05 August 2010

Death by Mold / What's Next?

One of my players the other week died because they set foot in some yellow mold. The mold, being a weaker variety than normal, dealt less damage than it normally would have. After being burnt a little by its acid, they took note and decided to drop a torch on it.

Normally, it would have resulted in a normal bit of damage, but this mold happened to be underground in an extremely arid environment. The fire spread out, and burnt both the players for a tiny bit of damage, which unfortunately was more than the Minotaur ("reskinned" fighter) could bear. He died, leaving the cleric to flee back to the surface where the Minotaur's brother was waiting for the two of them to come out. When only the cleric returned, Minotaur II vowed to finish his brother's works.

Just a quick anecdote on one of my favorite player deaths. Set ablaze by a yellow mold's corpse! Classic.

Now for the real question: What to do next? I'm already working on remaking the classes from Labyrinth Lord so that they're a little bit more thematic. There's two reasons for that: One is so that there can be more classes, since they each have a little bit of special coolness about them, and two is because I'm a chronic tinkerer. Seriously, every single thing I play with or on is modified in some way, almost from the moment I get them.

My brother is the only one who sees through the insanity in creating endless mods and toys that only I will ever see, but it doesn't matter. Making things is a compulsion, especially for a game I like so much. Labyrinth Lord has grabbed my fancy, and there's no resisting the urge to change it a little. My main goals include:

1) Reskinning each of the demihuman classes into human classes. For example, the Dwarf was turned into a mechanically inclined tomb robber called the Dungeoneer. See, almost all of the campaigns I run are human-only, or at least strongly human-oriented. My players are the same way. With a strongly human oriented game, there will still be a desire to play a Magic User / Fighter, or a fighter with the powers of a dwarf. So why not give it to them?

2) Change the spellcasting mechanic around. The current mechanic leaves me dry for a number of reasons. One is the fact that in a game revolving around creative solutions to problems and formerly unseen applications of common objects, there are pre-written spells that are heavily, heavily uneven in quality. A Magic User that passes up Sleep or Magic Missile in order to take Ventriloquism, for example, is a fool.

3) Make magic more diverse. It kills me that Clerics and Magic Users and Elves all use the exact same fire-and-forget magic method. It doesn't even make sense for Clerics to have it- they don't cast spells, they ask for divine guidance. And so I'm giving Clerics a prayer mechanic, and giving Magic Users a spell-making system. It's not started yet, but will probably revolve around "Words" that let him do different stuff. If you've ever played DONJON it should look familiar. By the way, Donjon was one of the most fun games I've ever played. Seriously. It's so easy and fun to play, it's almost a crime not to.

4) Make the default classes hew more closely to how I roll. Selfish? Maybe. But practical. If not every player character priest is a heavily armored asskicker, that alone will make my day. The default "divine magic" caster is the Acolyte, who wouldn't know what to do with plate mail if you put it on for him. There's the Crusader sub-class, who is essentially a Paladin, if you want to play an LL cleric, but it's not nearly as good at divine magic as the Acolyte, who pray his figurative ass off.

5) Add a little more fun. Gave the fighter an extra 1d4 hit points at first level. Created a Witchfinder class that slays wizards and magical creatures. Made a Dungeoneer who has a chance to automatically find traps and secrets. Every class has something that's just plain fun and rules-light, like the Dungeoneer's Darksight (culled from the base Dwarf class) or the Fighter's Dominator ability gained at 7th leve (letting him always strike first). Wizards are making up their spells on the spot, hoping to make it all work. Hopefully it all adds up to a fun play experience.

And that's why I'm doing this. After this, I'll work on V2: Black Sky Above Us. It's just the working title, don't worry, but I have some pretty cool ideas on how to make this adventure stick in your mind. Keep your eyes open!

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