Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Basement Delving: Hollow Pursuits

I have absolutely no idea why I ever started buying Hollow World stuff. It may have been the tentative Blackmoor connection I guess, but in the end DA1 to DA4 are a lot more appropriate for that. In any case, I found these lying around:

Sadly I couldn't find the boxed set to make all of this "complete" for whoever thinks that Hollow World is something they'd like to take a look at. In any case, let me know if you want these six items, European destination preferred as before.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Basement Delving: French Connection

I don't have much to say about these except maybe for wondering about the color change for B2: Does pink really sell worse than light blue in France?

Did they have a orange version as well? Probably not. I wish I had X2 in French, that would be even more appropriate. But I guess B3 is not too bad either. Inside look:

Here's that blue B2:

And the look inside:

I have to say that the original B2 artwork is clearly higher on the awesome scale for me than these Holloway renditions. Anyone in dire need of french modules? I cannot really find a good use for these so if you're in Europe these can be yours for the price of shipping.

Basement Delving: The Japanese Borderlands

I am in Germany for the holidays and I ended up "delving" in my basement to see what "treasures" are down there. Here's a first round of interesting finds in terms of D&D stuff. Let's start with the Japanese version of B2: The Keep on the Borderlands.

First of all I have absolutely no idea why the heck I have this, but hey, I guess in a way there's really no need to know. My dwarven delver wouldn't care too much about the "why" of a bunch of rubies he finds either! As you can see it has the "classic" cover unlike many of the other translations of the module. It's kinda fun to take a peek inside, so here you go:

Note the glossy inside cover, I have never seen another version of B2 that was made like that. Also note that the colors are still pretty crisp, I think the scanned version available from WotC these days actually looks more faded. Classic Roslof drawing is classic.

Yep, translated reference tables too. Presumably even the Japanese version has the same stuff? Sadly I cannot tell. And to get an impression of the module proper:

I've always loved that drawing of the insane hermit, just pure awesome. If someone who reads Japanese finds this I'd be most interested in hearing how the descriptions translate back into English, i.e. whether there was any re-writing compared to the original to make things more culturally appropriate? Finally, the back cover:

And now that I've exploited this thing for my blog, I think I'll just give it away to someone who actually speaks/reads Japanese. Any takers? Bonus points if you're in Europe so the shipping charges don't kill me.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hit Dice for Archetypal Multiclassing

I've discussed the ins and outs of multiclassing and dualclassing before on this blog, and I'd like to go back to that topic for a quick update.

I have recently spent more time considering the wonderful Archetypal Multiclassing idea that Pat Bellavance put together for Castles & Crusades. (Brendan calls it class-and-a-half which is highly appropriate as well.)

Unlike the bastardized 3rd edition approach that I advocated in my earlier post, I very much like the effect that (a) your 5th-level fighter/wizard is very different from my 5th-level wizard/fighter and (b) the choice of a certain class combination is permanent and not constantly fudge-able.

However, there is one aspect of the original proposal where the choice of primary and secondary class doesn't make a difference: hit points. (What? You're surprised that I would have a complaint about hit points? :-)

If fighters have d10 hit dice and wizards have d4 hit dice, then both fighter/wizards and wizard/fighters have d6 hit dice. For one thing this clearly leans toward the lower hit-die class, wizard in this case. But more importantly it destroys the idea that fighter/wizards are better fighters than wizard/fighters. (Sorry, that last sentence is just horrible in terms of structure. But it's correct in terms of content so I'll leave it.)

For our particular example there's an easy way to fix this: Give wizards/fighters d6 hit dice but give fighter/wizards d8 hit dice instead. Here's what it works out to in comparison (for a "level 9" character):

Of course the problem now is that there are no suitable dice for all possible primary/secondary class combinations. What, for example, should be the difference between a fighter/cleric and a cleric/fighter? There's only one possible die between a d8 and a d10, namely a d9. And even if we had such a beast, it would still create the same hit-point distributions for both combination classes.

I played with a lot of options for this, everything from "always roll the larger HD" to "roll both HD, pick the larger (smaller) result if your primary HD is smaller (larger) than your secondary HD" and so on. Sadly none of them worked out the way I wanted them to. (Remember that the goal is for fighter, fighter/wizard, wizard/fighter, and wizard to all have distinct and sensible hit point distributions.) I was almost ready to give up when one last and simple option occurred to me:

"If only your primary level increases, roll your primary HD; if both your primary and secondary levels increase, roll your secondary HD."

That's it. Now let me immediately say that this rule is far from perfect. But it's the best darn thing I could come up with, everything else seemed to be a lot more broken. Here's what it works out to (for a "level 9" character again):

We get a clear distinction between single-classed characters and multi-classed characters. Compared to the "different die" solution above, the weaker primary class gains more from multi-classing (and of course the stronger primary class also loses more). The "problem" is that the difference between fighter/wizard and wizard/fighter while present is not as pronounced as I would have liked. (I much prefer the first approach in that regard, sad that it cannot be saved.)

For reference, an AD&D-style version of multiclassing would sit between the two distributions generated by this approach, not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyone have a better approach?