Monday, March 5, 2012

RPG Neglect

It's been awhile since I've done anything with my D&D b/x gaming - primarily this is due to my current drive to paint as many of my miniatures as I can. I figure this is probably a passing feeling and so best to make use of it while I have it. Of course, painting minis feeds my desire to wargame. And, so, RPGs take a backseat and are neglected.

However, Friday, we had friends over for game night and our second session of Exalted. Although most of the evening gave way to socializing and eating (my guacamole was a hit), we managed to squeeze in some adventuring. Frankly, I'd have been happier with more game time, but, as it was, it whet my appetite for RPGs again.

Since my last b/x session, I've been considering a variety of ways to do a solo dungeon crawl in a way that I will find appealing. The last attempt was alright, but having the map in advance just didn't feel right. What I want is random map generation but I don't want totally random encounters - I prefer some sort of theme if not to the whole dungeon then to various parts of it. I've since rediscovered my copies of H.E.X. (a one page RPG of sorts) and Chronicles of Arax, which are essentially map-less dungeon delves. Both handle encounter generation via mechanisms that add modifiers to the base die roll that accumulate turn to turn, guaranteeing, that, if your character survives, you 'll eventually battle the "big boss", find the objective and/or stairs up/down. There's something about this mechanism that I like - there's a theme, but a randomness to the order.

The D&D basic rule book has some simple steps for populating rooms that I would like to try to incorporate for a sort of double-blind approach.

Both H.E.X. and CoA use abstract combat and I prefer to play out combat with miniatures and/or counters (it's the wargamer in me), so I'll use dungeon tiles for combat purposes. Either I will develop simple dungeon mapping rules and use tiles that match, or I may eschew map making altogether and just grab whatever tile I feel is appropriate.

Finally, I may try a different set of rules next round in spite of already having my characters created and equipped in b/x.

The top two contenders:

Dungeon Raiders - a free retroclone download from WargameVault. At 10 pages, it's extremely simplified to allow you to get to hacking and slashing sooner rather than later.

Risus: The Anything RPG - for no other reason than I have wanted to play Risus for years. I'm also considering using this for sci-fi skirmish when I get to the point of having my figures ready. We'll see.

Of course, all of this will wait until I play out the scouting mission for my Helvetica campaign Week 3, which, hopefully will be tonight.

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