Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Give a Fluff About The Core Attributes

Well, I've been promising two things and not pulling though do to lack of time.  First, I said I would do a series of fluff posts.  I've also been hinting at my "Goldenrod" S&W house rules.  Well here is the first in a series of posts about the Goldenrod attributes that will also kick off the Fluff posts! Without further ado, I give a fluff about the six core attributes!

The core attributes are looked at very differently by various groups.  Hell, they have similar, but varying, definitions between games and even editions of D&D itself!  I figure that if you, the reader, is to understand what I am doing with my house rules, you should understand how I define and utilize the traditional attributes.  We are going to examine each of these abilities, what they mean in game, and the fluff of why the mechanics operate that way.


First on any list is Strength.  Strength, as is implied, is a characters raw physical power and musculature.  We know, from in game use, that this allows our characters to bend bars, lift gates, carry more weight and open stuck doors.  This all makes a great deal of sense since physical power is implied in the name of the attribute.  What, however, of the combat related functions?  Have you ever thought about this?  A character (in OD&D only a Fighter) deals extra damage due to higher strength. This makes sense due to the force behind a blow struck by a heavier hand.   But how does the strength score allow one a better chance to hit a foe?  This would appear to be more in the realm of the Dex score.  This is not, however the case.  Simply put, the Strength of a character helps the character recover from weapons speeds and the inertia of the weapon's movement, being able to gain control over the weapon more quickly than a character of with a lower Strength score.


Dexterity is the measure of agility, finesse, hand-eye coordination, grace, balance and reflexes. Dexterity aids in thieving skills as well as aiding when firing a missile weapon, due to hand-eye coordination.  Dexterity, I believe, may also factor into saving throws requiring reflexes (in game this would be situational and be determined by the Referee.)  There is little fluff that I can add here that I do not presume to be commonly understood by players of the game.


Constitution measures the physique, health, resistance and endurance of a character's body.    That is to say a character's constitution is the aggregate of all of the character's physical abilities.  Constitution determines one's ability to resist poison and endure hardships of the body.  As will be seen in future installments, Con being the individual's physical fitness, may also impact the growth of and training physical attributes.


Intelligence measures a character's memory as well as their ability to reason, learn and deal with abstractions.  Intelligence also affects the spell casting ability of those who memorize spells by rote.


Wisdom is the measurement of a character's judgement, quile, intuition, ability to apply life experience and parable, mystical attunement and perceptiveness.


Charisma is a composite of a character's leadership ability, persuasiveness, charm and personal magnetism, ego and personal will.

Now that I have have given the "fluff" behind the attributes (as I see them) I can move on an present the Goldenrod rules for the given attributes.  Keep an eye on the blog if you're interested in what I have coming for the 6 primary attributes and the three additional attributes that I will be presenting!

As always...


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hump-day Hildebrandt

Very little to write tonight as I am working on a piece regarding attribute scores at the moment.  Meanwhile, enjoy this because I haven't posted a Tolkien based piece in a while.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hump-Day Hildebrandt

Good Evening.  Prior to my post regarding the U-con OSR Track I had been out of the blogosphere for about a month.  I had been prepping things for U-con and working some overtime.  Now I'm back.  In the coming weeks you will be seeing some material that (with positive feedback) will go into "Goldenrod."  I have some classes and ability score house-rules for Swords & Wizardry that I'll be starting to post this weekend.  Until then, enjoy this:

Monday, September 8, 2014

U-Con OSR Track: The Official Announcement and Call To Arms!

Well, I can officially promote what I had originally mentioned here.   U-Con officially has an OSR track!  What's more?  Your's truly is in charge of it.  That's right, someone is letting me manage a series of OSR events at a convention.  Do they realize what they've unleashed on the great Detroit area?  Probably not.  Still, this will be awesome.  

If you aren't doing anything Nov. 14th - 16th and you're interested in the OSR (or any of those other tracks and games that we'll be rockin' out this year) you should go the the Official U-Con Website and check out what we have going on.  If you are a GM register to run an event!  If you would like to run an OSR event, there is still time for you to register.  To clarify what we are looking at as OSR events:

  • An OSR event can be any event run on original official Pre-3.0 official D&D system
  • An OSR event can be any event using a pre-3.0 official (or 3rd party) module, but running on a current Non D&D system (EX: RunningTomb of Horrors using Savage Worlds or Keep On the Borderlands using FATE)
  • An OSR event can be any event using an "accepted" OSR System, Clone, or Near Clone and/or an OSR module.

If you wish to be listed as an OSR event, please denote that your event is an OSR Track Event in the "Comments" section of the registration form.

If you are an OSR GM/Judge you may qualify to participate in OSR GM only events.

Also, we will be holding a seminar featuring our OSR Guests along with +Adam Muszkiewicz and myself. Yeah Adam. You've been drafted.  Doug's my guest, your my General.  Oh, I didn't mention that?  +Doug Kovacs will be our track's Guest of Honor this year.  Let me show everyone off here.  From the website:

OSR Track. Going back to D&D’s beginnings, U-Con is proud to announce a new RPG track. The OSR (Old School Roleplaying) movement embraces the principals of our earliest roleplaying adventures and we are eager to foster this renaissance. To launch this new track we are pleased to have four Special Guests from the OSR community:
+Doug Kovacs  (DCC RPG Artist)
+Jim Wampler  (Spellburn, Marvin the Mage)
+Tim Snider  (Goblinoid Games, The Savage Afterwold blog)
Bill Barsh (Pacesetter Games & Simulations)
Please see the Guests of Honor page for photos, bios, and future updates.  In the coming weeks we will be sharing the special programming associated with our Guests of Honor and the new OSR Track, and we encourage you to submit any events that are inspired by this announcement. See you in November!

Need more reasons to come/run?  This year U-Con's theme is "40 Years of D&D."  Who is more representative of that than the OSR?  In honor of this, I will be running a "closing game" on the last day of the con using Swords & Wizardry and the first ever published module "Palace of the Vampire Queen."  So, yeah.  No matter where you're coming from, you should be coming to check out U-Con this year.  This is Michigan's new home of the OSR.  
Keep your eye on the blog for more updates on the track, from material to be covered in the seminar to what games will be run to where to which Guest of Honor will be sleeping on the floor of my hotel room!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hump-day Hildebrandt

I've been thinking a lot on thief abilities in OD&D/S&W and AD&D/OSRIC lately.  I have some ideas. No real time to get into it now, but I'll have a post detailing it soon.  Possibly the first reflecting some of my Goldenrod Rules.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unboxing the D&D Starter Set... One Month After the Fact.

Good afternoon, folks.  If you pay attention to this blog, you will know that I have been meaning to do 
post on the unboxing of the new D&D Starter Set and that, due to the video falling through, I made the decision to wait until I had played the game.  So, yesterday, I had the opportunity to play it.  First off, I will post a few pics from our unboxing, just so you know that this actually happened, also it is proof that these Michigan OSR guys +Adam Muszkiewicz and Ryan Thompson really exist.  

In case you have not had the pleasure of meeting either of us, Adam is on the right with the Mountain Dew and super cool Star Wars backpack.  I am on the left in in the golden rod tee, Hunter Thompson hat and Fu-Manchu 'stache.  Yeah, we're pretty much the awesome.

Here you see a couple of Grognards complaining about the ability score adjustments.

More of the same.

I believe that the game plan at this point was that my Fu-Manchu mustache would distract viewers while Adam was using his hypnotic stare to make you buy multiple copies of the Metal Gods Zine.

The ancient Sumerians were known to offer human sacrifices to my Fu-Manchu

So, just to run down what I remember of what we did here.  Right off the bat we opened the box and bitched about the dice.  They aren't precision (I think we assumed that anyway) buy neither are they anything special.  They were six blue pearlescent dice.  That's it.  Not even a full set by today's standards.  No second D10 to make a D100.  I see what they did here, they were six blue dice to make us remember the set that came in earlier boxed sets, but they were weak by comparison.  One HUGE factor that we noticed, is that there is ONE D20.  That might seem normal, but as there is a mechanic in here that makes you roll 2D20 (Advantage/Disadvantage) and take the better or worse roll (depending upon whether you are ruled to have an advantage or disadvantage.)  Yes, you can roll the same d20 twice, but with everyone doing it (especially if you are truly using this Starter Set as your first RPG and thus only owning this ONE D20) will eat a fair amount of time.  Bottom line, if you have to roll 2d20 in a game and that game provides you with dice, it should come with 2d20.

That said, between that unboxing and actual play, I like the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic (as described in the above complaint) and I can see it being used as a house rule in an Old School game.  

Pardon me for being brief with all of this, but I am certain that most of what I am bringing up here has been covered elsewhere.

During the un-boxing and still holds, is that Adam and I were disappointed the ability score bonuses. We both seemed to be hoping that WOTC would be pushing it back to the B/X ability score modifiers, but we ended up with a repeat of the D20 System scaling.  I can get over that bit, but it isn't my preference.  

Personally, I like the way that ability checks work (though the game seems a little too Check-centric ala D20 to me,) and that aspect reminds me of the way that Castles & Crusades works.  The difference here being that rather than adding your level to your checks, you add a bonus based upon what proficiencies you have. By the same token, the game uses six saving throws, based upon the six ability scores, also just like C&C.


Combat itself is pretty straightforward and I'm OK with how it works.  That said, I despise how cut & dry the mechanics of "conditions" are.  It makes it less role-playey and more "gamey."  This has been an issue since 3E and remains here.  Dislike. I prefer "conditions" to be in the realm of DM Fiat.

Resting.  Here is one of two things in this game I despise.  Short rest & long rest.  Short rests are little things that take an hour and you can role your hit dice to regain HP.  Um... yeah.  A long rest is your entire night's rest.  During this you get ALL lost HP back.  That's right.  A good night's sleep gives you back all of you HP.  I HATE this as both a player and Judge.  Hate, hate, hate.  Another area that takes the RPG into the realm of "game" and out of the realm of simulation.


Again hate what they did with it.  I'm always down for Ritual Magic rules, but not like this.  I dislike that you have some spells (mostly utility spells) that you can now cast without using spell slots if cast using a ritual allows you a free spell.  Included in these rituals are Identify, Comprehend Languages and Detect Magic.  Also, you can use your spells per day to cast any of the spells you have memorized. This is another modern mechanic that removes us from the aspect of requiring resource management into the realm of instant gratification (a side affect of our modern world I suppose.)  Lets see what Abraham Simpson has to say about it.

All said and done, "I know what I hate. And I don't hate this."  This will NOT be a preferred system for me.  That remains with Swords & Wizardry/OD&D, OSRIC/AD&D and C&C.  I will, however, be willing to play this.  It's probably the best official New D&D product to come out since the 1990's.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hump-day Hildebrandt: Celebrating the Cosmic

You may recall me stating that I was going to get up a post regarding the unboxing video that didn't turn out well enough to post.  Well, this weekend I may be playing the new edition for the first time, so I've decided to wait and do a post talking about the unboxing, and following up with and actual play report, so that I can give a proper review.  As of now, I have to say that reading the rules, I am not impressed, though I am intrigued.  More on that after actual play.  Until then, I give you a Tim Hildebrandt painting of the Power Cosmic and the Big Bad of the Marvel Movie-verse.