Saturday, April 3, 2010

Death & Taxes

As with some 50% of Americans, I have yet to file my federal income tax return for of the multiple projects I'll be working on this Easter weekend.

Even though I procrastinate till April, I normally enjoy sitting down to work out the family taxes every year (I like math, remember?). This year, however, I've been dreading it. Having just purchased a new house in '09, I am NOT looking forward to working out all the various deductions and expenses and whatnot. I get anxious at the thought that I might miss some crucial write-off that nets me an extra $50 here or there ($50? That's a new game!), and yet I absolutely refuse to take my tax return to a professional accountant. After all, if I can figure out the ins-and-outs of 3rd edition D&D (attacks of opportunity are our friends), I can certainly decipher a paltry 96 pages of tax code. Besides, a lot of it is tables, and I've been an old hand at using tables since age 10 or so (DMG psionics? you bet!).

Anyway, you can probably tell that I'm STILL procrastinating a bit more (evidenced by the blogging) before diving in to the latest tax table updates, and this is due to being accepted into a new on-line B/X campaign. Ha! I haven't had a chance to game in one since the Mr. Armstrong's on-line game got folded in favor of live table-top adventures (not that I blame him...I only wish Seattle was closer to Calgary).

Anyway, Ryan over at Save Vs. Poison picked up copies of the classic Red & Blue Beauties and has been running a game the last week or so for exactly one player (though she's a pretty sharp one in my experience). I applied and it looks like I'm in, assuming the scheduling all ends up working out.

This time around, I've decided to "stick with my strengths" and will be playing a fighter rather than and of those other namby-pamby classes. This regardless of my actual ability scores. The wonderful thing about B/X D&D (one of many wonderful things, actually) is that, similar to OD&D, class choice is not limited by one's ability least for the four basic classes (cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief). You can play a fighter with a 7 strength if you like...he (or she) will simply be fairly sickly and limited in the melee category, at least until they raise a level or two.

In my last couple forays into B/X play, I chose character class based on "what was rolled" rather than what I wanted to play with fairly mixed results. Despite fairly specific backstories and Neutral alignments both my cleric and thief ended getting mixed up in silly heroics when they probably should have been doing other things (like hanging around in the background, offering advise and class talents as needed).

So F that noise. I decided I would play a fighter, regardless of my dice rolls. I broke out a 12-pack of six-siders that had been sitting on the shelf for too long (I think I bought 'em for a Shadow Run campaign that never got off the ground), and rolled 3D6 in order...all the way down. Here's what I got:

Strength: 11
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 15
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 3
Charisma: 13

I would like to state, here and now, that I have never in my life rolled a 3 for any character ability score EVER. Of course, when we played AD&D "back in the day" we usually rolled 4D6 and kept the best 3 so that substantially lowers the odds...but even so, wow.

Anyway, this is absolutely a workable class for me...that is workable as a fighter. I briefly, BRIEFLY considered selling down the Intelligence and Wisdom to 10 and 9 (respectively) which would allow me to raise his Strength to 16 (+10% bonus on earned XP)...but what would that look like exactly? I mean, a 3 Constitution has got to be a guy with multiple terminal illnesses right? An obese, chain-smoker with failing kidneys? That brittle-bones character from the movie Unbreakable?

Nope, I decided to stick with the abilities the way they are (no minimum requirement for class in B/X, right?) and instead make this guy an Old Geezer. A warrior of many decades, upon whom time has taken its toll. Basically, King Haggard from the The Last Unicorn.

[interestingly, I believe that Haggard is voiced in the film by my favorite Old Geezer, Chris Lee. I'll have to check that when I have a chance]

I'm still tempted to sell down Intelligence or Wisdom (certainly not both) to increase the Strength to 13, but I like the idea that the guy has Haggard's iron will (Wisdom), and that he may have picked up an extra language in his travels (Intelligence). Ugh...this is the one instance where I wish B/X had some method of adjusting ability scores In Play (like D20's +1 bonus every 4 levels). Ah, well. I'll figure it out soon enough and write him up completely.

And then I'll get to doing my taxes.
; )


  1. Yep Lee is Haggard. Great art in that film.

  2. Perhaps he is a hemophiliac?

    I was told I could reroll my character due to poor scores.
    So I created a backup character in case ol' 7 hit points dies.

  3. re: kelvingreen:

    Great art, awful singing...

    And yet I still like it!

  4. I really like the idea of choosing your class before you even roll the dice. :)

  5. @ Stuart (re: choosing one's class before rolling the dice)

    It only makes sense in light of my inability to do anything but "play as a fighter."
    ; )