Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Dagger House Rules

My Dagger House Rules:
I hope they add to your fun!

I prefer Ascending AC, and made a To-Hit progression as follows:
Knight: add level to attack rolls
Dwarf and Elf: add level -1 to attack rolls
Halfling: add +1 for each Odd level
Wizard: add +1 for each Even level   

Class          To-Hit progression
Knight:       +1 +2 +3 +4 +5
Dwarf/Elf:   +0 +1 +2 +3 +4
Halfling:      +1 +1 +2 +2 +3
Wizard:      +0 +1 +1 +2 +2

I changed the Dwarf ability to find things to succeed on 1-5 on d6 instead of Automatic.  I made the Halfling sneak succeed on 1-4 on d6.  I also made Halflings immune to fear (because they’re, you know, Brave). :D

I made all the spells into 4 standard ranges, and added and tweaked the spells a little:
Ranges: Touch; Close 60’ (20); Medium 120’ (40); Far 240’ (80)
(so the 30' spells now reach 60' and fireball is a little shorter, it was the only one at 150', IIRC)

Only new/modified spells listed here:
1st level:
Cure Light Wounds: R Touch; D Instantaneous; The caster heals 1d6+1 Hit Points on themselves or someone else. Roll 1d6; on 1, 2 or 3, this spell also restores paralyzed characters.
Knock/Lock; R Close; D Instantaneous/Permanent; Opens any locked door, or magically locks any door.  The magic lock is permanent until the door is forced open or another Knock/Lock spell is cast on it.

Magic Missile: R Med; D Instantaneous; An enchanted arrow flies from the caster's pointed finger and unerringly strikes the target for 1d6+1 points of damage (no saving throw permitted). Add one missile at character levels 3 and 5. Each can hit different targets or the same one.

Shield: R Close; D 1 minute / caster level; If cast on self, adds 1d6 + caster level to AC. If cast on another, adds 1d6 to target’s AC.

2nd Level:
Pyrotechnics: R Med; D Referee’s discretion, usually instant or 2 minutes per caster level; This spell allows the caster to manipulate fire in one of several ways; by igniting a small flame such as a candle, lantern wick or pinecone; to snuff out a small fire or to change an existing fire to emit think smoke or scorching sparks, or to
make it brighter or dimmer; or stoke any fire and make it grow. The Referee may allow this spell to cause a burning fire take the shape of a rolling sphere that the caster can control with their mind.

Read Languages: R Self only; D 1d6+level hours; The caster may read any written language.  (I'm a big proponent of literacy, LOL)

3rd Level:
Dispel Magic: R Close; D Instantaneous; At the Referee’s discretion, this spell cancels permanent magical spell effects (but not curses) on a character, monster, or item, or in an area 10ft x 10ft. Powerful artifacts may resist this spell entirely or regain their power after a while. Examples: dispel the webs from a Web spell, or a Magic Wall (or section, at Referee’s discretion).

Water Breathing: R Touch; D (Caster's level +1d6) x 10 minutes; Allows target to breathe water the same as they would air.

4th Level:
Cure Serious Wounds: R Touch; D Instantaneous; The caster heals 4d6+4 Hit Points on themselves or someone else and always heals paralyzed characters and cures diseases.

Magic Wall: R Short; D 2 hours; Creates a wall of force, fire or ice up to 20 ft high, 50 ft long and 3 ft thick. The Force wall is invisible and has 10 hit points per caster level for purposes of drilling or
hacking through it. The fire or ice inflicts 2d6 points of fire or cold damage to creatures within 10 ft of the wall. A Saving throw for half damage is allowed. The wall may be straight, curved, or even a ring.
Wizard Senses: R Long D 1 hour; Allows caster to send a mobile invisible “eye” to scout for them. The eye moves at the caster’s running speed. At fifth level, the eye also hears.

5th Level
Minor Creation: R Close; D permanent or special; This spell allows the caster to create real objects of normal quality from nothing, with approval of the referee. Guidelines include a feast for four people,
 rations and water for six or eight people, one suit of armor or one or two hand weapons, a dozen or so arrows, a small tent, 50 ft of rope or two or three sets of plain clothes. The Referee may allow the
caster to create tiny creatures like hamsters, rats or frogs, or even a small servile humanoid, though any creature should clearly be a magical figment and/or last only 1 hour + 10 additional minutes for each of the caster’s levels.

Solid Wall: R Short; D 2 hours; Creates a wall of stone or iron up to 30 ft high, 70 ft long and 3 ft thick. The wall may be straight, curved, or even a ring. These walls are too strong to damage except with exceptional force, at the Referee’s Discretion.

Telekinesis: R Medium; D 1 hour; The caster can move objects using mental power alone. The amount of weight they can lift and move is up to 50 pounds per level.

I also added scrolls, but to cast them, you have to roll 1d6, and roll equal or less than the spell level -5 (so no 5th level scrolls).  If a roll fails and is an even number, the scroll blows up.

Review: Dagger Kid's RPG by Brave Halfling Publishing.

A short review of Dagger Kids' RPG:
Next post: house-rules (see? it's THAT good).

In a word, Dagger is Superb! GET DAGGER if you have kids or even if you enjoy rules-light gaming as an adult. It uses any OSR game as a base, so you can use Descending or Ascending AC, whichever you like better. But even if you don't have your "big" books with you, You can play Dagger on the fly, so it may serve as a good, cheap, on the go pick up game or a simple game to introduce new players or to take camping. But to introduce kids to tabletop RPGs, it's perfect.

I think I'm becoming minimalist in my gaming preferences because Dagger has no Attributes and I find that liberating! That's right, no STR, DEX, CON etc... how is this possible?  You know what? it totally works!

Dagger is designed to distill OSR/D&D down to the minimum to make it accessible for kids as young as 5.  I dare say it does this flawlessly.  This Sunday, I 'ran a combat' with my 5 year old daughter, and she basically got it on the first try.  She just turned 5 in January and it was a hoot.  I can totally see this working for kids 5-10. I can see how using figures would totally help with younger kids.

The spell list captures the iconic spells of the game, and the rule book states it's a suggested list.  With only 4 spells of each level (levels 1-5) you may want to add more, and it's super easy to do (which was the bulk of my house rules). You can basically just plop in spells from from S&W, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, C&C, D&D Oe, 1e... not hard to fudge it on the fly even. That said, since this is for 5 to 10 year olds, keeping a tight focus (that is, short spell list) is wise. Also, with no Ability stats, spells like (Bull's) Strength and Haste simply won't work.

The characters are simple but effective at capturing the essence of each class, and here, as you may expect, Dwarf and Elf are classes.  You can of course, call the Knight an Amazon or Warrior Princess or the Wizard a Fairy Princess or whatever any player wants, really.  They can be a Gorn or zombie, even, and the rules support this on the fly make-believe fun; as they should!

So in brief, Dagger does what it sets out to do, and it does it well.  It's great as an introduction to gaming for the young or for older kids or even grown ups who are afraid of dealing with a ton of rules.

              Recap of playing with my five year old daughter (no story play, just a combat):

"Blue Knight" aka "Sir Mikey" and "Red Knight" aka "Fight-Fight" (we have the real figures but I thought the photos from the net were better) took on Nightmare Moon (a villain From My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic (which it must be said, doesn't suck)) with the help of a benevolent giant beaver (I know, WTF?).

So I statted each fighter as a 1st level knight, the beaver as a halfling, and gave the evil Pegasus/Unicorn 3 HD... All damage was d6, and I set a d6 with the 6 facing up for the knight's hit points.
The dice started rolling, then my wife's eyes...

It was close; Fight-Fight was reduced to 2 hp and the beaver took a hit too, but the knights prevailed, "knocked out" the monster, took the treasure (which was the dice) and marched home singing. Naturally, the knights then shared the treasure with the community of nice beavers because they catch fish for the knights.  :-)

Aside: isn't the imagination of a five-year-old AWESOME?!  This was approaching Axe Cop territory. What a joy to be able to approach the unbridled wildness of a child's imagination once again!

My point is, never having played with dice this way, my daughter could grasp the concepts, and learn about taking turns, sequencing, counting and subtraction and addition... this wouldn't take the place of home-schooling, but it really confirms what we already know: RPG people are just smarter, and RPGs make people smarter. :-)

My Five Year Plan is to make Dagger games happen a lot this year, then in 2-3 years segue into S&W White Box and X-plorers (my modules should publish by years end), and eventually into Castles & Crusades.  WOOT.  I'll save Crypts & Things and Paranoia for College.

We can be an odd lot...

Tabletop RPG players, I mean.

One of the best compliments to a game seems to be, "it's easy to house-rule!"  So it's like, "I love it... I only made a dozen or so changes" or it's like the old joke, "I love you, now change." You'll find on the Troll Lord Games forum a few postings of house-rules that are pages long.

But whenever I see people do this, it's clearly with love and enthusiasm for the game they're tweaking, so it's a good sign, I think.  The games with no house rules aren't getting played much, I guess?

(it's just like a good segue) I recently got a copy of the Dagger Kids RPG, and love it!  Review in the next post. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As if...

... I needed ANOTHER reason to love Taco Bell!

LOL! Rock on, venerable party people!

Years later, I still laugh at this old gem:

Aside: Am I the only American Dude who didn't watch the game?  We had a small electrical fire and a lot going on in general, so I just didn't prioritize it this year.  If the Giants were playing, that would have been different.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Best Timesuck EVER!


You've seen it countless other places because IT IS SO FRICKIN' COOL!!!!!