House Rules, Campaign Info

Hybrid of Moldvay B/X & Old School Essentials (OSE)

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House Rules, Campaign Info

Post by badams30 »

A hybrid of Moldvay B/X & OSE (Old School Essentials)

House rules: Updated 8 Feb 2020

Character Creation: Roll 3d6, 7 times. Arrange six rolls as you wish for stats, toss one roll.
Hit Points: Max HP for 1st level, roll normally afterward (reroll 1's)

Background: I thought this was super cool, so I'm shamelessly stealing this compliments of John. The One Sentence Background. In his words:
In a nutshell, players write a one sentence background to help flesh out the character's background and motivation. This idea keeps it simple just as all character creation should be in games like White Box. It gives players an idea about their motivation and also gives the DM some guidance on how to rule on PC actions.
Details HERE: ... round.html
I want to keep this simple, yet allow for some flavor and character development. I think this is perfect for what I had in mind. Thanks, John...

Elves: Elves are good at spotting hidden and concealed doors, get +1 to-hit and damage against goblins, orcs, intelligent undead, and lycanthropes, and are immune to ghoul paralysis. They can speak Gnoll, Goblin, Orc, and Hobgoblin. Elves have a 2 in 6 chance of hearing noises.
Dwarves:Dwarves may use battle axes one or two handed, but cannot use two handed swords or long bows. They take half damage from giant creatures, and are good at spotting traps, slanting passages, and construction while underground. They can speak Gnome, Goblin, Orc, and Kobold. Dwarves get +4 saves versus magic. Dwarves also have a 2 in 6 chance of hearing noises.
Halflings: Halflings take half damage from giant creatures, get +2 to-hit with missile weapons, and can move silently and hide when not in metal armor.They can speak Elvish. Halflings get a +4 save versus magic. Halflings have a 2 in 6 chance of hearing noises.

All Classes will follow the Character Class Guidelines of the OSE rulebook except as outlined below
Fighters: Fighters get one attack per level against foes of 1 hit die or less.
Clerics: As per the rules, clerics don't get spells until Lv2, but once they have proven their faith, they may gain ability to cast spells from their deity. Clerics with a wisdom of 15+ gain a bonus first level spell beginning at level 2.
Wizards: Wizards can detect and read magic as a class ability (however, magical concealment may hamper these abilities) - both require a deliberate action to perform (i.e. a wizard can't detect magic without concentrating and specifically trying to detect such.)
Thieves: Thieves Luck - Once per day a thief can re-roll one die at their discretion. (example, a thief rolls a to hit roll and learns it's a miss, they can re-roll the attack roll. Or if a thief is attempting a thief skill roll and fails, they can re-roll. Every 3 levels, the thief can re-roll an additional time per day. (1 re-roll per day at levels 1-3, 2 re-rolls per day at levels 3-6, 3 re-rolls per day at levels 6-9, etc.) this maxes out at 3 re-rolls per day.

Shields Shall Be Splintered: You all know this one. If your character is hit in combat, you can choose to sacrifice your shield instead of taking the blow/damage. It'll trash your normal shield, and if it's magic, I'll roll a save for it - if it fails, it loses +1 in enchantment.

Magic Stuff and Exceptional Items: I don't intend for this to be a low-magic campaign, nor do I anticipate everyone showered in magical items. With that in mind, you may find/purchase/come across exceptional items that convey a non-magical bonus (EX. a fine long sword that confers a +1 to hit due to good balance and quality construction, etc.) You may also find non-magical items (such as healing draughts/poultices, etc) that are beneficial yet non-magical.

Spears and Polearms: These can fight from second rank, and if set to receive a charge (and it hits) damage is doubled
Per the rules, fighters can attack 1x per level when fighting enemies of 1HD or less
Bows: Longbows cannot be fired from horseback.
Critical Hits/Fumbles: A natural 20 is a critical hit, I'll be using an old Dragon magazine table to determine the result. A natural 1 is a fumble - and yup, I'll use the same Dragon table for those too...

Non Magical Healing: Characters recover HP at the rate of 1HP per day assuming rest. Characters can take one turn to bind wounds for 1d3 HP immediately following a battle. This may only be done ONCE per day PER character.

Death: When a character reaches zero HP, they are unconscious. If they are reduced to less than zero, they are slipping toward death, and unless attended to, they will be DEAD at -5HP.

The Pantheon of Good:
The Church of the Divine Light: Rather than worshiping one main “god” the Church was founded by Narm, the Divine Light, Narm drafted a pantheon of lesser gods and eventually saints – who carry on his work for him, and depending on region, have varying levels of sway and power in the church. This church is fairly loose in structure, mainly relying on the various deities to work together to maintain the balance of order. For the most part this is successful, but occasionally the deities let petty squabbles get in the way of their duties. The forces of evil are aware of this weakness, and are marshalling to exploit this when the time is right.
Holy Symbols: Main church – A golden, rising sun. Symbols of other gods vary, but often incorporate a sun in their motif.

The Pantheon of Evil:
Ergot the Forgotten: Ergot, the brother of Narm and God of Darkness, used to be the main sinister force of evil within the realms of civilization, but after a long-ago supreme battle between good and evil, Narm defeated and banished Ergot forever – or so he thought. Ergot spent his time in banishment plotting his revenge and eventual return. As time has passed, and with the retirement of Narm, Ergot has been biding his time and waiting for his opportunity. For the most part, Ergot has been forgotten from the minds of men, only legend and occasional tales invoke his name.

In the long absence of Ergot, humanoids and other evil beings have turned to demons and extra planar beings for their power and support. As a result, there are no central evil deities or any one being that can claim lordship over the pantheon of evil. However, due to the numbers of monsters and evil humanoids in the lands, there are plenty of evil powers to contend with, and just enough to keep the Church on its toes snuffing out threats. But this seemingly disjoined and weak situation has the potential to be misinterpreted by the Church… much to its detriment.

Starting Gold and Equipment
Every character, regardless of class rolls 3d6x10 starting gold.

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Re: House Rules, Campaign Info

Post by badams30 »

Starting Out:

The party will be starting at the sleepy village of Fair Bluff, in hex 10.10.

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Re: House Rules, Campaign Info

Post by badams30 »

The East Reaches
The Reaches are the wild lands to the East of the Duchy of Arnberg (the capital city of Grand Arnberg is located to the West of the East Reaches borders, about 125 miles distant)

Currently all the settlements east of the Duchy funnel resources and goods toward the Duchy, and are mainly self-subsistent with regards to food and items of daily life. The last decade has been a time of relative prosperity and normalcy in the realm. There are few adventurers (most of the population prefer the security and piece of mind of being a citizen to the potential danger of adventuring. While there are continuous rumors of treasure, ruins and defense of good, most people aren’t interested in leaving the comfort of home to engage in such a frivolous pursuit. Adventurers are looked upon with a combination of curiosity, awe and indifference by the general populace. As a result, adventurers are very conspicuous by their presence, and can be sure to attract attention unless they go out of their way to avoid it. Most adventuring groups come up with colorful names and the tales of their exploits provides some excitement to a normally sedate and boring region and lifestyle.

In a bid to mine more wealth from the wilderlands, the Duchy has sent a number of expeditions to the corners of the realm. Many of these expeditions have located potential resources or evidence of past civilization, ruins and opportunity (in addition to areas of concern) and as a result, there has been an increase in the numbers of adventurers and entrepreneurs to the wilderlands. For the most part, the wilderlands are the sleepy edges of civilization, and barring a major incursion or evidence of massed dark forces at work, little can sway the residents and governance of this area to rock the boat.

While most of the towns, settlements and fortifications of the Reaches are relatively new (the last 80-100 years) the area has an old history that the latest settlers are mostly unaware of. Rumors abound of abandoned/ruined towns, fortifications, and even more interestingly - dark dungeons, tombs of old, and places begging to be explored.

The Reaches border the Deepsea, which allows for abundant trade from far away lands, mysterious islands and places unknown - The Town of Wellbor on the coast is the sole port on the Deepsea, and as such, is vitally important to the realm for trade and commerce, acting as a conduit for the outside world. As for terrain and climate, the Reaches enjoy a 4 season climate with relatively mild winters. The forests of the realm are old, untapped, and conceal much of the history of the old realm. Inhabitants treat the forests with a mix of respect, fear and awe, and as a result even the most experienced woodsman won't venture more than a mile or so inside most of thick woodlands. This results in little being known about the area aside from the areas adjacent to towns and trade routes. Rumors abound, but are just as likely to be fancy than fact.

While the realm is generally peaceful and unexciting, there are recent signs of trouble. The areas to the East of Fair Bluff are known to contain mysterious creatures, ruins, and monsters. As a result, the Duchy has invested considerable resources into building a small stockade fort (Fort Grimwald) roughly 15 miles east of Fair Bluff, as an insurance policy against possible nefarious activity. While the populace has no stomach for such things, there have been rumors of some of the Duke's parties of surveyors and would be adventurers going missing on forays into the wild, and even more troubling - reports of organized bands of creatures occasionally probing areas around the fort. But it's all just rumor at this point, and no one seems to be taking it too seriously.

To the far north at the tip of the Stoney Mountains sits the Duchy's most impressive footprint on the realm - the keep at Giant's Pass. The keep has been recently rebuilt (it was an abandoned ruin) and improved, and blocks the pass - providing a doorstop to the encroachment of the goblins and orcs (and who knows what else) that live beyond the pass and scattered within the mountains. North of the keep lie the uncharted wastes - home to many foul creatures. Within the past 50 years, organized bands of goblins and occasionally orcs would trickle down and make their way to the edges of the duchy, proving to be a threat to the relatively close capital of Grand Arnberg. Not wanting to risk his limited forces in a foray into the unknown of the north, the Duke chose to beef up the pass and prevent the flow of anything south. And to his credit, it seems to be working. The mountains have resisted exploration, and to date, none of the Duke's parties have ever been able to penetrate more than 5-10 miles north of the keep before being decimated by unknown beings or explosive weather changes. Its' not a area for the weak.

Non-Human Inhabitants:
As one might expect, there are non-human residents of the area. There is a small and relatively new dwarven delve in the Craggy Mountains to the south of Fair Bluff. The dwarves within have migrated here from their massive underground cities far to the west, and while they do trade with the settlers of the area, and enjoy a treaty with the Duke, they are secluded and keep to themselves. Only a handful of outsiders has been to their subterranean home, and this adds to their air of mystery. Dwarves can be found as the occasional adventurer, or travelling with merchant caravans, but seldom venture outside. Seeing a dwarf is a rare thing. Halflings have similarly migrated from their ample shires to the west, and for the most part, they filter into the villages of man, or take roles in caravans or other wandering ventures. Although still an uncommon site, Halflings are the most frequently seen demi humans in the land, as their happy-go-lucky style makes them well suited to the wild surroundings.
Elves prove to be the most elusive of the non-humans in the area. Rumors have it that a small yet strong group of elves live in the Everwood to the south of Giant's Pass, and any woodsman or travellers who have ventured inside the wood have been politely turned around by elven archers or strange magics. The Duke has been unable to broker a treaty with the elves, and not wishing to provoke an unknown yet apparently peaceful potential ally, he advises citizens to respect the privacy of the forest. While it's not illegal to enter the Everwood, anyone seen attempting to do so by the Duke's authorities will be questioned and urged to go on their way. There is a large population of Elves to the south of the reaches, and most elves found in the area are from these places. Elves tend to be quiet, and good citizens who generally keep to themselves.

As one might expect, the areas south of the Stony Mountains and West of Fort Grimwald are (assumed) free of organized monsters or concentrated threats to civilization. There are occasional happenings (caravans accosted, livestock stolen, etc) but nothing serious enough to merit concern. Most intelligent folk realize that the Duke does his best to encourage positive talk about the reaches and it's security. These intelligent folk chuckle at the propaganda and rosy commentary from the lords and protectors of the land as they do their best to keep the populace calm, happy and not concerned with such things as monsters or uncertainty. A favorite saying is "the duke's coffers aren't filled by scared peasants."
North of the pass, and to the northeast of the fort, creatures have the ability to move about unchecked, and so there are no statistics or firm intelligence on the numbers or disposition of creatures thereabouts.
Aside from known populations of orcs and goblins north of the keep, there is no accounting of any sizeable population of monsters or creatures. There are obviously things out there, but no one has been able to assess them. Similarly, almost ALL residents of the reaches have never seen a monster, so as one might imagine - a "goblin" might be described as 8 feet tall, 4 arms, etc. Talk of monsters is taken with a grain of salt. A typical answer to any question about creatures directed to a commoner will usually get a smile, chuckle and a reply of "Monsters? There aren't any monsters around here."

Travel and Life in the Reaches:
Unless specifically noted, roads throughout the reaches are dirt or grassy tracks through the land. In areas near Wellbor (marsh and swamp) the roads have been improved in areas to avoid becoming hazards to transportation, but for the most part roads are unimproved yet hard packed. Caravans tend to be small in size, and lightly guarded. Water transportation along the Deepsea is usually in the form of shallow draft schooners and sloops. Although it's called the Deepsea, the coast of the reaches is lined with shallows and treacherous reefs, and no intelligent captain would risk his large craft in the area's waters. As a result, trade comes in via smaller craft. This peculiarity of the shallows is also a boon to the Duke, as it makes Wellbor a poor and unattractive military target. As a result, Wellbor is lightly guarded.
Aside from caravans going about the reaches, residents usually stay in their local area. Those who need to travel usually book a space within a scheduled caravan rather than travel alone. There are frequent cleared campsites along the tradeways, and ample wood and shelter to be found, and there are occasionally roadside inns that cater to caravans and travellers on their way.

Law and Order:
Thankfully for the Duke, the reaches are exceptionally orderly and peaceful. While a town/village may have a mayor who tends to the civic affairs of the locale, each town or village has an official administrator (such as a lord or sheriff, etc) who is responsible for the safety, security and well-being of the populace. These officials are appointed by the Duke or his lieutenants. The Duke also typically positions small numbers of his troops in each town, mainly as a deterrent, and as a show of goodwill for the Duchy. Most of these detachments are 10 men or less, and usually have a corporal or sergeant in charge of them. They report to the local lord and not local elected officials. As the presence of the Duke's men is not always guaranteed 100% of the time, most locales have standing militia or a militia muster policy to ensure some form of mutual protection in time of need. And due to the interconnected relationships of the villages, most have written or unwritten agreements to come to the aid of others if needed/requested.
No towns have courts or organized law facilities. In the event that someone is accused of a crime, the local official will investigate the matter and take necessary action. Petty crime usually involves a fine, in rare cases corporal punishment such as whipping, but even that is rare. In the event of serious crimes (murder, assault, treason, arson) the local lord has the authority to act as judge and ensure sentences are carried out - even capital punishment if warranted. This rarely happens, but the threat of a local lord having such authority at his disposal is helpful to keep even the rowdiest citizen in line.

The official religion of the Duchy is the Church of the Divine Light. There are some smaller saints and demi-gods who also are worshiped in some places, but worshiping anything other than the Church or it's "approved" saints will get curious glances and occasional scorn. Worshiping any of the evil deities is will generally get a person beaten and run out of town if they are lucky, and possibly a visit from the Dukes men and local lord if they are not so lucky. The Church has its headquarters in Grand Arnberg, and it sends many of it's more promising priests to the reaches to spread the word (and to keep an eye on things). Priests of the Light are usually seen as local rockstars, and they have a reputation (And commission from the home church!) to go out of their way to help others. Whether it's helping to bless the crops, heal a sick baby or head of livestock, or providing comfort to the downtrodden, the priests of light are always eager to help.

Goods, valuables and magic!:
Since most goods aside from foodstuffs, lumber, masonry and local crafts come from other places, there is sometimes a limit to the choices of goods one can obtain in the reaches. Thankfully there is always enough supplies to go around, and as a result, prices are pretty consistent and fair across the land. Customized armor, arms and precious metal crafting are in short supply in these outlying areas, but can usually be ordered from afar. When it comes to pawning valuables, in some areas it's easier than others. Locals tend to eschew gems and flashy valuables, and so occasionally finding a buyer or fair price is challenging.

While there are rumors of magics being found in the reaches (especially in ruins of old and other areas suited for adventure) magic is hard to come by here. Occasionally a travelling wizard will accompany caravans and parties of the Duke, or adventuring groups, but for the most part, wizards are mysterious, obscure, and few and far between. Sales of magic items are ultra rare, but not unheard of. In general, magic is mysterious and suspiciously viewed by the population. They aren't hostile to magic users, but they lack an understanding that people in more civilized areas have of magic.

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