Friday, November 20, 2009

Choose Your Weapon

I was looking at my copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia the other day, and trying to think of a way to expand the selection of weapons available to the various classes. I understand that D&D, at least in that incarnation, is to a considerable extent a game of playing archetypes. At the same time, as a guy who understands the urge to do something that just looks cool, I came up with a simple houserule:

Any class can use any weapon, but if it's not on their list of allowed weapons, it inflicts either the damage listed for the weapon, or their class hit die in damage, whichever is lower.

This allows you make that sword-swinging wizard you always wanted to play - Gandalf used a sword, right? - without stepping on the fighter's toes. Your magic-user can use that sword (or battleaxe, or glaive-guisarme, or whatever) as much as he wants; it just inflicts 1d4 damage instead of the damage listed.

It's a pretty sloppy solution, and one I'm not entirely happy with, but if you're dead-set on making a sword-swinging magician, it allows you to do so. I think I prefer this "damage cap" to dealing with the attack penalty ascribed to using weapons not normally allowed to your class. Still, if I was really going to start gutting the Rules Cyclopedia, I'd probably do a full-scale overhaul of the way classes use weapons, based on the weapon mastery system.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spread Thy Tentacles

Though it was originally conceived as a fairly by-the-numbers D&D style campaign for Castles & Crusades, the more I think about my Freed Lands setting, the more Cthulhu Mythos-influenced it becomes. I don't know if that's a byproduct of my reading a lot of Chaosium material since the BRP rulebook was released, or just a natural outgrowth of my conviction to have it be a setting more about terror and the unknown than one about magic.

I'm learning to embrace this tendency, but I think I'll stop short of going for full-on Yog-Sothothery for Freed Lands. I'm not interested in doing a fantasy Cthulhu game. I'm just reading a lot of the excellent Malleus Monstrorum, an encylopedic monster sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu, and letting some of the cooler entries influence my ideas about the place of the monstrous in my setting.

Fundamentally, though, it's still going to be a game about exploration of the unknown, rather than sanity-blasting things from beyond. Primarily, anyway: I'm not saying there's no place at all for sanity-blasting things from beyond. Just that it's not the focus of the campaign.

Yes, this is something of a vague post. More on this topic later.