Mar 13, 2016

Meet the Player Characters: Sarril

Sarril (no known family name) - Cleric of Boccob / Magic User (Half-Elf)

Sarril was born in the city of Stoink in the Bandit Kingdoms.  His mother was a captured elven slave. He does not know who is father is.  His early years as a slave were painful and filled with sorrow.  He was separated from his mother as soon as he no longer needed to be fed by her.  He was whipped and beaten almost every day.  His chores were cleaning the blood and filth from the slave and fighting pens.  When he was 10 years old he was placed in a caged cart with other slaves and marched down the road.

As the slave caravan traveled west from Stoink, they came upon a lone traveler who was heading south-west.  The slave caravan figured this was an easy mark for them as the traveler did not appear to be wearing any armor or weapons.  As four slavers approached the man and attempted to capture him, he quickly disarmed and dispatched the slavers.  He seemed to know when and where they were going to attack and always stayed one step ahead of them.  He beat them using his quickness and wit, with quite a few punches and kicks for good measure.  He released the slaves and gave them two options.  They could choose to gather any supplies and run, or the second option was to follow him and he would lead them south-west to Rel Mord, the capital of the Kingdom of Nyrond.  The choice was theirs, they were free.  Many gathered what they could and ran.  The few, Sarril included, chose to follow the man to Rel Mord.

Once they made it to Rel Mord, the man left them.  He wished them well and told them all that as free men and women, they had the choice to make their own road now.  Sarril, alone for the first time and given his own choice of what to do was lost…

As he walked the city of Rel Mord with nothing but the over-sized cloth on his back.  He came upon the Temple to Boccob.  As he stands looking at it, he hears a woman’s voice in his head, he thinks it is his mother…Learn, study, grow…  You know what you must do….

Sarril enters the temple and find the high priest.  He kneels before the priest and lays himself out before him.  “I give myself to Boccob, to learn, to study, to grow…I will do all that you ask and all that you need…”

The priest, not having seen this type of loyalty or devotion given to himself or Boccob, takes the boy in.  He teaches Sarril all of Boccob’s teachings.  The years seem to pass quickly for Sarril.  He knows this is what he needs, what he wants… He learns all that he can.  As the years pass, his temperament changes.  He is no longer the boy slave who walked into the temple alone and afraid.  He has chosen who he is.  He knows what he wants.  He has dedicated his life to learning all that he can…

Sarril's dedication to Boccob and his quick learning eventually gained the notice of another well-known servant of Boccob and friend of the temple. The famous archmage Otto took a liking to Sarril and eventually offered him the chance of a lifetime, to come to his home in Chathold and serve as his apprentice. Sarril gladly took the opportunity and in Otto's service, he was given a chance to see much of the world (for Otto loved to travel). Though it took a long time to learn the arcane arts, Otto was an excellent teacher and Sarril a quick student. Within a few years, Sarril was ready to start casting his own spells.

It was in the month of Coldeven, in CY 579 when Otto was summoned to the Adri Forest to meet with the Grand Druid, Immonara. Otto was always a friend to the druids of that area and glad to provide services when needed. Sarril and Otto went to the Adri Forest and there Immonara showed them a horrible site. A dreaded curse has taken hold and was turning all of the trees and vegetation dark gray - colorless as if dead, yet still intact. The curse seemed to be spreading out from a point deep inside the forest, where it was pitch black. In the center of the blackness, Immonara explained, was found a black shard that seems to be the cause. Her druidic rituals could not identify the object or explain its power, and she sought some arcane assistance. Otto tried every means at his disposal to identify the shard but was unable to get an answer. He agreed to discuss it with his order - the Circle of Eight. Surely together, they could figure this out.

Otto and Sarril then traveled to the City of Greyhawk, where Otto has a second home. Otto left Sarril to meet with his fellow wizards. When he returned, he had a mission for Sarril. Several leagues to the west of Greyhawk, in the Viscounty of Verbobonc is the Village of Hommlet. Within this village is a druid named Jaroo, who belongs to an order of druids from the Gnarley Forest. Jaroo may have some information about this shard if Sarril would take it to him. Otto was being called away on urgent business, so Sarril would be entrusted with his first solo mission, if he can handle it. Sarril agreed, eager to prove himself on his own. Otto outfitted him with magical weapons and protections and gave him his very own spellbook - complete with all of Otto's personal spells in addition to the usual stuff. Sarril immediately set about his task.

On the road to Hommlet, Sarril stopped into the inn of the Sleepy Dragon to get a night's rest. While having dinner, he noticed a band playing very loud music that was mesmerizing. Sarril noticed the band members' instruments had a symbol of a tooth dripping blood on it. He started to feel light-headed, and realized he needed to get out. As he made his way to the door, he passed out. When he woke up, he was naked on the side of the road without any possessions whatsoever. Next to him was a naked Fruztii barbarian and a naked grey elf that had seen earlier in the inn. Although they appeared to be in the same place on the road, there was no longer any inn, nor any sign there ever was one here.

Mar 7, 2016

Meet the Player Characters: Athan

Athanasios Guðleifantalasian - Thief / Magic User (Grey Elf from Celene)

Athan was raised as the only child in a modest elven home with two doting parents. His mother, an artist and his father, a musician, were both followers of Corellon Larethian. Worship of the Seldarine (elven pantheon) is not as common among the elves of Oerth as it once was, but for the Guðleifantalasian family, it is a fundamental part of who they are and Athan was raised to exemplify the virtues modeled by Corellon.

It was obvious to everyone when Athan was young that he was different from the other elves. Genius, even by Grey Elf standards, tremendously talented, but also troubled. It wasn’t long before he surpassed his father in musical ability, and exceeded his mother’s artistic talents. When they had nothing more to teach him, Athan began to seek knowledge on his own, usually without permission, and he was caught stealing books and scrolls on more than one occasion – though he never understood that he was doing anything wrong, always believing that knowledge should be free, and the owner would have wanted to share. On this, and many other subjects, Athan demonstrated how socially disconnected he was with the rest of the world. Making friends would have been difficult, if he even tried, but he preferred to stay secluded in his home rather than interact with elves who wouldn’t understand him. In this state, he began to mentally and physically shut down. As he entered adolescence, he showed no signs of interest in any elven duties, and only his music kept him slightly happy.

Concerned for their son’s well-being, Athan’s parents took a trip to Enstad, the capital of Celene, in the hopes of finding something that would inspire him. While walking the streets of the capital, guards cleared everyone off the street to make way for a procession of Queen Yolande and her court. Seeing the queen in all her majesty and beauty, surrounded by some of the most famous elves in the Flanaess, would have been overwhelming experience for any young elf, but for Athan it drove his curiosity and interest to new heights. He had never seen a unicorn before, and there was an amazing specimen right here with the queen. Without paying attention to anything else, Athan walked right up to it, drawing immediate attention from the guards who shoved him to the ground and halting the procession. As Athan’s parents rushed out to apologize, another figure stepped forward, waiving away the guards. She helped Athan up and asked him his name, then introduced herself as Alyndra Elaris, Royal Enchantress of Celene and a member of the Queen’s court. It was this chance meeting that would change the path of Athan’s life forever.

Alyndra Elaris
A few weeks later, Athan’s parents were paid a visit by a royal messenger, who told them that the Royal Enchantress personally requested Athan to come live with her in her tower in Enstad to be her apprentice. While this was the chance of a lifetime, it meant being disconnected from the only people who have ever loved and understood him. But his parents knew this was the right path for him, and encouraged him on his way. And so, his father took him back to the city, to say goodbye to his son and pray for Corellon’s guidance on his new life. As a parting gift, his father game him his lute, that he may remember the roots of his family. For the next several years, Athan faithfully served Alyndra in all things. He realized how much she was like him – highly intelligent, curious, but also repressed and distant. She must have saw some of herself in Athan as well, to choose him on that fateful day. And indeed, while they rarely spoke words to each other, Athan and Alyndra shared a special bond between each other. They were two people who understood each other, even while the rest of the world did not.

But Athan and Alyndra were not as alike as they thought. Alyndra was detached just enough that did not see that Athan still clung to some old habits. While Athan possessed a heart of gold and would readily give his last silver coin, or even his spellbook, to one in greater need than he, but he also expected the same behavior from all those around him. His inability to communicate well with others lead him down a path of thievery. The mere thought of trying to explain to others what he needed and why was a daunting task and incomprehensible in the minds of others. So rather than asking for a new spell, or a specific spell component, he would sneak around in the dark of night and take them. He always believed his behavior was justified. "I'm sure they would not mind me borrowing this," became his personal mantra as his skills in both magic and stealth steadily improved.

It was the 25th Day of Snowflowers, OY 5042 by the Olven Calendar, when Alyndra was sent by Queen Yolande to help the priests at Oakvein with a problem that was eluding them and placing their sacred Heart Tree at risk. Alyndra and Athan travelled to Oakvein, where they were shown a most disturbing curse that had taken hold in the forest. Trees and vegetation were turning gray, and the curse was spreading, getting dangerously close to the sacred tree. The gray turned darker as they moved further into the forest, then black, then the black coalesced at a point where it looked like no light escaped. The high priest informed her that they found a small crystal shard at the center of the blackness and placed it in a wooden box. It appears the curse has stopped spreading since its removal. Alyndra could not identify the shard, but she mentioned that the druid, Jaroo in Hommlet had reported hearing of a similar incident in the Gnarley Forest a while back and he might know something. And so Alyndra and Athan set out on the road for Hommlet. Alyndra reported that they needed to be some distance from Oakvein before she could teleport, so they would have to go on foot for a little while.

On the road, the two were beset by wicked winged creatures – devils of some sort. Alyndra turned Athan invisible and told him to hide while she handled the problem. The devils were no match for her powerful magic and Athan got to witness first-hand the power of his mistress. But the devils were only a distraction to drain her spellpower. More appeared on the road, but this time with a thin human woman dressed in black who immediately invoked a charge from her Talisman of Ultimate Evil, opening a fissure below Alyndra that sucked her into the bowels of Oerth. And just like that, Athan’s mistress was gone. He was about to rush out to meet his death to exact his revenge when he felt something in his pocket. It was the box with the shard. Alyndra must have slipped it to him before she turned him invisible. Or maybe he picked it from her pocket without thinking about it, as he seems to do sometimes. Either way, he realized now that he had to complete the mission that she started.

Athan walked the rest of the day, safe in his invisible form until he needed to rest for the night. He came upon an Inn, dropped the invisibility and walked in. A band was playing. Not his taste in music, but it seemed good considering that, and the songs seemed to get stuck in his head. He ordered some food and wine and started to relax, looking around the room, noting who else was present (and what they had on them – out of curiosity, of course). That’s when he started to feel dizzy. As the feeling grew on him, he realized something was wrong, and tried to make an escape for the door, but passed out before making it. When he woke up, he was naked on the side of the road. He seemed to be in the same place where the inn was supposed to be, but there was no inn. Next to him was a naked half-elf and large naked human. He recognized both men from the inn, and they all seemed to be in the same predicament.

Mar 5, 2016

Meet the Player Characters: Pontus

Pontus Olgraffson - Barbarian (Fruztii)

The lands of the Cold Crow cover the southwest portion of the Fruztii (Frost Barbarian) kingdom, including parts of the Timberway Forest and Griff Mountains. Pontus is the eldest son of Olgraff, Jarl of the Cold Crow. Unlike the great warriors who lead the other clans, Jarl Olgraff was a cleric of Kord who relied on his wisdom and intellect, in addition to his strength, to lead his people.

Olgraff supported the former King Ralff in his decision to form an alliance with Ratik to the south. This alliance was very controversial, but it resulted in the Fruzzti becoming a powerful kingdom and breaking free of their servitude to the Schnai (Snow Barbarians, whom for decades had ruled over them). To seal the alliance between the Kingdom of the Fruzzti and the Archbarony of Ratik, the former King Ralff married his son, Hundgred Rallfson, to the daughter of a Ratik noblewoman. His Most Warlike Majesty, King Hundgred Rälffson is now king of the Fruzzti, and he has expanded the alliance with Ratik by increasing trade with them, as well as with the dwarves of the Griff mountains. The capital of Krakenheim is beginning to look much more modern and civilized, thanks to the new queen's influence. "Decadent," some the Jarls call it. Some even say magic and other evil things are practiced there. There are many within the Cold Crow and other clans who desire to return to the old ways. One such person was Olgraff’s cousin, Bran. When Hundgred ascended to the throne, Bran became increasingly vocal against your Olgraff’s support for him. Although the details are not clear, at some point, Olgraff exiled Bran for treason.

Olgraff’s support of the king was not the only source of tension. There are also many in the Cold Crow Clan that believe in the second coming of Vatun - the mythical god of the barbarians who led the clans to their freedom so long ago. Olgraf believed Vatun was only a legend. A story told to children. He encouraged the worship of real gods, especially Kord, greater deity of Athletics, Sports and Brawling, who, to the barbarians represents strength and power.

In the Common Year (CY) 578, just a few months before Pontus’ 17th birthday, a group of Fruztii from the Timberway came to visit Jarl Olgraff to ask for his help. They told a tale of an evil curse that was spreading through the forest, turning everything black. On that fateful day, the world would change for Pontus forever.

Olgraff gathered several his best warriors, including Ingvar Branson, who remained loyal even after the exile of his father, the BeastMaster Hrothgar and his loyal wolf pack, and Pontus to investigate the threat. What they found deep in the Timberway cannot adequately be described here. A curse spreading through the forest, turning all the trees and vegetation dark gray, and getting darker and darker as the group approached the center – which appeared as a black void from which no light could escape. Inside this void, one of the group found a shard that looked like a black crystal or chunk of obsidian, though it reflected no light. The shard turned the barbarian’s hand a dark gray, which then quickly spread up his arm and throughout his body, killing him. As the group fanned out in search of more of these things, Ingvar and his men took the opportunity to strike out at Olgraff in an act of bloody treason. Hrothgar, loyal to the end, moved in to protect Olgraff, but it was too late. Realizing that Pontus would be the next to die, Hrothgar sacrificed himself to allow Pontus to escape, sending two of his wolves to protect him as he ran.

Unfortunately for Pontus, while he escaped death, he would be captured a few days later by a barbarian hunter, those traitorous barbarians who have turned their service to the Overking to track the nomadic tribes for capture or execution. This barbarian hunter was none other than Bran, whose hatred for Olgraff ran so deep that he would turn his betrayal against all his people. Though he could have killed Pontus, he preferred instead to have him suffer a lifetime of servitude, and so, bound and chained, he was placed on slave ship, where he would spend the next year of his life attached to an oar.

Pontus sailed many seas, and was sold several times over. His latest owners in the Wild Coast eventually sold him to a mysterious buyer from Ket, and shipped him over land to the Northwest. It was during this journey that Pontus would finally gain his freedom by the grace of a mysterious man in robes and a large brimmed hat, who, without saying a word, slew all of Pontus’ captors with his bare hands before opening his cage and disappearing.

Pontus found himself alone on a road in the Gnarley Forest, with only a few coins and crude weapons he collected from his captor’s bodies. The month was Coldeven, in the year CY 579 – not that Pontus was fully aware of that. He followed the road to an inn, where he took shelter and ate his first meal as a free man. As he was drinking his ale and enjoying the music, he began to feel dizzy. The music was amazing, but it pounded in his head as the room swirled around him. Pontus tried to make a move toward the exit but passed out on the way. When he awoke, he was naked on the side of the road. He is certain he was in the same place as before, but there was no inn here. Next to him, also naked, were a Gray Elf and a Half-Elf that he vaguely remembers seeing in the inn when he was there.

Mar 1, 2016

House Rules: Death and Resurrection

Note: The following are modifications of some excellent ideas I found online from another creative dungeon master. I can no longer find the original to credit him. If you recognize your work below, please comment, and I will provide proper credit and link back to your website.

Not all deities grant spells to bring back the dead, and even those that do may have severe restrictions in terms of how it is being used. A cleric who attempts to bring back the dead in violation of the edicts of his religion could lose all clerical powers and be excommunicated by his church. While most churches require an excessive donation to perform the ritual, a person’s wealth and station in life are never considerations for their worthiness to receive the spell (if this were the case, king’s would be resurrected all of the time). Generally, worthiness is related to some unfinished business the deceased needs to perform in life that is in service of some greater good that priest’s deity wants done.

Even in cases where a resurrection may be warranted, there are risks that may make both the spellcaster and the player character to be resurrected consider the choice carefully.

The Step-By-Step Process:

  1. The priest must first commune with his/her deity to determine if it is okay to cast the spell. It may be that the person’s soul is serving his/her deity in an important way, and
  2. The spellcaster casts one of the spells below and hopes for the best
  3. The dead person, in whatever afterlife they currently inhabit, becomes aware that somebody is trying to call his/her spirit back to the living world. The dead person will know who the spellcaster is if he/she knew the spellcaster previously; otherwise, the dead person will only know that the soul is being called back, but not who is doing it or what spell is being used.
  4. If the deceased is a follower of the same deity as the priest performing the spell, the dead person's spirit chooses whether or not to allow the spell to complete successfully. None of these spells work on an unwilling subject (though in some cases, divine intervention can force the matter). However,
  5.  If the deceased is a follower of a different deity, or of a different alignment than the priest performing the spell, the deceased’s deity (or whatever has its soul in service), may need to also allow the soul to leave (DM’s discretion)
  6. If the spell is completed successfully, then the dead person rolls a resurrection survival check (for Raise Dead or Resurrection) or rolls on a reincarnation table (for Reincarnate)
  7. If all goes well, the subject returns to life as dictated by the rules of the spell. The subject retains no memories of anything that happened while he/she was dead unless he/she was active during the period of death as a free-willed undead creature.

Resurrection Survival Check:

A potential resurrection subject may be required to roll a resurrection survival check depending on the spell used. If successful, the subject will be successfully revived. If it fails, however, that person is gone forever. No further attempts at resurrection can be made, and attempts to contact the spirit of the deceased will always fail. That person’s soul is considered to no longer exist, either trapped outside of the known planes of existence, or utterly destroyed (theologians are not certain on this issue).

This is a Constitution-based check, and it is known among priests, and others who are in a position to learn these things, that healthier and heartier people have a significantly greater chance of being successfully revived from the dead. So on this subject, characters can make a semi-informed decision regarding their chance of success.

Spells to Revive the Dead:

Raise Dead (5th-level cleric spell)
-        works on a dwarf, half-elf, halfling, or human
-        only works if the deceased has been dead for less than one day per level of the cleric
-        requires a whole, mostly-intact body with all essential parts present
-        non-essential body parts (limbs, eyes, etc.) which are missing will still be missing when subject is revived
-        if subject died of poisoning and the poison was not neutralized prior to revival, a new saving throw vs. poison will be required immediately
-        requires a resurrection survival check
-        upon revival, subject loses one point of Constitution permanently
-        upon revival, subject is weak and helpless, has only 1 hp, and requires one day of bed rest for each day spent being dead

Resurrection (7th-level cleric spell)
-        works on any sentient creature
-        only works if the deceased has been dead for less than 10 years per level of the cleric
-        requires at least some small amount of remains
-        body will be whole, complete, and healthy upon revival
-        requires a resurrection survival check
-        upon revival, subject loses one point of Constitution permanently
-        upon revival, subject has full HP and feels otherwise healthy and energetic

Reincarnate (7th-level druid spell)
-        works on any non-artificial sentient creature
-        only works if the deceased has been dead for less than a week
-        requires at least some small amount of remains
-        does not require a resurrection survival check
-        after the spell is cast, subject appears nearby in a new body within 1d6 x 10 minutes, with memories of his/her former life
-        the player or DM creates a new character for the subject; new ability scores are rolled and a different class can be chosen
-        there is a very significant chance of being reincarnated as an animal or some weird woodland creature (dryad, pixie, centaur)
-        once the spell is cast, the new form is considered to be the subject's true, natural form from that point forward

Reincarnate (6th-level magic-user spell)
-        works on any non-artificial sentient creature
-        only works if the deceased has been dead for less than one day per level of the magic-user
-        requires at least some small amount of remains
-        does not require a resurrection survival check
-        after the spell is cast, subject appears nearby in a new body within 1d6 x 10 minutes, with memories of his/her former life
-        the player or DM creates a new character for the subject; new ability scores are rolled and a different class can be chosen
-        all potential forms are sentient humanoids, though some are definitely not traditional PC races (bugbear, goblin, ogre, etc)
-        once the spell is cast, the new form is considered to be the subject's true, natural form from that point forward

Limited Wish (7th-level magic-user spell)
-        mostly unable to raise the dead effectively
-        if the subject's physical body has been totally destroyed and lost (ashes scattered in the wind, etc.), this spell may be used to produce enough remains for a Resurrection (but not Raise Dead)
-        may, depending on circumstances, bring a very recently-dead person back to life briefly
Wish (9th-level magic-user spell)
-        may be used to, in effect, duplicate any other spell on this list
-        may be used to change a reincarnated character back into the form he/she had in a previous life
-        may be used to wish for the full return of a living being, without Constitution penalties, HOWEVER, this is a very tricky spell that can have dire consequences, and it isn’t easy to come by, so it should be a last resort option
-        If a deity or another greater power is keeping a soul from returning, a Wish spell could, in some cases, be used to force the matter – at the spellcasters own risk, of course

Alter Reality (7th-level illusionist spell)
-        functionally the same as Limited Wish

Theological and Philosophical Notes:

Because Raise Dead and Resurrection can result in a person's soul being lost to all contact forever, many clerics are reluctant to perform these spells. For the same reason, many dead people are reluctant to allow attempts at casting these spells on them. Most religions generally hold that having your soul "lost" in this manner is just about the worst thing that can happen to a person, although it's an unknowable mystery whether the soul is just destroyed into nothing, imprisoned in some unspeakable circumstances, or just kicked back to its normal afterlife but cut off from further availability. Some theologians claim that these spells are never acceptable, while others claim that the object of their religious faith (God, the spirits, the Earth, etc.) would not grant these spells if they were not to be used. Most, however, take the middle ground that these spells should be available for use, but only rarely and in circumstances that warrant them. Of course, that ends up being a judgment call of each individual priest.

It's actually very common for someone to refuse a resurrection attempt due to religious beliefs, fear of being "lost," or general contentment with the status of being dead. For that reason, before casting a spell to attempt resurrection, it's common to use the 3rd-level cleric spell Speak with the Dead to inquire about the dead person's willingness to be restored to life in the first place.

Recovering from Death and Near Death

Any character who has been brought below zero hit points may be stabilized by use of the First Aid skill or other means of healing. A stabilized character will not continue to bleed out (lose one hit point per round), even if they still have negative hit points. However, a stabilized character with negative hit points is at risk of having their wounds re-opened if they are not moved carefully, and they have only a 50% chance of survival overnight, therefore, they need to receive healing to bring them to positive hit points as soon as possible. Once hit point are positive, the character is no longer at risk of death.

Any character who has dropped below zero hit points and stabilized will be unconscious until brought to positive hit points. Even once hit points are positive, they will be unable to perform any actions, and must have assistance when moving. This lasts until at least half of their total hit points are healed. Additionally, regardless of the level of healing received, the character will perform at a penalty of 1 to all die rolls for a number of days equal to the number of hit points below zero that they fell. Please note that while cavaliers have a special ability to be able to continue to take actions when below zero hit points, this ability only applies immediately after the injury takes place. Once the cavalier has rested and the adrenaline has subsided, normal recovery rules apply.

Any character who has been killed and resurrected will be unconscious until they have healed 50% of their total hit points, and then unable to perform any actions except assisted movement until they have been fully healed to 100% of their hit points. If a Raise Dead was performed, the character will have a penalty of 1 to all die rolls for a number of days equal to the number of hit points lost below zero prior to their death. This represents the fact that the body has not been replaced. Characters who are resurrected do not suffer this penalty, as their body is effectively built brand new.

House Rules

Game mechanics will be a mix of AD&D 1st and 2nd edition, plus some house rules (some inspired by, but not exactly duplicating 3e and 5e). In general, first edition rules and game mechanics will be used unless otherwise noted.

For rules on death and resurrection, click here.

Characters and Races

  • All classes and races described in the first edition Player’s Handbook and Unearthed Arcana may be used
  • Racial and class limitations apply for attributes and levels, however, exceptions will be made in extraordinary circumstances
  • We will not generally be using psionics rules, however, for creatures that have psionic abilities (deities, Illythid, etc.) psionic attacks will be treated as spells, and saving throws with mental bonuses may be allowed
  • “Improved Druid” rules from Dragon Magazine will be used (Nov, 1988)
  • Two types of monk builds will be used. The Scarlet Brotherhood monks use the build from the “Scarlet Brotherhood” sourcebook. These are a subclass of cleric. Western monks, the disciples of Zuoken, use the “Improved Monk” rules from Best of Dragon Magazine Vol III. These are a subclass of thief.
  • Ability Score Rolls:
    • New characters will choose between the following methods for rolling ability scores.
      • Roll 4d6 (drop the lowest) x 8. Ability scores may be distributed as desired between the following:
        • Strength (STR)
        • Dexterity (DEX)
        • Intelligence (INT)
        • Wisdom (WIS)
        • Constitution (CON)
        • Charisma (CHA)
        • Comeliness (COM) (see Unearthed Arcana)
        • Perception (PER) (see Dragon Magazine #133, page 12)
      • The above method is best when a player wants to play a particular class and needs to ensure the they get the right abilities.
      • Roll 5d6 (drop the 2 lowest) for each ability, in order. Values may not be redistributed.
      • The above method provides for the highest overall stats, and is best used if the player is open-minded about what class they wish to play.
      • Peasant Rule: If a character is deemed "unplayable" as a PC (i.e. if there are multiple single-digit ability scores), the DM may declare that character to forever be a peasant, and allow the player to roll-up a new character.
    • Racial adjustments to attributes are made after distribution, but no other adjustments or re-distribution of ability scores are allowed
    • First level characters will start with maximum hit points, rolling for additional hit points per level thereafter.
    • When rolling hit points each level, ones may be re-rolled.
    • OPTION: Perception can be calculated as an average of Intelligence and Wisdom, instead of an ability roll on its own. If this method is used, then the player rolls 7 sets of dice for ability scores instead of 8. This must be decided before rolling.


  • All Cleric, Magic User, Druid and Illusionist spells from any and all first and second edition publications may exist in the world, at DM’s discretion, including, but not limited to:
    • Player’s Handbook
    • Unearthed Arcana
    • Greyhawk Adventures
    • Tome of Magic (except “wild” magic, because that was just stupid)
    • Dragon Magazine (issues 1 through 250)
    • Any published AD&D 1st or 2nd edition module
  • Priest and magic spheres (from 2nd edition) do not apply, however, magic users do tend to favor certain types of spells, and clerics of a given deity may be granted only specific spells (the DM will provide a spell list for each deity). In general, we will follow what is published in the first and second edition Greyhawk books for guidance.
  • Spells of 3 segments or less will be cast immediately when it is the spell caster’s turn. Spells of 4 to 9 segments will begin casting on the spells caster’s turn, and go off at the end of the round. This eliminates the ability to disrupt most lower level spells by hitting the spell caster, and speeds up game play by not having to track segments for each round (we may revise this if it proves unworkable)
  • Common spell components do not need to be kept track of so long as the mage has in his possession the means to carry them. These are most spells up through 6th level (based on description of the spell). Rare or expensive components (usually for spells 7th level and higher, depending on the description), must be tracked individually.

Learning, Studying & Writing Spells

  • Magic Users must learn a spell before being able to memorize it or write it, however;
  • Casting Read Magic before using Write will allow a magic user to copy a spell that they have not learned, with a chance of failure equal to 10% per spell level
  • A spell properly written onto a scroll or spellbook through use of the Write spell can be “burned” by reading the spell directly from the spellbook page or scroll, without the use of spell components. Doing so will consume the page or scroll in a flash of fire.
  • Spells can still be copied without use of the Write spell, if the magic user knows the spells and has either:
    • Memorized it for the day or
    • Has access to the spell from another book or scroll
  • However, spells written without using the Write spell cannot be “burned” – only memorized
  • In order to burn a spell that the magic user does not know (has not learned), a Read Magic spell must first be cast
  • When rolling to learn a new spell, if the magic user fails, he may be given another chance to learn the spell only after apprenticing with a tutor of at least 11th level for one month. Such tutoring must be very focused and consume a good portion of the magic user’s time between studies and practice (176 hrs is a good approximation)
  • Studying to memorize spells for the day requires one half turn (5 minutes) per spell to be memorized for the day (regardless of level). This applies to both magic users memorizing spells and clerics praying for spells. While druids do not need to select specific spells for the day, they do need to spend an equal amount of time preparing each day in order to cast.
  • Properly writing a spell, whether or not the write spell is used, requires one hour per spell level, for each spell to be written to a scroll or book.
  • The nature of the Write spell is that it imbues the page or scroll with the magic of the spell itself, such that it acts like a triggered spell when it goes off. As such, in addition to the special ink and paper requirements for the spell, the spell components required for the spell are also consumed by the process. This isn’t much of a problem for spells of 4th level and lower, but higher level spells require rare, expensive, and sometimes unique spell components (for example, a gem worth no less than 500,000 gp for a Wish spell), and writing the spell to a scroll does not eliminate the need for the components, they are just consumed during scroll creation rather than at casting time.
  • Clerical and druidic scrolls are still created as per the DMG – requiring a minimum of 11th level and for the spell to be prayed for and then “cast” into the scroll. Please note that not all deities grant scroll creation as an ability.

Spellbooks and Scrolls

  • Traveling Spellbook is the same as the Standard spellbook on Page 79 UA
  • On a page of vellum, the number of spells that can be written is 6 of levels 1-3, or 4 of levels 4-6, or 2 of levels 7-9. 

Wands and Wand-like Devices

Experience has revealed that most wands are really overpowered. Allowing a spellcaster to just keep throwing fireballs round after round without stopping isn't good for anyone, so the following restrictions will apply (for the purpose of these rules, "wand" means any wand-like device that uses charges to cast spells):
  • All wands have a chance of breaking when used. The base chance for this is 5% (a roll of 5% or less on percentile dice), though some wands of poor quality may have a higher chance
  • Each time a wand is used, its chance of breaking increases by 5%
  • For each hour that a wand is not used, its chance of breaking decreases by 5%, down to its base chance
  • Some wands can be recharged as per Unearthed Arcana rules. Recharging a wand has a 25% chance of breaking it (01-25% on percentile) and 25% chance of making it weaker (26-50% on percentile). Making a wand weaker increases its base chance of breaking by 5%.
  • These rules do not apply to artifacts or, at the DM's discretion, to high-powered (named) items


  • We will be using the simplified second edition ThAC0 system (ThAC0 stands for “To Hit AC 0”)
  • A roll of a natural 20 always hits, no matter what (even in cases where a creature requires a magic weapon to hit, as a natural 20 represents a super-heroic move)
  • A roll of natural 20 is considered a “critical” and damage, after all bonuses are applied, is doubled
  • A roll of natural 18 or 19 are considered “near critical” and receive an extra 1d4 damage
  • A roll of a natural 1 is a fumble, and always misses, regardless of circumstance (other than missing, there are no penalties for a fumble)
  • We will not use AC adjustments for weapons
  • “Point Blank” adjustments (Unearthed Arcana, page 18) apply for anyone with the appropriate ranged weapon proficiency. Specialization is not needed, and no class restrictions apply.
  • Shooting into melee is allowed, however, the target will be considered to have cover depending on the angle of the shot, size and numbers of creatures engaged in the melee (DM’s discretion)
    • 90% cover = -10 AC
    • 75% cover = -7 AC
    • 50% cover = -4 AC
    • 25% cover = -2 AC


Perception rolls will be used to determine the chance of finding hidden or concealed items during searches. Each character has a Perception attribute and success of finding something is indicated by rolling equal to or below the perception value on a d20, after applying modifiers. Unlike passive perception, in which the DM will ask a player to roll a perception to see if the character notices something of potential interest, a search must be declared by the player and takes a set amount of time, determined by the DM based on what is being search.

Searching for secret & concealed doors

One turn must be spent for each 40 linear feet of wall to be searched. Additional people searching can increase the chances of finding something, but does not reduce the time. Each character may attempt only one roll (to thus prevent a player from re-rolling until they succeed). A player may declare ahead of time that they wish to spend more time searching for secret doors. Each additional turn increases the effective perception by 2, up to a maximum of 20.
Example: Jack declares he wishes to search for secret doors along a 40 ft. stretch of hallway. He has a perception of 12. Jack is certain there is a secret door somewhere nearby and is intent on finding it, therefore he states he wishes to spend 3 turns, raising his effective perception to 18. The DM has determined that the secret door is especially difficult to locate, and has placed a +4 modifier on the die (Jack does not know this). Jack then rolls a d20 and gets 15, which is 3 below his perception. Jack informs the DM that he beat his effective perception by 3. Normally, this would indicate success, but with the +4 modifier, it fails. The DM informs Jack that he does not find any secret doors.

Other searches

A player who wishes to perform any other kind of search, such as sifting through a pile of trash, or looking through a library, or searching for hidden compartments in a desk, etc. must declare what he is searching for and how. For example, a generic search can be “I wish to sort through the pile of rubble to see if there is any valuable treasure among the junk” or a specific search can be “I want to search through the wizard’s room, tearing apart the bed and other furniture, until I find where he has hidden the amulet that he stole from the guild.” In either case, the DM will declare how long such a search will take if the character performs the actions specified.
Some searches can take less time with more people. For example, if a character wishes to search for a needle in a haystack, which would take 36 hours, the haystack can be divided 6 ways, so 6 people each search for 6 hours. In this case, the DM would roll a d6 to determine which stack the needle is in, and then apply that perception rolled by the player searching that stack to determine success.
Whenever specific items are being looked for, the more the player beats the required perception roll by, the sooner the item (or items) are found. However, if the items being looked for are non-specific (such as “treasure” or “hidden doors”) then the full amount of time is spent during the search and the DM will inform the player of the number and nature of the items found during that time.

Other Game Mechanics

  • Normal arrows do not need to be tracked, unless otherwise noted by the DM
  • In general, food, water and basic survival gear will not be kept track of so long as the party are near civilized areas. 
  • When the party is exposed to a remote or exotic location for an extended period of time where food, water and other necessities are hard to come by, the Wilderness Survival Guide or Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide rules will kick in, as appropriate.
  • Timing: During combat, a “round” is 6 seconds. Outside of combat, a “round” is 1 minute and a “turn” is 10 minutes. This does mean that some spells will burn out faster in combat than they will out of combat
  • Initiative: Initiative will be rolled on a d12, adjusted by any "reaction adjustment" or other initiative bonuses. The initiative does not determined when in a round a character gets to take an action - all actions are considered to be happening at the same time. Rather, it is used to determine in which order combat results are resolved. The DM will adjudicate any ties in iniative, usually based on who has the higher dexterity, but considering other factors such as combat advantages, etc.
  • Movement during combat: A character may move as far in one round as he can move in 6 seconds, considering race (size), class and encumbrance. A character with initiative may move up to half the distance below and still perform a melee attack, however, they may not attack until the next initiative number after their opponent whose space they have moved into (this rule does not apply if the character is acting on a surprise round). 

Walk (unencumbered)
Small (halfling, dwarf, gnome)
20 ft.
40 ft.
Medium (Human, elf, half-elf)
30 ft.
60 ft.
Large (large humanoids)
40 ft.
80 ft.

  • Note: The "medium" table above is used on place of the standard movement rate of 15" If a movement rate of more than 15" is listed somewhere, we will apply the relative difference to the table above