Saturday, March 31, 2012

Transmogrifying your game

I have always been a house rules kind of guy. While I did not have any knowledge of T&T up until a few years ago, my first game group had always used a spell point system as opposed to the standard spell system in that other game (TOG), which ends up being very similar to the WIZ point system in T&T.

One reason I had always been hesitant about running events at conventions was that I have tinkered with my version of TOG so much, I was always worried someone signing up for a game would be getting something they would not be happy with. From Spell Points for the magic system, to keeping 1st Edition characters classes in my 2nd Edition game with some additional combat rules from 3rd Edition, my version of the game could more than anything just be confusing, not so much that I changed the core mechanics of the game.

And I guess in that interpretation, no one group will ever play the game as it was 'intended' by the author. I would anticipate that the author would also agree that she could not think of everything and by all means, throw in new stuff and change things as you go.

© Bill Watterson

In most cases, I have found that changing or adding a house rule is just a natural progression that usually occurs in the middle of a game. In my TOG game a few weeks ago, I decided to add a rule with some T&T roots after watching a History channel special on Robin Hood. The show presented the raw power that a single arrow fired from a bow could unleash. A grazing shot makes sense to only do some surface damage, especially when you are rolling a single die and have no modifiers from STR or Magic. However, a well placed shot will indeed pierce vital organs and muscle that could seriously make someone's day pretty darn bad.

© Bill Watterson

I decided to change my damage on arrows and added a bit of T&T to it in the form of DARO. My arrows now do 2d6 damage with the DARO rule (Doubles and Roll Over). The immediate result was a bit more excitement and anticipation for a damage roll that would normally be kind of anti-climatic, especially for characters that are using missile weapons because they are not so much the toe-to-toe fighter type. Coupled with the Critical Hits charts I already use, wading into the fire lane of a few lower level opponents now becomes a bit more dangerous in game terms and more realistic if you are visualizing the potentially fatal scene.

© Bill Watterson

That is not to say that every idea will work for the better, but it should not stop you from trying. No matter what system you run, we are dealing with a 60-75% commonality regarding the basics of most RPGs, which is the role playing part. The rest is just pages and pages of ideas about combat systems, spell systems, and basic ways to determine how good a character is with the actions and ideas that she is trying to accomplish.

If you don't like something, change it. If it does not work, change it back. But do not be afraid to try just because it goes against what may or may not be in the rulebook.

1 comment:

  1. This is what Roy Cram wrote to me in email because he could not post on the blog...

    Dear Jerry

    I am in total agreement. In the GM's seat I am god (game operations director) and I have made a lot of changes myself that made it easier to survive the harder stuff. I don't play to see how long it takes the solo to kill me- I play to have fun. Dying sucks, even in a game.

    Yorrdamma Vrash/roy cram