15 March, 2012

This Might Be Considered a Rant: THAC0

I just started reading Howling Tower.  I opened up a post from January today and the author referenced a post on Critical Hits about the way the game has changed, the influence of the Internet, et cetera.  I was cruising through this post and suddenly came to a screeching halt at this sentence: "We all know that huge weight that was lifted when THAC0 went away."


What's wrong with THAC0?  If I know your character's THAC0 I know what Armour Class he's going to hit.  THAC0 20?  Rolled a 12?  AC 8.  It's basic subtraction, folks.  Not rocket science.  Third Edition decided to dumb down the system and now you all can't do math?  Eh?  Sure, it's easier to go, "The monster's AC is 12 so you need a 12 to hit it," but really.  I'm an English  Major.  I don't do math like some people don't do windows, get it?  I  like rules-light systems because I don't want to spend all my time figuring out seventy billion adjustments to my roll just to see if I can successfully walk down the street without falling over.  But THAC0 is not an example of a complex rule.

I started playing D&D (red box Mentzer) around 1984 or so.  I don't recall, as a child, having a great difficulty with descending Armour Class.  I learned it, and THAC0, very quickly.  Could it be that today's players are preoccupied with having the game their way, so their characters can be the special snowflake?  That they love all the new rules that "protect" them from "nasty DMs"?  That's fine for them.  I feel sad for them, but I'm not gonna argue with them, as long as they don't come leaning over here and telling me I'm a moron for using THAC0 and descending AC.  I feel sad that they've had to play with selfish and/or killer DMs who've abused them so much that they see a complicated, bloated ruleset as their only salvation.  And honestly: if you wanna be the badass mofo who kills all the monsters flawlessly and can never ever lose?  Go play an FPS game and turn on god mode.  If you want an experience that you'll remember, a fun time with friends, by all means, play D&D.

Told you this was gonna be ranty.

13 March, 2012

Secrets and Such - no players allowed!

When I wrote the last post, about the world's inherent weirdness being at least part of the reason for what I called my campaign's "low-magic" quality, I didn't know the half of it.  I've had time to work out (and, in many cases, stumble upon - my Muse works in interesting ways) one of the fundamental truths of the gameworld.

I give this warning to anybody on my current players list: look away now.  I'm going to reveal the number one secret of the world your future characters will be living on.  Loki, SuStel, Arcadian: I mean you folks. :)  I'll be putting "players keep out" as a tag on posts like these.

Spoiler spaaaaccceee....!

The world is tentatively called "The World of the Twelve Faces".  It's not a globe.  It's a dodecahedron.  I've had all kinds of wonderful and bizarre ideas about how it works (inspired in large part by an article on a cubical earth that I believe Zak S. posted some time ago).  I'm taking Zak's 'the underworld connects various surface areas to each other' idea as well.

Each face of the dodecahedron has its own geography, inhabitants, and history.  Yes, they're connected via the underworld caverns and such, and occasional migrants from one face to another may be seen, but basically they're isolated from each other.  I've only built up the face the player characters will start on: Face Five.  I've had a minor brainstorm or two on what and who might inhabit the other faces, and as I've begun scrawling down notes on the faces I've vaguely outlined interesting geographical  bits about each.

The geography of each face is heavily influenced by the numbers that appear on the twelve-sided die I hold up whenever I'm pondering the world.  (I've become painfully aware that different dice are not only of slightly different sizes, but the numbers are frequently in different places and/or orientations, so I've had to decide on a 'canon' twelve-sider so that I don't confuse or contradict myself.  Chessex are my favourite dice, so I'm using my bone coloured one for this purpose, though that pretty light-and-dark blue speckled one on the windowsill is very nice... but different. >.<) Many of the faces sport a deep canyon or crevice of some kind, though in all cases this doesn't look like the number any more.  Well, Face Eight might, since it has a superfast-moving river system that looks suspciously like the infinity symbol standing up instead of a central sea like most of the rest of them, in accordance with what I learned about cubical earth.

There'll  be more on this stuff later.  Hoping to get into a more regular posting schedule around here.