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Friday, August 22, 2008

My AD&D 2nd House Rules Part 2 - Character Generation/Advancement

I am doing these two bits together as neither one of them is that complex or that complicated. Or that long. However, some of my decisions are also based on the campaign style I plan to run, which is "troupe" style. A reminder that I will probably alternate between AD&D 1 and 2 terms for the core 4 classes.

The basics of character generation are the same. 4d6 take 3 highest, assign in any slot you want. However I am using the Basic D&D 2 for 1 deal with some tweaks. STR, DEX, INT, and WIS may have 2 points subtracted to add 1 point to any other stat.

(This is just quick, easy, and eases the pain of a really bad roll.)

Maximum Hit Points for 1-3rd level characters, roll from there on, but 1s become 2s.

(I don't like early level player characters dying to stupid bad luck. Max HPs for the first 3 levels gives them a little buffer, and the 1s become 2s guarantee a name level Fighter will have at minimum 42 HPs. In regular AD&D and D&D its just too easy to die! I would bet many people who love the idea of RPGs quit playing the minute they lost their first character. The Basic sets sold in huge quantities, possibly in the low millions. How many active RPGers are there today? Yeah. Heroic adventure doesn't mean dying to a house cat.)

Level 1 characters roll as normal for gold, all using PHB rules for such. Level 2-3 get maximum starting gold. Gear and equipment is taken from PHB/Combat & Tactics (Armor and standard gear from the former, weapons from the latter.) even if the character is from another world with specialized gear choices. In the event the class or race gets special equipment from their lands, they may buy it initially but will have to either have the skills to make replacement gear, or pay someone to do it for them.

(This keeps gear simple, but allows the massive choice in weapons from Combat & Tactics. For the racial and class stuff, this allows your Kender to have their Hoopaks and your Samurai to have their Katanas. However they better either know how to make their own replacements, or hope to heck they can find these rare weapons here in the Forgotten Realms. And for Krynn folk they will just have to get used to using gold instead of steel for money. And Dark Sun peoples are just gonna prefer nice reliable steel weapons and armor over the more primitive stuff on Athas anyhow. We can assume they have acclimatized to their new environment before they become PCs.

Common is assumed to be the same language throughout the D&D universe.

(If your PC cannot talk with other PCs why would they be there? This is just keeping it simple.)

Players get three XP levels to build their characters. This can be 1 3rd level, 3 1sts, or a 2nd and a 1st. Outside of special situations the player may NEVER control more than this many characters in the game, and all replacement characters upon PC death come in as this level. (So if your 9th level Wizard dies and he was initially selected as a 2nd level character, your new PC replacement has to be another 2nd level. If your 1st level character makes it to the same and had died instead, your new PC would be 1st level.)

(Getting people to play oldschool games on GASP! a weekday is hard enough. Most modules require 6 Player Characters. Having to sit around most of a game because your sole PC is dead sucks. 1st level characters are generally unfun to play. 1st level Wizards are generally unfun to play. This takes care of all of those problems in one fell swoop.)

Weapon and Nonweapon Proficiencies are used with the exception that ONLY Fighters may Specialize or use Weapon Mastery unless the class/kit specifically mentions being allowed to do so.

(This is because Fighters sort of NEED a little boost. And a Fighter should fight better than a Paladin who has other stuff to learn and do besides just shoving sharp pointy things through soft squishy things that scream and bleed!)

Dual Classing is NOT allowed, but Multiclassing is. Demihumans who single class may advance their Prime Requisite's bonus in extra levels beyond their maximum. This is only for Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Thief classes. (Thus a character with a 14 in STR, which is a +1 modifier, could be one level higher as a single classed Fighter.)

(Dual Classing is slow and complicated. Multiclassing is a nice option for the longer lived Demihuman races. The Prime Requisite thing loosens the belt of the already improved level limits from AD&D 1 and Basic to 2nd ed. I really don't care if Gary wanted things Human centered. Lots of people love these other races more than playing a Human. Hell, White Wolf has founded its own niche about people NOT playing humans for the most part!)

Race and Class selections: Any 2nd edition race, class, or kit may be selected provided the DM has the chance to look over the race and class first. From 1st edition Dragonlance Adventures and Oriental Adventures characters are allowed excepting the Orders of High Sorcery, Barbarians, and Ninjas.

(There will be more modified or disallowed choices as I see what my players pick out. The DL Orders of High Sorcery are too tied to Krynn, a little too complex, and the basic fact there is no way for them to be legally trained on Toril anyhow. Barbarians were always terrible in 1st ed AD&D as they effectively can't even work with spellcasters till 5th level or so. Ninjas are a wierd multi class thing that is again too complicated for what they bring to the table. I may see how Complete Book of Ninjas does it though and allow them however.)

Alignments for PCs are Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral.

(I like heroic games. The lesser alignments are mostly picked by PCs in order to be jerks, and not to try to actually roll play an interesting character. Plus in a troupe system this eases up having to worry about one player's character doing things his other characters would not approve of as much. I would honestly prefer to just use Palladium's alignment system which is more realistic, has better guidelines and such, but daring to copy it would bring the wrath of Seimbeida's insanely protective IP policies, and would require more DM houseruling and converting for classes and modules. And my house rules are there to streamline and codify what I want to do with AD&D. Not to add more stuff that isn't needed.)

Until Name Level, PCs do not need to pay to train up a level, though they do need 24 hours to reflect on what they have learned with no serious interruption or in a dangerous position. For name level it takes one whole month, and 10,000 gold pieces.

(I hate training times and costs for advancement, but don't want DING GRATZ of an MMORPG either. We will assume that PCs are practicing and are actually advancing subtly all the time. Its just one day after a lot of rest and thinking things over they put all they have learned into action! For name level its much more important. You MATTER now. You can be a leader of men, a living legend. A land holding minor noble. This takes time and money. Its basically saying your PC is taking care of all of these things behind the scenes and it takes a good month. You get to know the right people, and do the right things. It should probably be more roleplayed than just handwaved, but this is better for troupe play or people who don't care that much. And some of it could still be collaborated between the DM and player for new plots and story hooks.)

At Levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 PCs gain a single perk. These perks are nifty abilities which make your character stand out.
These perks will include:
Fast Casting (Reduce casting time by 2 segments.)
Evasive Casting (Be allowed DEX bonus while casting a spell.)
Nimble Charge (Be allowed to charge without going in a straight line.)
Point Blank Fighting (Be allowed to use ranged weapons and pole arms in base to base fighting.)
Attribute Point Gain
Trusted Companion (A new playable character who does not get to take perks, but is otherwise a new PC to use. Starts 5 levels below the PC selecting this perk, though choosing it at 5th level gives you a 1st level. Must be the same class as the PC.)
Inherited Weapon or Armor (+1 Weapon, Shield, or Armor allowing for gear normally not found in the campaign. Can be taken multiple times to boost the same item.)
New Weapon Training (Allowed to use 1 weapon your class normally is prohibited from learning at the DM's approval. Must still take the proficiency to use it however.)
Shield Training (Either be allowed Bucklers, or gives larger shields +1 AC if already allowed to use shields.)
Armor Training (Allowed to use next best armor your class is normally prohibited from using without any penalties, or reduces Movement penalty by 1 square (or 1 inch or 5 feet..) for one selected armor type.)

(Players like mechanical rules to differentiate their PC from others. This is a simple, and not too overpowering way of doing so. It won't satisfy your average D20 Fighter Playing Powergaming Feat Fiend, but its enough for most folks I hope! Plus the ten I chose add some logical realism to AD&D and its sometimes silly class equipment restrictions without being silly.)

Well, there we go for installment number two! Next time: Magic. Already we are 100 pages into the Black Book 2nd edition PHB. A lot either stays the same or just is ignored in my rules. My choices try to keep the game as close to what it already is, with only the fat and gristle removed. Combat and some of the adventuring sections are gonna be the biggest changed areas.

I am debating if I will change anything in the classes, mainly the Paladin's Detect Evil ability, and Thief armor penalties. Most likely Detect Evil will be nerfed a bit, and armor penalties for Thieves dropped entirely due to being more pointless meh. Not to mention Thieves need a little boost IMHO.

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