Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How many spells do I get?

This is something I've known about for a while, but if I've blogged about it before, I've forgotten. And I didn't tag it with my MU tag if I did. 

So, Magic-Users. How many spells per day can they cast? Apparently, as you level up, there are quite a few discrepancies depending on what book you're using. 

My print version of the Mentzer Expert Set has this table:

However, the PDF version (the really old PDF, back before the Pathfinder schism) has this:

Up to 5th level, they're identical. But at 6th level, you get an extra 1st level spell in my print book than in the PDF version. 

7th and 8th level are the same. So far, slight advantage to the print book.

At 9th level, though, the PDF version gets an extra 3rd level spell compared to the print book. Now the tables have turned!

At 10th level, the print MU gets an extra 1st level spell, but the PDF MU gets an extra 4th level spell! 

But at 11th level, the PDF MU finally gets that fourth 1st level spell, and their first 6th level spell. But the print MU gets extra 2nd and 3rd level spells (fourth for each) and finally gets that third 4th level spell. 

12th level finally sees the two versions the same again. 

But at 13th level, the print MU again gets a 1st level spell that the PDF MU doesn't, which remains the case at 14th level, as well. 

I don't know if the PDF was edited to match the later RC progression, or if there were multiple versions of the Expert Set put out. Here's the RC: 

And for completeness, here's the BX version: 

This is almost the same as what's in the PDF and RC, until 12th level. Then the BX MU gets a boost in their higher level spells per day. Since the BECMI line was planned from the beginning for a level 1 to 36 spread, that's not surprising. 

AD&D, of course, also has a different spread of spells per level: 

Not gonna analyze all the differences between AD&D and Classic, as I'm mainly just interested in the two very different versions of BECMI Expert today. Oh, and just the BECMI MU. The Elf is also different, with a progression matching the MU in the PDF version 100%, but in the print version getting 10th level spells 5/4/3/2/1 in the print version!

Either way, the spell progression of both print and PDF Expert sets match up with the progression in the Companion Set (which matches the RC, at least at 15th level):

The PDF MU is gaining 1st and a 7th level spells at 15th level, while the print MU is only getting that 7th level spell.

The print version gets a bit more versatility over all, with more lower level spells sooner. But the PDF version gets better higher level spells, so more power.

Just for fun, I may go through my spell tables and see what it would look like to give the most generous spell progression for each spell level, mixing the two (three with BX) Expert Sets. Or maybe even bringing in the 1E progression, too! Just to see what it's like.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Equipping Henchmen and Men at Arms

I just rolled up 20 potential hirelings for my new campaign. If players try to recruit some men-at-arms or other hirelings, I can roll a d20 or three to see who shows up. 

My son helped me list some names, which means some have some joke names (Chae Du --> Chad, or the actual Korean name Yu Seok, pronounced like "you suck"). And to decide what, if any weapons and armor they came with, and if they had any interesting traits, I made some quick and dirty random tables. 

Each is on a 2dx spread to get bell curve results, except for the ranged weapon subtable. They're rare enough that a flat distribution is fine. Only one PC ended up with a ranged weapon anyway (and has a shield...go figure).

Armor roll 2d4

2: leather & shield

3: silk armor & shield

4: shield

5: no armor

6: silk armor

7: leather armor

8: brigandine or scale armor

[Silk Armor gives AC 8(12) vs melee, but AC 5(15) vs ranged attacks]

Weapons roll 2d6

2: ranged weapon

3: saber

4: dagger-axe

5: hand axe

6: dagger

7: no weapon

8: spear

9: nunchaku

10: staff

11: tiger fork

12: roll twice

Ranged Weapons Subtable roll 1d6

1: short bow

2: pellet crossbow

3: light crossbow

4: sling

5: 2d4 javelins

6: blowgun

Each NPC had a 1 in 6 chance to have a Special ability. Two have them.

Special Ability roll 2d4

2: 1st level mudang (cleric) spell

3: Keen Eyes: find traps/secret doors 1-2/d6

4: Educated: +2 languages

5: Adventuring Gear (backpack, rope, lantern, tinderbox, etc.)

6: 2HD instead of 1-1HD

7: High Strength (+1 to hit/damage)

8: 1st level wu jen (magic user) spell

It's interesting. Almost all have at least some kind of armor. Only one NPC doesn't have a weapon. All of the melee weapons were rolled, but the saber is the most common. Go figure. Rolled lots of 3s when rolling weapons.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Download some stuff!

Thanks to bhyeti for requesting my old Star Frontiers module The Derelict, a bunch of stuff I used to give away for free here on the blog is now back up and available for you to download. There's a new standalone page link at the top there for them. 

I had originally posted them to another blogger's hosting site (and it was so long ago, I forgot exactly who it was), but something happened and they let the site go down. And no one was clamoring for those files, so I just let them sit on my hard drive for years. 

Anyway, you can now get that SF module mentioned above, my Unique Magic Items series (weapons, armor/shields, wands/staves/rods), the compilation of my old Beast of the Week series, and some supplemental stuff for Flying Swordsmen or old school D&D games for free. Everything's hosted on my Google Drive now, so unless something happens to me and my family decides to scrub the web of my presence, they shouldn't be any more hiccups with hosting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


 So, not only did news of "One D&D" drop this week, we also got the announcement of the launch of 5E material translated into Japanese this week. 

It's a pretty decent commercial. And if you don't speak Japanese, don't worry, the video has English subtitles that are a good translation of what's spoken. 

But it is a bit funny that they're launching this right now.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Age of the Rolling Update

No doubt you've heard WotC's announcement earlier in the week of the playtest for "One D&D" which according to their slick YouTube video will be updating, consolidating, and tweaking 5E in order to keep selling you the same stuff you've already purchased provide you with the most up-to-date version of the rules on a regular basis. And it will most definitely NOT be a new edition. Oh no, wouldn't want that. That splits the fanbase.

Well, despite the desire on WotC's part, it looks to me like it will be at least as substantial a change in 5E as adding books from 1984+ to 1E (UA, OA, Dungeoneers/Wilderness Survival Guides), which many consider 1.5E, or the "skills & powers" stuff for 2E, which again many consider to be 2.5E. 

Of course, this is play test material, and the finished 5E was fairly different from the D&D Next play test material in certain ways. 

But there will be changes. And from what it sounds like, the new VTT (if they actually manage to make it work this time) will likely put players on either a subscription model or an in-app purchases model to make money each time something gets added or updated. Not to mention all the money the could make from the sale of virtual tabletop monster models or other assets for DMs without the time to model their own.

So WotC seems to have finally found a way to market D&D in the same way they've always done Magic: The Gathering. Keep releasing updates/expansions and every couple of years update/modify the base rules just enough to keep people purchasing them again. 

If that keeps the company profitable, and keeps D&D in particular and RPGs in general in the public consciousness, that's fine with me. I've been meeting more and more people these days who game, and talk about it openly, than I ever have in my life. I've actually got more players interested in my upcoming TS&R Jade campaign than I need. 

I probably will be finished with 5E/One D&D though. If the online play-by-post 5E games I'm in update to the new rules, I will drop out. If they keep with 5E I'll stick around at least one of them. It's a lot of fun, fairly old school in approach (tons of randomly generated content and a focus on exploration with no set story), and definitely not on any sort of rails. The other two are running published 5E modules, and I joined both games from curiosity. They're very boring to be honest. PbP games require good pacing, and the modules may work really well around a table (real or virtual), but they drag out a lot of boring crap in PbP. But since they're railroads, we've got to play out the encounters given in the module because they're given in the module. 

If you are still enjoying 5E, and looking forward to this "revision but not new edition" I wish you the best with it. 5E is a solid game, and does what it sets out to do pretty darn well. I've had fun playing it, if not so much fun when I tried to run it. I'll be sticking to my old school style games for D&D.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

New Campaign Prep Continues

Been busy teaching an elementary student English camp last week, and this week. They are both physically and mentally draining, but a lot of fun. And I get to inspire a bunch of Korean kids to take more interest in learning English. 

This year, instead of reading and creating choose-your-own-adventure type stories, I'm playing board games with the kids. They're really enjoying it. Some got into the interactive fiction thing, but for most it was just a thing to do. With the board games (Bang!, King of Tokyo, Dungeon!, Clue, The Keeyp) they really have fun. But explaining the games takes a lot of effort. 4th and 5th graders aren't the most patient bunch. :D 

Aside from the board games, quite a few of the new teachers I've met this time are gamers. One runs a Pathfinder game, and two others play in a 5E game together. Another guy isn't currently gaming, but both he and the PF guy were interested in maybe joining my new TS&R campaign. So I don't need to worry about one of the currently interested players dropping out. That's a nice feeling. 

I've got enough locations and NPCs in the home town described in enough detail to get started. I can add layers of detail as they develop in play. I've got half a dozen small dungeons ready. I've got the "main" dungeon maps drawn and keyed. I just need to fill in what's in the rooms. 

The dungeon is not a megadungeon, but it is fairly large. The first level has around 60 encounter areas. About 100 on the second level. And approximately 140 on the third level. Three hundred encounter areas seems like quite a bit, but there are several "special" locations in each level, most with multiple sub-areas (counted in the totals above). By the standard stocking numbers, that's around 100 empty rooms, 100 rooms with monster encounters, 50 traps/hazards, and 50 strange or unusual encounters. 

It will take a bit of time to get that all filled in, but with the adventure seeds included with the home town, the small dungeons nearby, and a local wilderness area with encounter tables complete, I think I'll be confident to start if I only have the 1st level keyed by the time the campaign starts. I'll get as much of the 2nd done as well, if I can. Best would be to get all three keyed, so I can start throwing in rumors and missions at the players.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Working on the New Campaign

Haven't been blogging much lately because I'm prepping for the new campaign. I'm slowly building up the personalities, factions, and services available in the home town. I finished the third level map for the local "micro mega" dungeon. Three sprawling levels, lots of access points between the levels, and several key locations on each level. Stocking might take a while, but with the map done, that's half the battle. 

I've got several micro dungeons and challenges/rivalries/factional moves (some recycled from previous games, some new). Have to flesh out a few more, but I've got enough done, or nearly done, that I will feel comfortable starting the campaign in September. 

Of course, I'll be working at an elementary school English camp the next two weeks, so not much time to prep during those. They're pretty intense, and I doubt I'll get much work done on this campaign during the camp period. But I think I have enough in place to start. 

Also, my younger son made his character, a cat hengeyokai fighter. My older son will probably roll up a PC this weekend. I've got four or five more players lined up. 

The only problem is that this week, I've been looking at Southeast Asian folklore/mythology a bit, and finding lots of cool ideas for monsters from Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines that I'd like to add. Since I've already got the monsters & treasure book done and mostly formatted, so maybe I'll have to make a supplement already to add more monsters! 

Update: My older boy made his PC this evening. Another fighter, but a human this time, named Shi Jinping (ha ha)*. He's got lamellar armor, a heavy crossbow, a straight sword, and a backpack. He says he wants to take the game more seriously this time, but then starts drawing a picture of Winnie the Pooh in lamellar on his sheet. :D 

Son #2 doesn't want to have the same sort of sword, so says he wants to switch to a katana. He's got the cash, so that's no problem. 

*I told him it's spelled Xi, but he decided to keep this spelling.