Saturday, December 26, 2009

Knockspell Issue #3

Finally back at it after exams and a nasty sneak attack by pneumonia.

Alright, Knockspell #3 is a great issue. Let's start at the start!

From Kuroth's Quill: First, I appreciate the bibliography. This is one of the most academically written old school articles I have seen yet. It is an interesting classification system for dimensional gates. Usually, when I run fantasy, I am very much a "keep the magic parts magic" kind of guy. I don't like to get into how magic works, I like it to be a mystery. When I run sci-fi I tend towards hard sci-fi so I go the other way with fantasy. That said, it is far easier to construct interesting puzzles when there is a basis for how everything works. I am talking about puzzles that challenge the players' creativity here, not just the match the color kind from video games. As usual I found myself coming up with some ideas as I read grodog's article.

Pulp Heroes and the Colors of Magic: Akrasia has written one of my top 5 favorite RPG articles ever here. It has given me a reason to use a whole rule set. I have struggled with Swords & Wizardry, it is rules light and easy to mod. But what would I use it for? My friends and I grew up with the Mentzer sets, I am going to go with Labyrinth Lord if it is nostalgia I am looking for. That would be my go to rule set if I wanted to concentrate on kingdom building too. The later sets just make it so easy to do with those rules. My next campaign will be a dungeon/hex crawl. I am going to use OSRIC because I can start out simple and gradually add complexity over time to keep the combat interesting. OSRIC is really strong here, it would be very easy to one piece at a time turn it into Hackmaster Basic when it comes to combat if that is what my players want. But what to do with S&W?

I'll be honest, I have never thought that D&D really supported pulp style adventures all that well. It has some pulpy, gonzo feel to it, but it has always been way too high magic to convey anything like Conan. And just taking out classes doesn't really help because you just wind up resting and dying all the time. But the rules in this article will make S&W my go to system for a Conan style game. It has the love side of my love/hate relationship with Iron Heroes. The revisions to damage and especially the revisions to the spell system are great. These three and a half pages are worth the price of the magazine alone.

The Font of Glee: This is a fanciful adventure, I like seeing these lighter hearted adventures. It is a nice break from the usual doom and gloom, evil wizard affairs. The chance to play factions off against one another gives it a level of complexity not usually seen in lighter games.

The City of Vultures is an interesting city by the always imaginative Gabor Lux. Interestingly I was reading this at the same time I was reading the Fritz Leiber story where the birds are stealing all the jewelry in town. Make sure you read the entry on page 32 for The Society for Optimalised Objectivism.

The Labyrinth Tomb: it is what the title says, a hack and slash dungeon crawl. There are some cool little puzzles in here though.

The Tower of Mouths: I like this dungeon because there is plenty of room to customize it. The poison gas adds an interesting dynamic to the whole thing.