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OSR OSR Gripes

… and then there's cantrips, which seem to freak people out, but if you've played with Warlocks and at-wills for a decade, you've gotten used to the idea of at-will magic that just isn't that impactful, not, well, making much of an impact.
Or if you had a character with a wand of magic missiles and 100 charges back in the day, then you had your at will combat cantrip then.

In my experience at will combat cantrips aren't worth worrying about. They conceptually do much the same as starting with a low powered wand, and are basically just flavor dressing on throwing a dart every round.

On the other hand, at will noncombat cantrips have a huge impact. Having things like detect magic, create water, light, dancing lights, and forth be at will does big time change the flavor of the game especially at low level. Back in 1988 I experimented with making the old 1e cantrips that could do almost nothing 'at will', and within just a few sessions rolled back that rule to 'caster level times per day' because it was in play detrimental to the players approach to the game (gifted with the ability to do something, they assume they should do that thing). But having played for example Pathfinder, non-combat cantrips will never be an 'at will' thing in any game I play, because a caster essentially has infinite resources. The ability to destroy something is nothing compared to the ability to infinitely and abundantly create something.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Or if you had a character with a wand of magic missiles and 100 charges back in the day,
Or that, yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, my second 4e character was an "old-school high-elf fighter/magic-user," he was a wand wizard, and he did explain his Scorching Burst as "an old Wand of Fireballs that doesn't work like it used to." (There was, in that campaign, a conceit that magic had historically, or pre-historically, worked as it had in prior eds, so I got to lampshade the differences.)

then you had your at will combat cantrip then.
I recall you were meant to trade in one 1st-level spell for 4 cantrips. Later, in 2e, there was a cantrip spell that let you cast any cantrip for something like 2hrs/level, which is pretty close to at-will, sure.

In my experience at will combat cantrips aren't worth worrying about. They conceptually do much the same as starting with a low powered wand, and are basically just flavor dressing on throwing a dart every round.
Three darts. Yes. ;)

On the other hand, at will noncombat cantrips have a huge impact. Having things like detect magic, create water, light, dancing lights, and forth be at will does big time change the flavor of the game especially at low level. Back in 1998 I experimented with making the old 1e cantrips that could do almost nothing 'at will', and within just a few sessions rolled by that rule to 'caster level times per day' because it was in play detrimental to the players approach to the game (gifted with the ability to do something, they assume they should do that thing).
Nod. That's an understandable initial reaction on their part.

But having played for example Pathfinder, non-combat cantrips will never be an 'at will' thing in any game I play, because a caster essentially has infinite resources.
D&D Vancian casters have always had 'infinite'* resources, just on a different time scale. Cantrip 1/round that does 'almost nothing' every round (until you get bored/tired anyway, so what, 8 hrs a day?) vs a spell 1/day that does something pretty dramatic every day - over a life time. The variety & impact of cantrips is pretty minor compared to spells. You can light up a small room with a cantrip, but to keep it lit you have to stay there re-casting it. You can light up a larger room, more brightly, with Continual Light, forever... and do it to a different room tomorrow...
...OK, technically a permanent effect like that is closer to an 'infinite resource.'











* obviously, cantrips aren't literally infinite, just once every six seconds until you die. That's not even 'unlimited.' More accurately, you might say "can be used systematically."
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

Will they really? We're on like page 9 and you are the first person on the OSR side to suggest that.
I get what you are saying, but I'm not on the "OSR" side or any particular 'side'. I enjoy all kinds of RPGs, from Rolemaster/HARP, to 5e, to Dungeon World and everything in between. :) Anyone who locks themselves into one particular type of game either has very specific tastes, or they are robbing themselves of getting a wider range of RPG 'tastes'.

That said, I *DO* admit that I lean more towards the OSR side of things...I just prefer that overall style of play. :)


The first half-dozen all suggested that playing with low hit points where one hit will kill you was the source of the fun, and in some way or the other tacitly endorsed character funnels and the ultimate playability (or viability) of any character whether 2 hit points or not.
And I have no problem with that at all. In fact, it is actually quite fun to play a PC with super low HP's. One player had a thief character in BECMI with 1hp. He had a CON of something like 5 (and thieves in BECMI only use d4 for HP!). He modeled the character after Wilfred Brimly (yeah, the rotund old guy from the movie Cocoon and the various oatmeal commercials..."It's the right thing to do...and a tasty way to do it!" ;) ). Even put on a fake beard/mustache and stuffed a big pillow under a flannel shirt. Role played the hell out of it. One of the most fun, memorable characters ever...he was always trying to get, uh, he was trying to convince the lady folk to share some, uh, "extra-special-hugging time" with him (he was old and knew his days were numbered). He made it through one delve into the Caves of Chaos.

So while your answer makes some sense, I don't think it's grounded in reality. Further, if your answer does make sense, then it becomes a table rule of some sort the simplest and least time wasting version of which will be something like "max hit points at first level".
I found what I was referring to in my previous post. From the B/X Basic book, page B6, under "Hit Points and Hit Dice"...

(First level characters may easily be killed in battle. As an option, the DM may allow a player character to roll again if the player has rolled a 1 or 2 for the number of hit points at first level only".

So, basically, anyone who thinks "re-rolling 1st level PC HP's if they are a 1 or 2" is some kind of house rule is mistaken (well, if they are talking about the Moldvey B/X onward; Don't have my earlier blue box and don't care to dig out my little-brown-box books).

Anyway, I'm not really a modern gamer. I'm an "old man" (at least compared to the soccer team I coach or my kids). I've got a grognard membership badge.

This is one example of me being nostalgic: https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?580811-Revised-and-rebalanced-dragons-for-1e-AD-amp-D.

But consider both how nostalgic that post is and at the same time how many sacred cows it is willing to BBQ if the drawbacks outweighed the value of the tradition.
You and me both, brother! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I get what you are saying, but I'm not on the "OSR" side or any particular 'side'. I enjoy all kinds of RPGs, from Rolemaster/HARP, to 5e, to Dungeon World and everything in between. :)
I may still be stuck in the idiom of the D&D Pedantry
Thread, but it seems like there's a whole lotta RPGs that don't particularly fit between those.


I found what I was referring to in my previous post. From the B/X Basic book, page B6, under "Hit Points and Hit Dice"...

(First level characters may easily be killed in battle. As an option, the DM may allow a player character to roll again if the player has rolled a 1 or 2 for the number of hit points at first level only".

So, basically, anyone who thinks "re-rolling 1st level PC HP's if they are a 1 or 2" is some kind of house rule is mistaken
Good to know.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Once again, you are being disingenuous in your selection. I said a typical creature a level 1 PC would face. In 5e, they bumped the orc up significantly. Level one PCs would not typically fight a group of orcs on a one to one basis. You’re comparing apples to oranges.
[MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] , to compare apples to apples, what happens if you put up your happy little 1st-level Fighter against its clone (i.e. another Fighter-1 with all numbers exactly the same) in each edition?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The one true statement you can make about old school play is, "It varied a lot."



Now that's one I haven't encountered before, but that's a very advanced concept we really wouldn't see in an official capacity till like 4e. It does solve a potential ton of problems, but I suspect that I would have hated it on first sight back in the day by pure reflex - "A 10 h.p. 1st level M-U, inconceivable?!?!"
Our body-fatigue point system (developed in about 1983) ends up working almost the same. Everyone - even peasants - has body points; for humans these are rolled on a d5 with a Con-based minimum (2 unless your Con is truly awful, 3 if it's pretty good; and a lower roll becomes set to the minimum) and are locked in for life unless some tragedy like losing a limb permanently alters them. Your level-based h.p. are your fatigue points and go on top of these. So a really lucky human MU with Con 15 might get 5+4+1=10 h.p. at 1st level but I don't think in 35+ years I've ever seen this done.
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

I may still be stuck in the idiom of the D&D Pedantry
Thread, but it seems like there's a whole lotta RPGs that don't particularly fit between those.
Other games like... Call of Cthulhu, Star Frontiers, Alternity, Gamma World 3rd Edition, Marvel Super Heroes Advanced ("FASERIP"), SUPERS!, Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (prefer 1st ed of that one), Hackmaster (4th, not newest), Living Steel, Synnibarr, etc.

Yes, you read correctly. Synnibarr. Yes, that Synnibarr...with the flying grizzlies with lazer-beam eyes and "normal, natural every day sharks that can shape shift into human form", Bio-Syntha-Cybogs, Intelligent Bipedal Raccoons with rocket launchers, and Venderant Nalabarong magic. :D It's complete Chaotic Neutral "WTF IS GOING ON?!?!!?!" from, well, every perspective, but damn if'n it doesn't hit that Anime RPG G-Spot better than anything else out there! :)

That's what I meant by 'everything in between'. Different genre's as well as well-designed systems...and absolute train wrecks! It's all in how you approach them in play. Never had a bad game playing CoC or Synnibarr, for example.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Monayuris

Explorer
Orcs in 5E are really 2HD creatures in OSR terms and they have great axes. That 1d12+2 great axe damage is absolutely brutal.

I usually change them to scimitar and shield. It ups their AC but brings their damage back to more manageable levels. In 5E, orcs clock in with avg. 22 hp. Which puts them out of one shot kill range of a typical fighter and puts them into a class above normal 1st level characters.

If you want monsters that 1st level PCs can smash on, go with goblins or just give orcs goblin stats and save orc stats for Uruk-Hai or equivalent. Moderate AC and hit points within one-shot kill range of a typical 1st level fighter. That's where you want to be.
 
If you want monsters that 1st level PCs can smash on, go with goblins or just give orcs goblin stats and save orc stats for Uruk-Hai or equivalent. Moderate AC and hit points within one-shot kill range of a typical 1st level fighter. That's where you want to be.
I don't know anything about these 5e 2HD orcs, but even back in 1e I would have strongly hesitated to put the PC's up against orcs before 2nd level because although the PC's could probably one shot the orcs, the orcs could also probably one shot the PCs. Particularly prior to playing in groups with max hit points at first level or other innovations to try to extend the 'sweet spot' down to 1st level, I considered anything that could potentially do 1d8 damage with a swing just too much for 1st level characters, and typically went with goblins or kobolds and saved hobgoblins and orcs until 2nd or 3rd level. I really preferred to set them up starting characters against nothing that could do more than about 1d3 in an attack, so that they'd really only go down to multiple hits.

And remember, the whole 'not really dead until -10' rule that was eventually widely accepted was originally one of those innovations to try to extend the sweet spot downward a bit.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
[MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] , to compare apples to apples, what happens if you put up your happy little 1st-level Fighter against its clone (i.e. another Fighter-1 with all numbers exactly the same) in each edition?
Well, I mean, OK.

1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 3, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 17 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.1 DPR).
5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).







Edit: thanks Lanefan
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, I mean, OK.

1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 4, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 16 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.375 DPR).
5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).
Er...in 1e splint-and-shield by RAW gives AC 3, doesn't it? (and by common house rule where shields give 2 AC points, that'd be AC 2). That's going to lower the odds of hitting a bit, and thus the DPR.
 

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