WOIN Notes on O.L.D.

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Later this week, an updated 300-page playtest document for N.E.W. will be available to playtesters. I'll then be leaving it in their capable hands for a while, as I turn my attention to O.L.D.

So, what do we know about O.L.D.? Well, as N.E.W's companion game, it uses the same system and is 100% compatible. But it has lots of stuff that the latter does not have.


  • Careers include a host of medieval fantasy occupations. Barbarians, hunters, rangers, assassins, gladiators, mages, druids, clerics, loremasters, burglars, inquisitors, watchmen, and many more.
  • The magic system may be familiar to some. It's our own Elements of Magic - learn spell lists and spend magic points to combine elements of those lists for whatever magical effect you desire. This is the revised system we released a decade ago, written by Ryan Nock, and it has always been very well received. It doesn't need that much alteration to slip right into O.L.D. Of course, like N.E.W., it's not a class system - anyone with a MAGIC attribute can use magic to a greater or lesser extent.
  • A whole chapter called Herbalism. Collecting and preparing herbs for specific effects. Herbalism will be a notable and flavourful feature of the game. I've spent today researching medieval uses for herbs (and extrapolating fantasy uses from that) and, of course, Gygax's Appendix J from the 1E DMG.
  • The game covers a range of technologies, going up as far as muskets, arquebusses, and rifles. Though their inclusion is entirely up to you.
  • A solid chapter on wilderness travel and hex maps.

Exciting stuff! And all the while I'm working on that, I should be reading awesome N.E.W. playtest reports!
 
Aagh! Elements of Magic! Now I have to pay attention and make sure any wonky things from that 8 year old ruleset don't cause problems for your new game!
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
This is the (first) draft of my foreword for O.L.D. I'm not 100% sure it says what I want it to say, but I think it certainly says *something*!

FOREWORD
O.L.D.: more so than its companion fantasy game, N.E.W., I was aware writing this RPG that universal fantasy rule sets are a dime a dozen. Making O.L.D. stand out from the pack would be a challenge.

Of course, O.L.D. uses the same innovative mechanics which I believe distinguish both games. The countdown mechanic, rules which make movement, the environment, and tactical positioning in combat important while keeping the action moving, the tradition system (called careers in N.E.W.) which helps you to build your character's history and have it affect his current abilities and traits, the open-ended skill system, and so much more.

When conceiving this game, there were a couple of things I wanted to see dealt with thoroughly. One of those things was the concepts of herbalism and alchemy – the idea of experts preparing herbs for exotic uses or mixing substances to make things like medicines and beneficial treatments. These things are well grounded in literature, and I enjoy the idea that troll's blood can help you heal wounds, or certain herbs when mixed, drunk, smoked, made into soups or ointments, or burned as incense might have interesting effects. Appendix J of Gygax's 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide contained a lengthy list of herbs and their alleged old-world remedies, and this served as a springboard into a whole chapter which would become a central conceit of the game world.

Magic, too, needed a good look. A decade ago, I published Ryan Nock's revised version of Elements of Magic, a freeform spell system for D&D 3.5. The system involved learning spell lists, and then spending magic points to combine those spell lists into whatever effect you desired, and it was very well-received and used by D&D players to this day. Elements of Magic is, as you can see, a large chapter in this rulebook.

With O.L.D. not being a class-based game, I was able to capture another “feel” that I enjoy in a roleplaying game. Anybody can learn magic, herbalism, or alchemy. Certainly, a dedicated mage, druid, or cleric will be better at it, but there's nothing to stop a knight learning a protective prayer, a farmer learning a couple of spells to help his crops, or adventurers learning enchantments which protect, aid, or lend them strength.

But it's not just a magical game! Martial traditions are well served; watchmen, squires, knights, musketeers and more join those servants of skullduggery – the assassins and burglars – and the eclectic medieval assortment of bards, gladiators, and inquisitors.

All in all, this medieval fantasy roleplaying game lends itself towards immersion while encouraging a broad range of settings. I hope that you enjoy it!

What's O.L.D. is N.E.W.
www.woinrpg.com
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Aagh! Elements of Magic! Now I have to pay attention and make sure any wonky things from that 8 year old ruleset don't cause problems for your new game!
Hah!

It needs some work, as the two games aren't the same, but not as much as I'd feared. The main issues are in the details - creature types, alignments, that sort of thing - rather than the overall structure which can actually be fairly well integrated. Caster level = MAGIC attribute, for example, and that's the "big" mechanical hinge for much of it. The other thing then would be learning lists, which quite nicely slot into careers as abilities.

 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeargh. It's harder than I thought! Lots of fiddly D&D stuff buried in the middle of paragraphs!
 

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
I love that you are using my favorite spell system! Yeah!
I even used those rules with 4th edition a couple of times!

...eagerly awaits a playtest document to pick through :)
 
omg I loved Elements of Magic... I always had hoped that it would have gotten adapted to fit into a core game line and 8 years later it's finally happening albeit in a way I had never expected. :)
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
You might be interested in what I'm doing with herbalism and alchemy. I'm tying elements and things to a range of ingredient types. I'm not sure if it'll work yet, but I hope it will!
 

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