Friday, August 9, 2013

Still Got It

My shirt seems tight this morning. I’m older, fatter, and bloated from the copious amounts of beer I consumed at the bar last night. And I’m just exhausted…I was exhausted last night and now I’m doubly so this morning. It’s just been a long, long week.

On the other hand I am completely elated that I can still play B/X.

That’s what we were doing last night at the Baranof. I wrote up an adventure for Dragonflight this weekend, and wanted to playtest it. Hell, I wanted to knock the rust off my B/X chops. It feels like I’ve done almost nothing but playtesting for the last couple years…I’d have to go back through my blog notes to see exactly when this madness started…and it was good to slip back into the comfortable old shoes of B/X. I can nearly run the game blind-folded.

And it was a good game. The adventure is called Pyramid of the Damned, a four level monstrosity that I expect players with even a brief amount of experience to get through in the four hour time slot. Last night we only got to play for two hours (started a bit late, plus had to make characters…I’ll have pre-gens for Saturday), but we made it nearly through to the third level. Of the four PCs and two retainers that started the game, we were left with three PCs (one retainer having been left behind in a windowless prison, and the second being gored to death by a bull-spider). One PC died from poison…which was amusing, because there were two poisoned party members and the cleric had to choose the one to receive his single neutralize poison spell. Between the elf and the thief, the cleric went with the elf, leaving a foaming and cursing thief to writhe on the floor in agony.

It’s always fun when the party members are dropping.

Lots of blood spill, a few traps, a couple of “specials,” random hats…all the usual B/X goodness. Along with a rule system that can comfortably accommodate eight players at the table. B/X is a good game…there’s no doubt in my mind which edition gets the Gold Star for “best D&D.”

House rules that were used:

  • Each PC started with 40,000xp (levels 5th through 7th) and a couple-four magic items.
  • Damage variation was as follows:

                  Class..........1H Weapon............2H Weapon
                  F, D, E..........1D8............1D10
                  C, T  ............1D6............1D8
                  M     ............1D4............1D6
  • Daggers roll one die smaller, missile weapons do damage as one-handed weapon, two-handed weapons always strike last.
  • Chugging a vial of holy water heals D6 hit points (1/adventure)
  • Chugging a skin of wine heals D4 hit points. After the 2nd wineskin the character suffers a -1 penalty to all dice rolls; subsequent wine skins carry additional cumulative penalties.
  • Clerics don’t have to “memorize” spells, but pray for divine intervention as the need arises.

The “Dutch Courage” rule worked especially well, I must say. If I’d thought of it earlier, I probably would have put something similar in Five Ancient Kingdoms. Maybe when I do my Holmesian “Basic” version of 5AK I’ll throw that rule in. In fact, note made…it’s going in.

All right, that’s all the blogging I’m doing for tonight…I’ve still got to stat up a Cry Dark Future adventure for the weekend, too, and stock my second 5AK scenario. Later, Gators!


  1. You had me at "gored to death by a bull spider."

  2. I am digging that "dutch courage" rule.

  3. Would love to hear how the adventure goes AND would love to see the adventure if that's in the cards!

  4. I too appreciate your implementation of "Dutch Courage". The game Manhunt (and most other Rockstar games) use painkillers instead of first aid kits in game to heal your character's injuries. Using alcohol or drugs seems more realistic, while still allowing you to impose fantasy or realistic side effects.