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Matthew
2008-06-05, 08:02 PM
Hello folks! With the upcoming release of 4e [well, for those of us who don't already have it...] and the sad passing away of both Gary Gygax and Robert Bledsaw there has been increasing interest in traditional adventure gaming. One of the things being done to address this interest is the production of a 'Fast Play' module for OSRIC. Basically, we're going Judge's Guild here and printing out some booklets to give away. My local game shops have agreed to distribute these with copies of 4e (or for anyone interested, really).

The idea was originally Robert Fisher's (http://malirath.blogspot.com/2008/05/for-old-school-rpg-evangelists.html) (long time apologist for traditional adventure roleplaying games), which he posted on his blog a couple of weeks ago. The module is now nearing completion, but it occured to me (at this late stage) to see what the folks at the Playground thought of some of the contents.

So, without any more rambling on my part, I thought I would post the first page here for comments. Feel free to lambast me, try to keep it constructive, but don't feel like you have to hold back, I have a thick skin. :smallwink:




OSRIC Fast Play Rules

What is this?

An OSRIC fast play module is an introduction to traditional swords & sorcery adventure gaming, a restatement of an original rule set in which the skill of the players mattered more and the abilities of their characters less. It takes a lighter approach than many other role-playing games published under the open game license and is less bound by the interdependent systemisation that tends to characterise them. There are no powers, feats, skill points, prestige classes, iterative attacks, character builds or unified mechanics to be found here, just swift and dynamic combat, simultaneous action and the freedom to explore the fantastic vistas of an unfettered imagination.
Those characters who court fortune with skill and bravery may outwit treacherous demons, slay mighty dragons, or lay claim to vast treasures and establish glittering legacies, whilst those of lesser ability risk death unremarked in a dark lonely place, far from home. The life of an adventurer is a hard one, the risks deadly and the defeats bitter, but success is a sweet reward indeed, especially because it is well earned.

Exploration

Time: Time is measured in turns, rounds and segments. Normal exploration takes place in turns, whilst combat takes place in rounds. There are ten rounds in a turn; similarly, there are ten segments in a round. A segment is important for determining how far a character is able to move during a round before an effect takes place, such as a spell or ranged attack, the segment being determined by initiative and casting time.

Vision: Adventurers often find themselves in the dark places of the world and usually require sufficient light to see by. A torch sheds light up to thirty feet for six turns before expiring, but may well be seen at much greater distances, affecting the chances of surprise.

Movement: During a turn of exploration, a character may move up to his full movement, though stopping to search, talk o r otherwise interact with the environment will reduce this by an amount determined by the game master. During a round of combat, an otherwise unengaged character may also move up to his full movement over ten segments .

[I]Fatigue: It is usually necessary for a party to rest for one turn after five of exploration or a period of protracted exertion. The game master should apply suitable penalties to those who do not, such as -1 to hit in combat, increased surprise probability, or some other reflection of increasing fatigue and decreased competency.


Some of the kind of feedback I would like is whether you find the text easily understandable (it is written purposefully with a bit of a 'Gygaxian' slant), appealing or unappealing (and why), patronising, inspiring or what.

Thanks for reading!

Mark Hall
2008-06-05, 10:54 PM
GROOVY!

It's very understandable.

Matthew
2008-06-05, 11:52 PM
Cool. Here's a bit more to go on:



Task Resolution

Whilst many combat actions and abilities are described in some detail above, such is not the case for the resolution of many other tasks. This is not an oversight or omission made to conserve space, but a purposeful methodology. In traditional adventure role-playing games, character level has only as much influence on task resolution as the game master deems appropriate. That is to say that a Level 0 Nomad can be as expert a horseman as a Level 10 Fighter. Similarly, there is no necessity for Level 7 Blacksmiths or anything of that sort, nor is it required that a character gain an experience level in order to acquire a new skill or improve an old one. Indeed, numerically expressed skills are entirely rejected as an impediment to a swords & sorcery mode of play.

Instead of following predetermined mathematical formulae, all tasks are resolved by deferring to the concepts of reasonable probability and environmental interaction. In the case of the former, the game master simply assigns a reasonable probability of failure and the consequences thereof, often taking into account the attributes, race, class, level, background and circumstances of the character. For many actions, perhaps even the majority, there need be no risk of failure and so no die is rolled; similarly, some tasks will have no chance of success and so require no randomisation. The only reason to assign a probability to a task is to randomise the outcome, a measure that is rarely necessary, except to heighten tension or resolve uncertainty.

Whilst assigned probability provides an abstract means of resolving tasks, environmental interaction takes a more literal approach; it encourages players to think carefully about their imaginary surroundings and make intelligent decisions based on the flow of information between them and the game master. For instance, players who think to have their character inspect a chest for a false bottom, look behind a specific tapestry, or seek to trigger a suspected trap should be rewarded with the logical outcome of such actions, given that there is something to find or a mechanism to trigger. The environment thus becomes something of an open ended puzzle that is, as complex and challenging as the game master cares to make it.


...and the module intro:




Orcs’ Nest

Introduction

The northern border marches have a long and bloody history; beyond them is the true wilderness: dark forests of ancient trees, rocky and broken hillsides, precipitous mountains that loom high and are said to divide the world from a great waste of grey ash. From these places, or perhaps from more distant and unknown lands, have come forth many a raider and warlord, bandit and thief, to terrorise and ravage before being brought low or retreating to whence ever they came. Some were men, some had the form of men, but many others were monstrous mockeries of mankind, twisted and malshaped, or bestial and savage beyond reason. The marches are no place for the meek.

Greedy men will risk many dangers for profit, still more will they risk the lives of others. The services of the player characters have been engaged by an apprehensive man named Cervanas, a merchant by trade, with an overdue caravan. For the princely sum of one hundred gold coins, they agreed to seek out his lost sheep and bring back one item in particular, a small rosewood box, but more particularly the iron and silver star shaped talisman that it contains. The caravan was easily found, or what little was left of it, but no sign of the merchant’s prize, only many booted tracks leading into the wild. Rather than return empty handed as the bearers of ill news, the adventurers followed the signs of the raiders for a day or more, through deep woods and along high hills, being led at last to a great cleft in a steep rock face, a passage descending into darkness.

A Dynamic Dungeon

The Orcs’ Nest is an old stronghold that has been recently reoccupied by a band of evil Orcish freebooters. It is not an easy dungeon for low level characters and a party that seeks to repeatedly directly confront its denizens in combat will come to a bad end. There are encounters here that are simply not designed to be defeated by conventional means, if at all. To be successful, player characters must make use of stealth, think creatively and be mindful of their resources. If the alarm is raised or the adventurers are discovered, the game master must not be afraid to have the monsters respond by moving between rooms to take appropriate offensive or defensive action.

Mark Hall
2008-06-06, 12:46 AM
I'd tone task resolution down a bit. It's "High Gygaxian"; I think you want some "Middle Gygaxian" for an intro piece.

Matthew
2008-06-06, 05:18 AM
Aye, that's what I was thinking, as well. Have to give them some thought.

Thanks for taking the time to have a look!

Charity
2008-06-06, 05:38 AM
Very nicely done, I guess I'm used to Gygaxian highspeak but the Task resolution section seemed OK to me... though it is a long winded way of saying assign a % and roll it if there is a margin of doubt... but hey long winded is a character flawfeature I share so...

Anyway, good stuff Matt.

bosssmiley
2008-06-06, 05:59 AM
Hey Matt', which of Newcastle's FLGS have you spoken to about this?

(yes, we Geordies are spoilt rotten)

Matthew
2008-06-06, 06:32 AM
Very nicely done, I guess I'm used to Gygaxian highspeak but the Task resolution section seemed OK to me... though it is a long winded way of saying assign a % and roll it if there is a margin of doubt... but hey long winded is a character flawfeature I share so...

Anyway, good stuff Matt.

Aw, now you've got me leaning back to my Gygax speak. Well, maybe I will just tone it down a tad. Thanks for taking the time to comment! The Alpha Draft of the Module is now complete and being looked over, but I don't forsee more than a few minor changes for legibility.



Hey Matt', which of Newcastle's FLGS have you spoken to about this?

(yes, we Geordies are spoilt rotten)

I think I must have forgotten you were a fellow Geordie, Bosssmiley.

Both the Travelling Man and the Forbidden Planet have given a verbal okay (as of last week), so given that everything goes as planned, copies of the module should turn up in those stores tomorrow.

A couple of guys have expressed interest in distributing the module across the pond, so copies might turn up in New York as well, which would be pretty cool if it happens. Pdf versions will probably be freely available in as many places as we can push it to appear. :smallwink:

Leon
2008-06-06, 07:20 AM
Looks good, tho the Turn/segment/round thing has me slightly confused.
Shame you can do anything for my Newcastle :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-06-06, 07:41 AM
Shame you can do anything for my Newcastle :smallbiggrin:

Heh, heh. Well, the booklet will be available to download for free and can be redistributed by whoever cares to. The whole thing shouldn't take up more than five pages (10 sides) of A4 (though there are 20 A5 pages). So, essentially, you should be able to print out your own copy and, if you had a mind to, xerox a bunch and drop them off in Australian Newcastle. :smallbiggrin:



Looks good, tho the Turn/segment/round thing has me slightly confused.

Thanks! Segments are just there to measure how far characters move (or take other time dependent actions) before spell effects or attacks take place during the round. If a spell is set to go off on initiative 6, then all characters have five segments of movement before the spell effect takes place (well, apart from the Wizard, who can't move while spell casting).

Charity
2008-06-06, 07:43 AM
Aw, now you've got me leaning back to my Gygax speak. Well, maybe I will just tone it down a tad. Thanks for taking the time to comment! The Alpha Draft of the Module is now complete and being looked over, but I don't forsee more than a few minor changes for legibility.

No worries t'was a pleasure.


I think I must have forgotten you were a fellow Geordie, Bosssmiley.

Oh that'll be handy you can share transport when you come to Brum (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66784)

That's right, there's no escape the hassling man, and don't think I've forgotten you Saph..

Matthew
2008-06-06, 12:52 PM
Oh that'll be handy you can share transport when you come to Brum (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66784)

That's right, there's no escape the hassling man, and don't think I've forgotten you Saph..

Ha, ha. If it were London, I would be there no problem, but Birmingham... War Hammer: 40,000: Rogue Trader singled that city out as a place of great depravity.



A pdf of the Alpha Draft of the OSRIC Fast Play Module the Orcs' Nest is available for download here (http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/view.php?id=618885&da=y).

For the purposes of printing out in the form of a booklet, I will have to reorder the pages (which I will do later on tonight). In the meantime, take a look and tell me what you think.

[edit]
Turns out I don't know what the hell I am talking with regards to printing technology, which has moved on, so that the computer just gave me a booklet option and printed it out correctly. Looks damn good. :smallsmile:

Charity
2008-06-09, 06:26 PM
Well London is Archies choice, but those darn northerners start getting nosebleeds that far south.

I've downloaded it, it is very shiny, I will have to give it a good read.
Cheers Matt.

Matthew
2008-06-10, 07:33 AM
Well London is Archies choice, but those darn northerners start getting nosebleeds that far south.

Ha, ha. Well, they must be weak as water, then, because I have never had a nose bleed in my life, and I practically lived in Surrey for about eight years...



I've downloaded it, it is very shiny, I will have to give it a good read.
Cheers Matt.

No problem. Glad you like the look of it. I have corrected about a dozen errors for the Beta Draft. Let me know how it reads!

Leon
2008-06-10, 08:25 AM
Ah, makes more sense now, just didn't read as that. Ive saved the item but cant currently read it as this PC is quite the antique and lacks a lot of things in regard to programs. i'll have to shift it across to one of the newer beasts to see it.

Matthew
2008-06-10, 06:15 PM
Ah, makes more sense now, just didn't read as that.

Good, good.


Ive saved the item but cant currently read it as this PC is quite the antique and lacks a lot of things in regard to programs. i'll have to shift it across to one of the newer beasts to see it.

Cool. Let me know what you think of it, once you do.

Matthew
2008-06-12, 12:02 PM
Hey folks,

Quick update on this. The beta version (http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/view.php?id=629232&da=y) of Orcs' Nest is now available for download, which corrects a few mistakes here and there (and introduces at least one new one, I am now told). I have also started a blog called Silver Blade Adventures (http://silverbladeadventures.blogspot.com/), which I am using to support the module, and also to host reviews and other stuff that pertains to traditional swords & sorcery adventure games.

I finally got round to printing off and photocopying twenty four copies of the booklet, which I today dropped off at my local game stores in Newcastle, twelve at the Forbidden Planet, and twelve at the Travelling Man, to be distributed freely to their customers. They may well all end up in the bin, I don't know, but it was fun to do!

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-12, 01:25 PM
So Matthew, were you involved in making the OSRIC thing? If so, stirling work. Even now I downloaded the core ADnD books, it's still really useful as a reference document, and I prefer some of the changed rules in it. Why no monk though?

Matthew
2008-06-12, 04:12 PM
No, sadly I cannot claim to have been involved in the original project, though I have since contributed a few things to the expanded rulebook. I agree that it is a really great achievement and a useful document, even as just a companion to the AD&D books.

As far as I know, the official line is that the Monk wasn't included because the class couldn't be legally replicated (too much artistic fiat). However, I think I read somewhere that there was little attempt or enthusiasm for including it anyway. :smallwink: Nonetheless, there has been some talk of an Oriental Adventures expansion for the future, which sounds like fun.

A brief outline of events (as I understand them):

c. 2003/4 - Troll Lord Games put together a think tank to create Castles & Crusades. There is an impression in some quarters that they are trying to 'recreate' AD&D. One of the primary final editors of the PHB is Matthew Finch (not me). As I understand it, he is a lawyer by profession, and it is his view that C&C could be much closer than it ended up (Troll Lord Games do not accept that, as I understand it).

c. 2005 - Matthew Finch begins the OSRIC project and writes the initial draft, but finds he cannot finish it for various reasons.

c. 2006 - Stuart Marshall takes over the project and finishes the work begun by Finch; about half a dozen others are involved as contributors and editors.

c. 2006/7 - The OSRIC controversy begins, with some disgruntled folk writing letters ordering Stuart to cease and desist, as well as 'informing' on him to WotC. These concerns come to nothing. Several publishers begin experimenting with the license, most prominantly Expeditious Retreat Press.

c. 2007/8 - The expanded OSRIC rulebook (320 pages) is developed (manuscript is currently being primed for release). At this point a lot more people got involved, including me. My contributions are minimal (a few monsters, some proof reading, and a rewrite of the hireling rules).

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-13, 06:08 AM
Ah right, I see.

Sigh, the monk never gets any love, poor chap.

Matthew
2008-06-14, 10:49 AM
Ha, ha. Well, I have to admit I was never that enamoured of the Monk, and even Gygax admits in Oriental Adventures that the class was not really suitable for the average 'pseudo medieval' campaign.

Even in an oriental campaign, I would probably find the monk a little on the weird side, but I am not all that familiar (or perhaps not all that comfortable) with the 'monk' archetype. Most of the historical warrior monks (and, indeed, martial artists) I have ever read about used weapons and armour for deadly combat, unless it was unavailable.

Mark Hall
2008-06-14, 07:29 PM
The monk is in 1st edition because they're part of Greyhawk... you can't have the Scarlett Brotherhood without the Brotherhood.

Matthew
2008-06-14, 07:35 PM
Ah, well, let's cut to the chase! The monk first appears in Arneson's OD&D Blackmoor supplement as a subclass of the cleric, so was the brotherhood created for the monk or the monk created for the brotherhood? (as a note, chatoic and neutral monks were at that time allowed).

Mark Hall
2008-06-14, 08:03 PM
Ah, well, let's cut to the chase! The monk first appears in Arneson's OD&D Blackmoor supplement as a subclass of the cleric, so was the brotherhood created for the monk or the monk created for the brotherhood? (as a note, chatoic and neutral monks were at that time allowed).

Interesting point. I looked up the history on it, and the monk was in the PH before Gary did much expansion on Greyhawk.

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-15, 10:27 AM
I've decided I like the class. We've been running one of the dragonsfoot modules, and our monks been useful. Managed to stop the fighter from being eaten by ghasts. Seems to work well as a scout like the rogue, but is better able to defend herself. AC sucks though.

Matthew
2008-06-15, 10:49 AM
Sure, the monk class is definitely potentially a lot of fun (and even likeable). I would have no more problem someone playing one than a samurai or ninja.

Which Dragonsfoot module have you been running (if you don't mind me asking)?

Charity
2008-06-15, 11:29 AM
1e Monk ... what horrible memories that brings back... Never seen a monk manage to make it to second level.
A guy I know even wasted the best rolls he ever rolled on that class, two 18's and a 16, I could have cried when he said he was playing a monk. Three rooms in and a bugbear ate his head... sad.

I will get round to properly reading that pdf honest.

Project_Mayhem
2008-06-15, 11:35 AM
Its 'Where the fallen Jarls sleep', with all the undead. It's been good fun so far. Very more less forgiving than 3.5, and the players only just realised that in time. I'm sort of using the warrior bodyguards as extra lives until we all get the hang of the system - given equal choice between attacking a pc and an npc, the zombies go after the mooks first, just to stop everybody from dying before they've worked out what works tactically. Or course they're running out of uninjured meat shields now ...

Edit: That would be of course less forgiving, not more

Matthew
2008-06-15, 12:13 PM
1e Monk ... what horrible memories that brings back... Never seen a monk manage to make it to second level.
A guy I know even wasted the best rolls he ever rolled on that class, two 18's and a 16, I could have cried when he said he was playing a monk. Three rooms in and a bugbear ate his head... sad.

Ha, ha. I suspect that is not an unfamiliar story.



I will get round to properly reading that pdf honest.

No rush. All the feedback so far has been generally positive, but somewhat lacking in constructive criticism. I don't know whether that is good or bad, but I have a thick enough skin to endure honest opinions, so I hope nobody is holding back for fear of offending me.



Its 'Where the fallen Jarls sleep', with all the undead. It's been good fun so far. Very more less forgiving than 3.5, and the players only just realised that in time. I'm sort of using the warrior bodyguards as extra lives until we all get the hang of the system - given equal choice between attacking a pc and an npc, the zombies go after the mooks first, just to stop everybody from dying before they've worked out what works tactically. Or course they're running out of uninjured meat shields now ...

Edit: That would be of course less forgiving, not more

That sounds familiar. Are you planning to run the rest of the series? I know the third module, Stormcrows Gather was recently released over on Dragonsfoot (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/).

Where the Fallen Jarls Sleep (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/php4/archive.php?sectioninit=AD&fileid=165&watchfile=0) (Levels 3-5)
Beneath Black Towen (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/php4/archive.php?sectioninit=FE&fileid=213&watchfile=0) (Levels 4-6)
Stormcrows Gather (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/php4/archive.php?sectioninit=FE&fileid=242&watchfile=0) (Levels 5-7)

Mark Hall
2008-06-15, 12:18 PM
One of the big things for a 1st edition monk, IMO, is letting them have bonuses from high attributes. If you change their HD to a D6, they become a fairly fun class.

nagora
2008-06-15, 12:58 PM
1e Monk ... what horrible memories that brings back... Never seen a monk manage to make it to second level.
A guy I know even wasted the best rolls he ever rolled on that class, two 18's and a 16, I could have cried when he said he was playing a monk. Three rooms in and a bugbear ate his head... sad.


"Open hand attack: for emergency use only, please use the polearm provided wherever possible."

Matthew
2008-06-17, 08:50 AM
Pole arms are pretty interesting in AD&D 1e. Still, I think the Halberd is the best overall choice.

Charity
2008-06-17, 08:57 AM
Bohemian ear-spoon FTW!

Oh Matt, I got about half way through this pdf last night, before my lovely wife shouted at me, it looks grand so far, was the rules summery copy pasta'd from something you wrote somewhere else? It doesn't feel like it was written at the same time as the adventure text... maybe thats just my over active imagination...

Matthew
2008-06-20, 10:50 AM
Bohemian ear-spoon FTW!

Ha, ha. For the purposes of 1e, that actually counts as a partisan (1-6/2-7), which is the only pole arm with no weapon versus armour adjustments at all.



Oh Matt, I got about half way through this pdf last night, before my lovely wife shouted at me, it looks grand so far, was the rules summery copy pasta'd from something you wrote somewhere else? It doesn't feel like it was written at the same time as the adventure text... maybe thats just my over active imagination...

Glad you are enjoying it (even at the risk of your wife's ire - I know that scenario well, though replace wife with girlfriend... :smallbiggrin:).

The rules summary and adventure text were written concurrently, but I probably used a different 'voice', as the two sections were fairly strongly differentiated in my mind (and I am more familiar with writing adventures than rules), or maybe I was just channeling a different muse at the time.

[Edit]
Over on the Kenzer & Company forums, somebody suggested swapping the position of the pregenerated player characters with the monsters, so that the booklet could be physically divided into [rules/spells/characters] and [adventure/monsters]. That sounds like a good idea to me. Anybody here have any thoughts or preferences as to that?