Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Deities & Demi-Gods of Greyhawk

Art by Mike Mignola

I'm back and it's time for Greyhawk! That's right. Aside from playing some more OD&D-style games or my weird wargame stuff, I have recently been dabbling more in AD&D just for the hell of it (both 1e and 2e) and have found myself running an Advanced campaign set in Greyhawk. I'll probably be adding some notes, ideas, and much more related to AD&D and Greyhawk here. I must confess this is the first time I've tried to really run an existing TSR setting without drastically remaking or tearing it up. I'm interested to see what happens.

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Mundane: Level 0 Funnels in Whitehack

Angus McBride

So you want a funnel? For those who don't know, a "funnel" is a style of adventure where you take a ton of no-level nobodies (maybe 3-4 or more per player) and just run them through a gauntlet... and if there are any survivors they become the actual campaign party becoming level 1. Simple as.

DCC is an obvious source for this but it definitely has its origins in the Original tradition (e.g., a focus on relatively weak characters, large parties, not attachment, simple setup, etc.) and even with the explicit introduction of 0-level stuff in AD&D 1e and its kin.

Whitehack is a bit of a different beast in this regard. It allows (but doesn't necessarily require since you don't have to pick right away) plenty of thought to go into how to create and define your character right out of the gates. What's more, these characters are very flexible as well. So how can we mix the two?

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Whitehack Magic 101: How do Miracles work???

This is a slightly related follow-up to my previous Whitehack 101 post on monsters.

Easily the most common subject of discussions and questions on Whitehack are miracles, the game's take on characters' "arcane negotiations with powerful forces in their environment" (aka just about any magic/science/psychic nonsense you can think of in an adventure game!).

This isn't surprising as it's a sort of open system, especially compared to having a set spell list which is the baseline for most old-school adventure games. To quickly summarize how it works:

  1. Characters in the Wise class can note down wordings.
  2. To use them, the player says what their desired effect is and the referee suggests the cost.
  3. The cost is the HP that must be paid to enact the effect.
  4. This cost can potentially be lowered.
  5. There are a few limitations making high HP costs dangerous or even impossible if your HP is too low.

And that's pretty much it! But it's easy to see where questions can arise with this. Common points are usually:

  • Are the miracle effects determined ahead of time?
  • Is each wording a set effect? Can it be used for something else after we've set a cost?
  • How much should a miracle cost? What's too low or too high?
  • How much cost debate is too much?
  • What kind of damage should combat miracles do?
  • What the hell is the "traditional magic" table even about?

And much much more! I can share how I've been handling them and perhaps that can make others more comfortable engaging with miracles without bringing the game to a full stop to talk about HP costs.

N.B.: A lot of this isn't prescriptive and no advice will top what you and your table decide feels right, but hopefully these examples and such help clear up some things and provide guidance!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

B/X House Rules

Spectre by Erol Otus

Recently I started a 1:1 campaign of B/X with my partner. Going to be doing a 'Stonehell on the Borderlands' style setup building on the skeletal version of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos presented in the back of the Expert book. The goal is short one or two-hour sessions of good ol' vanilla fantasy with extremely minimal prep and a megadungeon focus.

We'll be using the classic 1981 Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons set by Moldvay and Cook with the following small addendums and alterations:

Friday, July 8, 2022

Armour Research & Gallery for Thinking Adventures

Most retro or adventure games tend to categorize armour as Light, Medium, and Heavy. And it's almost always leather, chain, or plate mail with a spattering of nonsense such as studded leather or banded mail or splint mail.

In the real world, armour can usually be divided based on its construction into three groups:

  1. Soft armour, that is quilted fabric and leather that has not been subjected to any hardening process.
  2. Mail, that is a defense of interlinked metal rings.
  3. Plate, of metal, cuir-bouili (leather hardened by soaking in heated wax), whalebone, or horn. This group can be subdivided according to whether it is composed of:
    1. large plates articulated only where necessary for the movement of body and limbs.
    2. smaller plates riveted or sewn to fabric to produce a completely flexible defense (the so-called coat-of-plates construction).
    3. small plates joined together by a complex system of lacing (the so-called lamellar construction).

What follows is an armchair look at some classic armor throughout European history. While there are a plethora of other armour types in the world to take inspiration from (which still largely conform to the above constructions), I think the following will help with the types of armor you see in the standard Vanilla Fantasy setting with knights and dragons and castles and such. 

After all, when was the last time you had a brigandine or a coat-of-plates in your game? And if you did have a brigandine did you make it worse than so-called 'chainmail' hmmmm?

Monday, July 4, 2022

Whitehack Monsters 101: Converting a Chimera

I often see folks looking for some guidelines on converting classic dragon game monsters to Whitehack. Common points are:

  • Multiple attacks? Do I leave them as is?
  • Abilities? Do I make them keywords? Or do I treat them as described?
  • Spells? Do I make each a miracle? Do they use HP to cast them?

What do?

Well, what better way to try things out than a Chimera? The Monster Manual of old gives us this:

Chimera from the 1e Monser Manual

Whitehack 3e House Rules

Jun Suemi

Here's a collection of some current house rules and bits that have come up in Whitehack so far this year. Some are pilfered from various sources but none are set in stone. Anything can change during play. 

Maybe I will keep this updated! In the meantime, I've also made a 3e Rule Summary, a Community Compendium, and Character Record sheets.