As I said in the previous post, before my game begins, I would like to outline the setting my adventure will take place in and the system of mechanics I will use. Since I was reading a lot of blogs bout D&D, I was certain I want to play that system in some kind of a fantasy setting. But before I went on to establish more details, I asked myself what atmosphere and flavor will my game have?
Do I want a game revolving around combat, or storytelling?
Should the setting be a high magic one or a low magic world?
Do I want epic, high adventure, where characters save the world from great evil, or should they be mere mortals, struggling to survive in dark, difficult times?
The answer came from discovering the old school D&D revival movement. The idea of bringing D&D back to it’s roots instantly clicked with me. Even though I’ve never played the original D&D, the experiences of the modern day gaming industry - the present trend of overemphasizing rules and copying mmorpgs (damn you 4e.!), is enough for me to sympathize with anyone who stands by the old ways.
As I was digging deeper into the OD&D scene, I stumbled upon some great articles (namely here and here) outlining the literary inspirations behind the original game. I found the concept of a pulp fantasy game, created by James Maliszewski, especially useful in putting my mind on the right track (the right track = reading Jack Vance, digging up my long forgotten Robert E. Howards). Thus I’ve decided that I want my game to have a darker, raw feel, much in the atmosphere of early Conan adventures, with PCs having to stand against an unfriendly and dangerous world. I’ve also pondered on how magical my world will be. I’ve decided that magic will be much feared and more associated with danger and evil, but all in all not very difficult to find (I do want my players to get magical treasure). Having accomplished that and having read Jack Vance’s Eyes of the Overworld, I came up with an idea of a world that is already over it’s prime, one that used to be populated by some powerful magical civilization which failed and fell under it’s own hubris. I think that is enough for now.
On the mechanics side of things, the encounter with Grognardia made me look for OD&D retro clones like Swords & Wizardry and OSRIC. I’ve dug through them and decided that in fact being unaccustomed to these rules, using them, as they are, would be unintuitive and might in fact slow the game down, instead of making it simpler. I gave that problem some thought, went through all D&D editions available and asked myself; what would be the most intuitive solution for me and my gamers? I arrived at the conclusion that most of my future players are well accustomed with d20 mechanics, it also struck me that using one dice for most rolls and checks would be least confusing to new players. However, my distaste for such 3e. table sprouting features as feats and huge lists of skills, led me to thinking that in fact the 3e. needs a lot of modifications. The final (I hope) conclusion is that I’ll try to make up my own d20 system, which will be more in tune with my recent old school interests.
Summing up. In posts to come I will try to focus on the description of new mechanics, that I am going to use in my game, as well as the description of the game’s setting.