Friday, November 4, 2016

The Princes of Dale (my OD&D one-shot for The Hobbit)

After moving to my current city I was greatly influenced by the local Gamemaster style at running games, especially in regard to his DIY attitude. In fact, we’re currently having a blast at his 2d20 campaigns – first Conan, now Mutant Chronicles (2d20 is an awesome system about which I hope to post more in the future). You just have to see my GM’s FATE variants and his character sheet in general to get an idea of how cool they are. So, based on a that I tried to run a one-shot of Hobbit but never go around to use it (in part because I discovered later that 90% of the local player base hate one-shots).

The idea started after posting my Burrows & Dragons variant for Swords & Wizardry. I really wanted to run a game that used 74's OD&D, but with a better graphic presentation and maybe even using the Chainmail rules for combat. Unfortunately I meet this excellent OD&D variant where your number of attacks scale with level (but keeping OD&D damage simplicity) and ditched Chainmail for a later occasion.

The one-shot was to be called ‘Princes of Dale’. The PCs were all famous adventurers of Dale. One of them really is the Prince of Dale, grandson of Bard Dragonslayer, coming back from a campaign in the East. Another is the daughter of Thranduil, who left her father’s Woodland Realm to prove herself; a third is the Heir of Erebor, Thorin III “Stonehelm”. The fourth is a lesser Istari who lost his fire magic battling an cold drake centuries ago (and who believes that the Fire Ring should have belonged to him). I also created a fifth character, a hobbit from the Took family, but never got to make his character sheet, because I realized no one would want to play with a hobbit (annoying, I know…).

The idea for the one-shot was that the party would meet secretly at the new Laketown, during nightfall, to brave the fearful ruins where Smaug fell some many years ago. Each character would have a personal goal – the lesser Istari wanted to find any remain dragonfire to regain his magic; the elven princess wanted the Black Arrow itself etc.

The system was basically a reskinned OD&D with a more abstract notion of Hit Points (who are treated here also as Morale), rules like ‘Shields shall be splintered!’ and other stuff I made (besides things like using ‘Combat That Scales’). I didn’t used Ability Scores (they’re practically unnecessary in OD&D). Checks that deal with Ability Scores would be solved by rolling 3d6 most of the time against a TN of 9 or 10 (can’t remember) or 4d6 if thing were difficult (and 2d6 for easy tasks, or things a character should be good, like dexterity for elves and constitution checks for dwarves).

Here’re are the character sheet (they're in portuguese). I tried to be minimalist in design (and OD&D is itself some very light rules system).