Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Top Ten Troll Question Part Two

The title is a little silly, but I liked all the "T"s

The previous Top Ten was quite popular and it was put together in the spirit of all the contentious issues that seem to get endlessly discussed concerning the game. But this time, these questions were put together because I have been pondering what exactly are people's rules preferences for playing their game. There have been so many little changes over the years.

And, of course, if enough people answer the questions, then I will make some pie charts to give a consensus (if there is one) of what people's preferences are.

So, if you have some spare time, here are 10 more troll questions dealing with various differences in the rules over the years.

(1). Should energy drain take away one level of experience points from the character? Yes or No? If no, what should level drain do?

(2). Should the oil used in lanterns do significant damage (more than 1 hp in damage) if thrown on an opponent and set on fire? Yes or No? If yes, how much damage should it do?

(3). Should poison give a save or die roll, with a fail rolled indicating instant death? Yes or No? If no, how should game mechanics relating to poison work?

(4). Do characters die when they reach 0 hit points? Yes or No? If no, then at what point is a character dead?

(5). Does the primary spell mechanic for a magic user consist of a "memorize and forget system" (aka Vancian)? Yes or No? If no, what alternative do you use?

(6). Should all weapons do 1d6 damage or should different weapons have varying dice (1d4, 1d8, etc...) for damage?

(7). Should a character that has a high ability score in their prime requisite receive an experience point bonus? Yes or No?

(8). Should a character with an constitution of 18 get a +3 bonus to hit points, or a +2 bonus to hit points, or a +1 bonus to hit points or no bonus to hit points? And should other ability scores grant similar bonuses to other game mechanics?

(9). Should a character have 1 unified saving throw number, or 3 saving throw types based on ability scores (reflex, fortitude, will), or 5 types based on potential game effects (magic wand, poison attacks)? or something else?

(10). Should a cleric get (A) 1 spell at 1st level  (B) no spells at 1st level (C) more than 1 spell at 1st level?


  1. Answers for D&D, and my work-in-progress Chanbara

  2. For an even more trolly question, why not ask 'why, if using non-variable weapon damage, should magic users be restricted to what kinds of weapons they are allowed to use?'

    If you ask me, wizards should be able to use whatever weapon they want; the whole 'well, they've spent their time learning magic instead of fighting' is amply covered mechanically by their abysmal to-hit numbers.

    1. Well, trolly troll never stops. I am sure, someday, he will have a part 3.

    2. Well, for one, if the magic-user can only used daggers and staves, that means he's much less likely to find magically enhanced weapons. The wizard will have to rely on his spells rather than his magical broadsword.

    3. I'd say there's absolutely no reason that magic users would be less likely to find magical weapons. I mean, who's making all the magic weapons? Certainly not non-magical dudes!


  4. Great questions!



  6. Answered:

  7. (1). Energy drain should cause a loss that can only be recovered through laborious effort. It shouldn't be permanent (such as permanent stat loss) but it also shouldn't be temporary (such as including a restoration spell). This makes undead Very Scary to players, which is good, because undead should be Very Scary for the characters.

    (2). Reality says no. Fun says yes. I'd give it 1d6 per round for two rounds: enough to kill a 1st level monster or block a passage but not enough to make it the best weapon possible. Note too that you have to light it, which means a second successful attack with a lit torch or something.

    (3). Should cause damage, save negates for blade poison, save for half for ingested. Remember again, 1d6 save for half will probably kill most normal men, meaning it would be classified as a "deadly poison". Poison damage healed only through Neutralize Poison, meaning it's a negative HP buffer which can be nasty. Slow Poison removes the poison damage for its duration. I'd give both of these 1d6 per caster level.

    (4). I've found at low level the -10 dying buffer is too much - unless a monster continues to attack a downed PC people rarely die. At higher level you encounter monsters that do more damage, or have multiple attacks. One solution for this is to declare attacks before rolling, so you don't know how much is going to be overkill. This is a house rule we use for when high-level PCs have like 10 attacks per round, to help keep them from dominating the game.

    (5). I like Vancian magic. It's part of what defines D&D. But depending on the day I could favor a spell point system, or a Shadowrun drain system, or just expensive material components.

    (6). I like d6 weapon and monster damage (except giants are 2d6, sea monsters 3d6, etc) and single attacks for everyone (except hydras attack per head for example). But I can see wanting to differentiate weapons. And you want to use all those funny dice! It's a toss-up for me. But if you use variable weapon damage, Fighters and monsters should use as Hit Dice the best normal one-handed melee weapon's damage die. Traditionally that's a longsword.

    (7). Yes, but to save time you should just give him an XP bonus when he levels up. If he's level 1, take the amount he needs for Level 2, minus the amount needed for Level 1, and give the percentage bonus based on that.

    (8). We're so far into stats giving bonuses to stuff because of print and computer games, I don't think people would stand for an 18 CON character not getting a HP bonus. I like -1 on 3 to 7, no modifier on 8 to 13, +1 on 14 to 18. But I also like to keep numbers small.

    (9). One save is kinda lame. F/R/W covers the bases. I never liked the 2E D&D saving throw categories because it all seemed so arbitrary. In my mind, Thieves should be good at dodging. One alternative is to just roll against your stats (d20 under STR to save against Entangle for example) but that magnifies the usefulness of high stats and ignores class training. You could also do away with saves, and anything that requires a save instead has a chance to succeed. A Sleep spell could, for example, roll 4d6 but if it doesn't exceed the victim's current HP there's no effect. If it does, he falls asleep (taking no damage).

    (10). Whatever the book says, chief. I really don't care. I can see the benefit of holding back, but it's also nice for a 1st level party to have some healing ability.

  8. Behold, Random Wizard, the seeds of chaos and dissent you have sown!

    1. I find his response fascinating. His points have some logic behind them, but I think he might have taken the word "fundamentalist" a bit hard.
      Clickable link

    2. I mean, I follow Jeff's blog. This is kind of out of character for him. I wonder what about troll questions made him snap and go all grognard Mr. Hyde :o

    3. Does that make Mike Mearls the Emperor Constantine, trying to put together the council of Nicaea?

    4. I'm not sure, but I think I might start working out a table describing certain OSR types in terms of Schismatics if I ever get the time to sit down and do the proper research (I probably won't). But I'll go ahead and say that 4.e. was probably the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes...