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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Using the HD values for PC Combat Statistics

Since the last post lead into this sorta and I feel its relevant, I worked up a chart depicting the Attack Bonuses and Saving Throws (using the Monster's Single Saving Throw Target from Swords & Wizardry for this simple example). Onn caps Monster Attack Bonuses at +15, so using the HD progression given in the last post, this is what it looks like:

Attack Bonus/Saves by HD - CHARACTERS

Now, on the surface this looks pretty even, especially at lower levels where Monster attack ability outstrips the fighting-man's. Now Onn has a maximum bonus of +2 for generated ability scores, so using the most extreme example, a 1st level Fighting-man could have anywhere from a +1 (no additional bonuses) to a +4 (+1 base attack, +2 Str and +1 for using a weapon of choice) for a +1 to +4.

At 9th level a Fighting-man has the same +9, but with an additional +0 to +6 (if he was lucky enough to find up to a +3 weapon he's mastered in) for a total of +9 to +15! Clerics and Magic-users as well can get up to a total bonus to hit of +10 and +9 respectively at 9th level.

The Monsters at 9 HD have a flat +9. Now you could come up with some system for determining ability scores for them, but this would add to the bloat of the stat block. You could up the Monster HD to d10 or even d12 since they would be taking more damage more often. Or you could lower the PCs HD from d6/d8/d4 (Cleric/Fighting-man/Magic-user) to d4/d6/d3 and make them more fragile.

This is where the level system shines. Adding in the fact that PCs gain abilities more numerously than monsters, splitting their HD from their direct combat statistics allows for a more dynamic system where the extra abilities of the characters are more in balance with the power of the monsters they face.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Arms Race of RPGs

As a side effect of the way damage spells work for Onn (namely uncapped for scaling damage magic), at some point a character who is only gaining a flat +1 or +2 per level is going to get wiped out by something like a high level caster's fireball, even if the saving throw is made.

Going back to OD&D, the classes did continue to gain HD after they reached Name Level (8th for Clerics, 9th for Fighting-man and 11th for Magic-users). Its something that the more modern (Supplement I Greyhawk on up) versions of D&D have eschewed in favor of caps on spells and lower HP progressions until the sunset of 3rd Edition/d20 RPGs. They went super powered though, with big dice and every level adds.

I went back to OD&D and looked at the patterns and Onn and looked at its patterns as well and came up with the following general changes to the HD progressions:

Character Hit Dice

Now at the levels the character does not gain a HD, the character gains +1 hp with Constitution adjustments (minimum of 1 hp). Onn uses HD to determine immunity to spells and spell effects (like Holy Word or Death Spell) so using a scaling HD also makes for good sense for characters as well as monsters.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fatal Lurks


Most lurks are small predators that impersonate other creatures. Normally not deadly under normal circumstances, it is known through the sparse records recovered that these creatures were experimented on in Darkmoor during the rise of the Zuhn Empire. If they were ever used is unknown, but at some point specimens escaped and evolved into the common forms known today.

Lurkers are wide and very flat creatures that cover ceilings in caverns. The top of their bodies resemble rough stone, making them hard to spot, while the bottom is covered in tiny legs that anchor it and can be used to grab victims. When prey passes under it, the lurker drops onto it and attempts to constrict its victim. Lurkers gain a +2 bonus on surprise checks if not found before attacking. The lurker’s initial attack gains a +2 bonus on the ‘to hit’ roll. When a lurker hits, it attempts to wrap its victim (+4 bonus to the wrestling check). Once successful it will wrap itself around the victim and crush for 2d8 points of damage.

Mimics are an advanced form of fatal lurks that can change into a couple of different objects, Most common are chests, wardrobes or other closable objects. They are hard to detect and gain surprise (+2) if unnoticed. When a victim opens the mimic it strikes, snapping shut on any appendages stuck within (Dodge saving throw to avoid if not surprised). Mimics can extend a sticky pseudopod to strike victims as well. Victims struck must succeed at a strength check on 4d6 or be drawn to the mouth and bitten every round until freed. Rumors about of mimics that emulate larger objects and one large as a small house exists, but none have been confirmed.

Piercers are fatal lurkers that populate large caverns and other open underground places. When prey passes under a piercer they drop from their position and attempt to lance their target. Victims failing a Dodge saving throw are run through and knocked down. If a piercer is successful it secretes an enzyme that breaks down flesh, inflicting 1d6 points of damage per round. On the ground, piercers will climb the nearest wall to get high so it can drop again. Until then they fight with a pseudopod that inflicts 1d4 points of damage.

Trappers are much like lurkers but they lie on the rough floors of caverns and ‘wrap up’ their victims.

Lurker / Trapper (L) - AC 2[18]; HD 8; Att slam (2d4+wrestle); Save 8; Morale 8; MR Nil; Special surprise (+2), crush (2d8), wrestle (+4); Move 30 ft (10 ft) swim; TC A; CL/XP 10 / 1,400

Mimic (M) - AC 4[16]; HD 4; Att bite (1d8) + pseudopod (1d8+wrestle); Save 13; Morale nil; MR Nil; Special surprise (+2); Move 60 ft (20 ft); TC A, K; CL/XP 4 / 120

Piercer, 1HD (S) - AC 0[20]; HD 1+1; Att pseudopod (1d4); Save 17; Morale 6; MR Nil; Special enzyme (1d6), lance victim, surprise (+2); Move 30 ft (10 ft); TC A; CL/XP 1 / 15

Piercer, 2HD (S) - AC 0[20]; HD 2+2; Att pseudopod (1d4); Save 16; Morale 6; MR Nil; Special enzyme (1d6), lance victim, surprise (+2); Move 30 ft (10 ft); TC A; CL/XP 2 / 30

Piercer (M) - AC 0[20]; HD 4+4; Att pseudopod (1d4); Save 13; Morale 7; MR Nil; Special enzyme (1d6), lance victim, surprise (+2); Move 30 ft (10 ft); TC A; CL/XP 4 / 120

The Gaunt


The gaunt are a horrid degenerate race found in the Great Waste and the Ironsands Desert. Some say they have been found in the Deserts of Uln as well. Certain places in these regions have a destructive effect on living creatures that enter them for prolonged periods of time. Those not spared the painful mutation by being killed soon after entering are turned into the Gaunt.

So far as has been seen, any creature can be turned into a gaunt. They resemble zombies, with patches of rotting flesh and tight leathery skin, but gaunt are far more dangerous. They still possess a feral intelligence, with most of their higher brain functions being destroyed by their mutation.

Gaunt move with a surprising quickness when they discover prey. In combat they attack with whatever natural weapons they possess. Humanoids for example will attack with fists and bite. The primary goal of a gaunt is to wrestle its opponent (+4 on wrestling check) and score a pin. Once a victim is held they will begin to feed immediately by biting. The bite of a gaunt is extremely dangerous, as it will infect the victim with the gaunt’s mutated cells and start the process in them on a failed Toughness saving throw. After 1d6+1 hours a System shock is needed for infected individuals, failure meaning they die. On a success, each hour afterwards the victim loses a point of Constitution until they reach a zero, whereupon they become gaunts themselves.

Gaunt (M) - AC 8[12]; HD 4; Att wrestle (special) or bite (1d8+disease); Save 13; Morale Nil; MR Nil; Special disease, immune to sleep, charm and hold, wrestler (+4); Move 150 ft (50 ft); TC A; CL/XP 6 / 400