Originally posted in the Boneyard. Reused with permission.
THAC0-I would keep THAC0 after all…just change the meaning of the “0″. In my fictitious clone armor class (AC) 0 means that you are wearing no armor. Let’s say your first level mook has a THAC0 of 10, for him to hit an unarmored target he would have to roll a ten or better. So two unarmored mooks standing in a field with sticks trying to brain each other would have a 50/50 chance of actually hitting each other. Armor adds to THAC0, so if Studded leather armor is AC 3 then you would have to roll a thirteen or better to hit.
Hit points– Following an interesting thought by Jason Blair, these are the hit dice per level for the four main races. Also bonuses per level for the four main classes.
Racial hit dice per level
- Hafling 1d4
- Elf 1d6
- Human 1d8
- Dwarf 1d10
Class bonuses to hit points
- Wizard +2
- Rogue +3
- Cleric +4
- Warrior +5
So a level one Dwarven warrior would roll 1d10 for hit points and add five to the result.
Another thing I would fix is simplifying the attribute bonus charts into one chart. (not entirely original I know.)
Actually…no chart needed I think. A 15 in any attribute gains you a +1, a 16 equals a +2, Etc.
- Strength= bonus to damage
- Dexterity=bonus to hit and a bonus to AC
- Constitution=bonus to hit points
- Intelligence= bonus equals the number of spells the player starts with or languages known.
- Wisdom= bonus equals the number of prayers known and a bonus to save vs. spells
- Charisma= bonus equals maximum henchman
the actual starting unmodified THAC0 for first level characters would be fifteen.
To my thinking there are three sets of skills, background skills, adventuring skills, and weapon skills. Background skills are reflective of everything the character did when they were young and adventuring skills are what they learned when they took on the mantel of the adventurer.
Background- you select a background for your character, blacksmiths daughter or son of a tailor….perhaps raised by pirates, and give it a number equal to your unmodified THAC0 (15 to start) then lower it by your Intelligence bonus.EXAMPLE: Fretz spent his formative years with Captain Skul the notorious pirate, so next to background he writes pirate. He puts 15 next to pirate, he has a sixteen intelligence so he lowers that number by 2 giving him a thirteen. now anytime he wants to do something that can be reasonably assumed to be pirate related (swimming, rope use, weather sense, ETC.) if he rolls thirteen or better he succeeds in this task. These skills never improve unless they overlap with adventuring skills.
Adventuring skills-Then the player picks five skills plus her Intelligence bonus to represent recently learned things. These start at fifteen lowered by the relevant attribute bonus. If the adventuring skills overlap with your characters background then you get to lower the skill by an additional two. Obviously if your adventuring career follows your background then you will be really good at skills that are focused, say you were raised by thieves and went into the rogue path you would be really good at thieving. So why would you bother doing anything else? Basically it is a choice between being a focused specialist and a more diverse character. Background skills can help set up a basic character backstory and give you a chance to play a different sort of character. A wizard who was raised by pirates would know all the basic pirate things without having to use skill slots on them for example. These skills decrease by one point every level, every other level you get to pick a new skill choosing between an adventuring skill or a weapon group.
Weapon skills- These are broad groups that simply allow you to use the weapon with no penalty. Each class gets a certain number of weapon groups.
- Warrior- three groups
- Rogue-two groups
- wizard-one group
- Cleric-one group
- Polearms (includes staff)
- bludgeoning (mace, warhammer, club, ETC)
- sword (all types)
- ranged (bows, crossbows, Etc.)
- thrown (hatchets, knives, darts)
Any class with more then one group may sacrifice one group to focus on specific weapon within a remaining group. IE; Nancy wants her Barbarian warrior to be really good at using a spear (polearm group) so she sacrifices one of her three groups to focus on the spear. She still has the broad group polearm meaning any weapon on a stick can be used but she is specially dangerous with a spear.
A warrior only may sacrifice their second slot to focus even more intensly on a specific weapon or a second weapon in the remaining group. Nancys’ Barbarian has a remaining group, she could do one of three things with it. She could take broad group swords (or other), she could sacrifice it and focus on another polearm (say pike), or she could sacrifice it and double up on the spear (the second and third choice means she could only use polearms.) She decides her character was part of a special village defense force and spends he remaining group to become a Mistress of the Silver Spear.
Effects of weapon focus;
Focus on a weapon gives a character +1 to hit, and +2 to damage. double focus gives +2 to hit and +4 to damage.
Channeling-Working with the alien and esoteric forces of magic is an exacting process. Your Channeling would start at a level equal to your Constitution, plus 1 per level. You can channel more by feeding it constitution points on a 1 to 1 ratio. Each time you choose to do so you must roll under your characters current Constitution score. failure indicates you pass out.
The toll exacted is equal to the level of the spell. Thus a sixth level spell would cost you six channeling points, a first level one would cost you one, Etc.
You can learn any spell regardless of your level. To get a new spell you must either find an ancient scroll, grimoire, or teacher. Alternately you can bargain with ancient powers for your knowledge. These beings will always demand some sort of sacrifice on the part of the caster, the type of sacrifice should be dependent on what type of magic is sought. Even when these methods are followed there is no guarantee that your feeble human mind will be able to comprehend the ritual. Roll over your spellcraft skill +1 for every level over yours the spell is. IE, if you are level two and you want to learn a fourth level spell it would be spellcraft +2.
You can cast any spell regardless of your level. To cast a spell you have to make a spellcraft check. you again add +1 for every level over yours the spell is. If it works great! If you fail then nothing happens but the channeling points are still lost. If you fumble then you not only lose the channeling points but you must make an immediate roll under your current constitution to remain conscious and something goes horribly, horribly wrong.
You rolled a one…. What happens next is entirely up to the game master and your circumstances. Take into account where the spell was gleaned from, was it from some other reality? If so maybe a small portal opens up allowing something to slither through. Was it a ninth level spell? maybe a small army of somethings come through or one REALLY BIG something crosses into our world. Also it is always fun to consider where the player is when they blow it. Is she standing in an ancient cemetery? A forgotten temple? A simple Hold Undead spell becomes a whole new story arc if it is miscast in a mausoleum. If you are stuck for a cool idea you could always just reverse the spells effects or apply them to the caster or her companions….but thats not that interesting, or is it?
Remember to make it interesting, use the bad roll to add to the ongoing story if possible.