Saturday, January 14, 2012

D&D and Cookbooks, and Movement and Exploration

A good friend of mine, Mike, sent me this link. It paints D&D players as being finicky, whiny consumers. The article makes light of the divisions that exist within the community (e.g. edition wars, house rules, OSR v. new school, etc.) by comparing D&D manuals and editions to cookbooks... actually kind of funny.

The schisms that separate one gamer, or gaming group, from another have always existed. In the eighties and nineties when I played a mixed form AD&D with some 2e rules thrown in to spice it up, we were still cooking up our own version of D&D. The D&D recipe that was used in the front room at my parents house in Buffalo was different from the D&D that I played at other guys houses. It even differed from DM to DM, even when playing at the same house. So then... even the house rules were house ruled.

The state of the D&D universe is no different today. The fact that we have the ability to communicate what we are doing in our games is what has changed. High speed internet and low-cost publishing have allowed us to share our own house rules with the world, while simultaneously taking a peek  at what is happening at tables all over the world. The total flop that is 4e has certainly hardened attitudes among many D&D players while giving the OSR scene a boost as it has become the focus of attention when it comes to griping about WotC and developing alternate D&D rules sets (clones and companion rules alike). In fact it has become a source of innovation and has inspired many of the house rules that have been coming into my own D&D game (see below). Remember the OSR is about the style of play and the attitude you bring to the table when you play as much as it is about which edition you select to use at your gaming table.

Joesky's Tithe: Movement and Exploration Rules

Jim over at LotFP has produced a series of great posts on "Fast Blast" rules. I love them; so I am pretty much just taking one of his rules and tweaking it a bit for my own game.

Basically, the movement rates and rules given throughout D&D's various editions have problems associated with them. In some cases they are too slow for the type of movement be carried out (e.g. walking 120 feet in a turn) and generally there is little description of how party movement rates effect traps being sprung, chance of being surprised, etc. The following movement rules will apply for "adventuring" movement, i.e. crawling through dungeons, climbing through dark forests, etc.

Exploration Movement (given movement rate per 10 minutes)
-Allows for party mapping with "good enough for government work" measurements given by the DM.
-Allows for automatic detection of obvious traps (open pits, etc).
-Non-obvious, exposed traps (tripwires, etc.) are only triggered if the party is fails to detect them and triggers them.
-Normal probability of surprise in an encounter; opposed skill checks, stealth vs. perception.

Walking Movement (given movement rate per minute)
-No measurements given for party mapping by the DM.
-Obvious traps  (open pits, etc) are not automatically detected.
-Non-obvious traps (tripwires, etc.) are automatically triggered if the party fails to detect them.
-Probability of surprise in an encounter increased; opposed skill checks, stealth vs. perception with negative modifiers.

Running Movement (given movement rate per round)
-Party mapping is impossible and perception skill checks are required to determine whether or not doors and passages are detected as they are passed. When running into a turn or dead end, a perception check is required to avoid running into the wall, open pit, etc.
-Automatically trigger all traps (obvious and non-obvious).
-Automatically surprised in an encounter (enemies may still be surprised).

James, thanks again for the inspiration.

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