Final Post

New Years Day 2018, fin.

Everything has a course For me this Blog has run it's course. It's time to close the door. I have a few thoughts about why  now i...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ad&D second edition // active attributes.

AD&D second edition with active attributes.

Just spit-ballin here.

Let’s say we are playing AD&D second edition. (Because I do once a week so it’s fresh in my mind)

Allow each player to choose an attribute to use as their character’s focus. No two party members may have the same focus attribute. (Unless you have more than six players in which case you would have to.)

Divide each character’s focus attribute attribute by 3 and round down if you have to round a number. Give each attribute a pool of pips (represented by poker chips, pennies, beer caps, broken florescent light bulbs whatever.)

During the game on the players turn they can spend one pip from any attribute to modify the scene in some fashion as it relates to that attribute, without rolling.

Player to NPC interactions should still be role played as they normally would but if the player really wants to get the job done, they could spend a pip.

Pip’s refuel whenever the GM says they do, usually after extended rest, or between games.

Some examples:
  • The fighter is beating on a troll; he uses one pip of his strength to physically push the toll into the fire place.
  • The priest uses one wisdom pip to remember a fable about the patron god of a local cult.
  • The thief uses a pip of dexterity to vault a high fence.
  • A wizard uses a pip of intelligence to figure out the runes on the back of a wand.
  • A Halfling uses a pip of dexterity to dodge an incoming arrow (that would have hit.)
  • A warrior uses a pip of charisma to intimidate a guard.
  • This Orc has to die NOW, the  thief uses a dexterity pip to steady his aim and guarantee a hit with his cross bow.
  • A wizard uses a pip of charisma to haggle a better price out of the local alchemist.
  • The Priest uses a pip of wisdom to fend off the effects of an illusion, and letting his faith guide him to the truth.
  • The warrior uses a pip of constitution to shake off the effects of blow, negating some if not all of the damage she would have taken.
  • A thief uses one pip of dexterity to amaze a crowd with his juggling skills.
  • We NEED a torch! The  Thief uses his wisdom pip to find / fashion one.
  • A wizard uses a pip of intelligence to find the right book in a vast library.
  • A Cleric wants to be a young adventurous swashbuckling traveling evangelist   and, why not make his focus attribute Dexterity even if it is not his highest stat? At least then the cleric can at least do  a couple of feats of  swashbuckling awesomeness each game.

Why do this when attribute checks already do this for the players? Frankly because attribute checks suck. 
Have you ever seen this happen?
“I search the room for the potion.”  Says the Thief who has fifteen wisdom. The player rolls a 19 and fails. The fighter with 9 wisdom steps up and says, “Ok I’ll help him search “then rolls a 3 and finds the potion.

The Gm can make it work in the narrative, the fighter simply looked  every where the thief did not, but it makes the thief less thief- like. It takes the thief out of his niche and allows the fighter to fill that niche without expending any resources, kind of sucks for the thief player.

Let’s stick with the example.  What if the thief could spend a pip and say, “I search all over the room, and finally find a small wooden box wedged under a book case containing the potion!” Or even say, “I search all over the room, and finally find a small wooden box wedged under a book case that should contain the potion but it’s gone!” This kind of thing would make the gm have think quickly on his or her feet, but hey that’s what we gm’s do.  Gm says,” You found the box but it’s locked would you like to pick the lock?”

Also if the fighter is going to try and help the thief  find the potion why not let him but tell the player "The room was already well searched by Sir Tummblebottom the thief you'll have to spend a pip if you want to find the potion." Then the fighter can search in a fighter way by spending a pip of strength, “I see the thief getting nowhere fast so I start smashing the crap out of all the furniture with my war hammer, the potion finally falls out of a broken drawer and rolls a crossed the floor.” 

Yes, it is the same effect the fighter just one upped the thief and took his niche, I get that. The difference is the fighter had to give up something in return (a pip) and  the thief clearly was the first choice to look for the  potion, quietly, and with less collateral damage. The two characters did not simply do the something  back to back with one player happening to roll lower than other.  The fighter is only ever going to have a maximum of 6 pips (if he has an unmodified 18 strength) so at least the thief player knows he gave something up to find that potion.

Give it a try, let me know what you think.

I’m going to try it out; I’ll let you know if my campaign goes spiraling into the abyss.

As always question comments and sauce welcome.

EDIT: (In case you don't read the comments)

+Nick Clinite,  (from google plus wrote)
"Cool idea.  My feedback:  don't generate the number of pips by dividing the attribute; just give them 3 (or some other static number)"

And you know what? He's probably right.