Sing to me, O Muse, of BECMI!


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Voadam

Legend
On the converse, that is one heck of a cover.
I was looking forward to reading about the Orc King who uses the severed head of an enemy (dwarf?) as a footstool in his throne room.

Some parts of the orc king are decent. Him being a 29th level orc and 12th level shaman a decade before 3e is pretty cool.

The internal art of him being a fat snouted pig faced orc whose caricatured wife is bonking him on the head with a bone was quite jarring.

His story of being easily overwhelmed by one opponent, and being subject to a simple manipulation by another to turn the whole kingdom he created into a pawn was another part that has some decent stuff to work with but I did not really care for overall in the end.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I think that's a near universal. While it is set up as (in theory) a cohesive* setting, it really is a hodge-podge of disparate ideas and tones. It's obvious that it was built by a group of different voices without a centralized plan going forward (which can be part of the charm). There are physical inconsistencies like the Viking -analog culture and (IIRC) a jungle culture existing in close proximity at the same parallel. More often there are tonal variations, with one book being strongly serious and grounded, another silly, a third serious but ungrounded (airships or winged minotaurs or a city of 1000s of max-level wizards). It is definitely something to take what you want and omit what you don't.
*although not complete. Unlike the AD&D game worlds, this one left quite a bit of territory (somewhat close to the established starting areas) open for DM development. Something I appreciate.
Yeah Mystara was never cohesive but each of the Gazeteers is essentially a mini settings in their own right so a DM could just take one or two and that would be sufficient without ever having to use anything else.

A game could have a great time defending the The Grand Duchy of Karameikos or engaged in the intrigues of the Principalities of Glantri or the Imperial ambitions of the Dawn of the Emperors.

Thar, Irendi and Atruaghn clans I’d tank at the bottom of the barrel though

another aspect I really liked was the active presence of Immortals in the setting rather than typical gods
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Yeah Mystara was never cohesive but each of the Gazeteers is essentially a mini settings in their own right so a DM could just take one or two and that would be sufficient without ever having to use anything else.

A game could have a great time defending the The Grand Duchy of Karameikos or engaged in the intrigues of the Principalities of Glantri or the Imperial ambitions of the Dawn of the Emperors.
That's one of the strengths of the Mystara setting, in my opinion. Instead of having hundreds of pages of information on dozens of different kingdoms and nations and continents that your group will never even visit, you can focus in on what you actually will play and get everything you need in a single booklet. You want to run a high-magic Potterverse-style campaign, in a land where everyone is a spellcaster of some stripe? "The Principalities of Glantri" has what you need, you can ignore the others. You'd rather play a historic, gritty, Viking-flavored setting? Start everyone off in "The Northern Reaches." Swashbuckling adventure on the high seas? "Minrothad Guilds." Gothic romance and court intrigue? "The Kingdom of Ierendi."

I always ran it with GAZ1, "The Grand Duchy of Karameikos" as the primary setting until the party had finished The Isle of Dread, and then I would shift the setting over to GAZ2, "The Emirates of Ylaruam" to run the Master of the Desert Nomads series. If the campaign ran long enough, we would run Test of the Warlords and the characters would build their own kingdoms...but that's only happened twice in 36 years.
 
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I've only read three of the Gazetteers, so it's hardly a comprehensive data set, but I get the feeling that the quality varies from book to book. Other than the Stephen Fabian art frequently used, which is always awesome.

I was looking forward to reading about the Orc King who uses the severed head of an enemy (dwarf?) as a footstool in his throne room.

Some parts of the orc king are decent. Him being a 29th level orc and 12th level shaman a decade before 3e is pretty cool.

The internal art of him being a fat snouted pig faced orc whose caricatured wife is bonking him on the head with a bone was quite jarring.

His story of being easily overwhelmed by one opponent, and being subject to a simple manipulation by another to turn the whole kingdom he created into a pawn was another part that has some decent stuff to work with but I did not really care for overall in the end.
 

Dioltach

Legend
Having bought the entire BECMI over the course of several years in my early teens, and read them ceaselessly but never got to play more then 2 levels, I've been following this thread with great interest. If I hadn't just started a Star Wars D20 campaign I'd be tempted to play BECMI.

One thought struck me earlier today when I was reading one of the many threads about the OGL: someone wrote that they had dozens of character concepts left to play. Is it me, or is that a change from the old BECMI/AD&D days, that back then we played for the adventures, not for the characters? Since there were so few character options available, the focus was more on what they were doing than on who they were.

And lastly, a pet peeve: I know it's a translation convention, but the original text of Homer's Iliad actually starts, "Sing to me, O Goddess ..." The implication is that the goddess is the muse Calliope, but still. (I didn't spend hours of my life translating the *** Iliad from the Greek at school not to point these things out.)
 

And lastly, a pet peeve: I know it's a translation convention, but the original text of Homer's Iliad actually starts, "Sing to me, O Goddess ..." The implication is that the goddess is the muse Calliope, but still. (I didn't spend hours of my life translating the *** Iliad from the Greek at school not to point these things out.)

Ha! My professor at Mercer was wrong, then. Good. That was a stuck up professor.

As to your other comment about adventures, that's one reason why I've gone back to older editions and new games based off of them. I don't want to win just via character building. I want to go places and do things that I cannot do in real life.
 

Considering how bad some of my adventures were in the beginning, I hope not!

In my group, we all had multiple characters back in the AD&D days. One player would have an elven ranger as their main (not that that language was used by us back then, but then Unearthed Arcana came out and they thought the illustration of the thief-acrobat was cool, so in came the wild elf thief-acrobat.

For BECMI, my recollection is that we generally only had one character at a time. We were young and new and probably didn't even think about making more than one character, unless the first one died.

Having bought the entire BECMI over the course of several years in my early teens, and read them ceaselessly but never got to play more then 2 levels, I've been following this thread with great interest. If I hadn't just started a Star Wars D20 campaign I'd be tempted to play BECMI.

One thought struck me earlier today when I was reading one of the many threads about the OGL: someone wrote that they had dozens of character concepts left to play. Is it me, or is that a change from the old BECMI/AD&D days, that back then we played for the adventures, not for the characters? Since there were so few character options available, the focus was more on what they were doing than on who they were.

And lastly, a pet peeve: I know it's a translation convention, but the original text of Homer's Iliad actually starts, "Sing to me, O Goddess ..." The implication is that the goddess is the muse Calliope, but still. (I didn't spend hours of my life translating the *** Iliad from the Greek at school not to point these things out.)
 

One thought struck me earlier today when I was reading one of the many threads about the OGL: someone wrote that they had dozens of character concepts left to play. Is it me, or is that a change from the old BECMI/AD&D days, that back then we played for the adventures, not for the characters? Since there were so few character options available, the focus was more on what they were doing than on who they were.
I mean, we often ended up playing different actual characters, as in personalities (and maybe fighter Joe became 'a swashbuckler' while fighter Jim was 'a barbarian,' but they both wielded 'swords' and wore plate once they could afford it). We also definitely would roll up the next character saying 'I hope I have stats for a halfling or cleric this time, as I haven't played one of those in a while,' so yeah we did play with the character creation options we actually had. That said, the stats were at the whim of luck and much of your character's abilities came from the spells or magic items they found (so, play-emergent), so there wasn't much 'character build' mechanisms to do. A character might be 'Joe the fighter who got a +3 spear at really low level and thus it became his signature weapon and proposed marriage to the orc princess as a bluff but we ended turning them into strategic allies' instead of 'Joe the dex-based battlemaster with the shield master feat and proposed to the (same story).' I don't know if that's more playing for adventure or not.
 

Voadam

Legend
So, for those of you who have experience, what separates BECMI from AD&D, both in rules and flavor?

BECMI is more straightforward and less fiddly than AD&D. Your OSE will have the same basic base as BECMI.

3d6 in order for generating stats is the default with some options for trading around some stat points.

Stats all have modifiers going to +3 and use the same modifier chart.

No percentile strength.

All classes are slightly lower powered than AD&D. Fighters have d8 HD, clerics have d6, thieves have d4. Clerics don't get spells at first level or bonus spells based on wisdom.

Race as class. All elves are warrior wizards. All dwarves are fighters. All halflings are sneaky fighters.

Race gives no adjustment for stats.

Some neat things in the classes. Dwarves can search for traps decently.

Weapons do more straightforward damage d4, d6, d8, d10 or all weapons do a d6 (DM options).

No weapon proficiency, but with the master set and RC you can have weapon mastery specializations.

Spells have a range and duration, no components or spell schools or other details.

Initiative is different, side based and phase of combat based (movement, missile fire, melee, spells).

Morale for monsters and NPCs is a thing unlike in 1e AD&D.

Alignment is Law/Chaos/Neutrality. No Good/Evil axis.

More emphasis on tracking time in the dungeon in basic. Doing many activities takes a full turn, wandering monsters are checked on a basis where turns become relevant. Light sources last X turns. Etc.

Prices of gear are different, you can start as a 1st level fighter in platemail and have the best non-magical armor in the game.

Flavor having no half-races or gnomes or subraces is distinct.
 
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