Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Don't You Tell Me How You Really Feel ...

I came across a Halfling's Luck review for a low magic game very close to a 5e vibe or feel called Low Fantasy Gaming. The product is generally awesome, and decidedly low magic, rules light somewhat old school feel, with new school rules and touches. You can pick up the rules PDF for free with nice art, excellent layout, and a little-brown-book look to it. I also recognized it as a nice accomplishment of sort of what I was going for in my Next Hack. So much so in fact, that I think I'll shift more that direction instead of trying to retool 5e. And frankly, all this retooling I'm doing is getting old.

Yeah, bear with me while I tell you how I really feel ...

I play a 5e game. I don't want to play 5e. I don't like it. I dislike bounded accuracy, I dislike the power curve, I dislike the nerfed monsters and the upped magic, I dislike the art and presentation--I feel like I'm reading a video game manual, I dislike the healing rules and I dislike the optional rules, I ... well, that's enough.

I also am reluctant to leave my 5e game. I could. Yes, I could, and I think my players would humor me. But the pressure to "please" my players with a game I would rather play is not something I want either. I could try and make AD&D as awesome as I feel it is, and really hype it up--but I don't want to have to do that.

I don't want to tweak 5e, or rewrite it, or try and rewrite 1e to try and "please" my players. Why can;t we all just play he damn game and live with it!

Of course, that's rhetorical, because I know the answer. The answer is there are so many games out there and a culture of gaming nowadays that places the consumer as king. Instead of us wanting to the play the game no matter how hard, challenging or brutal it was and learning to really take pride when we accomplished something in a difficult, dangerous and deadly game, we now have a cafeteria line of personal choice so we can "play the game we want to". I hate this new gaming culture.

Or is this just my perspective? Again, rhetorical. Yes it's my perspective. Born of my experiences in gaming and my age and the time I came into gaming. Not even everyone who came into gaming when I did feels this way. It is just me, or a small handful of people like me.

And if there is anything worse than all of this (besides the ranting itself) is not playing at all. So I continue to play 5e. I continue to DM 5e. My other players are simply not ready to DM--they've made this abundantly clear. And so I continue trying to invest myself in 5e, and trying to make it something a little more like I want to play. And in creating content for my game that is almost as schizophrenic as my game is.

And that, my handful of faithful readers, is the hardest part for me. I feel torn, divided, disassociated. Torn between editions, torn between content, torn between ages. Stuck. I keep trying to talk in this blog about old school gaming, all the while grappling with the new school age we find ourselves in. I am having a problem with all of this. And this is certainly one of the things that has kept me from posting more regularly in the past. I have tried to redefine myself and this blog for some time now and it never quite sticks, because nothing really fits and I still end up conflicted. In case you can't tell, I'm suffering a bit of a gaming identity crisis. Don't worry it's not you ... It's me.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Criticals and Fumbles

Thought I would share an idea reaped from Hackmaster 4e (my principal ongoing source of AD&D inspiration) that I have ported into my 5e game. The HM 4e GMG has a brilliantly crunchy and awesome d10,000 critical hit table, complete with anatomical maps.

My players absolutely love criticals, I mean don't we all ... But we have quite a bit of fun with them. One player started a tradition of playing a "Critical Hit!" gif on their phone, (no, not the one above, that is just my geeky love of Jerry Lewis, may he rest in peace) and of course they all groan in doom laced unison when somebody fumbles. We've used standard double damage, maximum damage rules for Crits, and the 1-2 drop, 3-4 break, 5-6 self inflicted wound for fumbles; we also used the Pathfinder Critical Hit and Fumble decks; and finally the HM d10,000 critical hit tables. The HM tables have been the favorite by far. I a in the process of modifying them, as they are not exactly designed for a d20 based game, and I'll share my tables as soon as they are complete. But you can find the originals in the HM 4e GMG. They also use a similar and somewhat simpler table in 5e, but it is based on their new two roll combat system--which you could also modify. I've wanted to get the 2e Players Option book on combat to get an idea of what inspired HM, but haven't had the time. The one complaint I have about the tables is that I have not found a way in the rules to modify them for animals other than basically human-like in anatomy. Regardless, they tables are a great success at the table, and only take about 2 minutes to apply--definitely worth it for a critical. And believe it or not, I think rolling the d10,000 is their favorite part:
We also use the fumble table from HM 4e, and they are pretty cool, though not quite as varied as the crits, you only roll a d1,000. But nonetheless, better than anything we have used thus far... For, no matter how awesome the descriptions I weave in for the crits, nothing brings laughter to the table like a well played fumble