Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Old School Methods 4: Climbing etc.

Although I have to make the due reminder for you go go look at the Northlands Saga Kickstarter we're doing, this post is more about how to convert new-school methods to an old-school one, or (more usefully for most) some resource-options for handling various basic situations in an adventure.

Since I already did a bunch of theory-expounding in the earlier posts, this one is just a set of bare-bones possibilities for each skill.

"If the characters can convince," "a believable lie can," "only a well-constructed and believable story will," "some fast talking might."

"A cleric can convince.." etc. for other applicable classes. E.g., trying to sneak into the magic-users guild or persuade someone that a liquid is actually a potion might look like, "a magic-user will be able to convince," or "a magic-user has a 1 in 6 chance to convince," etc.

This is a common and important one. The essential components are as follows:
(1) Describe nature of the slope/surface. (2) Describe any penalty/bonus for thieves. (3) State if non-thieves can climb. (4) Mention how, if if requires a method beyond just scrambling up (rope, pitons, the right path up, etc). (5) Describe effect of failure.

Example 1 (complex)
"The slopes are steep, although they can be climbed by non-thieves. A non-thief does have a 5% chance to slip and fall, so if there is an assault up the side of the tor, roll 1d20 for each character, each 30ft, with a natural 1 representing a slip and fall. Falling or being pushed off is a different matter: rolling down the slope is not easily controlled. Anyone falling/rolling down the slope incurs 1d2 points of damage for each 30ft rolled downward, but also has a chance to control the fall each 30ft. If the character can roll under his/her Dexterity ability on 3d6, the fall can be stopped (or at least turned into a controlled and non-damaging descent if desired).

Example 2 (fairly simple)
“Climbing the spires is relatively easy due to the irregular surface and can be accomplished automatically by thieves. Non-thieves are treated as if they were thieves with an 80% climb skill.”

Obviously there are MANY different formulations you can use, since there are 5 separate components to the challenge as described above.

This is entirely irrelevant to most old-school adventuring except for McGyvering a solution, such as a temporary raft or a trap. Various possibilities:
Class/race based: "A dwarf can rig the stones to..." "An elf can rig the wooden boards to ..." "A ranger or druid can..." NOTE: these might be an automatic success if you have a character of the right class, or there might be a success number based on a flat success rate (# in 6) or use a saving throw to bring the character's level into a randomized method.
Intelligence based: It might be more of an intellectual challenge, in which case you could use a roll against intelligence (1 in 20 for a linear determination, 3d6 and equal = failure, which is required to allow an 18 to fail, 4d6 for a bell curve that's harder than a 3d6 attribute roll).

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