ll look into something similar.
Magic Shouldn’t Be Unified: If there is one thing the first edition of The Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game got right it was the multiple types of magic-users. Magic isn’t one method or set. However, we don’t need a dozen classes either. I’d say have three or four who do different things. If you do real campaign time you can have an alchemist as one. The spell slinger of D&D is another. A more ritual oriented mage is a third.
Dungeons: I’ll admit I’m a Silver Age quest player more than a dungeon delver. That said, there Tolkien/modern fantasy super world changing quest doesn’t appeal either. Is there a middle ground, more of a “Knights of the Round Table” approach?
I’m sure I can come up with others but I think these three will be among the hallmarks of whatever system I come up with.