Showing posts from February, 2022

A Basis for Local Organizations in D&D

After writing the blog post on the weird fantasy capitalist economy suggested by Dungeons & Dragons , I had been thinking about ways to apply that sort of thinking to something practical at the table. I didn’t suppose when writing it that anyone would actually want to establish a firm in their D&D campaign, much less would anyone have the mental energy to deal with the month-by-month math of running a business on paper and pencil. I figured that maybe instead it would be fun to establish a sort of organization as part of high-level play. It’s not quite domain play as much as it is conspiracy play. What makes low-level play interesting is that you as a player are constantly striving for something. Domain play in theory can become managing a state of affairs rather than working towards anything at all, becoming something more like a traditional war game compared to D&D ’s game of upward strife. This isn’t to say that domain play can’t have the same degree of progression as

Double Feature: Movement & Light

In this article, I’m going to take a closer look at some of the presuppositions underlying movement and perception in early or early-inspired D&D rulebooks. Originally, I was going to make one short post about treating movement rates as a non-random ability score, and then a separate one trying to figure out what different behavior that flashlights would have compared to torches if you were to set your dungeon crawl in the modern age. As it turns out, though, it’s difficult to separate light and movement since they are intertwined in how players perceive and then interact with the game-world. On 12"-Scale Movement Defining movement rates in inches seems at first glance a vestige of D&D ’s origin in tabletop wargames. Movement rates were given as such in Dungeons & Dragons (“ OD&D ”, 1974) and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (“ AD&D ”, 1977-9). The base rate of movement for an O/AD&D character is 12”. The rate decreases to 9”, 6”, and finally 3” for incr

Actualizing Violence in D&D

A not-uncommon complaint about the usual Dungeons & Dragons fare is that combat is a slog, or if it is not a slog then it is repetitive. The usual wisdom is that without a variety of choices, or without the player being made aware that they exist, the player opts only to hit things with their sword again and again and again. Yet one solution that manifests recurrently and to not much avail (in my opinion) is to allow players to pick special powers or features off a list, which become proverbial buttons to click during an encounter and have something cool happen. The result is a lot of deliberation, a lot of book checking and, with a decent character sheet, a lot of writing. One solution, popularized lately by Odd Skull and seeming to have originated from Delta’s D&D Hotspot [1], is to have an attacker choose to declare a maneuver before attacking another participant in the battle. If the attacker’s to-hit roll succeeds, the defender then decides whether to lose HP from the r