Saturday, 2 November 2013

DND - the N is for nostalgia...

As the wife was out for the night, I decided it was high time I put the finishing touches to my 4e adventure, and set about allocating treasure to the various encounters. Soon enough though, I found myself in the mood for some procrastination, and decided to dig out my old Dungeons and Dragons starter box, as I recalled there being a chart that suggested different types of gels for different GP values, which I thought would come in handy (but I was really just procrastinating).

Cracking open the box though, I found a sheaf of notes written by my younger self, probably some fifteen years ago, including a full dungeon with a room by room breakdown:

 I was tempted to see if it could be run in 4e, but glancing over the contents I think a party would walk out with so much money that they'd have to make several trips to cart it out - highlights of the random nature of old-school dungeon creation include a room (an otherwise nondescript corridor) with a single troglodyte with (presumably wearing) a necklace, tiara and bracelet with a combined value of 3500 GP, not counting  the gold, platinum and electrum in the room; or the final confrontation, as the party faces down a horde of 16 kobolds (and a bone golem that comes to life if the elven princess they've come to save gets sacrificed) with 8000 GP in cash on them, before you even start on the magic items cavalierly left on the altar...

I even found a useable campaign arc, which I'm fairly certain is a mishmash of a Terry Brooks novel and an old PC game, which I won't post a pic of as I may well try and shoehorn into my campaign, and one of the players might see.

Also fun are some of the character names:

(Nobby Natwort, fighter, was apparently one of mine)

(Whereas Thorin Orcbiter, traditionally named Dwarf, was one of my little brother's)

I also enjoyed being reminded of the serious, high-stakes drama of some of our games:

Which is odd, as I seem to recall being surprised when I read Critical Miss and discovered that not everyone took roleplaying as seriously as we did when we played...

Also in the box were some oddities, including the beginning of a set of rules for a post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk-esque RPG called Nucleus (although I honestly have zero recollection of writing this, so it's entirely possible past me stole chunks of it wholesale):

"There is a world. There has been a war, but the world refuses to acknowledge this. Above are gleaming cities, bright lights and splendour, but below, there are wastelands. Outlaws and mutants roam free there, with no law apart from the rule of the strong.
And there's another war coming".

Surprisingly, it isn't just a re-skinned DND (but don't get me wrong, it wears it's influences on its sleeve), but instead involved a mechanic whereby it was how much you beat a number by that determined the result - for example, in hand to hand combat, the amount the attacker's roll beat the defender's (including bonuses) was the amount of damage dealt, and armour prevented set points of damage; different classes used different 'Battle Dice', so a top class soldier rolling well on a d12 would most likely easily overcome the defences of the  hapless medic, who unless he rolled exceptionally well at character creation was only rolling a d6... 

Impressively, in the 3 and a half pages of scrawl past me managed to cram in character creation, basic combat, and six classes! Alas, movement was evidently deemed not important enough to discuss (although in the olden days we didn't use a battle grid, movement was assumed and combat was improvised), and the 'Fixer' class only gets one line of descriptive text, his HD, BD & BS (hit dice, battle dice & ballistic skill), and the rule "fixers can use the special fixer drugs", which I apparently then never got around to writing. Other oddities include the raw deal gotten by the medic - although characters only start with 3d6 x 10 credits, "medics must have a medi-kit, or they cannot be a medic". A medi-kit cost 100 credits. My favourite line from past me would have to be in the special rules for the Scout class, where it describes them getting to attack first by surprising their opponents, "(from behind walls, out of boxes etc)", a mental image that makes me chuckle...

Woo, that was a chunk of text almost as long as the chunk of text it was about! I also discovered a small chart that suggests than I might have invented something Thornwatch-esque, but again I have zero recollection of it...

In other procrastination news, I've been whiling away some time on the new D&D app Arena of War, whaling on everything from Beholders:

To Gelatinous Cubes:

If anyone else happens to be throwing hours into this terrible, terrible time sink, feel free to add me, my friend code is: Q2uSmc

Right, so it turns out suitable gems for a 100GP value are Amber and Garnet. What's that on the next page? A Bag of Devouring?


  1. O my... I remember that boxed set well. (and the ones before it.... *Showing his age*)
    Think I was reading about Drizzt Do'urden (s/p?) and tried to run my very own Icewind Vale adventure and ended up annoying my players so much as I tried so very hard to kill them at every turn.

    Ah..... those heady days of early teenage roleplaying.....

  2. There is something very special about finding stuff like this when you open an old game. Great to read about and brings back memories!