Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To Work (B/X Companion)

I was going to do another blog on the heels of yesterday’s Rave for Oasis of the White Palm called From Burton to the Levant, but common sense got the better of me and I finally, FINALLY went back to work on my B/X Companion. Today’s project: work on the Magic Items list(s), and yes I’ve think I’ve got it almost entirely nailed down.

What?! How crazy! Well, actually, no, not really. Let’s face it…any Tom, Dick, or Jane that reads fantasy fiction can come up with magic items to fill tables, and I have the advantage that I’m simply building on B/X…I’ve got the BECMI, AD&D DMG, UA…hell, I can pull D20 stuff and convert it if I want. Magic items are a frigging dime-a-dozen.

[by the way, that’s not meant to be a slight at folks like Kilgore and Hamster who’ve been crafting new magic items on a weekly/daily basis for awhile now…their sheer quantity of creativity is amazing!]

Basically, magic items are even MORE interchangeable between editions than monsters. And there are plenty of books out there with “new” magic items…so many that it seems pretty embarrassing to even bother with listing my own.

But what can I say? First off, it’s fun to write up new magic items. Second off, it’s par for the course. If a true Companion HAD been published for the original B/X game, it certainly would have included some magic items for “high level play” (as the Mentzer Companion set did)…even if it only included magic items from the OD&D supplemental rules.

So anyway, I’m pretty much finished with my list. Some items are basic in nature: a sword +4, a polearm +1. Other items are copies of D&D standards: gloves of catching (i.e. missile snaring), sword +4, defending (defender sword). Yes, I DID decide to include a B/X version of the vorpal blade, but ONLY because I’ve already got a Jabberwock and Bandersnatch in the monster roles. No, it is not as wimpy as BECMI’s “sword of slicing;” it’s pretty close to the AD&D version.

Many of the items, though are my own, or “tweaked” from existing items. Some are taken from the pages of fantasy fiction: a Landship (Moorecock), Magic Satchell (Boyer), or Table Cloth of Feasting (Brothers Grimm), Berserker Helm (Silk) are all examples of my literary pillaging. The challenge isn’t necessarily coming up with ideas, it’s trying to get the description across in a pithy manner, much as the original B/X rules did. I’ve stayed far away from most of Mentzer’s items, and stuck with simple tables rather than the confusion of "roll on Table A to see what you roll on Table B then roll D4 times on Table C" (people familiar with the BECMI magic weapon tables know what I’m talking about).

Again, Mentzer’s items are EASILY ‘ported over to B/X…there’s little need for me to re-invent his particular chassis (people who like Mentzer will gleefully use it in their B/X games). I am trying to develop a certain flavor using the Moldvay/Cook recipe. Time will tell whether or not it turns out.

As it is, the list probably needs some editing/trimming. I’ve pretty much decided to leave the scroll table AS IS from the Cook Expert set (I don’t see a need to develop larger treasure maps than what’s already there, since the rate of XP gain after 9th level remains constant; likewise, even if a spell scroll has 9th level spells, it doesn’t needs to have more than 7 spells on it). AND I’ve yet to script ONE magic ring (jeez! And I figured rings would be fun and easy). But even leaving these out, I’ve added the following:

Swords (needing detail): 7
Armor (needing detail): 7
Misc. Weapons (needing detail): 9
Potions: 11
New Category (unrevealed): 20
Wands, Staves, Rods: 9
Misc. Magic Items: 16

I’m mean that’s not TOO bad. It is a few more than the number of items Cook added, but he also added the Intelligent sword stuff, which took up a couple full pages. Page count IS something I’m considering, since I still intend this turkey to come in at 64 pages.

All right, that’s enough update for now….



    Finished my lists: 7 rings, 1 more potion, and 2 more additions to the (as of yet) "unnamed" category.

    I'm stopping right there!

  2. Sounds perfect.

    The Labyrinth Lord Magic expansion book I'm finishing off has a tail end of magic items and they really are interchangeable between editions (except for the items that grant skill bonuses and so on from the d20 system). In the end, I'm including more guidelines on how to keep magic items feeling unique (naming, describing and additional minor powers with examples of each) instead of actual details of new magic items.

  3. I am looking forward to seeing this book see the light of day.

  4. Thanks, AV...me, too!

    Since I've been so inspired lately, I feel I need to "strike while the iron's hot." 'Course I also need to get some work done at my REAL job (not nearly as fun I'm afraid).

    My blog may suffer a bit in the near future.
    ; )