To Crawl or not to Crawl

Tor and I continue our discussion of his embryonic, not-5th-anymore fantasy adventure design. We talk about inspiration/behavior mechanics, the large context for play I call the Crawl (with juicy game references), and the importance of making it your own, gloriously embarrassing fantasy.

About this point, you may be asking, “What kind of game consulting is this, anyway? You haven’t once asked what the options for character types are, how you roll to hit, or any of the important stuff!”

First, yes, I have, if you look at many of the details I’ve invoked per explicit topic. The aim is to get Tor shaping all that stuff as a consequence of the discussion, rather than to force him to choose and get stuck with it as part of the discussion. Listen for mentions of specific, crunchy methods scattered throughout.

Second, historically, most of those things have been designed either as imitation (or deliberate “not like that,” which is itself still imitation) or as gimmick. I’m getting at what all such game-play operations are for, and what they’re supposed to feel like and result in. Once that’s in place, or the wheels are turning at least, then hitting upon a specific mechanic to use or operation/resource to bring forward becomes much more intuitive and personal, and in a lot of ways, not my business as consultant.

Whoa! The first Youtube upload didn’t work right. I fixed it – thanks to Love D, who called it to my attention.

4 responses to “To Crawl or not to Crawl”

  1. Gold(en) experience

    At the end of the clip Ron wonder when gold stopped bringing experience points in D&D.

    I am not familiar with previous editions, but in AD&D, gold still brought xps, but in a lesser amount than monster killed (it really depended on the amount of gold the characters found, I am comparing the treasure tables with the monsters xp tables, but the GM is not bound by the treasure tables. In my experience most GMs gave less treasure).

    AD&D had very high costs deducted by the character's money for "training" between levels, so gold was counted twice, but I know no GM that used these rules.  (I doubt that even Gygax used more than half of the mass of useless rules he did fill the GM Guide with)

    In the 2nd edition of AD&D, experience for gold pieces was an optional rule ("A$ an option, the DM can award XP for the cash value of non-magical treasures . One XP can be given per gold piece, or equivalent. found . However, overuse of this option can increase the tendency to give out too much treasure in the campaign"), one of a lot of optional rules about experience (like giving xps to wizards resolving problems with spells or creating potions).

    I think that in the case of this rule the book did follow the tendencies at the tables, there was a lot of talk about "realism" at the time, the general idea was that too many GMs were too generous with treasures, and a lot of GMs probably stopped using these rules because they were seen as "not realistic".

    • Since I missed AD&D Second

      Since I missed AD&D Second Edition entirely, and the entire run-up to it like Wilderness Encounters or The Forgotten Realms, I was pretty surprised at what I perceived as really aggressive changes in 3.0. In other words, as far as D&D was concerned, I was a time-traveler from 1983 holding my copies of Against the Cult of the Reptile God and In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords, wondering what on earth had happened to the half-orcs (they looked like handsome Hulks now, not vile skulking slobs), and where the assassins were. That's like, 75% of my interest in playing, gone.

      I had been prepared for lots of the changes simply because I was familiar with Cook and Tweet, but in retrospect I am surprised at my surprise for those things I considered baseline. Every class had the same experience point requirements per level? No racial level caps (I was so used to everyone ignoring them it didn't occur to me they should be textually changed)? And what was this about armor class, it was all backwards!

      Anyway, since I'd paid no attention from the early 80s until 2000, removing gold from experience points was the biggest shock. I'd missed the whole gradual run-up to it, and was still thinking as back when D&D players proudly stayed "loyal" to the concept and everyone else sniffed and snarked.

      There's another interesting twist that bears investigation. For a while, I think in the wilds of non-canonical "we do it our way" play that didn't get into 2nd edition much, people sometimes played by assigning a set number of gold pieces for character creation … basically to be used as points. You converted however many you wanted into experience points to arrive at a level, and you bought whatever you wanted based on things like scroll costs for spells, and the listed costs for magic items. Given, say, 10,000 XP to do this with, you could build a pretty interesting character and with several people, end up with a pretty interesting party. Note that since each monster was rated in XP too, that meant playing a monster character, festooned with whatever armor and magic items you could afford too, was perfectly viable.

  2. Excellent points about resources

    I've never thought of the characters' lives and carrying capacity as resources before. Very interesting, just like the rest of the video!

    The focus on resource management helps me better understand the effects of automatically replenishing powers (encounter powers in D&D 4e, spells in DCC etc.). They operate on the tactical level only, not the strategic one.

Leave a Reply