Looking back, I can see that up until June I was blogging away at a fairly good clip, on pace for my highest post output since 2011 (when my first child was born). Then June hit and *ppbbbtt* things started sputtering. What happened exactly? Travel, vacations, the slow ramp up that happens when transitioning a child to a new school...family stuff in other words. However, things are starting to settle back into some semblance of a "normal" routine, and I hope to get back to what I was doing pre-June. There is, unfortunately, a LOT that needs revisiting.
One thing I want to get back to is those abstract "treasure units" I was writing about. Remember these posts? Maybe not...they got very little "read" over here, per my blogger stats. That's fine, but I plan on working with the concept a little more (doing some conversions and such), so you can expect a little more blather on the subject in the near future. However, before I started blathering, I thought it might serve to write a bit on how I stock "dungeons" (i.e. adventure sites) in my games.
|Usually, I'm a fan of all things owlbear.|
[yeah, I know: "why are you bothering to read this kind of stuff, JB?" Two reasons: I have at least a passing interest in the ongoing development of D&D, and (as mentioned earlier) I'm having a bit of a curiosity/gaming pang that leads me to this kind of post]
Um, yeah...so one of the things Marty wrote that kind of stuck in my craw was this:
I don't know anyone who played Basic D&D or AD&D "by the book". That person doesn't exist. The fact of the matter is that we've always been house ruling D&D. That's also part of the DIY philosophy of the old school movement. So why is it that 5e isn't considered old school simply because one must house rule a few of the mechanics? That's a double standard. No OSR game is played 100% RAW.I mean, I didn't even have to think about it. That person does exist...it's called me or, at least, was me for a number of years. I played B/X RAW when until I started adding AD&D books to the mix (circa two years in). My friends and I played AD&D RAW (including all those fiddly DMG rules...speed factor and helmets and disease tables and gem fencing and weapon versus armor, etc.), only spicing it up with the occasional add-in from Dragon Magazine. Later, years after I'd chucked AD&D (which for the record was about a year prior to the advent of 2E), I started a long-term campaign using the BECMI rules because (I felt) that RAW BECMI was the "most complete system" of D&D ever written. That party of 6 or 7 lasted through B2 and X2 before finally perishing, mid-level, somewhere on The Isle of Dread. When I started playing B/X again (a few months after starting this blog), it was once again Rules As Written, and while I've experimented with various "house rules" (and even wrote The B/X Companion for high level play), more often than not I've come back to Rules As Written, specifically because B/X is such a well-written game, regardless of the random gripes I've voiced and modifications I've put forward over the years.
In fact, the only "house rules" I've ever stuck to with any degree of regularity are:
- Allowing clerics to choose their spells at the moment of casting (rather than requiring pre-memorization) in order to A) distinguish clerical magic from magic-user/elf magic, and B) to model the heartfelt prayer for divine intervention at the moment such intervention is required, and
- Adding +1 to damage inflicted by two-handed weapons (since I use the standard D6 damage for all weapons). Sometimes this has been switched for a standard D8 roll.
However, even these rules only come into play when clerics or two-handed weapons are present in the game...and no, these rules aren't always used. "Straight B/X" like straight pool is a fine and under-appreciated game.
|Sometimes, stripes don't matter.|
So I checked what Moldvay had to say on the matter; from page B61:
PLAYER ADVANCEMENT: If no one has reached the 2nd level of experience in three or four adventures, the DM should consider giving more treasure. If most of the players have reached the 3rd level of experience in this time, the DM should consider cutting down the amount of treasure, or increasing the "toughness" of the monsters.Keep in mind the term "adventure" in Moldvay Basic is defined as a single session of game play. In other words, enough XP-granting treasure needs to be placed within an adventure site ("dungeon") to allow the advancement of one level over three to four game sessions. "Treasure" is the good measure in this case because A) monsters award such an insignificant amount of experience in B/X play, B) treasure is always a "mission objective," and C) treasure acquisition as an objective encourages players to think creatively in how they go get it. It allows all sorts of interesting in-play dynamics related to risk-reward (what are you willing to risk to gain a great treasure).
[I should note that, for this latter reason, I'm not a big fan of the "fake treasure trove" in adventures: the gold-painted coppers, worthless "glass" gems, and paste-board jewelry. I tend not to stock such unless there's something in the dungeon that might tip the players off to the fakery]
With the aid of a simple spreadsheet, I can easily figure out how much treasure I need to stock in an adventure site in order to provide enough "score" to level up the characters. But then, how do I seed the treasure? Welp, I use a very nerdy, mechanical method developed from the stocking scheme Moldvay presents in the Basic book.
But this post is getting a little long so I'm going to have to make this a two-part series. Tune in tomorrow!
[to be continued]