View Full Version : OD&D-inspired Norse-flavored retroclone (WIP; PEACH)

The Troubadour
2013-02-18, 08:09 PM
Hey there, guys! So, these here are my collected musings on how I would use OD&D - or mostly OD&D, at least - for a Viking-style game. Any comments and criticisms are more than welcome!

So, without further ado:

Basic assumptions about Class: All Classes reflect traditional literary archetypes of the Norse sagas, and all PCs are considered automatically exceptional, just like the protagonists of most sagas. Thus, a commoner should be wary of messing with even a low-Strength Wizard.

Ability Scores and Modifiers: Done in a similar manner to Rules Cyclopedia: -1 for 6-8, no modifier for 9-11, +1 for 12-14, +2 for 15-17, +3 for 18-20.
The modifiers will be used for different things in combat, though. Read on.
For character creation: all abilities start at 6. The player then distributes 40 points among them at a 1-1 basis, except when increasing an ability beyond 14, in which case it's on a 2-1 basis.

Basic Task Resolution System: Inspired by Chainmail: roll 2d6, add the appropriate modifiers, must roll 7 or higher. Rule of thumb: easier tasks gain a +2 bonus, harder tasks suffer a -2 penalty, and very hard tasks suffer a -4 penalty.

Skills: I'm still writing things down, but there are three basic assumptions:
1) Anyone can do anything - a Fighter can sneak around, a Wizard can break down doors, etc. Skills will make you better at something, but they are not required for anything. Also, no class-exclusive skills.
2) A character's knowledge/Skill list is based on two things: his Class and his background/occupation (woodsman, craftsman, etc.).
3) All those miscellaneous adventuring actions detailed in the Basic and Expert rulebooks and in Rules Cyclopedia - climbing, swimming, searching for secret doors, listening for noises, etc. - will be resolved using the Basic Task Resolution system and/or player ingenuity. Here's a summary of those actions I've found so far (not counting the occupations of Specialist retainers, like Sage, Armorer, etc., or Thief Skills):

Finding Clues/Search for Secret Doors
Break Things (Doors, Locks, etc.)/Force Things (Doors, Bars, etc.) Open
Listen for Noises
Identifying Magical Items
Identifying the Contents of Scrolls
Find the Right Direction/Recognizable Terrain Features
Brewing Potions
Creating Magical Items

Hit Points: Hit Points are explicitly reinterpreted as a combination of good fortune and divine favor and are renamed "Wyrd" (fate). Thus, all classes have d6 as Hit Die, and they gain bonus HPs based on their Charisma modifier, not Constitution. Also, Hit Points are exclusive to PCs and very important NPCs.
Once Hit Points are reduced to 0, damage is dealt to the Constitution score (including any damage that exceeds the amount of Hit Points). In addition, a natural attack roll of "12" automatically deals Constitution damage.
Hit Points can't be recovered naturally during an adventure (but can be recovered with magic), but at the beginning of every adventure they're automatically replenished to maximum. Every hour of rest with proper medical care recovers 1 + CON modifier points of Constitution damage.
Based on Gygax's reported house rules, all PCs start with two Hit Dice at their maximum value.

Saving Throws: Based on an old house rule my group used in our AD&D games, Class-based saving throws no longer exist; regular ability checks are used instead.

Initiative - 2d6 + WIS modifier.

Attack Roll - 2d6 + DEX, must roll equal to or higher than target's Armor Class. Target's DEX modifier is applied as a penalty. A shield imposes an additional -1 penalty.
Armor Class for unarmored opponents is 5, 6 for a partial armor set, 7 for a full armor set. Warrior-type Classes (Fighters, Rangers, etc.), and only those Classes, gain a +1 attack roll bonus at 1st level.

Damage Roll - Inspired by OD&D, it's based on Class and weapon. Warrior-type Classes deal 1d6 with small weapons (knives, for instance), 1d6+2 with one-handed weapons, and 2d6 with two-handed weapons. All other Classes deal 1d3+1 / 1d6 / 1d6 +2. The attacker's STR modifier is applied as a bonus. In addition, the difference between the attack roll and the Armor Class is also applied as bonus (based on an optional rule from Rules Cyclopedia).

Basic overview of some Classes:
Norse Warrior - (1st level) If Strength score is 12 or higher, gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls. If Intelligence score is 12 or higher, impose an additional -1 penalty to attack rolls.
(2nd level) Gain an additional attack that can only be used against an opponent with no Wyrd. Gain additional attacks of the same type at 4th, 6th and 8th levels.

(To be continued. Additional abilities at higher levels is partly inspired from the sub-classes from Rules Cyclopedia, like the Paladin, the Knight, the Avenger, the Druid and the Mystic.)

Maximum Level: 10. For the most part, basic characteristics like attack rolls, ability checks, etc., won't increase with level; additional levels will only give PCs additional class abilities. However, PCs may spend 3 Wyrd points to gain a +1 bonus on a single roll (or impose a -1 penalty on a single roll against them); at 4th level, they may spend up to 6 Wyrd points for a +2/-2 modifier; at 7th level, they may spend up to 9 Wyrd points for a +3/-3 modifier; and at 10th level, they may spend up to 12 Wyrd points for a +4/-4 modifier.