engine
 member, 452 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 15:50
OSR Game?
In reply to EvilGenius (msg # 1):

I'm actually somewhat interested. I'll look into the rules when I get a chance. Do the updates do anything to, say, balance the classes at low levels, or do wizards still need a crossbow at low levels and have the capability to dominate at high levels? Does every party still require a cleric or other magical healer?
EvilGenius
 member, 60 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 16:26
OSR Game?
The updates mostly make play a little smoother and easier.  AC is ascending. Ability bonuses are standard across all abilities. Races are not their own classes.  This kind of thing.

Clerics actually don't start out with any spells.  They get their first spell at 2nd level.

The balance for the classes is achieved by making some classes easier to advance in.  Thieves are 20th level about the time Mages are 13th or so.  Although, balance isn't a huge concern, frankly.  Mages probably do end up a bit more powerful at the highest levels but it isn't as pronounced as it was in later games. Mages are 1 spell wonders at low levels but their attack bonus at low levels is the same as everyone else.

The play at low levels is really a fight to stay alive in order to reach levels with some power. Charging off into battle without a good plan is a good way to die horribly. There's a sense that clever gameplay and using the environment is one of the major points of the game. Also, hirelings and henchmen are expected, especially at the beginning to keep everyone from dying.
engine
 member, 454 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 16:49
Re: OSR Game?
EvilGenius:
Clerics actually don't start out with any spells.  They get their first spell at 2nd level.

Ah, yes. I forgot about that. But at low levels, death is quick enough that there's not necessarily much chance for healing. At higher levels is healing only through magic, meaning someone needs to cast spells, or use an item, or there needs to be a stock of potions on hand?

EvilGenius:
The balance for the classes is achieved by making some classes easier to advance in.  Thieves are 20th level about the time Mages are 13th or so.

Does that means a 20th level thief is generally as useful to a party as a 13th level mage?

Characters might be at different levels as play progresses, but they're all around level 1 and 2 at about the same time. Are they all equally able to "be" their class at those levels? A wizard without any spells is arguably not a wizard.

EvilGenius:
Charging off into battle without a good plan is a good way to die horribly.

Makes sense, but it sounds like a lot of horrible dying is expected. If someone did this, and their character died, how long would they expect to wait before rejoining with a new character?

If death occurs at higher levels, does a character come in at 1st level? If they gain XP at a rate similar to that of higher-level party members they'd come up fast, I guess - if they can survive the threats the party is taking on.

EvilGenius:
There's a sense that clever gameplay and using the environment is one of the major points of the game.

Is character cleverness limited by an ability score like Int or Wis? That is, can a fighter be as clever as a wizard?

EvilGenius:
Also, hirelings and henchmen are expected, especially at the beginning to keep everyone from dying.

Could you clarify on how hirelings and henchmen help with that. I never understood that even when I played basic D&D.
engine
 member, 455 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 16:59
OSR Game?
In reply to EvilGenius (msg # 4):

Some of those questions are going to be GM preference, I think. If you want to refer me to the rules for any other questions, that's fine.
EvilGenius
 member, 61 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 17:44
OSR Game?
While delving into the dungeon or on the adventure, yes, most healing comes either through the Cleric or through magic.  There isn't a "healing surge" or a "short rest" benefit unless it gets houseruled.

I think a 20th level Thief is easily as useful as a 13th level Mage.

At low levels I see your point. The Mage is limited quite a bit in his mage-ness (at least as it concerns casting spells). This is indeed a thing. Whether you like that or not is a bit of a personal preference.

If characters die, how fast the player rejoins is very situational. Do they want to try to resurrect the old character and play one of the NPC's in the meanwhile? Do they want to roll up a new 1st level character? Do they want to take over one of the NPC's as their character? If I'm the GM then my primary goal would be that the player is never NOT involved in play in some way.  How we do that depends on the situation.

When I talk about cleverness, I'm talking about player cleverness. The character's abilities don't limit player cleverness at all.

Hirelings and henchmen do two things, especially at low levels. First, they spread out the damage from enemies, making it more likely for everyone to survive. Second, they tilt the action economy more in the players's favor. Instead of a party of 4 having 4 actions in a round, with 2 hirelings they get 6 actions. That's 50% more changes to do damage to the enemy in a fight.  You might go up levels slightly slower but you minimize your risk in each fight.
engine
 member, 457 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 17:58
Re: OSR Game?
EvilGenius:
While delving into the dungeon or on the adventure, yes, most healing comes either through the Cleric or through magic.  There isn't a "healing surge" or a "short rest" benefit unless it gets houseruled.

Okay. I know that some "classic feel" games have tried new things with healing, so I wondered. My first ever character was a cleric, so they have a special place in my heart, I just find it a bummer that they are almost required.

EvilGenius:
If I'm the GM then my primary goal would be that the player is never NOT involved in play in some way.  How we do that depends on the situation.

Cool. I feel like some GMs can feel like players who they deem to have been too reckless or not clever enough should have to "sit out" for a while, which leads (in my view) to so much overcaution that not much adventurous stuff is allowed to happen.

EvilGenius:
When I talk about cleverness, I'm talking about player cleverness. The character's abilities don't limit player cleverness at all.

Excellent.

EvilGenius:
Hirelings and henchmen do two things, especially at low levels.

Cool. When I originally played Basic D&D, I didn't understand that purpose. Would they be player controlled or GM controlled?

Thanks for indulging my questions.
EvilGenius
 member, 62 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 18:23
Re: OSR Game?
quote:
Cool. When I originally played Basic D&D, I didn't understand that purpose. Would they be player controlled or GM controlled?


That is a great big "It depends."

As a GM I like having players control most of these kinds of characters. It lessens my load and it gets players familiar with them in case they end up playing them due to character death. However, there are some caveats. These are hirelings, not loyal family members. If players start playing them as suicidally helpful, I tend to take back control of the NPC.
engine
 member, 458 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 18:34
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to EvilGenius (msg # 9):

Right, so it's not just "you go check out the trap-filled corridor while we wait here." Though I imagine they're a nice way for a GM to clue in the party to, say, the fact that there are traps, by cutting down a henchman, rather than a PC. That would entail a little bit of GM control.
EvilGenius
 member, 63 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 18:44
Re: OSR Game?
Ja. Exactly. :-)
engine
 member, 459 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 18:48
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to EvilGenius (msg # 11):

Cool. I'm interested if you set it up.
Hunter
 member, 1388 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 21:10
Re: OSR Game?
EvilGenius:
Mages are 1 spell wonders at low levels but their attack bonus at low levels is the same as everyone else.


I personally was never a fan of how under/overpowered magic users turned out to be.   At low levels, the magic user was a burden.    At high levels, the magic user didn't really need the rest of the party.
engine
 member, 460 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 21:15
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to Hunter (msg # 13):

What I've come to discover is that some tables somehow managed to sidestep that issue. I gather that it's a combination of the GM keeping tabs on it and the players (particularly the caster character) keeping themselves in check. Many of us would prefer not to have to rely on that, but the overall issue isn't intractable, especially if a group can talk and work it out.

Probably not worth going into it in depth here, but I'd discuss it with anyone who wanted to over rmail.
EvilGenius
 member, 64 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 22:08
Re: OSR Game?
I don't think the issue is as pronounced with Basic Fantasy.  Mages get to be versatile and powerful but they aren't juggernauts of destruction.  If they know what danger is coming and have time to plan, they are hell on wheels.  If they are surprised, they are in trouble.
locojedi
 member, 156 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 22:52
Re: OSR Game?
There's an Orison and Cantrip expansion that gives low-level casters some fun things to do. Having run a BFRPG game here, I would encourage you to start your characters at 3rd level. If not, the players are so cautious that it really takes a long time to get into and out of a fight. It's a great system, probably my favorite OSR. In my game we added 5e's Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic as well as a few "Bennies" now and then to offset RPOL's brutal dice-roller a little bit.

Good luck!
engine
 member, 461 posts
Wed 4 Oct 2017
at 23:05
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to locojedi (msg # 16):

You say they're cautious. Why is that? It sounds like character loss is just a speed bump at low levels, not much of a calamity.

I'd be much more cautious with my 13th level wizard, lest a 20th level thief sneak up on him.
engine
 member, 462 posts
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 01:13
Re: OSR Game?
Which rule files should we download.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 04:28, Thu 05 Oct.

EvilGenius
 member, 65 posts
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 03:31
Re: OSR Game?

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was moot, at 04:29, Thu 05 Oct.

locojedi
 member, 157 posts
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 05:26
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to engine (msg # 17):

Sort of depends on how the game is framed and the amount of immersion I think. Since BFRPG and other OSR systems don't have a bunch of crunch, players often put some nice effort into their back stories and whatnot. If players understand up front that character loss is common, then they don't tend to flesh out characters as much. On the other hand, if they do put in some effort, they don't want to lose that 5HP character... so they act cautiously.

Certainly depends on the DM and the game's expectations.
Justisaur
 member, 45 posts
 Dungeon Master since 1979
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 16:10
Re: OSR Game?
Magic Users in BFRPG indeed do start with only one spell - and only know 2, one being read magic.  But the spells are a bit more useful than 1e on average, though it is possibly you could end up knowing only Read Magic & Detect Magic depending on the method the DM chooses for assigning that 2nd spell.

They can create scrolls from first level too, though the chances and cost make it probably not a good idea to try until much higher level (15% + 5% per caster level + Int - 10% per spell level and 500gp per spell level and 1 week + 1 day per spell level, so a 1st level M-U with 15 int would have only 25% chance of making a 1st level scroll after spending 500 gp and 8 days trying to do it.)

Magic Users can learn spells from other's books unlike B/X where you're stuck with what you get.  That too takes 500 gp per spell level to scribe it in your book, and there doesn't seem to be a 'free' spell on level up like there is in other editions.  The number of spells available is far less than other editions too.

Unlike d20, they can't use crossbows, only daggers and staves.  They can throw flaming oil though for d8 for 2 rounds, and it only costs 1 gold each!  I love throwing oil, seems far more in line with what an M-U should be doing than shooting crossbows, but that's the way I started so I might be biased.

On the high end they max out spell level at 6 instead of 9, so they don't get quite so many and quite so overwhelming spells as do M-Us in 1e, and the number of spell slots doesn't get quite so crazy, at 20th level they have a total of 37, vs. 1e's 72 (which I found too many to keep track of by the time I got my M-U to 17th level in 1e).

The other thing in old school games (at least most of them) that keeps M-Us from being overwhelmingly powered compared to other classes at high level is that saves get better and better at high level, and unlike d20, there's little if any way to make spells harder to save against, and lots of ways to make it easier.  So in 3e you might have a high level wizard who applies a -7 to saves against his spells, and a fairly bad save for a fighter, so the fighter might only save on a 15.  Wheras at high level in old school the fighter is probably saving on a 6, and might have magic items which could lower that down to 3 or even only 1.  I never really ran into the problem of M-Us being overpowering in my 1e or 2e days even at very high level due to that.  There's very few spells that have no save, and they are usually less effective due to that.

I'd generally agree that M-Us are a bit underpowered at very low level in Old School, but less so in BFRPG than some of the others, and relatively everyone is.
engine
 member, 463 posts
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 16:24
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to Justisaur (msg # 21):

Good run down, thanks. I had certainly forgotten about saves, partly because I never understood their general "progression."
locojedi
 member, 158 posts
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 18:31
Re: OSR Game?
That's well said Justisaur, I would just add that I found the Orisons and Cantrips add-on to be very helpful for newer players who choose a Cleric or Magic-User. It lets them feel magicky even after they've used their one or two spells at lower character levels.

There are lots of ways to customize BFRPG, there's numerous add-ons on the website and the especially good ones are in the 'Showcase' section. Extra classes, races, etc. Very modular.

I ran a few one-shot games for troubled teens who had never played before, and they picked right up on the game. Similarly, I ran Savage Worlds and 5e for similar groups and those didn't seem to be quite as intuitive for first-timers.

The other nice thing is that there's really not much work to convert almost anything D&D or Clone to Basic Fantasy. The numbers are similar enough that unless you're a real by-the-book sort of person, it's easy to convert on the fly. I ran a few old 1E adventures with BFRPG rules and the only thing I did was convert Monsters' Descending AC to Ascending AC.
Justisaur
 member, 46 posts
 Dungeon Master since 1979
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 20:16
Re: OSR Game?
In reply to locojedi (msg # 23):

I agree with using cantrips (and more like 3e ones that can do a little more), I do in my own games.  I do also like giving an extra spell or two at 1st level, but those are both house rules.  I love playing M-Us and I'm fine with my 1 spell... (as long as it is something a little more useful than affect normal fires).

I kind of like that 1st level clerics only get to turn undead and fight conceptually, they fit the holy knight archetype better that way. But then I'm not a big fan of clerics.  I like 2e specialty priests best for that kind of character.  Give me my specialty priest of Thor who can call down lighting and throw hammers (and not much else).
tulgurth
 member, 180 posts
 35 years of gaming
 Still going strong
Fri 6 Oct 2017
at 19:21
Re: OSR Game?
I would have to download the material, but i would be interested as well
EvilGenius
 member, 66 posts
Fri 6 Oct 2017
at 23:57
Re: OSR Game?
Given the amount of interest, I'll likely start a game then.  It won't be immediately though. I'm in the middle of starting a game and I don't want to start two at the exact same time.
tulgurth
 member, 181 posts
 35 years of gaming
 Still going strong
Sat 7 Oct 2017
at 15:32
Re: OSR Game?
Good, that will gibe me time to scan the rules.  What rule books should i get?  I have the basic rule book and a couple of others for the players.